Friday, November 5, 2010

Halloween 2010

This is a little late, but Happy Halloween!

For my kids' entire trick or treating career, we have been in Japan, where I have never worried about them getting a razor blade or poison in their candy.  It is a highly organized event that takes place in our neighborhood, even on a scheduled night (mainly the weekend so the dads are at home to help dole out candy or take the kids around to collect it).  Over the years, many of us have befriended local Japanese families or kids at school, who have all been delighted to join in on the fun, as it is not customary to trick or treat in Japan.  What a fun experience for those kids especially to get to participate in this event.  In our neighborhood, we are at an all time low of kids, I believe there are only 30 kids left (used to be over 60), but I ended up handing out candy to over 80 kids, that's how many extras jumped at the chance to join in.

The families participating that did not live here set up to give out candy at one of the vacant houses.  It's funny, because by now, I can tell whether my child got their candy from a foreign or Japanese family.  Most foreigners give out chocolate (I even had some resee's in mine and one woman came back super duper excited asking me if I found them in Japan- nope, my suitcase).   Most Japanese give out hard candy, lollipops, or something gummy, oftentimes in a cute little Halloween bag with several pieces in it.  Last year, thankfully not this year, there were open items in the bags, such as 3 animal crackers, 2 marshmallows, and a hard candy.  Although, I was sure they were not poisoned and as much as I trust Japanese people, the idea of an unsealed item on Halloween does not sit well and into the trash they went.

It sure will be culture shock to move back home and have to guess which houses will be handing out candy and which ones won't.  Not to mention, getting my husband home from work on time to help out since it won't be scheduled only on a non-work night ;)

This Halloween, we did not have our grandiose party like usual because I just didn't have the energy to put up and clean up all the decorations.  I will say however, with the Pumpkin Parade (trick or treating in the classrooms) the kids did at school and our neighborhood trick or treating, it was still a very "sweet" Halloween. I did however, save energy to make the kids' costumes.  Since I have noticed a lot of people looking at the Super Mario birthday party post, I thought I'd write about how I made the Mario and Luigi costumes that the older boys wore.

I bought the hats off (planned ahead and had my mom mail Luigi's, since Mario's was leftover from the bday in August).  I used white craft tape, cut out a circle and with a sharpie drew the letter on the circle.

The mustaches' were from brown felt.  Originally I stuck them on with double sided tape, but realized it wouldn't go the distance with these busy little people, so I took bracelet making elastic (small thin round elastic) and painted it with peach colored paint.  I sewed it to the mustache and even though you could see the elastic, no Super character complained.  The only complaint was that I made them dark brown, not black- can't win!

Even the non-Super characters had to have one, who would have thought mustaches could be so popular?

I found the white gloves in the cleaning section of the 100 yen store (dollar store here).

I had nowhere to find overalls here and no where to look for a store bought Mario or Luigi costume.  First, I bought a yard of denim fabric, I tried to get a wash that I knew would closely match a pair of their jeans.  I decided to make a faux overall top and pair it with jeans to make it look like overalls.  Luckily, we had a red and a green long sleeved top already.  I laid the shirts down on the fabric, and cut two pieces of the denim fabric the width of the shirts (I added 1/4 inch on both sides for a seam when I sewed them together).   As for the length, I made sure to leave the bottom length of the fabric about 3 inches longer than the shirts (so it would cover the button and top of the pockets of their jeans) and I cut across the top so it was about 1 inch under their armpits.

For the front piece, I angled the sides in to look like the bib of the overall:

For the back piece, I cut a small v in the middle and then angled around the sides to make it look like where the straps meet on the back of the overalls:

I sewed both the front and back together with the fabric facing (no serging, no edge finishing).  I turned them right side out and sewed two buttons on the front of the bib.   I cut out straps to be the width of the top of the back above the v, where they started to form.  I sewed on the straps, I made them long and then had the boys try the whole thing on, brought the strap over their shoulder and put velcro tape on the front of the strap and the back of the bib (behind the buttons) and pressed the strap closed.   This whole thing with cutting, buttons, and all took an hour for both kids' costumes.

I was quite paranoid because Nathaniel wanted to look so much like Mario that everyone would think he was the real Mario.  The "fake overalls" passed the test and he really thought he was Mario.  The costume is actually still sitting on his desk today.

To top it all off, I even downloaded some Super Mario remix songs and made a CD for the kids to dance to on Halloween night, let's just say they were more hyped up for that than if I let them eat their whole bucket of candy in one sitting.

I have had a lot of questions about Dokinchan (Hazel's costume)- that explanation is coming soon, especially since you will be seeing a LOT of that character for her upcoming birthday.

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