Costumes are Not My Thing

Costumes are not my thing. My Type-A, first-born perfectionist self can’t cope with the pressure of coming up with something really creative, and as a result I end up throwing something together at the last-minute that my children will regret and probably need therapy for in years to come. Yes, I’m a store-bought costume mom, and I’m not embarrassed to say that.

If you are one of those moms who make their children’s costumes, then I applaud you. I admire your creativity and I’m also rather envious. You might find this guide to making a Lola Bunny from Space Jam costume helpful, because I certainly won’t – i’ll be sticking to buying a costume. But well done you for making your own!

When we moved back to the US from Wales, I thought I had escaped creating costumes for my kids. You see, every year in the spring our UK school celebrates “World Book Day”, wherein each student picks their favorite book and dresses as the main character. (This results in a lot of princesses in the lower grades, along with a lot of superheroes and soccer players, and the odd interesting character thrown in by mums who actually make an effort.)

I celebrated (silently) when I learned that our new elementary school doesn’t celebrate World Book Day. I think it is a great idea, to be sure, but I don’t need the pressure of figuring out how to dress my children in whatever character they have changed their mind about in the 11th hour after I’ve sorted a costume weeks prior.

So you can only imagine my dismay when I learned last week that the school will be celebrating Miss Alaineus Day, based on the book “Miss Alaineus: a Vocabulary Disaster” by Debra Frasier. It’s a clever book with a great message.

[If you aren’t familiar with the “Miss Alaineus” story, it goes as such: Sage, home sick from school, calls a classmate to get her homework. Her friend spells out each word in their vocabulary list except the last one: miscellaneous. Unfortunately, poor Sage writes what she hears, which is “Miss Alaineus”. A few days after her return to school, her teacher has a spelling bee using vocabulary words and Sage gets the word – you guessed it – miscellaneous. Her class laughs when they hear her spelling and definition and she is very embarrassed. Redemption for Sage comes at their annual Vocabulary Parade, when clever Sage comes dressed as “Miss Alaineus, Queen of Miscellaneous Things.”]

So, you guessed it – both of my children need “costumes” for the parade. My second-grader arrived home last Friday with a six-page handout on Miss Alaineus Day, including ideas for words and a worksheet to fill out with her chosen word, definition, and a sketch of her costume.

I asked my fourth grader if he was doing it too, and he gave me an eye-roll and sighed “that’s for babies”. However, the school newsletter indicated that the entire school will be participating, so for the next three school days I left him with the request “ask your teacher” at drop-off. (Thankfully, he had, eyes rolling, agreed to a word on the day that his sister was busy coloring in her worksheet, but I didn’t get confirmation until mid-week.)

Boo chose the word “x-ray”. I was going to draw something on a piece of poster board for him to carry until I was warned they would be in costume ALL day, so I popped into Michael’s (as best as anyone can “pop” into that store – it’s like crack for crafters) and picked up a cheap black t-shirt and a white paint marker.

He should be so lucky that I was an art major for a short amount of time.


I did say short amount of time. Obviously, this patient has a bit of scoliosis.

I’m wondering if he will even notice the broken rib, thumb tack, key and paperclip in his almost ten-year-old mortification.

Miss M chose the word “color”. She opted for an artist’s palette to illustrate the word, and because they have to wear it all day, we made it out of foam board (thank you, Michaels) and leftovers from a foam Easter Egg kit.

It didn’t take very long. (Can you tell?)










However, Miss M was THRILLED with how it came out, once she added even more color to the palette, and since I got a very enthusiastic “thank you for helping me with it” and a kiss as she hopped out of the minivan, Mom scores twice.

Although, given her choice of outfit, I think we could have written “color” on a piece of duct tape and stuck it on her shirt. She added a beret, to look more like an artist. (Overkill, perhaps?)

Boo pretends this is all above him. Fourth graders are so cool. I’ve got your number, buddy.

IMG_3194 IMG_3193









I still hate costumes.

(But if you pushed me…I would admit, I had a lot of fun with this.)


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What camp do you fall into: homemade costumes or store-purchased?
I’d love to hear about your greatest creation (or biggest disaster.)




  1. You know my answer…store bought all the way! I do not have one creative bone (or crafty bone) in my body to come up with costume ideas. Aidan’s next book report is a biography/autobiography and he has to dress up as the person to give his speech. I have been dreading it since Matthew was in 4th grade and had to do his. I’ve known this day was coming for 3 years and am still not prepared and dreading it.

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