I have always loved Halloween. When I was a little girl I looked forward to dressing up, to changing who I was for a night. Sometimes a bride, one year an undercover flamingo, one year a mime. It was my opportunity to stretch my imagination (especially as I got older). Even as an adult I enjoyed dressing up and going to parties or just handing out candy to neighborhood kids…and eating some of it too, let’s be completely honest here.
Once I had a kid I was super excited to share that love of Halloween with him. For the first two years, he didn’t seem to enjoy it at all. But what can you expect from a nearly 1 and 2-year old. Last year I started probing early, late August, early September, asking him what he wanted to be for Halloween. I didn’t want to get stuck trying to do some sort of last minute, half-ass costume. These things take planning, craft. This year, being home on maternity leave, I had the perfect opportunity to construct something marvelous for my son. When I asked him in early September what he wanted to be for Halloween, he confidently replied, “an excavator”. Young boys are notoriously obsessed with something…construction equipment, or trucks, or dinosaurs, or trains…and my son is no exception. Because of him I probably know more about the various types of heavy equipment required for any given job. It also helps that in the last two years there has been an abundance of roadwork and building going on in the DC area. You can’t drive a mile without seeing a dump truck or skid-steer loader working on some job or another.
But to turn that into a costume? For a kid. This was going to take some research. Thank goodness for Google.
My queries led me to this gem. Now it was up to me to figure out how to construct this construction vehicle. Thankfully I had a stash of boxes from a bunch of new baby related purchases and the wisdom of one package design course in college. I knew if I just sat down and worked through what I was seeing I could put the pieces back together again. I even got my son involved in the process, painting the cardboard with some washable tempera paint. I had originally wanted to make this entirely on my own, but once I saw how much fun he was having, who was I to deny him joint creatorship, even if it meant giving up neatness and encountering a few paint drips. A little hot glue, some binder clips, some craft foam, and a lot of trial and error later…a digger was born.
I can’t wait to see him in it tonight. We tweaked the weight of the machine last night, removing some extraneous pieces of cardboard from the body and shortening the boom arm just a hair. The straps are made out of doubled up black duct tape, so all he has to do is slip this over his head and put his arms through. From the look on his face when I showed him the cardboard pieces assembled to the little touches he painstakingly added himself, this has been one of the most rewarding Halloween costumes yet.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, his newborn little sister gets to be a construction cone. Per request of her big brother. Full holiday postmortem to follow on day one of NaBloPoMo.