Halloween is my favorite time of year. Every year I try to make my now 7 year old daughter’s costumes rather than buy them, because to me, that’s the funnest part.

My daughter loves animals and this year, she wanted to be a parrot. I knew this was going to take me a long time to make, so I began over 2 months ago. I started with an old red jacket with a hood and began cutting and shaping it. I sewed in channels for the arms and began hot gluing feathers in a rainbow pattern. Several hours and glue gun burns later, I then began working on the head. I glued white felt on the “face” and used glue on eyes and black fabric paint to add detail. Then came the beak. I started with a styrofoam plate and folded it in half for the upper beak. It was okay, but a little too small, so then I cut it out of a bigger piece of heavy cardstock and made it long enough so she could see out of it. Then I glued black and yellow felt to it. The finished beak simply slid under her hood (or the “head” if you will). Now onto the feet. She had some old purple boots that I covered with duck tape (a girl’s best friend) and spray painted them yellow. I wanted to make claws and took an old grey sweatshirt and sewed tube-like fingers that after several attempts filling with different things, i.e. foam fill, newspaper, I found that aluminum foil worked the best. I could shape and bend the claws and they’d hold their position. I used a black marker to add detail to the claws and sewed black foam triangle pieces for the nails. For the chest, I just took a red shirt and glued a round white piece of felt to it. We had some orange pants for the legs and I used black masking tape for the rings. I added many layers of colorful tulle to emulate the back tail feathers as well as a little crown on her head.

We wanted to make it a group theme, so my boyfriend went as a pirate, that was a logical idea, but we borrowed a costume from the speech and drama club, so I didn’t have anything to make there. As for me, I couldn’t come up with any ideas. My mom said, why don’t you go as a cracker? I screamed with delight, this was the perfect compliment to go with a parrot! So then I had to make a saltine cracker. I took white felt and hand sewed (the layers were too thick) long rectangle pieces together, filled with recycled lightweight sheets packing foam to give it some puffiness. I folded it in half and hung over the handle of a rake in my garage on 2 ladders so I could work on it. I sewed buttons every few inches and covered the buttons with white felt, to make it look like a cracker, then spray painted the whole thing on both sides with light brown and ivory spray paint. I took clear plastic saran wrap and scrunched it into a little balls and placed randomly on the cracker to simulate the salt crystals. When it was all done, I cut out an opening for my head and arms to go through and stapled on the sides some of the lightweight foam packaging in strips to look like the perferations in a cracker on the edges.

I was thrilled with the end result on both costumes and my daughter was a big hit at the LTC nursing unit we go to every year. She also won 3rd place in the local downtown merchants contest! Hope you enjoy the pics. Thanks for allowing us to enter this contest! Next year, my daughter told me she wants to be a T-rex….yikes!