Each year we do a family Halloween costume theme and this year we chose Snow White! I make all of the costumes or alter them from thrift store finds. I spend months planning and collecting thrift store pieces and fabric that seem like they will be perfect, then I find a way to put them together in a way that replicates as closely as possible the characters we are dressing up as.

Snow White: My 6 year old daughter was Snow White this year. Her costume began with a blue woman’s blouse that I chose because it was just the right color and because it has hidden buttons down the front that allow it to be opened but don’t take away from the look of the costume. I bought fabric and started sewing! Without using a pattern, I fitted the shirt to my daughter and added a gathered, sparkly yellow skirt. I added toole to make it poofy, and then it was time to figure out the cape. The cape itself was easy to sew, but it was a challenge to make the high collar and to figure out how to Conner it to the dress in a way that would still allow it to unbutton in front. I bought shoes at the thrift store and painted them gold because she insisted on having shoes that were exactly right. And for the final touch, I bought a red headband with alien eyes attached at Walmart for $1. I cut off the eyes and added at now and she was finished!

The Evil Queen (me) was probably the most difficult of our family Halloween costume to create, or at least it was difficult to figure out. It is all sewn from fabric except the ski mask that I bought and altered. I ended up designing the dress similar to a mumu. I began with a big square, cut out a neck, and sewed arm holes but left the fabric underneath for the big, drapey sleeves. Then I added white trim and a couple of holes for the belt to go through, and it turned out great! The cape was a simple rectangle, gathered at the top, with white fur trim (which is shockingly expensive). I bought the thickest interfacing I could find at JoAnn’s and combined it with some white fabric for the collar. My purple fabric was a little see-through and I needed something black to cover the skin between my mask and dress, so I wore a long sleeve black turtle neck dress underneath, another thrift store find. It made the costume very hot but was necessary.

I altered the ski mask to fit my head snuggly and cut the hole so that it perfectly lined my face. I was particularly proud of my queen crown because it took a lot of thinking before I figured out what to do. Initially I didn’t think there was any material I could make it out of except metal, which would be beyond my abilities, so I looked around online and couldn’t find anything that was even close to the right look, let alone at a decent price. I went back to the idea of making it, but struggled to find a material I could realistically work with. I was finally hit with inspiration- plether! I found gold plether at JoAnn’s and used my hot glue gun, scissors, velcro, and jewels to make the perfect Evil Queen crown. My makeup was the last piece of the puzzle, and it took some practice but turned out great. Many people I know do not even recognize me in costume!

My son was the Prince. He is severely autistic and will only wear cowboy boots, which is why he was the Prince instead of a dwarf. I found his shirt and pants at the thrift store and made the blue thing and the cape. On the whole it was pretty simple, which perfectly suited him.

My youngest was the dwarf Dopey, and boy was it the perfect costume for him! He acted the part everywhere he went and everyone thought he was absolutely adorable. I found his pants and boots at the thrift store (altered the boots a little- they had fringe and I cut it off). I also got his shirt at the thrift store, but it was highly altered to fit him, because it was originally a men’s medium! It had to fit him well enough for him to be able to move, but still be baggy as the look required. I think I nailed it! I made his hat with some spare fabric. The first time I had him try it on he refused, and then for several nights insisted on wearing it to bed!

Lastly, my husband was Grumpy. He is disabled and in a lot of pain on a regular basis, so this costume suited him. He wore his own pants, a slightly altered thrift store shirt, and a hat made my me. He has an unusually large head so it had to make it myself! Luckily it fit perfectly. We bought the beard and his look was complete.

We had a wonderful time with our family Halloween costume, despite the difficulties of taking small children trick or treating, and the added difficulties of wrangling my middle son with autism. I actually had several people- little children, adults, even teenagers- come up to me and ask for a photo with me! As a fat chick who always wanted to be a princess it was a pretty amazing experience. I couldn’t believe that I looked enough like the Evil Queen that other people wanted to document that they had met me! I was truly honored. And that is why, no matter how crazy it is, I will again spend months planning and sewing our family Halloween costumes next year.