Halloween Through the Years: My Life in Headlines

Halloween collage

If someone thought my life was interesting enough to write about, and they decided that Halloween would be the perfect lens, they might write something like the following.  But obviously, no one does, so I’ll have to write it myself, on the off-chance that it might make someone (besides me) laugh.

Disturbance Investigated in Quiet Neighborhood

Neighbors were concerned about a possible noise ordinance violation the week before Halloween in their sedate suburb.  “I mean, no one wants to say the word ‘abuse,’  but, you know…” one neighbor was quoted.  Upon further investigation, authorities merely discovered a mom trying to put her toddler into a monkey costume.  The family was extremely late to the Halloween festivities in town and no photographs were taken.

Local Mom Touts DIY Halloween Costumes as “The Way To Go”

“My daughter had her heart set on being ‘Sally’ from ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas,’ local mom, Gretchen Mulroy explained.  “It’s our favorite movie.”

But after looking through many retail stores and extensive internet searches, Mulroy couldn’t find a “Sally” costume for under $40.

“I think it’s ridiculous to spend forty dollars on a Halloween costume for a first grader,” Mulroy said.

Mulroy was determined to make this costume.  She found a picture she could use to replicate the dress and took her first grader to the fabric store.

“It was so much fun!  We picked out different fabrics to match the patchwork dress, fabric paint, thread, face paint, tights… I even learned how to make a yarn wig from a YouTube video! It did take a long time to put it together though.”

When asked about how much money she spent altogether, Mulroy frowned and replied, “About forty dollars.”

DIY Costume Saves Halloween for Local Student

This Halloween, Mr. Mulroy is taking on the construction of his oldest daughter’s Halloween costume. “I used to tell the kids stories about how I made this robot costume one year when I was a kid and I loved it!” he said.  “This year one of them finally asked me if I’d make one.”

Mulroy constructed the robot’s body from a large box.  He cut holes for arms, legs, and the head.  He added dials, gauges, buttons, and a “candy chute” in the front.  “That’s the best part,” he said of the chute.  “People just put candy in there, and it slides into a little box on the inside.  She doesn’t have to carry a candy bag at all.”

The arms and legs are made from dryer vent ducts, cut to fit. Everything is spray painted silver: the gloves, boots, the box, the ducts, and even the giant plastic pretzel container that serves as the helmet.

“Oh don’t worry,” Mulroy said of the plastic.  “We cut holes for her eyes and mouth, and covered them with silver screen pieces.  She can breathe.”

But Mulroy’s daughter came down with the flu the week before Halloween.  Mom and Dad waited each day out, hoping she’d be better for the big night.  When Halloween came and she still had a fever, both parents were faced with an unspoken dilemma.  “Well… she is covered from head to toe in that costume,” Mrs. Mulroy reasoned.  “No one can touch her, and she can’t touch anyone else.”

Mulroy’s oldest daughter was allowed to trick or treat that night, only because of the complete coverage of the robot costume. Adults and kids loved putting the candy into the chute so much, that she came home with the most candy the family had seen garnered in any one Halloween night to date.

A parenting call was made: good, bad, or questionable?  You decide.

DIY Costumes Take a Toll

Local mom Gretchen Mulroy is at it again.  This year her middle daughter wanted to be a “Mad Hatter” for Halloween. “She found a DIY video on YouTube and was so excited,” Mulroy said.  “I told her I’d help, I didn’t want to dampen her enthusiasm.”

What was supposed to be a “quick trip” to Good Will to find some creatively mismatched clothes, turned into a four hour misadventure. Mulroy could be heard sighing as they left the store, “Well, you’re just going to have to borrow something then…”  Her daughter was not smiling.

It did turn out to be a great costume, and Mulroy has the pictures to prove it.  When asked about the giant hat sitting atop her daughter’s head, Mulroy showed us her hands.  “That DIY video made it look so easy.  ‘Make a Mad Hatter Hat from a cardboard box’ they said.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to make that many cuts into thick cardboard?” Mulroy showed us the blisters on her right hand.  “And do you know how tricky it can be to hot glue cardboard that doesn’t want to stay bent?”  She showed us the burns on both hands.

“Last year she wanted to be ‘Esmeralda’ from Disney’s ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame,’ ” Mulroy sighed, remembering.  “No one sells ‘Esmeralda’ costumes. We were able to borrow a few things, but I had to make a bodice… do you know what a pain it is to sew thin ribbon stripes onto stretchy fabric?  I’m not an experienced seamstress, and this was no picnic. And the year before that, she wanted to be a Minion.  I had my husband make the goggle eyes, and we had a heck of a time finding overalls in her size.”

As the interview ended, we asked Mrs. Mulroy if she’d be making anymore costumes for her kids. “Why do I get myself into this?” was all she replied.

What Happened to DIY?

Neighbors have seen very few DIY Halloween costumes come out of the Mulroy household in recent years.  We sat down with Mrs. Mulroy to find out what’s going on.

“My son, our youngest, likes superheroes a lot, ” Mulroy began. “My sewing abilities are limited to straight lines and buttons. I can’t make a costume with superhero muscles. And if I tried, people wouldn’t even know what he was supposed to be.  Do you know how frustrating it is to be 9 years old and have to explain to everyone, at every house, all night, who you’re supposed to be?”

Mulroy admitted to buying a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Spiderman, Antman, and Star Lord (from Guardians of the Galaxy) costumes.  When asked about spending so much money on costumes, Mulroy merely replied, “I think my happiest Halloween was when he told me he wanted to be a vampire.  Do you know how easy that costume is to find?”

One thought on “Halloween Through the Years: My Life in Headlines

  1. Pingback: Skill Set | Gretchen L. Mulroy

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