Tag Archive | Halloween

Black and Orange Day and #FirstWorldProblems

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Black and Orange day and #FirstWorldProblems - Why it doesn't matter if a school bans Halloween costumes and why you should care anyway.

What a short, strange trip it’s been! I had my first ever viral post this week when the news of North Ward School in Paris banning Halloween costumes broke. I was *almost* on Canada AM but was bumped at the last minute for a “breaking news story.” (My guess was something that started with “J” and rhymed with “misogynistic creep-omeshi” but, y’know, we’ll never know for sure what really happened, right?) Continue reading

Everyday Elsa: One-hour DIY Elsa costume tutorial

Okay, brace yourself because I know this will come as a shock, but this summer Molly was obsessed with Elsa (I know, right? You never would have guessed!). I decided to earn some preschooler brownie points and get in some sewing practice at the same time, so I designed up an all-season Elsa costume.

At the time I was doing this, Frozen costumes were only available by lottery through Disney stores and on Ebay if you had a spare $600 lying around. As Halloween quickly approaches, they are much more widely available and super-pretty, but nothing beats the feeling of IF I CAN DO THAT I CAN DO FREAKING ANYTHING NOW WATCH ME BUILD A HOMESTEAD AND LIVE OFF THE LAND SKINNING ANTELOPE WITH MY TEETH FOR DINNER that accompanies making your kids’ costumes from scratch. Besides, it’s cheaper and your kids will totally think you’re a superhero. Continue reading

7 Reasons Why This School is Banning Halloween

Here’s one for the “What is the world coming to?” files.

7 reasons why a school is banning Halloween (and it's not what you think)

This gem scrolled through my Facebook feed yesterday: A friend’s children’s school has decided to forgo Halloween this year in favour of…I don’t know…Friday, I guess. The decision was attributed to the “staff” and the reasons behind it were given as follows: Continue reading

Eating My Words Instead of My Treats – Halloween Safety Part 2

You may have noticed that I titled my previous post “Part 1.” Part 2 was supposed to be a snarky look at the rest of the usual Halloween safety tips flipped around like that  “How to Prevent Sexual Assault” meme (“If you see an unconscious woman, don’t rape her”) to put the onus on the grown-ups: So “Put reflective tape on your costume so cars don’t hit you” becomes “If you see kids in costumes on Halloween night, don’t hit them with your car, or better yet, don’t drive your car on Halloween night if you don’t have to.”

I know, I know – it needed work, but in my head it had potential.

Eating my words

Scary Jack-O-Lanterns. Text reads: Eating my Words Instead of Treats

Then my best friend’s mom went and died unexpectedly on Sunday night and suddenly not only did I lose all ability to think in terms of funny but all of my previously hilarious lines about there being no good reason to drive around on the one night of the year when you know there are going to be lots of children crossing the road suddenly became really assholey. An afternoon funeral, as it turns out, is a quite compelling reason for a large number of cars to be on the road at just such a time.

So instead of that post, I want to recognize my friend Jenn, who has faced an unspeakably horrible situation with an unimaginable amount of grace and courage. If you happen to have a few extra dollars burning a hole in your pocket, consider making a donation to Lupus Ontario in honour of her mom.

And now for some gratuitously adorable Halloween pictures:

Ben's pumpkin lookalike

Ben holding his pumpkin Doppleganger

The instructions from Farmer Charles on Molly’s school field trip were to select a pumpkin that looked like your head, so Ben brought him that one for inspection.

Ben and Molly and I “carved” pumpkins with the help of Ian’s power drill*, several chisels, and our 8 year-old neighbour Rebecca – air quotes because mostly Ben rode his bike and Molly supervised Rebecca’s pumpkin-gut-scooping. Rebecca very kindly helped Molly draw her pumpkin faces and Ben did his own.

Pumpkin collage

Clockwise from top left: Minion pumpkin, scaaaaarry pumpkins (ooooOOooooOOOooo), and Ben holding the “pumpkin doorstop”

Ben: “MOMMY!! I WANTED TO USE THE KNIFE!! Our Halloween safety rules from school said, ‘make sure a grown-up is WITH you when you carve it,’ NOT, ‘the grown-up should do it FOR YOU!!”


Rebecca: “I’m trying to make it look like a kid drew it.”

Me: *raises eyebrows*

Rebecca: “I mean, a LITTLER kid.”


Ben: “How do you make a SCARY pumpkin face?”

Molly: “You say, ‘OooooOOooOOOOOooo,’ while you draw it.”


Me: “OW!”

My brother James: “Careful. That’s probably sharp. It is a chisel, you know.”

Me: [redacted]


Ian: “Oops.”

Me: [also redacted]

Repaired pumpkin

Close-up of the minion head, the reason for the “oops.”

And finally, my split-personality minion Ben (heralded by the grade eights at his school as “OMG THE BEST COSTUME EVER”*) and Molly, who was,  “Uh…Pinkalicious. No, a fairy. No, a fairy princess. No, a pink princess fairy. No, Pinkalicious dressed as a fairy princess with a pink tiara. No, not Pinkalicious OR a fairy OR a princess OR a pink fairy princess – AGNES from Despicable Me. No, NOT Agnes. A pink fairy princess with fairy wings but NOT Pinkalicious dressed as a fairy. No, a fairy princess. But not with fairy wings. Just a princess. Rapunzel.”

Minion and Rapunzel

Minion(s) Ben and Rapunzel Molly

~ karyn

*Next year, jigsaw.

**For the DIYers out there – the minion costume is a collapsible laundry hamper from IKEA, purple and yellow felt, mason jar screw-top lids, purple tulle, denim overalls, black pleather pants** cut and pasted to be overalls, 2 pairs of kids shoes, gloves, and various other bits and bobs. I cut the lid out of the hamper and cut arm holes. Everything is secured with staples, safety pins, and/or hot glue (no sewing required). Ben is dressed as a minion underneath as well with overalls, yellow sweatshirt, and a crocheted minion hat courtesy of the fabulous Ingrid at Loveable Stitches (full disclosure: I’m also at Loveable Stitches. Check us out!)

***Size TWO pleather pants that I found second-hand at Once Upon a Child. WHO MAKES PLEATHER PANTS FOR TWO-YEAR-OLDS?? AND WHO BUYS PLEATHER PANTS FOR THEIR TWO-YEAR-OLD???****

****Okay, fine. Yes, *I* would probably buy pleather pants for my two-year-old. Are you happy now?

No Razorblade Apples For Us, Thanks – Halloween Safety Part 1

‘Tis the season – in my opinion, the MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!! (I absolutely LOVE Halloween!!).

There are, in fact, those who believe it’s possible my family goes a little too far when it comes to getting into the spirit of the season. There was that one year when I guess the neighbourhood kids found the combination of the front lawn graveyard complete with body parts sticking out of leaf piles (perhaps occasionally replaced by my big brother who would jump out at people) PLUS the Blair Witch Project stick figures hanging from a porch roof a LEETLE intimidating, as evidenced by the distinct drop in the number of trick-or-treaters, usually around 400-500, to about…uh…3. (We heard whispers at other houses of, “Are you going to that really SCARY house? I’m staying away from there!!”) Reluctantly, we toned it down a touch after that….

Now I focus my energy on my pumpkins and their costumes…oh, and of course, carving my jack-o-lanterns too!

This year we’ve gone with a Despicable Me 2 theme for Ben and Molly:

Ben and Molly's costumes


Evil Minions apples

Are Evil Minions Putting Razors in Your Apples? Halloween Safety – Part 1

Yes, stuff happens, and there are creepy strangers in the world, but for the most part, we are coming to realize as a society that “stranger danger” has been blown way out of proportion and that the greatest dangers to children in terms of being deliberately harmed stems from those people closest to them.

As such, I have gone with a strategy with Ben and Molly of emphasizing talking openly with trusted adults and not keeping other people’s secrets. They know that they can talk to me and Ian about anything without judgement, and they can ask us any question and we will give them the best answer we can. They also know that they do not have to keep a secret that someone else, especially an adult, asks them to, and again, if in doubt, they can talk to us.

When Ben came home from school talking about these Halloween safety videos telling him not to eat any opened or homemade treats because they could be tampered with and to get his parents to check all of his candy, I had two concerns:

First, the emphasis on poisoned treats creates anxiety around a danger that is statistically insignificant while ignoring the true hazards (Hello, choking hazards? Allergies?).

Second, giving the child all of these rules to consider places the responsibility on him or her instead of on the grown-ups (“I know I’m supposed to get my parents to check it, but as long as I take out all of the broken packages and homemade treats, I can eat ALL THE THINGS!! Woo hoo!”).

I reframed the rules to fit our family’s paradigm (Oh yeah: Two 50c child studies words FTW!):

“I think what the video was trying to tell you was to make sure that you ask a grown-up before you open any of your treats.”


“Lots of reasons: You could be allergic to something; it could be a choking hazard for you or Molly; it could be dirty or have germs on it or have gone bad; like the video showed you, someone could have done something to it that could hurt you, but that doesn’t happen very often at all; and of course you could get sick if you eat too much of your candy all at once. That’s why you should always show your candy to a grown-up, like me or daddy, and ask us for permission first before you eat any of it.”

When it comes to raising “street-safe” kids, an open line of communication with a trusted adult is far more effective than unnecessary anxiety around non-existent shadowy strangers.

The most important safety rule of all, whether it involves eating Halloween candy, keeping a secret, or meeting that nice boy you’ve been chatting with on Facebook, is Always. Ask. First. 

~ karyn

*Seriously. Do they even make razorblades any more? I’m trying to picture someone concealing a Lady Bic or a Schick Intuition in a caramel apple and it’s just not working.

I’m calling it a knight!

I come from a long short well, a line, anyway, of fabulous Hallowe’en costume-makers, ie. my mom, who as well as being a fantastic doctor and a very smart lady is also an excellent seamstress. (Seriously. How can I live up to that?)

Every Hallowe’en my brothers and I would each decide what we would like to be, and mom would make it happen. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle? Sure! Here’s your giant puffy brown felt shell that fits on like a backpack! Batman and Batgirl? No problem! Have an intricately sewn bat-logo and handcrafted button-up utility belt with loops and pouches for your tools and weapons. (Worn over a leotard and tights worn over a snowsuit. I did vow that I would never make my kids wear a snowsuit under their costumes unless it was ACTUALLY SNOWING). Devil? Okay, one red pantsuit, caplet, tail, and hood with puffy horns coming up!

Hands down, her crowning achievment though was the creation of adult-sized Teletubby costumes using toddler-sized patterns for a sailing regatta costume contest (We won. And immortalized the line, “La-la wants a BEER!”).

Anyway, when it comes to Hallowe’en costumes I have big shoes to fill. This year Molly chose a princess costume at the store and Ben decided that in keeping with the theme Molly had set, he would be a brave knight. (Molly has since changed her mind and decided to be Santa, but that’s a whole other story).

Ben and I looked online for costumes but I was unhappy with the shipping charges. A trip to the dollar store looking for a sword inspired me and I decided that I could make the costume myself, so I stocked up on materials and went for it.

Brave Knight Costume

Materials needed: 1 reflective car windshield sunshade, felt (2 colours), black hockey tape, and scissors.

©PicklesINK 2012

Step 1: Fold sunshade in half width-wise and cut into approximately t-shirt shape, curving down from the shoulders and widening slightly at the bottom. NB – All of these pictures show the costume folded over – the top of the shoulders is NOT cut and it looks the same on the other side.

©PicklesINK 2012

Step 2: Cut pointed strips from waist down with small spaces between them to form “skirt” of armour. Repeat on the other side.

©PicklesINK 2012

Step 3: Edge the entire costume with black hockey tape.

©PicklesINK 2012

©PicklesINK 2012

Step 4: Make a 2-colour design out of felt to be your brave knight’s symbol. I went for simplicity and made a shield, but other options include cross, lion, dragon, or anything your brave knight can think  of of which your brave knight can think. (That’s for my brothers.) I edged and attached it with hockey tape as well but glue would also work.

Ta-da! ©PicklesINK 2012

Add a black belt and weapons and your brave knight is ready to do battle!

I know I hit it out of the park this time when Ben came to inspect my progress as I was half-way through the hockey tape border. His jaw dropped and eyes widened and he gasped and said, “I LOVE it!” Now he has another project for me – he said yesterday, “Mommy, now you have a big job to do – make a dragon costume for daddy.”


~ karyn