Kara told me in no uncertain terms that this year, costuming the boys was my job. Mike would be a pumpkin (again). The other two were in my hands.
Spence wanted to be "an Army Guy." Okay, I can do that. J wanted to be a chicken. "A chicken?" I asked. "Yes," he said. "Definitely a chicken." Great.
So I took Spence out shopping and found camo pants, a camo jacket and an olive drab t-shirt. I found some insignia at an Army surplus store and tacked it onto the jacket. One of my buddies from work loaned me his Army cap and duffel--the duffel made a great goody bag for Spence to put his stuff in at the Trunk or Treat!
J's costume was a bit tougher. Last year, he was a crow. (I readily acknowledge that there are things I do to mess up my kids--just because I'm their parent. I want to make it clear that this bird fetish is not my fault, nor is it from my side of the family.) I made black construction paper "feathers" and stitched them onto a black sweatshirt. Sounds like a neat idea, but they tore off at the lightest touch, so I knew that I'd need to use real feathers if I was going to use feathers at all; however, I couldn't find a bag of plain white feathers! I found a couple of long, white, quill-type feathers for $1.99 each...and that wasn't happening for this costume. No Halloween store in the Greater Metropolitan Lexington area sells a child-sized chicken costume--plenty of Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Power Ranger costumes. Not so much with the livestock. So it was DIY or not at all.
I knew we could reuse the orange tights from last year's crow costume...but I needed a white ensemble for him to wear. I found a long-sleeved white shirt at Wal-Mart, but no white short-type things for the lower body. Then it hit me: whitey tighties! Yes, I had him wear clean white underwear on the outside of his costume. I cut then spray adhesed several layers of thin felt together to make the tail, then stitched it to the underwear to attach it.
Lower Legs: Check.
Upper Legs: Check.
Then I remembered that we had some white flannel sheets that came in a drawstring bag. Perfect! I put the bag on his head with the opening facing forward and the drawstrings at his chin. I pinned the back to roughly fit his head, stitched it on the sewing machine, then trimmed and fine tuned it until it fit him well. While we were at Wal-Mart getting the shirt, I eyed a pair of little stretchy red gloves that I knew would be a fantastic comb for the top of his head. (I initially planned on using red felt, but I couldn't pass the gloves up when I saw them.) I cut up a soft plastic folder to fit inside the glove (for stiffness) and sewed the glove to the hood.
For the beak, I cut an orange plastic folder into triangles, spray adhesed them together (same adhesive I used to make the tail), punched a few holes for elastic, and trimmed them to fit his face. He complained a bit that the lower part of the beak was uncomfortable since it was digging into his lip, so I attached a small piece of leftover felt to help cushion the beak where it touched his face. Since he really wanted to have a two-part beak that moved when he opened his mouth, I made a smaller beak to go on his chin.