This year was my 2-year-old daughter’s first real Halloween celebration.
On her first Halloween, she was only 7 weeks old. A friend had bought her a monster costume, so we put that on and took a few pictures, but that was it since we were barely surviving as new parents.
On her second Halloween, she was just over a year old, but didn’t start walking, or talking, yet. We brought her to a pumpkin patch and took a few pictures of her sitting next to some pumpkins, and we took her “trick-or-treating” in her stroller, but really, she just held a Dum-Dum lollipop in one hand and happily shook a box of Dots in the other.
This year, the third Halloween, we were able to take my daughter to a couple of pumpkin patches (including one that had us sweating through a 4-acre corn maze), she carved her first pumpkin (aka scooped out some seeds and watched Grandpa do the rest), she celebrated her first Halloween party and parade at her toddler preschool (and watched her first magic show), and now that she can walk and talk, she also got to experience true trick-or-treating, even if that meant only lasting for about 20 houses before begging to be carried (true, holding a pumpkin basket with 20 pieces of candy may be a bit too heavy relative to her size…).
Also memorable this year: my daughter got to pick her own Halloween costume. She wanted to be a fish.
And so the search began for a fish costume that was a size 2T. I looked everywhere, but to be honest, most Halloween costumes are so cheaply made that they don’t look very cute and aren’t worth my money. I almost resorted to making my own fish costume, but then I stumbled across an adorable, plush, authentic, must-have Finding Nemo costume made by Disney years ago. The only place I could find this specific costume was on eBay. Even though it was used and worn once before, I decided to buy it anyways, and I am so happy I did. I LOVE THIS NEMO COSTUME. LOVE IT.
I have always wanted to dress up for Halloween in a family-themed costume, but never had the reason to really do it. Well, this year we got a flyer from my daughter’s preschool inviting us to their Halloween Carnival, and it specifically said that adults should dress up too. An excuse! Motivation! Let the creative juices flow! While brainstorming with my best friend Karen about costumes that would complement a fish, she came up with the idea of a scuba diver. Here is what I pieced together:
1) Scuba Diver Snorkel and Mask
I decided to buy an authentic set so I could use it for actual future snorkeling or diving trips, but there are plenty of fake or lower end options to choose from.
2) Scuba Diver Harness and Weight Belt
A scuba diver harness and back plate basically look like a backpack. Fortunately, we had several old backpacks sitting in our closet. Ideally I was looking for a backpack with a waist strap, but instead I found this backpack that had an extra removable shoulder strap and just clipped it to the waist section. I saved a few toilet paper rolls, spray-painted them silver, and used silver duct tape to secure each toilet paper roll onto the waist strap to simulate a diver’s weight belt.
3) Scuba Diver Tank and Air Hose
I had planned on using two 2-liter soda bottles as my tanks, but since I don’t drink soda, I was happy to find two 3-liter Arrowhead water bottles instead. I spray painted them silver and used the silver duct tape to secure the bottles to the front side of the backpack. For the air hose, I just found some extra unused cable extension cords lying around our house and taped it around the water bottles. Finally, the only thing that looked slightly like a circular mouthpiece was my daughter’s Gymboree Bubble Tray, so I added that as my final touch. Nothing spectacular, but it gets the point across!
A scuba diver was a perfect “manly” costume for my husband, and Nemo was perfect for my daughter, but what could I be? Then I realized this past summer, we actually went diving in the Great Barrier Reef and literally saw Nemo in the ocean! Here was the photo that we took:
What takes up about half of this photo??? Sea Anemone!!! What could simulate the sea anemone tentacles?
1) Sea Anemone Tentacles
Long, skinny balloons were the perfect answer. I thought that sea anemone were bright and colorful, but after looking at the picture of myself scuba diving next to an actual sea anemone, I looked for the closest pale golden color balloons similar to the color in the photo. Then after trying to blow up one balloon without any success, I realized I had to run out and buy a balloon pump. Blowing up these long, skinny balloons is more tiring than you think!
2) Sea Anemone Interior
I searched for an old vest or item of clothing that I could glue balloons on, but didn’t have anything I was willing to get ruined. I thought of using another backpack or a garbage bag cut open, and then I decided to try a brown paper grocery bag. I cut open the bottom of the bag and tested if I could fit inside. It turned out to be a perfect fit, where I didn’t even need to tie string around the handles to wear as straps as I had planned. The bag happened to fit just snug enough on my hips that it didn’t fall down.
3) Sea Anemone Body
Definitely not the prettiest job, but for a last-minute, night-before-Halloween-1AM-project, I used scotch tape to quickly and easily stick 26 balloons all around the brown grocery bag. I was able to fit 8 balloons on the wider sides and 5 balloons on the thinner sides of the bag. I taped both the bottom section and top section of the balloons to the bag and then let the tops of the balloons fall out in whatever direction they wanted to.
And there you have it, a scuba diver, a Nemo, and a sea anemone.
Oh wait… we can’t leave our dog without a costume!!!
Happy Halloween everybody!!! Can’t wait for next year!
“Halloween is the one day you are allowed to try and be someone else. The other 364 days – be proud to wear you.” – Dodinsky