Halloween Family Costume 2015: Pandamania

Panda and Bamboo Halloween Costume

To keep with my family tradition of a Halloween themed costume, here is a short post about this year’s theme: Pandas!  It always starts by asking my older daughter (4 years old) what she wants to be.  I was expecting “Princess” or “Anna and Elsa,” but to my surprise, she picked my favorite animal ever – a panda!  Really???  Yes!  So I searched for a cute toddler panda costume with a black tutu, and an infant fluffy panda suit and found the best price on eBay.  Normally I make the adult costume, but then I found this highly rated adult panda onesie on Amazon – 671 reviews to be exact, 4.5 stars.  I HAD to get it for myself, because I will actually wear it around the house in place of a robe… it is that SOFT and AWESOME.

OK, so for my husband, I knew he would have to carry my younger daughter (9 months old), so I thought it would be adorable for him to wear the Ergo and be bamboo!  Here is how I made his costume:

Panda and Bamboo Halloween Costume1) I bought a couple green pool noodles online.  It’s definitely more expensive than using long balloons like I did in my sea anemone costume 2 years ago, but it’s sturdy and light, and I figured I would just have a few stalks versus 20-30!

Panda and Bamboo Halloween Costume

2) At first I was going to use rubber bands and tie them around the pool noodle, but masking tape was the best solution.  It’s perfectly thick enough, and of course it sticks well onto the foam.

Panda and Bamboo Halloween Costume

3) Using my post kindergarten teacher skills, I cut out some green leaf shapes and just used clear scotch tape to secure them onto the top of the noodle.  It isn’t the most secure method, but it is fast (I always make these costumes literally the night before), and fine as long as you are not purposely tugging on the leaves.

Panda and Bamboo Halloween Costume

4) Ta-Da!  Repeat the process for as many pool noodles as you want!  I just used 3.

Panda and Bamboo Halloween Costume

5) Optional – make a leaf hat.  Haha, this isn’t really necessary to the costume, but I like to secretly bully my husband and add on these ridiculous accessories since this is the one time of the year he will actually be willing to dress up.  Haha.

Panda and Bamboo Halloween Costume

All done!  Simply tuck the bamboo stalks into the hip and shoulder straps of the Ergo!  Pandamania!!!  Hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween!

Halloween Pregnancy Costume 2014: Turtle

Halloween Front Door Decorations

Last year, we dressed up as a family around my daughter’s choice of being a “fish” for Halloween, which specifically turned into a “Finding Nemo” family costume theme.  This year, my 3-year-old daughter chose to be a “turtle,” so of course we had to find a way to create a “Turtle” family costume theme.  One factor that makes this year different than any other Halloween is that I am 7 months pregnant… so I began brainstorming how to incorporate my pregnant belly into our costume theme.  I found other pregnancy ideas where people painted their bellies, but I didn’t want to expose my belly to the cold, rainy, weather, and also I’m  not much of an artist!  Here’s what I came up with instead:

1) Find a Green Shirt and Black Outer Layer

I was lucky that I had one green t-shirt, which had now become tight-fitting around the belly.  There were logos on the front and back, but fortunately they got all covered up by my outside black jacket.  I was able to zip the jacket on the top half, and I folded the bottom edges back towards my waist to create an open space to work with.

Halloween Pregnancy Costume Making a Turtle

The first step: finding a tight fitting green shirt and a black jacket that could zip halfway open!

2) Create a Turtle Shell Pattern

The easiest thing I found were sticker felt sheets at Michael’s Arts & Crafts store.  They had many shades of green, but I liked the sparkly ones the best.

Michaels Green Sparkly Felt Sticker

8 1/2 x 11 sticker sheet of green sparkly felt paper.

I only had one 8 1/2 x 11 sheet, so I just tried to maximize the space by cutting 6 circles and 1 larger oval (cut in half for the center piece).  I arranged them as symmetrically as I could on my belly to create a turtle shell.

Halloween Pregnancy Costume Turtle Shell

Love these sticker felt sheets. Just cut and stick!

3) Create a Turtle Head, Arms, Legs, and Tail

I also bought a plain green sticker felt sheet which I used to cut out a triangle head, 2 arm flippers, 2 legs, and a small triangle tail.  Get some fun wiggly eyes too!

Green Felt Sticker Sheet Michaels

8 1/2 x 11 green felt sticker sheet from Michael’s Arts & Crafts.

I placed the head at the base of my black jacket, right above the turtle shell, and the two arm flippers on the side flaps of my black jacket.  The two leg pieces fit under my hip bones on my pants, and the tail in the center of my pants.  Again, stickers are awesome.

Halloween Pregnancy Costume Turtle Snorkler Diver

4) Snorkler Finishing Touches

I had our snorkling/diver mask set from last year’s costume, so it was perfect to reuse.

Scuba Diving Snorkel and Mask

Wear black from head to toe, put on the snorkeling set, and place your hands around the belly as if you are “holding” the turtle… and there you have it!  A Halloween pregnancy costume using the belly as a turtle!

Halloween Pregnancy Costume Snorkler and Turtle

Look what I found while snorkeling! A 7 month old (female) turtle!

See the rest of the family dressed up all as turtles here: Halloween Family Costume 2014: Turtles!

Halloween Family Costume 2014: Turtles

Kids Halloween Turtle Costume

3T kids Halloween turtle costume.

Last year was our first time dressing up as a family for Halloween around the Finding Nemo theme.  This year, my daughter wanted to be a turtle so I searched for a cute kids turtle costume.  I always purchase her costume because I have a bad habit of procrastinating until the night before Halloween to buy and make the costumes for the rest of us… and there’s always that chance that my last-minute costume ideas could turn out terribly awful.  So it’s better to be safe and make sure at least my daughter is all set =)

Here’s what I did to make a simple turtle costume for the rest of the family:

1) Find a Turtle Shell

I’m all about spending as little money as possible, so I searched through my kitchen cabinets for some old party platters.  Sure enough, we had an enormous bowl that was used for a salad once that looked like a perfect shell shape.  I’m sure this is pretty easy to find in any supermarket if you don’t have one at home!

Halloween Family Costume Making a Turtle Shell

2) Cover the Turtle Shell

I tried to look for anything in our house that had green fabric, but no luck.  I ended up at Michael’s Arts & Crafts store and they sell T-shirts for $3.99!  I bought a Large Adults shirt to make sure I had enough fabric to cover up the bowl.

Halloween Family Costume Making a Turtle Shell

Duct tape is the best.  Strong and reliable!  I wrapped the T-shirt around the bowl and used the duct tape to secure all the edges.  No one will see the ugly insides!

Halloween Family Costume Making a Turtle Shell

No duct tape on the outside!

Halloween Family Costume Making a Turtle Shell Base

3) Decorate the Turtle Shell

While at Michael’s Arts & Crafts store, I found some glitter felt sticker sheets that would be fast and easy to cut into turtle shell shapes. I bought 2 sheets.

Michaels Green Sparkly Felt Sticker

8 1/2 x 11 sticker sheet of green sparkly felt paper.

I tried to maximize the space and cut out random trapezoids for the turtle shell.  I made 8 trapezoids for the sides of the shells, and 2 trapezoids using the second sheet for the center of the shell.

Halloween Family Costume Making Turtle Shell Shapes

I love that I didn’t need a glue gun.  Just peel off the paper and stick it on!  In fact, my daughter did all the peeling and was able to help me quite a bit since this wasn’t a “messy” project at all!

Halloween Family Costume Making a Turtle Shell

4) Make Shoulder Straps

Something else I found at Michael’s Arts & Crafts store were giant chenille pipe cleaners!  One package was about 6 feet long, which was plenty of length to make 2 shoulder straps.

Halloween Family Costume Giant Pipe Cleaner Straps

I cut the pipe cleaner in half, making each about 3 feet long, and again used my favorite “glue” – duct tape!!!

Halloween Family Costume Making Turtle Shell Straps
Make sure the straps are the right width and length depending on who’s wearing it.  This turtle shell was meant for my husband, so the 3 feet straps worked for him.

Halloween Family Costume Making a Turtle Shell

5) Make a Turtle Head

Something simple and cheap to decorate are visors.

Halloween Family Costume Making a Turtle Head Visor

I bought some wiggly eyes, and cut out nostrils and a mouth using some of the leftover sticker felt scraps to make the turtle head.  Nothing spectacular, but adds a little more to the costume!

Halloween Family Costume Making a Turtle Head and Face Visor

And now the final product:

Halloween Family Costume Making a Turtle Shell and Head

Something simple for adults to wear – just add on some green clothing and you’re all set!

Now my daughter had her costume, my husband had his, and I could have made another set for myself, however, I decided to try and be a little more creative given the fact that I was 7 months pregnant!  Take a look at how I made my Halloween Pregnancy Turtle Costume using my belly as part of the costume!

Halloween Family Costume Turtles

I found a family of turtles!

Last but not least, we couldn’t leave our doggy without a costume while we went trick-or-treating!  Her costume was simple: just a youth small T-shirt and some leftover sticker felt scraps to create a “shell” pattern and some flippers:

Halloween Dog Turtle Costume

Trying to make a turtle shell pattern for our 7 pound dog to wear!

Then I cut the shirt to make it fit my dog, keeping the arm sleeves to tie around her neck, and part of the waist to tie around her belly.  Oh, and don’t forget to cut a hole for the tail!

Halloween Dog Turtle Costume

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Family Costume 2013: Finding Nemo

Petaluma Pumpkin Patch 2013

Great pumpkin patch for kids and adults, with a petting zoo, “corn” sandbox, hay pyramid, corn mazes, and of course, pumpkins!

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.

Halloween Monster Costume

Get this furry thing off of me!!!

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.

Halloween Zebra Costume Pumpkin Patch

First time at the pumpkin patch.

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…).

Halloween Pumpkin Carving Scooping Seeds

First time helping out with the pumpkin carving process: scooping out seeds!

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.

Nemo Halloween Costume

Cutest Nemo Halloween Costume made by Disney!

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:

Scuba Diving Snorkel and Mask

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.

Halloween Costume Scuba Diver Weight Belt

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.

Halloween Costume Scuba Diver Tank

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!

Halloween Costume Scuba Diver and Nemo

First time trick-or-treating in the neighborhood.

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:

Finding Nemo Great Barrier Reef

I found Nemo while diving in the Great Barrier Reef!

What takes up about half of this photo???  Sea Anemone!!!  What could simulate the sea anemone tentacles?

Halloween Costume Sea Anemone Balloons

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!

Halloween Costume Sea Anemone

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.

Halloween Costume Sea Anemone Balloons

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.

Finding Nemo Halloween Family Costume

Our first family-themed Halloween costume centered around our little Nemo!

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!!!

Halloween Family Costume Finding Nemo

Trick-or-Treat!

Happy Halloween everybody!!!  Can’t wait for next year!

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“Halloween is the one day you are allowed to try and be someone else.  The other 364 days – be proud to wear you.” – Dodinsky

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