Let Your Creativity Shine on Halloween -- Make Your Own Costume - By ARA Content

(ARA) – Whether you’re planning to go trick-or-treating, heading out to a party, or just answering the door to neighborhood kids, Halloween is a time to have fun. You get to pretend you’re someone or something else for the night, and escape from reality.

Most people don’t put a lot of thought into the holiday; simply going out to buy a costume a few days before the 31st. And then there are people like Beth Baumgartel of Bridgeport, Connecticut. She is among the growing number of do-it-yourselfers who make their own costumes from scratch each year instead of buying them in the store.

“I have been making costumes for my four kids since they were born,” says Baumgartel, whose oldest child is now 13. “I do it because I enjoy sewing and it’s something we can do together. The kids love thumbing through the pattern books at the fabric store, picking out a costume, then finding the fabric and trim and watching me put it all together.”

Over the years, Katie Baumgartel, 13, has been everything from a princess to Mrs. Claus. Her 12-year-old sister, Erin, has been Sleeping Beauty, a witch, and a hippie. Brooke, 9, has been a pink princess with purple trim, Esmeralda and Cleopatra. Last year, three-year-old Jack’s dream came true when he got to be a white dragon. Baumgartel says some of the costumes were easier to make than others, “but I always had a pattern to follow so none of them were too hard.”

Costume patterns are big business these days, and not just in the fall around Halloween. Civil war and Renaissance costumes are big sellers throughout the year; but around Halloween time, costumes that allow you to transform yourself and your kids into wizards, witches, cowboys, Indians, monsters or superheroes are extremely popular.

“Movies have a lot of influence on costume choices – whatever is on the big screen is how people want to dress. This year, we’ve seen a jump in our pirate costume sales, which is probably due to the recent release of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean,” says Kathy Marrone, promotion manager at The McCall Pattern Company. “Dressing up for Halloween isn’t just for children. Our adult costumes are just as popular, and our new matching mother and daughter glamorous vampire costumes are at the top of the best seller list.”

You don’t have to be an expert seamstress to create a memorable costume. If you don’t have a lot of experience with a sewing machine, the experts recommend that you start simple. Just about anyone can sew a cape. Once you have one of those, you or your child can quickly transform into a favorite character with the aid of some makeup.

Here are some other suggestions for people who decide to sew their own costumes:

* Look on the pattern envelope for suggested fabrics and follow the designer’s advice. One of the biggest mistakes people make is picking the wrong kind of fabric.

* Even if you think you know what size your child -- or you for that matter -- wears, take measurements before you start sewing. A size 10 in clothing you buy at the store will not have the same measurements as a pattern.

* Sew reflective materials right into the costume so your kids will be visible to oncoming traffic.

“Halloween offers parents and kids a chance to bond, and the best thing for me is it’s very forgiving,” says Baumgartel. “You don’t have to be an expert seamstress to sew a great costume. It doesn’t have to fit perfectly, and if you make a mistake, you can cover it up with trim.”

You can find McCall’s and Butterick Halloween patterns at fabric stores, craft stores and discount retailers across the country. To preview available patterns, log onto www.mccallpatterns.com.

-Courtesy of ARA Content



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