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Passing on the tradition of a DIY Halloween

Ok, I didn’t think it would come down to this, but it turns out I am that mom.
Halloween is just around the corner and I started scanning Pinterest and stalking
the Internet for costume ideas for my almost-two- year-old for well over a month
now. I can’t help it. The holiday has always been one of my favorites for many
reasons—a good excuse to be ridiculous and creative, a chance to visit neighbors, a
reason for a party…oh, and let’s not forget it gives me good cause to stock up on bags
of candy bars, Sweet Tarts and Skittles well in advance, you know, just in case some
crazy pregnant lady eats them before the one trick-or- treater shows up at our house
in the middle of nowhere.
Yeah, celebrating Halloween out here on the ranch has always been a little bit
different than celebrating along the sidewalks and streetlights in town. My
memories of trick-or- treating in homemade costumes my best friend and I had been
planning for weeks before piling into the minivan with all of our sisters so our dads
could drive us through the 10-mile loop to show off our costumes to all seven of our
neighbors is the reason I’m so nostalgic during this season.
We were (and I still am) convinced us country kids had the best Halloweens.
Because there weren’t very many of us visiting those seven or so houses we were
loaded up with handfuls of candy, treat bags complete with pencils or pinwheels,
full-sized candy bars, bags of popcorn and given a chance to take our time, perform
some tricks and model our costumes, strutting and showing off what we worked so
hard to put together.
And we saw evidence from our town friends on just how much those seven country
houses could out-shine the twenty-seven houses in the candy department.
But more than the candy, I loved inventing and making my own Halloween
costumes. It wasn’t until college, when I somehow acquired a hand-me- down
deviled egg costume, that I actually wore a costume bought at a store. There’s
something in me that screams “You’re not trying hard enough if you don’t make it
yourself!” when it comes to this holiday. Which, come to think of it, we cut down our
own Christmas tree and have been known to shoot our own Thanksgiving turkey, so
maybe we have holiday DIY issues in general…the same issues that made us think it
was a good idea to build our own house, but I digress.
So if I thought Halloween DIY costuming was fun before I became a mom and
attended a Halloween party donning a trucker’s cap with a white garbage can pulled
up around my waist (get it?) or the time I dressed up as a pig, my husband as a
chicken and my sister and her boyfriend went as bacon and eggs, a before and after

couple’s costume we threw together at the last minute, then you can about imagine
how fun it was for me to have a baby to costume last Halloween.
And you would be right if you guessed that I was the mom who stayed up late the
night before gluing tiny pom-pom balls to a baby beanie in my attempt at the
adorable gumball machine costume I saw online a few weeks before.
So yeah, this year the planning started early and I’m not ashamed to admit it. My
little sister has a baby of her own now, giving us so many more options for a group
theme! This year we’re taking on The Wizard of Oz, because I found this adorable
DIY toddler scarecrow costume idea online and my mom’s been a witch for
Halloween every year since 1983, so I have a couple hat options. Edie’s baby cousin
can go as Toto and my sister as Dorothy and if we’re lucky we might con our
husbands into morphing into low maintenance versions of Oz and the Tin Man, but I
doubt it.
But it doesn’t matter. The tulle’s been purchased, the little patched, felt scarecrow
hat is adorable and if you need me I’ll be gluing sunflowers and stringing straw
through a homemade tutu, because soon enough my daughter will be begging me to
buy her that Wonder Woman costume from Amazon instead, going against all the
instinct I was born with that brought me to this point in my life where I’ve become
that mom.
Happy Halloween readers! Enjoy this month’s issue on tradition!

Written by Jessie Veeder

Jessie Veeder

Jessie is a singer/songwriter/writer and statewide columnist living on her family’s ranch near Watford City with her husband and daughter. She blogs at . Reach her at (


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