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more about the king costumes

At the beginning of October I asked my kids a question that used to be a favorite from my own childhood: "What do you want to be for Halloween?"

Harvey said, "A king!"

Zion said, "A pirate!"

"No, you were a pirate last year," I said. "What NEW costume do you want me to make you for Halloween?"

"A pirate."

"Nevermind," I said, "I'll make you a king costume and you can wear it if you want to. Or you can wear last year's pirate costume if you'd rather do that."

We looked at portraits of English kings online to see what they looked like. We decided to make capes, crowns, pantaloons and vests. Harvey's would be red of course, and Zion's would be blue because those are their favorite colors. Which you know, obviously, if you've been around my kids for longer than five seconds. Favorite colors are a BIG DEAL in our house.

While I was planning our trip to the fabric store Dan took me aside. "Does Zion's pirate costume still fit him? Can he wear Harvey's old one? Should you make a new pair of pants?"

"Oh he'll want to wear the king costume," I said. "He just doesn't know it yet."

a kingly bow

The costumes are all fleece (cheap!) except for the trim which is some polyester fur thing I bought very little of because it cost over $10 a yard — thank God I don't make fuzzy stuffed animals for my hobby! The vests and pants are as simply constructed as possible, both from patters that I'd cut before so I didn't need to trace anything new. I embroidered the edges of the vests by hand, and I had wanted to do more hand embroidery as embellishment but Harvey put a stop to that. He wanted the vest to be soft to touch, he said. Mostly he likes to wear things as soon as possible, and as soon as I fitted the vest on him he refused to take it off. "It's done" he told me.

Dan masterminded the design of the capes and of the hat, telling me how much the underside of the cape should curve and where the darts should be. The crowns were a similar collaboration, with Dan dictating the shape of the pieces and handing them off to me to sew. The gold cross pieces are from thick stabilizer that Dan spray-painted gold. I sewed them late on Monday night and I think I'm just now recovering from the fumes.

follow the leader

This is Harvey at 10am on Halloween day, which is the lastest I could hold him off from putting on his costume. I even used the costume as an incentive to get him to submit to a haircut and a bath. Then we put on the whole ensemble, with me saying some things I never thought I'd say to my son like, "Let me cut your toenails before you put on your tights - I wouldn't want them to run."

Zion, for his part, barely submitted to a very quick (moving target) haircut. And though he likes taking a bath, he did not want to put on his costume following it. He wanted "regular clothes" he said, which you can see from the photo above include his green cape. This should not be confused with a costume. His green cape is his normal street attire that he wears each time he leaves the house.

At 4pm Zion still didn't want to put on his costume, but Grandma showed up with candy that proved to be an incentive. There was some negotiation over the cape. He wanted to wear his regular cape and I wanted him to wear his king cape and in the end he wore both, one over the other. As we stepped outside after a 15 minute dressing session, Dan said to me, "You know, this is the last year you make them dress the same. Next year they can wear whatever they want."

Fine, I thought. As long as I get to force them into matching Christmas sweaters one more time.

Zion was initially unhappy but still photo obedient

Then Grandma gave each of them a full-size bag of M&Ms and Zion started warming up to this Halloween thing.

are you serious?

Though he really enjoyed the M&Ms, Zion was fading through dinner and by the time we got out trick-or-treating we said we'd only hit three houses and then go to bed. Dan decided to take the kids out while I stayed home wrap up and hand out homemade Halloween cookies. Well, I quickly wrapped the cookies and sat down to wait for my family's return, but three houses turned into an hour-long excursion. When they got back Zion was bubbling! He showed me a lolly pop which was BLUE! HIS FAVORITE COLOR! Could I open it for him please?

Dan said, "We tried to be quick but one of them kept wanting to go to more houses."

"Harvey?" I asked.

"No, Zion! He kept saying, 'One more house? Two more houses? All-the-all-the houses have candy?"

It was nice to see him finally enjoying himself, even if the stimulus was a poisonous looking amount of sugar. But the first thing he did after showing me his blue lolly was hand me a big peanut butter cup and say, "This one for Mama."

I looked up at Dan. "Did Dada tell you to give that to me?"

No, both of them shook their heads. He thought of it on his own.

One of my kids can't wait to jump into his handmade costume, the other one picks out the best candy for me. Honestly, I don't know how I lucked out with these boys.

So that was Halloween here. Meanwhile I ate way too many cookies while waiting for my family to get back, and then following that a peanut butter cup. Now I'm wondering whether I can plan three meals tomorrow made up entirely of carrots.

Until next year!

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