Cute Boyfriend was Darth Vader this year for Trick or Treat. Last, he was Spiderman. Both of those were fully formed, bought costumes - he wanted to be his favourite hero/villain, and time- and effort-wise, it was easier to hand over a few dollars to Walmart. My kids have been baby bears, cats, clowns, lions, bats, vampires.. all made-by-mom costumes that don't appear to have caused any permanent damage. I even made the dog (Cooper, Bassett Hound) a very appropo devil's costume. But with this last kid, my will is gone. Maybe next year I can entice him into the bat costume at least - it's fleece and very cozy. Darth Vader's skimpy nylon didn't do much to keep the chill off.
As a kid I never had a bought costume, nothing beyond the plastic mask with the tiny mouth breather hole and the skinny elastic band that tangled in my hair. The rest was compiled out of the cast-offs box in the barn. There were cocktail dresses and work shirts and even a "fur" stole. When I was 12 my friend Glynnis and I decided well before Labour Day that this year, being our Last Official Year of Childhood, our costumes would be spectacular. Somewhere there must exist a snapshot, but I know I don't have it. I don't remember where Glynnis' father worked, but he managed to bring home the parts we needed - 2 empty plastic barrels (they were blue), two small plastic buckets, and two small pylons. We secured red and yellow spray paint and got to work. It was A LOT of work, but we finished and went out as ketchup and mustard. I believe I was the French's. She was Heinz. I also recall we only went to about 4 houses before giving up the ungainly suits and transforming into hobos. It didn't seem to affect the haul at all, and the seriously chafed armpits (too small armholes in those heavy plastic barrels) got an extra hour of head-start healing.