Return of the the Jedi Costume

A few weeks ago my friend Katherine called and confessed, “I just sold my soul to the Devil….”

“I bought my kids Halloween costumes.
We were at TJ Maxx and they had these really cool princess/renaissance/gown dresses and they were really beautiful!  For only $30!  And I caved.”

“Oh man.  I need to cave too.”

And I totally did.

This year we did a storebought (and a semi-homemade) Halloween!
And everyone seems happy.
And I’m not saying I’m swearing off homemade costumes forever.  It really is rewarding to see a unique creation come together.  And I’m so happy to have previous posts to remember the kids throughout the years:
2009: Sam I Am and Cat in the Hat
2010: Alice in Wonderland and Mad Hatter
2011: Austin Bats
2012: Indecisive Princess and Mace Windu

But you just can’t do everything.  And at the moment, the new home project, and the current home project (prepping it to sell) have taken over my life.  So I swung by TJ Maxx and came home with this pretty purple gown for Lucy.   She had mentioned at one point wanting to be Padme from Star Wars (Queen Amidala) or Rose Petal (a childhood toy I recently shared with her).  So I told her that if she really wanted me to make her a costume, I still would….but that she should just take a look at this purple dress and tell me what she thinks….
Annnnnd, yep.  She loved it!  The velvet, the fur collar, the flowy sleeves.  She thought it was the prettiest thing she’d ever seen (and she’s come into my closet every day to just gaze at the gown and touch the sleeves).

These pretty gold sandals from GAP matched perfectly.  And then Lucy exclaimed, “Mom!  This dress is exactly like Padme’s senate dress!”
(we know the various wardrobe changes for Natalie Portman?  Definitely gone to the dark side)

Wow.  Whadaya know??  Pretty close!
SO….Mom did good.  Lucy is Padme after all, just as she had planned.

With a slightly different but royal headpiece.

And for Owen?  It was even easier.
“What do you want to be this year?”

“Luke Skywalker.”

“Okay.  But which version?!  Tatooine Luke?  Or Jedi Luke?”
(Cause we know he’s got last year’s moves down pretty well)

“Luke from Return of the Jedi….from the part at the end, when he fights Darth Vader, and the Emperor does storms on him.”

(“Storms” = crazy bolts of electricity from wrinkly hands.  Makes me laugh every time)

“Okay, so what do we need to be Jedi Luke?”
“It’s easy.  We have everything!”
And here’s what he put together:

The important item being The Glove (or the animatronic droid hand).

And we did throw in a piece of homemade costumery….the capes I made for the kids two years ago! It was the perfect piece for a pensive Luke, contemplating the task before him…

“I will never turn to the Dark Side!”
And there you have it.
Honorable Luke and Happy Padme.

But….if you want to know what they REALLY look like?
I’d say they’re going as Buttercup and Wesley.  Cause it wasn’t long before this was happening….

Oh these two.
They are the best of friends.

Lost without the other one.

Happy Halloween!

(Oh and yes, I have one more child.  And I really took the easy route there….she’s dressing up as a 20 month old Toddler!  Sorry Clara.  We’ll dress you up next year)

  1. 1) Ilene

    It broke my heart a little when my 4 year old said he wanted to be an astronaut for Halloween and he wanted to wear a costume my mother in law bought for him…but, I made boot covers for his rain boots and a helmet out of paper mache, so, half-way hand made is better than totally store bought I think. My major goal for him is to be warm without having to wear a coat.

  2. 2) Laura J.

    I went store-bought for my daughter this year too. I feel kind of sad about it. But she was VERY specific in which Cinderella dress she wanted, so I took the easy way out. And I was feeling pretty good about it… until this morning when my husband called me from work to tell me the girls in his department have decided they’re going to be the minions from Despicable Me and he’s their Gru. So now I’m making a last minute Gru scarf.

  3. 3) julie h

    Love them! And love that she was able to be padme after all.
    I loved rose petal place when I was little!!! Marie Osmond was the voice of Rose Petal in the movie…if we are taking about the same rose petal that is. 😉

  4. 4) Laura Hensley

    Have no guilt. 🙂 I also bought my daughter a costume from TJ Maxx this year (fortune teller). Had to alter the skirt b/c it was too long, but otherwise…no sewing involved. Costumes can be fun to make, but it can also be so frustrating to work for hours on an item that will be enjoyed only briefly…it’s okay to say no, and direct your energies towards other projects!! Happy Halloween!

  5. 5) Amber

    The Princess Bride is so my favorite movie of all time. I have the whole thing memorized (nerd alert)!

  6. 6) Colleen

    30$ !! wow – nice costume, everybody happy. Win Win !

  7. we went store bought this year too. it is fun to do both homemade and store bought. variety is good. all three girls are super heros 🙂 so fun!

  8. way to know your limits mama! as fun as homemade costumes are, a less-stressed mother is way more fun!

  9. I went through this same thing myself a couple years ago. I think it’s just fun for them to look through the store bought stuff. And the costumes are WAY better than they were when we were little. Plastic Snoopy mask anyone? The Chasing Fireflies stuff is pretty darn impressive! It seems like 5 is the age they start to want the store bought stuff which is okay with me. That still gives me another couple years if I feel so inclined to sew one.

  10. your kids are super cute!!!! One store bought, one put together at home/handmade costume. Those are the type of halloweens I love! and that dress is impressive! Happy Halloween to all of you from Portland!

  11. Love the post. Sometimes its nice to see the human side, that I’m not the only one who can’t keep all the balls in the air. It’s a nice reminder that it’s okay to do things the easy way sometimes and that the kids aren’t worse for wear, that the world still turns and that next time, if things are more even keel, then I can be the fun creative mom that I want to be. Thanks for letting us see your human side. Your kids look great and I am sure that they will have a great time.

  12. i think i’ll buy next year. i take on too much and feel rushed when i make 4 (this year 6!) costumes.

  13. The year we were negotiating buying our house, we totally bought costumes. And babies don’t dress up until they’re old enough to ask for it (unless they are acting as accessories to my costume, that is). It’s so funny how little they mind, since every costume is real gold and pearls and magic to them, anyway! Love these two together–happy babies. 🙂

  14. I bought costumes this year too! My 5-year old was dead set on being a Barbie Mariposa butterfly fairy from the movie, and we were in the Barbie isle at Target, and BAM there was the exact Mariposa fairy costume for $20. Done and done. I did make her a handmade flower crown to go with it but that is the extent of my handmade Halloween. But honestly, the kids don’t really care if the costume is homemade, right?… As long as they’re happy with their costume, it’s all good. 🙂

  15. So smart Dana! The whole 3 weeks i was sewing my sons’ costume i kept saying “never again!” Then he put it on… I already know what im making them next year haha
    I was thinking “what about clara?!” That last note cracked me up!! I dont blame you! My daughters costume was super easy but if i had a third, #3 and clara would probably have the same costume haha

  16. 17) Lauralee

    Yep, I have totally scored those Marshall’s dresses a couple of years… once for my big girl and this year for my 5 yo. She wanted to be a blue peacock, but I can’t even begin to construct a satin peacock for $24…. and she LOVES that she is one of the 3 Musketeers from her Barbie book…. some years you just gotta slide with the homemade! 🙂

  17. Ha! I love this post! I had to keep myself from bursting out laughing at the last line. Don’t feel too bad about buying store bought, I know the feeling of not being able to do it all…it can be frustrating. If only there were a few more hours in the day, huh?!

  18. 19) Anya

    Love the noodle lightsaber. I may have to make some just for fun for my son and his friends to battle with!

  19. LOL! Sometimes convenience is best for everyone! happy halloween!

  20. 22) andrea

    Where did you get the Padme toy? My kids love Star Wars but it’s harder to find female character toys. Would love your help! Costumes look great, love your blog!

  21. 23) Nicki

    What a cool dress! We’ve done both homemade and store bought (there’s just really no good way to reproduce Buzz Lightyear to the accuracy standards of my little boy ;).

  22. Good idea. I’m putting the finishing touches on today. It feels good that they are so happy – but I wonder if they wouldn’t be happy if we bought them too!

  23. That dress is gorgeous. For $30, I probably would’ve caved, too. I usually spend more than that on a home-made costume because the store bought ones are always so cheap, thin, and awful. If I found one like that, I’d probably just buy, too!

    As for Mr. Jedi – I’d consider it home-made because it’s assembled, not just bought pre-packaged. Yeah, my requirements for home-made may be a bit loose, but still. You had to come up with it and assemble it together and that takes effort. And looks much better than a packaged costume, in my opinion.

  24. 27) Jen

    The boys are store bought (Stan is Obi Wan and Matt is Yoda, I got them last year on the clearance rack at Target)

    The girls are Handmade Batman and Robin.

    Next year Ninja Turtles! Most likely a mix of store bought and handmade.

  25. 28) susan

    I make all sorts of clothes for my children but I never make halloween costumes. I have a full time job and two kids and don’t want to spend my time making something that gets worn only once. The policy is “if I make it, you wear it once every week until it no longer fits and then your little sister wears it”. Don’t feel bad about it. Invest your time in your new home or something that they will wear more often!

  26. 29) Cornelia Cone

    My oldest daughter has that exact gown from TJMaxx. It’s so gorgeous! Part of the reason why I like making costumes instead of buying them is because the store bought costumes are usually so poorly made so if I make the costumes myself then the kids can play dress-up with them long after Halloween. This specific costume seemed a little better quality, though. I’m hoping it will hold up since my daughter is wearing it 24/7 and it’s not even officially Halloween yet.

  27. I love the detailed knowledge of Star Wars. So awesome!

  28. 31) iHeartQuilting

    Great costumes, and I love The Princess Bride!

  29. 32) Christy W

    I have been feeling so guilty about not being more on the ball for Arrow (also 20 month toddler)! With baby #2 set to arrive NLT Friday, Nov 1st, Arrow’s costume kept getting pushed to the back burner. Your post makes me feel way better! Thank you!

  30. 33) kam

    i didn’t make chloë or delilah’s this year either! it was so nice. i saw those costumes at TJ Maxx they are amazing. I did make a super simple indian costume for alice and I. happy halloween!

  31. 34) eleanor jamieson

    better than Padme’s dress….I have seen that dress in store and its lovely. spent hours and hours working through a very tricky pattern to create a red riding hood ensemble for child 2. thankfully child 1 bought a costume with her own money. your guys look fab !

  32. 35) melissa medaglia

    What about Clara?

  33. 36) Krista

    Rose Petal!?? Loved her.. Do you still have the doll and the rose she lived in? Would live to see it. I also lived the cartoon. Awesome memory, and sweet costumes!

  34. 37) Lenetta

    semi-homemade here, too. The 6yo wanted to be Princess Fiona from Shrek – when she got married. I was at the thrift store looking for the wedding dress that was there a couple of weeks ago to harvest fabric and I found a white dress, a size or two bigger than my daughter, for a quarter. I hemmed it, that’s all. I did make a red hair cover and long yarn braid plus a veil with a crown (that really does look like Fiona’s). Sparkly silver shoes from Target and I’m done! My 1yo boy is Charlie Brown thanks to a yellow shirt and some electrical tape. He doesn’t care. 🙂

  35. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Vincent is going to LOVE Owen’s costume! That purple dress is pretty fab, sometimes it’s hard to sew stuff when it is way cheaper and easier to just buy it (and believe me I know EXACTLY how unfun getting a house ready to sell is!)

    Vincent still believes force lightning comes from their mouths. Because of the way Darth Vader breathes…

  36. I love the noodle light sabre. When we were trying to sell our house once, my five year old daughter had just learned to make paper snowflakes, she made about 30 a day and we were permanently knee deep in confetti. I had to hide every pair of scissors in the house until it was sold. It was tought to stifle her art but cleaning up after her was a full time job.

  37. I think this was a success all around, and no one will fault you for leaving the Halloween costumes this time since so many of the other kid’s things are. It’s a pick and choose game!

    Also, no stop sign and stop light? I just saw those on Pinterest yesterday and thought, “those look like Dana’s kids…” and linked through. Still adorable, even with tiny pictures. 🙂

  38. Hahaha this post is so hilarious. LOVE IT!! And yes, give yourself a break and buy costumes for a year…the thing is, they’ll love it no matter what!!


  39. 42) Abigail Wiest

    Way to go Kath! She is my inspiration for most things mom and so if she caved, I can. Just glad to know I made one out of three this year. I took advantage of your tutorials and made a Cat in the Hat suit, but then designed my own hat. It worked out well! Thanks for the help!

  40. 43) Julie

    Good for you for buying the costumes this year! By golly – everyone deserves a break once in awhile, even tho you love sewing homemade. They look great! And…Owen has grown tall! Almost as tall as Lucy?

  41. Sometimes I see all of these elaborate homemade costumes and I feel bad that I don’t always do that. It’s nice to see that even people like you, who do this all the time, don’t have time for it sometimes and it’s ok! Thanks for being real. And, for the record, my daughter was excited about the Ariel costume I scored for $8 and my son gets to use a hand-me-down that my mother-in-law made for my husband as a kid. He’s Superman and I love it!

  42. Sometimes a mom needs to do what a mom needs to do! These look really great, and they do pass for the characters they wanted to be, which makes them even more awesome!

  43. 46) Anne

    Ha! I started bribing my kids $10 each to either use a costume they already have or make one out of stuff from around the house. It’s the third year and I had 3 takers this year for $30 spent.

  44. yes! i mean, those costumes look super nice and they weren’t expensive either! you’ve got a lot going on, man. i say good work.

    also, the princess bride references? perfect. i like you.

  45. Love them.. and WOW! How tall has Owen got!

  46. bwhahahahaha! Love that movie. Well done on the costumes! I think it’s good to take a break from year to year.

  47. Dana, this post is awesome in so many ways – besides showing your adorable kids. When a popular and famous blogger like you leans to the practical and goes “store bought”, it shows those of us with perfection tendencies that it’s OK to give yourself a break once in awhile. Sure we may have had grand designs all year to make the perfect costume, but sometimes life just gets in the way. It’s the great mom that takes life in stride and doesn’t stress out by adding on one more project on top of everything else because then the event becomes about her instead of about the kids. I instead she does what it takes to make the kids perfectly happy…even if it means a trip to TJMaxx. You’re a great example of how to take life in stride. Nicely done!

  48. 51) Christen

    I love that you still have a Rose Petal toy… and better yet, I LOVE that someone else remembers Rose Petal. My first cat was named PitterPat. Awww, the memories! Thanks!!!

  49. Ha! I did the same thing this year! Your littles look absolutely thrilled and that’s what counts!

  50. Ahahaha!
    I love that movie!! Your children are so funny!

  51. 54) Teressa

    Love, love, love this post! So fun and your kids are ADORABLE!!

  52. 55) Jen W.

    I love that you guys love Star Wars and the Princess Bride too. Thanks for making me smile today, and many other days too!

  53. They are wonderful all the same! Hey, we all need to cave in sometimes, right? Good luck with the continuation of your home projects! 🙂 Lisa

  54. My brother recommended I might like this website.
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  55. 59) Zoé

    Hi: I just read this and had to smile. I’ve done simple costumes for my children and bought some others. This year I made my 8 years old daughter a princess dress. It took me 4 days that I sewed, and I sewed and I sewed until it was finally finished at 3:00 pm before the trunk or treat at school that was at 4:30pm. Then I thought, I don’t remember when was the last time I spent this much time sewing anything for me-not even halloween related. I filled my quota this year, next Halloween I’ll head to TJMAX. The children look adorable:)

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