Halloween countdown

Every October 1st I have the same conversation….

Me: Ah man.
It’s almost Halloween.
I sooooo don’t want to make the kids costumes this year.

Casey: (silence)
(rolling eyes?)

Me: Should I just buy their costumes?
Something cheap, and easy?

Casey: (silence)
(Continues watching Monday night football…or was it Thursday?  or Sunday?  How many blasted nights is that thing on?)

Me: I should probably just make them.
Yea, I guess I should.
I really don’t want to.
But I’ll be glad that I did.
Okay, yea. I’ll make them.
I don’t know what they’re going to be though…..something.

Casey:  What?
Costumes?  Yea, sure sounds great.

Annnnnd, scene.
Then just replay this same dialogue next year.

WHEN, will I stop complaining about making Halloween costumes?!
It’s like exercising.  No motivation to start.  But once I’m 1/2 way through I’m pumped and excited to keep going.  I guess the problem is that I never know what they’re going to be until the very last minute, since I want the costumes to be something they’re currently really into.

3 years ago was Dr. Seuss.  Sam I Am and The Cat in the Hat:

2 years ago, Alice in Wonderland:

Last year, the Austin Bats:

This year?  No clue.
The kids have said things like….I want to be a watermelon, Darth Vader, Mace Windu (anyone who knows that character deserves cookies)…..Brave?  A cherry?

I may have one idea brewing but I gotta see if they’re into it.
And this may be the last year for ensemble costumes since they’re old enough to have opinions on the matter.
In other Halloweeny matters.  I went crazy last year with the decor (5 tutorials on it HERE).

Two of those projects are part of the HGTV Halloween countdown!  So if you want a daily project to pop-in your inbox, sign-up HERE.

Need a 10 minute spider web for your door?

 Or reversible stick puzzles for the kiddos?

How about dinner?
If you’ve already bought Halloween candy and are trying to resist that urge to chomp…just do it.
Here’s the perfect side dish:

Okay, back to those Halloween costumes.
I’m open to any ideas….

  1. 1) Mary

    Wow! Reading through today’s post I remember seeing last year’s Halloween decor pictures – I can’t believe I have been following your blog for a year! Thank you for all of you creative posts and tutorials you share…sending you lots of motivation dust for this year’s costumes. Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  2. 2) Karin

    Your costumes are so cute! I’m not making costumes this year and I’m really sad about it. Bought a Buzz Lightyear costume off of Amazon for my oldest and my youngest is wearing the costume I made two years ago, Sir Topham Hatt. Our poor newborn will be in a 6-9 month costume because I don’t want to make/buy anything for just one picture!

  3. I know who Mace Windu is, but I so don’t deserve cookies for it. 🙂 I was obsessed with Star Wars there for a while. Now my obsession has shifted to Jane Austen. 🙂

  4. A Mace Windu costume would probably be one of the few Star Wars costumes I haven’t made for the boys yet. Did you know the stormtroopers/clone troopers have different names and can’t all wear the same costume because they are slightly different in their markings! I’m still trying to talk mine into being Harry Potter and Ron again this year since we’ve moved and no one here has seen those costumes!! 🙂

  5. This is probably the last year I get to pick what my youngest will be…next year she’ll be 3 and likely have an opinion! My 4 year old wants to be Hello Kitty this year (heavy sigh.) I think for my little one I’m going to make her either a garden gnome or a unicorn. We shall see. Last year we cobbled together a homemade Mickey Mouse for my oldest and she looked rad. Here in Canada we have to be conscious of the cold when planning a costume. No just wearing a princess dress….it’s gotta fit over a snowsuit! Usually snowing on Halloween…eep!

    • 6) Ali

      For years my brother’s kids went trick-or-treating as “kids playing in the snow”. They didn’t always have snow, but it’s cold where they are in Idaho. Here in California we have to allow for the heat. No big furry costumes here.

      • 7) Jen

        Here in Michigan almost every kid is dressed as kids playing in snow, snow or no snow. We are lucky if we can run up and down the street with our coats un-zipped. LOL, thank goodness for school Halloween parties to help us show off out cute costumes ;).

  6. 8) Lenetta

    I found a lion for baby and suggested my daughter be Dorothy from wizard of oz. i did a circle skirt, added a bib, straps, and lace. Done. (thank you target.com for having ruby red slippers on the daily deal before they were in stores!) I also made a super simple “toto” costume for her favorite stuffed cat out of black fleece. If we end up going to a party, i will pull together a scarecrow for my soon-to-be postpartum self to hide in, and if papa is done harvesting (not likely) we’ll probably use grey sweats & duct tape to make him a tin man. Dorothy keeps wanting to add some princessy stuff, so there may be a crown added and some hearts sewn on the dress. I’m not sweating the details, i’d rather she be thrilled with the costume than look exactly like the movie. I’m just hoping she doesn’t want to change her mind, ’cause we’re committed. 🙂

  7. 9) Heather D

    Love all the kid’s costumes and that sounds like the exact same conversation I had with my husband about anything that has to do with sewing! My kids costumes are already done (started really early on them). My son is a firefighter and my daughter is a dalmation. Super cute!! Can’t wait to see what you make this year.

  8. mine wants to be…wait for it…a pink elephant. she’s drawn me a picture and everything. no idea how i’ll pull it off, but wish me luck! think the little guy will just be fantastic mr. fox. DONE. 😉

    good luck! maybe lucy should be an olympic gymnast?? sparkles!

  9. 11) Heather

    My 4 year old son wants to be Animal, the muppet. We wanted a theme for the kids but the girl muppets (who were on the Muppet Show) are pretty limited for my 5 month old. We might have to go broad with ‘all muppets’ and do Animal and Abby Cadabby.

  10. Football is on waaaay too much. It used to be just sunday’s and the occasional monday. Now it’s *everyday*! I’m feeling the same way about Halloween this year too.

  11. My kids started having opinions about their costumes at like age 3! The hard part in our house is committing. My son changes his mind on a daily basis. Oh well, as everyone keeps reminding me, in a few years, we’ll miss this stuff. Can’t wait to see what you come up with! Mine are going to be a butterfly and a builder.

  12. 14) Ginger

    I love ensemble costumes! I tried to get my family to be scooby doo characters last year but no one bought it (I would have been Velma). Instead I went as Wenda. (anyone know that??). I’d love to be characters from a fairy tale but my husband thinks Halloween is about being scary.

  13. 15) Jackie

    I love what you have made for the kids for Halloween. I haven’t made my kids’ costumes ever, but I am trying something interesting this year, stay tuned. It’s not going to be their costume or anything but will be a fun photo shoot nonetheless. I bought their costumes last year on clearance.
    I love the mad hatter coat you made for Owen. I want to make one for my son.

  14. 16) Bernadette

    I’ve been commissioned to make 5 costumes this year – one for each member of the family (I have my own made already from a few years back). I’ve been working on the first one for two months now. So, now I get to do one a week! At least I know what they’re going to be lol

  15. All I see in this post is how amazing you are. The only costume I’ve ever made was a cardboard air freshener when I was 12. :0/ but I can’t wait to see what you make!! I know it will be amazing. And p.s. I get a cookie!

  16. 18) Joy

    Your costumes are soooo cute, much more elaborate than I ever created for my kids. I was a stubborn one tho and absolutely refused to ever buy a ready made costume. I recently just went through what remained of the costumes here and handed them down to the nieces and nephews in the family. I had to chuckle at a few of them. We were on a tight budget so I had to be creative….made a “Dorothy” dress out of a checkered shower curtain, Indian dress out of a burlap sack along with a seagull feather headdress! I remember one costume that didn’t survive time, it was a ghostbuster outfit for our son made of cheerio boxes (spray painted silver) and plastic pipe (yes regular plumbing pipe). He was a proud little ghostbuster! I never did this but once saw this on a little girl at a halloween party here…..she was the cutest birthday present! A wrapped box covered her body and she was carrying baloons. It was cute and simple really. Have fun…..I love fall but not much for halloween. By the way…our color show with the fall leaves right now in upper Michigan is absolutely spectacular! God and jack frost are putting on quite a show!

  17. Yes please to the Snicker Salad! Good luck on this year’s costumes (I’m going to put my costume sewing off and go make the salad instead)!

  18. 20) Emily

    Astronauts. I really like Animal costumes… even though my sons have both wanted to be the cheap-o Thomas the Train costume I got at a garage sale for $2!

  19. I love that my daughter doesn’t yet have an opinion for her costume, so I took it upon myself to get started back in August on a costume for her and her baby sister who is due any day now! I just finished them this weekend and I’m so excited to see them in their coordinating costumes! I often think how it would just be easier (and probably a lot cheaper) to buy them, but I grew up with homemade costumes and I’ve made one for the dog for the last 7 years, so I suppose I should keep up the tradition with my girls! Good luck deciding!

  20. 22) Miyo

    I have that same “conversation” with my husband every year! In the past I’ve made Little Bo Peep and Little Sheep, and Snow White and Prince Charming, and Mary Poppins and Penguin. This year I’m producing Lilo and Stitch – and I must say, the costumes are turning out pretty great!

  21. Last year my son (4) was desperate to be the Green Lantern so we bought him a costume at Target. He’s quite tall for his age and so the costume he ended up with was HUGE. We told him at the end of last year that he should be the Green Lantern again since his costume was so big. Fortunately for us he’s stuck with that idea and is pumped to be the Green Lantern. YAY!

    My daughter (3.75) is a different story. She’s decided she would like to be, in this order: potato bug, flower, Batman, Superman, or a butterfly. It will be interesting to see what the final choice is come Halloween.

  22. I love Halloween, will be doing the quick spiderweb for sure, thanks for the link to the past tutorials.

  23. 26) Heather

    I have a medival princess (scored a costume at goodwill for cheaper than I could make), a lego brick (thank you pinterest) and a turtle (out of a thrifted fleece blanket).

  24. 27) Katie C

    After 7 years I stopped even attempting to talk to my husband about the kids costumes. Well except to tell him what I’m making. Last year we had Snow White, Prince Charming and Dopey. This year Leia, Luke and Yoda. I think the ensemble will probably be banned next year by my older son who will then be 4. I’m also making Milli and Bot from Team Umizoomi for my niece and nephew. I’m sure you’ll come up with something great.

  25. I love your pictures of the alice in wonderland halloween year. I love alice in wonderland. And the bats are precious! Im still not sure about what were going to do about costumes though

  26. I do unfortunately know who Mace Windu is & would love a cookie to get me through yet another story my son wants to tell me about him…. I, sadly, mostly buy my kiddos’ costumes anymore. My 8-year-old decided she needed to go and get all opinionated 2 yrs ago &we had a few disagreements about her rock-star costume. Last year I gave in & bought her’s, and so bought my son’s as well. This year I’ve already forked over the money for an ugly Brave costume for Emma (I did not see me dealing with blue satin for days so she could wear it for an hour) and Oren says he wants to be a ghost! Yay–one bought, one homemade…I’ll take that. Although one year I made Oren a Wall-E costume and I’ve always wished I’d made Emma be Eve that year. There’s an idea for you…I’ve got pics of Wall-E on my blog if you feel like searching for it…

  27. You’re so creative, I’m sure whatever you do will be awesome! As for me, I spend so much on my daughters’ dance recital costumes every year, I tell them they HAVE TO re-use them. I’m such a meanie.

  28. For some reason I’m dreading Halloween costumes this year. Most likely because my 9 year old daughter wants to be a dragon.

  29. My son has requested Kermit. I found the perfect green fleece that matches the kermit hat i already knit for him last year. i have had the fabric for a week and haven’t made a cut yet. usually i have the costume almost done by now. but i do only have to make one 🙂 next year i will get to experience making 2 🙂

  30. 33) iHeartQuilting

    We are doing the Wizard of Oz this year. I am making Dorothy’s costume from scratch, and mine (Glinda the good witch) from old prom dresses my older girls had. Hubby will be the tin man, which I think I can throw together using silver paint and some poster boards. Other family members are going to be the rest of the main characters, and we just need some flying monkeys. No takers there yet, haha.

    Whatever you decide will end up being perfect !

  31. 34) iHeartQuilting

    I should have mentioned that we did a combo last year of Harry Potter and Star Wars. I was Princess Leia and hubby was Han Solo, but my youngest was Hermoine Granger. My daughter’s family was also Star Wars characters, none of which I had ever heard of. I am old school Star Wars.

  32. 35) Kim

    My son asked for a Mace Windu costume too! We did lego skeleton last year, and are now making Luke Skywalker this year. Somehow my son convinced my disney princess loving daughter to be Princess Leia. I think she agreed just because her name begins with ‘princess’.

  33. 36) Angela

    I loved the football comment, if it is not football it is baseball playoffs this time of year, I hate it. I am having the same dilemna, make or buy the costume. My 4 year old has changed his mind 3 times already.

  34. yeah…Avery really wants to be a samurai this year. So we might have officially reached the age where she has a super strong opinion about it and where I go ahead and order it from Amazon.

  35. 38) Hennahands

    How do you NOT know Mace Windo! He is so cool! And the robe is all sorts of awesome. I wish I could make the kids’ costumes. They have definite opinions and their tastes run very commercial. I am making a light up wig to go with Rapunzel costume though.

  36. 39) Jen

    I usually listen to all of the costume ideas my kids throw out in early October, and enthusiastically jump on the first one that seems easy to make! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!!!

  37. Well, this year my daughter is going for Rainbow Brite (she’s 6). My son (10) is going for a Minecraft creeper……. sigh. basically a pixelated camo box head and camo clothes.
    fun stuff.

  38. wow, those costumes are awesome. down here in oz, halloween isnt celebrated (although it’s starting to sneak in) cant wait to see wat gets made this year!

  39. 42) Robyn

    Mace Windu? We’re all over that action in my household. Amazingly, I briefly told the story of Star Wars (just the original! A New Hope!) to my 3-yr old and he has since devoured everything we tell him about all 6 movies. He hasn’t seen a thing, but asks for more stories every day. These days, he wants to know what Darth Vader eats and how Yoda built his house.

    As for Halloween costumes, thankfully my 3-yr old decided he wanted to wear his clown costume from last year, so I’m off the hook for that one!

  40. 43) Allison

    I get a cookie! Mace Windu is one of the Jedi in the Star Wars prequel. Nerd, yes, I know. Right now, our Halloween costume wishes are Super Mario, Princess Peach, and Bowser. Lord, help me!

  41. 44) Leti

    I’ve been following you’re blog for over a year. Recently started following you on Instagram. You’re incredibly talented and have a beautiful family. I love the Halloween costumes you have done for you’re kids my daughters always have outrages Halloween costumes ideas things i cant just buy in a store. I’m currently working on their costumes but I actully love working on Halloween costumes since they love how unique and different they look then anyone else in class. My girls choose anime characters this year.

  42. My older daughter wants to be Rapunzel (bought her costume) and my cranky youngest (will be 9 months old at Halloween) will be wearing some jammies with a pumpkin on the shirt. She is too crabby to put a costume on and have any hope of enjoying our days. She *hates* getting dressed or undressed.

  43. 46) Amber

    My kids are going to Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy (from the Ladybug Girl series of books).

  44. 47) Trish

    My 4 year old girl has been debating between Batgirl and Supergirl – She choose Supergirl. I was disappointed to see that Simiplicity and McCalls did not have any girl superhero costume patterns. I usually buy a pattern and alter. So we are winging it this year! Cape, skirt, tank top…can’t be that bad. (In red and blue, not pink). But seriously 0 girls can be superheros too!

  45. 48) Summer

    Well…thanks to your bat tutorial, I will be able to complete the wings for our pteradadon costumes :-). My nearly four year old was set to be Buddy from dinosaur train and the rest of us are his fellow dinosaurs. Thanks for helping make this idea work for us!

  46. 49) Susie

    My oldest (6) has the theme ‘animals’ for their class parade this year. So she chose bumblebee and I *strongly encouraged* the 2nd (3) to wear the same. Baby and I will be something…. Something with a pink Moby. An elephant?

  47. 50) Jan Richards

    I am making 4 costumes for the grandkids this year. We have Yoda, Princess Leia,
    Rapunzel and Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie. Wish me luck…I am just
    starting the sewing….gathering the fabrics and supplies took a while…now on to the sewing part. I make at least 2 or 3 costumes each year…I whine and then I get sewing. Your costumes are darling. Good luck.

  48. Bahaha that conversation is hilarious! Idk why football’s on so much. ha. Can’t wait to see what you come up with. 🙂

  49. 52) Ali

    My 4 year old daughter wants to be a mermaid or a dolphin so I made a reversible mermaid/dolphin tail last week. She can wear it with different shirts depending on the costume, grey for the dolphin and sparklly pink for the mermaid. If I get crazy I might make dolphin flippers. I’m not sure how to do that yet. I’ll keep thinking. In the mean time I need to make an Indiana Jones jacket.

  50. 53) Ali

    P.S. Last year I lucked out when my 6 year old son wanted to be an undercover detective. He just wore his regular clothes with his badge in the pocket.

  51. 54) Karen

    Dana ~ You’ll be sad one day when there are no more little ones to make costumes for. Enjoy these days.

  52. I have the exact same attitude about Halloween costumes! But once the idea is conceived and I am half way through completion, I get very excited and revved up about it, and actually enjoy the process.

    My husband and son went on a “boys road trip” a couple of weekends ago, and came back with a store-bought Mario costume *sigh* I must admit I was disappointed, until they revealed that there were no gloves for the costume. My costume making will be short and sweet this year!

  53. 56) Jennifer

    My little girl is going to be Cookie Monster…am currently making the suit from an Ottobre pattern in a slightly wrong color of Winterfleece. I plan on pinning the foam ball eyes on the hood so that it can not be a costume come November 1. Also made her trick or treat bag from felt and canvas (for strength) in a choc chip cookie shape(gotta love hubs for that idea!). My 4 month old is going to be a mummy. I have a quickly getting too small sleep and play and hat that I am going to stitch (or maybe just glue) gauze onto. It’s in my head…hopefully it comes out cute!

  54. 57) Stacey

    My almost three year old will be a Lalaloopsy doll to match the doll that she has. I made a jumper dress and am trying to figure out some yarn hair wig with that fat yarn you can buy that will actually look decent and stay on her head! My son will be Luigi from Super Mario.

  55. 58) Angela

    I saw this website the other day that was doing a series on handmade costumes. You might want to check it out for ideas if you haven’t heard about it already.
    Good Luck, I’m sure you will make something fabulously cute.


  56. Yay! I am so excited for Halloween! I love your halloween posts 🙂

  57. Oh man. I know who Mace Windu is! But only because sometimes my hubby and I play Lego Star Wars after the baby goes to sleep. We’re that cool.

    Love all your costumes, though! I made my baby’s first costume EVER this year (bought the one for her first Halloween) and I am so excited about it. I’m thinking each year will get a little harder, though…

  58. Your one sided conversation with your husband is pretty funny. When football is on, no one else is in the room. LOL!

    I want some cookies, I know who Mace Windu is. I am a huge Star Wars fan and I think a Mace costume would be cool. And actually probably kind of easy since he wears Jedi robes. 🙂 Although if I were to dress up as a Star Wars character it would be Darth Maul. I know he is evil looking, but he is just so cool.

    Anyway, that snickers salad sounds yummo! I may have to try that.

    Can’t wait to see the final costumes.

  59. 63) Cari

    I go to pinterest and hunt around to get ideas for what I could make (see, most people are not endlessly creative like yourself) then I print up different pictures on a piece of paper and let the kids pick. Like for my toddler son, his paper had r2d2 *his fave character in Star Wars*, batman, Thomas the train, and Peter Pan. He pointed to one and I pulled it off. Same for my girls. Give kids choices, but don’t just open the heavens. In my house if they have too many choices, they change their minds or say to the finished project, “That’s not what I meant!”

  60. 64) MARA

    Before you ask me about milanesas recipes, and other food from Argentina, I KNOW, I FEEL GUILTY, BUT I HAVE A BABY BOY AND A LITTLE GIRL AND THEY ARE DRIVING ME MAD!!! 😉
    But just wanted to asked you to include Clara because we are big fans!!!
    Love the 3 kids, but Clara is a marshmallow!!!
    Love YOU!

    • 65) MARA

      Maybe, try a Marshmallow costume for Clara, and something matching for the olders!

  61. So funny. I feel the same way about costumes. I pride myself in making them but every year I have the hardest time making myself do it. I have 3 girls and I finally talked them into being pirates. Should be fun to come up with something for their outfits. Why don’t you beat me to it and make a tutorial so I don’t have to think about it 🙂

  62. 68) Lauren

    Glow in the dark skeletons. It would be so easy to stencil the bones on pajamas. totally spruce them up though! Add glow in the dark accessories, a tutu (like that one ‘Bones’ episode) a tie, candy corn in the tummy? broken bones, visible “organs” bones tied in knots, you could really go crazy and it wouldn’t be that hard.

  63. 69) Jill M

    This year, we are going as “kings and queens”. But the little girls are going to be fairy queens, they want wings. Queue the tule and sparkles!

  64. A few years back my sons were all Jedis and one of the Littles wanted to be Mace Windu. I made epic costumes – right down to the exact replica of the boot covers. And of course, he had a purple light saber. I did refuse to shave his head and paint his face black and so he had to tell people, “I’m Macthe Windthu” (he had a little lisp) and he was totally offended that people couldn’t tell by his (obvious) bootcovers, Jedi robes, and of course, the purple light saber. It was a sad lesson – not everyone is so well versed in Star Wars.
    I totally recommend the Jedi stuff. It was a blast to sew and recreate.

  65. 71) Elise

    I think the first thing I ever made from your blog was the Halloween bats. They are still my favorite decoration. Hands down. 🙂 Love your blog. Always have. Always will. Everything is classy, quality, and soooo worth the time. Annnnnd, it’s because of you that I have started to develop a love for sewing. My first project was a pillow case. You are so inspiring! Thanks for everything.

  66. 72) Julie B.

    My oldest is 8 and he STILL expects me to handcraft his Halloween costumes every year, I don’t see that changing any time soon! LOL He wants to be a zebra, so I’m going to sew felt stripes onto a hoodie and a pair of sweatpants and then I’m thinking that a yarn hook and loop mane will work. My baby loves The Very Hungry Caterpillar so that’s what I’m making him and I already had all the fabrics on hand for that one 🙂

  67. 73) RebeccaMac

    We purchased costumes at Target last year and I almost immediately regretted it. So you’re making the right decision. I’m insisting on creativity this year.

  68. We are a family of 7 (10,8,6,4,1) and the kids still LOVE the idea of themes. We’ve done Peter Pan, The Incredibles, Harry Potter….this year…..SUPER HEROS:) We ALL dress up and it is so much fun….they may stick with it longer than you think. You would make a really cute Incredible family too.

  69. 75) Kelly Clarke

    Yep, I know who Mace Windu is!!!

  70. 76) Bdaiss

    I was so excited I had my kids convinced to be a pirate and a parrot. Good thing I held off on buying fabric. Because now the 5 year old is insisting on Darth Vader and the 3 year old is insisting on Little Red Riding Hood. (offers of a princess (Leia) were an absolute no go.) *le sigh* no more ensembles already? Boo.

    All that to say…I’m no help. and if you go with Vader I need ideas on how to make that one. Oy vey!

  71. Ha! I’m so bummed this year becuase my son wants to be a pirate and wear a store bought costume that he got for Christmas last year…. everyone I’ve told that that’s what he wants to wear is like, ‘Well, that lets you off the hook.’ Or something like that. But I LOVE making his costume. Maybe I’ll make myself a coordinating one! 🙂

  72. 79) leslie

    That is HILARIOUS! I’d love to see one of your kids pull off Mace Windu!! Then maybe you could do Yoda and Leia too!

  73. 80) Ellen

    Who DOESN’T know who Mace Windu is?
    (And if anyone thinks “huh?” – watch Star Wars. Everyone should see the Star Wars movies at least once!)

    And I adore the bat costumes and the Alice dress. Have you thought about cat costumes? Cats can be made both in a cute way and a dramatic cool way.

  74. We have somehow ended up with the nicknames Monkey and Monster for our 16 mo old twin boys, so a friend suggested we have fun and do King Kong and Godzilla costumes for them this year. Only problem? I don’t know how to sew, haven’t found any great tutorials or ideas for these particular ideas AND haven’t found any cute ones to buy!

    So now I think I’m back to square one… Trying to find ideas…

    Maybe you could create these two giants for your littles this year and I’ll see how it should be done 🙂

  75. 82) Teresa

    I have been following your blog for a while but never commented anything. However, when I saw your Halloween post I just had to say something, because I had started a few days earlier to make a bat costume for my son (four) inspired in yours from last year. Great ideas and great blog. Thank you Dana and all the best for you and your family.
    Greetings from half way across the world (Portugal).

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