To be a saint... will it. {And take lots of pictures}

All Hallows' Eve. 2014.

We drove to Mass in the cold rain, costume pieces sticking up here and there and a toddler letting us know we hadn't planned nap time well. It is our family tradition to attend the vigil Mass of All Saints' Day in full costume and then go directly to our celebratory party. All the various opinions about secular Halloween vs. All Hallows' Eve aside... it's often just a crummy day for trick-or-treating in Cleveland. My heart went out to all the little Elsas... their pretty dresses covered by jackets... and their hair imperiled by raindrops. Someday, someone will get smart and move the secular holiday to July for us Northerners. It will kill two birds with one stone: 1) We won't have to decide between awesome costumes and warm/waterproof costumes and 2) We'll have the weekend free to devote to only ONE costume related party that happens to fall on one of the greatest feasts of the Church year. (Since some of you might not know where I stand on that. wink. wink.)

I dropped the kids off outside the church and kept driving in circles with the exhausted toddler. At one point, I stopped the van to climb in back and nurse her. Because there just isn't any use in bringing a hungry and tired one-year old into a quiet church until her issues are settled. A woman stopped in the rain to walk around my running van. Not able to see me behind the tinted windows, she became suspicious and wrote down my license plate number. Yes, I get it. Big white rumbling vans with tinted windows in church parking lots are creepy... especially on Halloween. I laughed and then stopped laughing... wondering if I would have to talk to a police officer while nursing a toddler dressed like St. Zita. 

Fortunately, I got our pictures taken before the downpour. With my low tech camera. My success to failure ratio in the cloudy conditions was about 1:40 since the random raindrops kept throwing my ipad out of focus. What a relief to finally get in the car and on our way after that effort! And after "someone" broke a house window with "something" (a first for us). And after Our Lady of the Snows fell out of the van and got her costume wet. And after a crying toddler increased her volume. And after... oops... I forgot to eat lunch...

HEROIC VIRTUE, DON'T FAIL ME NOW! (Open secret: The real purpose behind All Saints' Day festivities and costumes is to test out our virtue muscle. Weak and floppy? Yes. All ye holy men and women, pray for us!)

I drove the van... and it didn't stall. (Thank you, St. Christopher!) And then we attended a wonderful party at which I got a bunch of very dark and pixelated photos. Someday a DSLR. Santa?? 

I'm posting youngest to oldest here. A couple kids have noticeably more pics than the others. It's not because I love them more. It's because I made their costumes MYSELF and I'm preserving the memories I made slaving over the sewing machine. In other words, I am very proud (pray for me) and am giving in to the inclination to show off my small successes...

ST. ZITA... 

The idea for Peaches' costume came from a desire to make her a pinafore style dress that she can wear through the Winter. My fabric came from a gently used men's button down shirt and some scrap fabric and lace that have been in my stash for years. Pinterest tutorials set me in the right direction but I ended up modifying in order to make it perfectly Zita... and Peaches. Total cost: FREE (because I have no idea what I paid for the remnants and eyelet.)

We borrowed Cookie's spatula. "Give us this day our daily bread."

The kerchief was a scrap from the shirt sleeve attached to a bit of FOE (fold over elastic) because it is soft and gentle on a baby's head. Don't you just love the back of the dress? Buttons and pocket intact from the original shirt. The whole project was about 2-4 hours. It's very hard to tell total time when sewing between daily duties but that's my best guess.

ST. LOUIS...

I love adorable store bought costumes as much as I love handmade... because the former allows me more time to indulge in the latter. This king knight costume has been in our stash for a few years and I do like it, particularly because it fits multiple sizes. The sword and shield were gifts to Cub last year for Christmas.

OUR LADY OF THE SNOWS...

Another easy winner. The dress was a garage sale find with sparkle added for our Lord of the Rings party. The cape was worn by Button for her cold weather First Holy Communion. The flower was donated by a big sister.

ST. CECELIA...

Another lovely child who put together her costume mostly unassisted. The dress was a garage sale find and a Lord of the Rings party repurpose. Although she seems to have grown a bit since then and her sister had to take out the adjusted hem. My beautiful people... always growing...

ST. HUBERT...

Except for the rose brooch and arrows, this costume is entirely a repurpose from the Lord of the Rings party. Aragorn baptized into Hubert. I made the cloak way back when. The rest of the outfit was borrowed or thrifted. The bow and arrows are his. 

ST. PERPETUA...

I almost helped her with her costume. But then I didn't. Because she had already done it. I let her into my fabric stash and she designed and stitched up something rather lovely. Rather.

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS...

There are lots of pictures for this one because I spent the most time on it. This is how I did it: I spent about 8 hours buying fabric, fretting over what I should do with it, researching DIY patterns on the internet, and being generally grumpy with my kids. Then I threw my hands in the air, admitted defeat and sent Professor and Crash to the fabric store to buy a couple patterns. Great decision... 

There are 7 basic elements to this costume: 1) White Hooded alb 2) White Scapular 3) Black Cape 4) Black Hooded cowl 5) Black belt/rope 6) Tonsure 7) Rosary.

I modified a basic costume tunic pattern by adding a hood. The cloak and cowl were modified from a vampire style costume pattern. For materials, I used white cotton and a lovely black wool/poly blend that I scored for 65% off. This is not a throw-away costume. He will wear it every year of his life and provide photographic proof to me within a week of All Saints Day. Or else.

THE TEAM...

THE REST OF THE STORY...

You know they all come from a big family because no one is freaking out about a one-year old throwing herself (voluntarily) off the step in a fit of toddler rage. And they caught her before she landed. Impressive. You know I'm the mother of a large family because I just stood there and took pictures.

MY COSTUME...

A harried-hoodie-wearing-big-van-driving-homeschooling-mama-with-sleeping-baby. So... did I pull it off??

Chewing on a toy found on the van floor. Waiting for the cops to arrive. They never did. My guess is that they were preoccupied with the gaggle of preteen boys running through the parking lot wearing black hoodies and white hockey masks and wielding bloody plastic machetes.

I hope that your feast day celebrations were wonderful! Link to your costume/celebration posts if you'd like in the comments. I'd love to see them. Costumes are not necessary to enter into the richness of the liturgical year but they sure do add to the fun and make the feast days memorable for the kids! And for the big people. Sometimes it even raises the most important of life's questions. Such as... Do Dominicans really wear plaid shorts under their habits??

Posted on November 4, 2014 and filed under Liturgical Year, Family Life, All Saints' Day.