Why I refuse to sew Halloween costumes…and a fall recipe favorite!

When I first started sewing (which was around my 32nd birthday, about a month before Halloween), one of the first things on my mind was making a Halloween Costume for my twins. I was unemployed, at the time, and deep in the throes of “mommy-boredom”. I assumed that making my kids an adorable halloween costume would not only give me something productive to do during nap time besides digging goldfish crumbs out of the high pile carpet, but would also give me a little external validation for the endless merry-go-round of work that characterizes young twins.

You can see where this is going right? I went out, spent way too much on supplies to make a big bird costume, and nearly made myself blind stitching a bizillion little multicolored chiffon feathers onto a repurposed old hoodie. And then, despite having professed their undying love for Sesame Street only the day before, my twins flatly refused to wear the costumes. Of course, since I’d spent so much time on them, I forced them to put them on anyway, convinced that once they saw how amazing they looked, and understood that this was for CANDY, I’d earn my grateful smiles.

Here’s a photo that shows how that worked out:

We paraded around the neighborhood for about 10 minutes anyway. In the rain. With intermittent crying.

Fortunately, like so many other mistakes I’ve made in my parenting journey, they have completely forgiven me, and don’t seem to harbor any negative feelings toward Halloween.

I don’t like letting things go to waste, though, so here’s a rather embarrassing photo of me, wearing the costume, for one of those races where they throw colored chalk at you (which was also my last attempt at doing THAT kind of run- I hate it when people throw things at me)

In fact, my ban on making costumes has turned out to be a really good way to encourage their creativity, as they spend time on creating the costume of their dreams out of whatever supplies they can find laying around the house, while I work on my fall sewing list, and take the time I’ve saved on costumes to stitch up impromptu projects of the non-costumed variety, like the Manhattan Dress for Sophia.

In fact, I was in the process of reorganizing my stash, when her eagle eyes landed on this rose gold and crushed velvet from the JoAnns spring collection. I had intended a fancy pair of leggings for myself, but she begged for a dress from it, and I knew that the Manhattan pattern, which I’d been eyeing anyway for her holiday dress (I DO sew those), would be perfect for the elegant fabric.

Sometimes the most eye catching designs are the simplest (unlike that darn big bird costume), and this dress came together really quickly- in about an hour and a half, from print to hem. I initially wanted to make the sleeveless V back view, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to do that mashup from the instructions, so I went with the front and back boat neck instead.

I followed the instructions for adding clear elastic to the neckline, but left off the interfacing at the shoulders- it wasn’t needed with this stable knit, and I didn’t want it to get too bulky.

I did add some clear elastic into the waist seam, since the half circle skirt was so heavy, and I’m glad I did- it will increase the longevity of the dress, which I hope will continue to fit her through her birthday, in January, barring an unforeseen growth spurt (which now that I’ve said it, is sure to happen).

I only had a yard to work with, so my hi/low hem isn’t as dramatic as the pattern features, but it still give it a bit of visual oopmh, and will help us tell the front from the back (note to self, order more labels!)

Her eyes lit up with joy when she saw the finished project, and I’ve never had to do less convincing to get her to pose and twirl for photos. We accessorized it with a little hair clip, and my great grandmothers pearls, to make the outfit extra special.

Of course, she had to test out how it felt to run like the wind in all that elegance:

Yup, works perfectly. Further proof that you can dress like a princess and run like a champion.

On a completely unrelated note (I’m allowed to go off on tangents in my own blog posts, right?!), I was gifted an Instant Pot by my very sneaky husband for my birthday (surefire way to get your wife to cook more? Give her a really cool cooking appliance), and have been enjoying trying out some new recipes.

Since we need to be 100% gluten free (celiac kids), and try to be as low dairy as possible, I adapted and mashed together some recipes I found online, to come up with a perfect substitute for our old favorite Panera broccoli cheese soup, and a great way to use the broccoli that’s starting to come into season with our CSA (the recipe works with both frozen and fresh broccoli).

In the process of tweaking the recipe to fit our dietary needs, I also tried to make it a bit healthier, by using nonfat or cashew milk instead of heavy cream, and substituting reduced fat cheddar for the regular variety. Yes, it still has some fat, and no, its not keto. We don’t strive for either, but I’m sure you could make some adjustments to it if needed.

I’m not sure if recipe sharing is going to become a regular thing around here, but since this blog is a reflection of my creative endeavors, I didn’t feel like sharing it was entirely out of place.

If you decide to make it, I’d love to know what you think! In full disclosure, Hubby and I gave it a 10, Noah gave it a 9, Oliver gave it a 7, and Sophia spit it out. At least I scored with her on the dress (#youwinsomeyoulosesome). She ended up eating avocado, bread and Caesar salad for dinner. Go easy on me though- it’s my first shared recipe!

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Any money I make will go back into sewing, cooking, or supplies for those kid created DIY costumes (check out what Noah did last year!).

I always love it if you have a minute to subscribe to the blog, or follow this crazy sewing life on Instagram here.

Thanks for reading, and Happy Halloween!







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  1. Tracie on October 28, 2019 at 3:43 am

    Oh my gosh, what a wonderful dress, the big bird costume is awesome. I once made a flapper dress, rows and rows of pink fringe on pink taffeta, completely understand! We are also celiac, dairy, and a few others free. Pressure cookers are awesome, try dried beans, start to finish 20 min. NOT overnight, transforming, I can make hummus in a few hours it is great! We use almond milk (milk) and canned coconut milk (heavy cream).

  2. MaryLou Mattioli on October 28, 2019 at 6:46 am

    Your blogs are great! I look forward to them every week. And that dress is just beautiful!!

  3. Karen on October 28, 2019 at 8:43 am

    I always make my kids Halloween costumes, but they are of the variety that I can repurpose into something that can be work every day. This year my DD is zombie elf. I made up an extra long green sweat top that I will cut jagged strips at the bottom. Later I will level it off so that it becomes a regular length sweat top. Her collar is attached separately. The knife in her chest is sewn on and can be easily unpicked later. Fake blood glued on with water based glue.

    I love her dress and new haircut. A very cute pixie.

    I love my instant pot and have been on a soup roll with it. I’ll definitely have to try that because I’ve been looking for a good broccoli soup.

  4. Judi on October 28, 2019 at 8:59 am

    Love it all – the story, the costume, the crying child, the dress. The fact that you hate when people throw things at you is, imho, a sign of good mental health.

    • Sarah on November 6, 2019 at 9:46 pm

      This comment totally cracked me up!

  5. Candice on October 28, 2019 at 10:39 am

    Sharing recipes is appreciated, always! We now have a need for GF recipes, so thanks!
    My daughter’s first halloween costume – same thing. Though she did come around to the concept of wearing the costume = candy.

  6. Tracie Schroeder on October 28, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    One more thing for the GF ladies, Nicole Hunn books, they are awesome GF goodness, best thing I have found anyway for GF things, enjoy!

    • Sarah on November 6, 2019 at 9:46 pm

      Thank you Tracie!

  7. Amie on October 28, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    I have made several halloween costumes that can be repurposed. I refuse to spend tons of time and money doing a one and done costume!
    Hot glue has also surprised me with its longevity.
    But I can totally understand your view! Maybe when my kids are older they’ll be able to do it themselves.
    This year I’m making 4 black hoodies and altering them in various ways to make a Toothless dragon, two vampire bats, and black cow with white spots. Or a seal, somehow, since she changed her mind yesterday.
    Also, already subscribed and followed!

    • Sarah on November 6, 2019 at 9:45 pm

      Thank you Amie! That sounds like it was a fantastic halloween!

  8. Emilie on October 28, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    I love your blog! I bought my husband an instant pot but he didn’t get the hint! Happy fall Sarah! I always read your posts before I go to bed, if my cut off of the day, and puts me in a happy place before bedtime!

    • Sarah on November 6, 2019 at 9:43 pm

      This makes me so happy- I’m so glad you enjoy the posts!

  9. anne b. on October 29, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Loved your post! Over the years, we had a mix of sewn, store bought and child made costumes. My boys would take their old costumes and put them together to make something new. Those were the best! That dress is just so pretty and Sophia wears it well! What a cutie.
    I appreciate your recipe sharing. I shall definitely give this soup recipe it a try!

    • Sarah on November 6, 2019 at 9:43 pm

      Thank you Anne! I think the important thing is just to encourage creativity- sounds like you totally did that!

  10. SARAH ZIMMERMAN on October 30, 2019 at 3:53 am

    Sarah! I love following your blog. You sent me to some great colorado fabric stores this summer….which I’m still creating treasures from my fabric haul. But I have another question for you. My 7 year old son wants athletic leggings and I didnt know if you have any pattern recommendations. I have the Mandex for men and inspire for girls…but what about him??? Thanks!!

    • Sarah on November 6, 2019 at 9:44 pm

      Gosh, that’s a hard one. I can’t think of anything- but Jalie might be a good place to look, as they have mens/boys athletic patterns as well as girls. I hope that helps!

  11. D. Strout on November 7, 2019 at 7:24 am

    I can so relate! I made a Spiderman costume out of swim material. Yikes! Hours of work. It was cool and my second son would not leave the house unless dressed in it for months. When my daughter was born he is in the costume in every photo. Now my grandsons have used it, sooooo…. My attic is full of costumes, yet my son and his wife keep buying the kids costumes. I laugh, “you know that’s in my attic!”

    I ran a race, at night, and got wet cold paint shot at me. It hurt!!! Also when one landed between my legs, I had to run most of the race with horrible, wet sticky stuff smearing everywhere! Yuck!

    Now I can’t run because basically I have no cartilage in my knees, thus severe arthritis. But I walk alot and teach
    classes. I too tweak my diet, no carbs, or only healthy ones keeps pain at bay.

    • Sarah on November 20, 2019 at 9:37 pm

      It sounds like you’re doing a great job keeping active and staying healthy! I’m glad I’m not the only one with costume woes too!

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