Making Crayon Costumes

I've noticed a lot of traffic to the blog with people looking for my Kristoff Costume post. I am guessing this means that folks are starting to think about halloween costumes! Who can blame them? Halloween is my FAVORITE holiday, hands down, and I've started working on the girls' costumes, too. Those aren't ready to post about yet, so in the meantime I thought I'd go back into my photo archives and find some great old projects to share!

In 2013 we planned a trip to Disney for a group of 9 (our family of four, my cousin's family of four, and my mom). The trip happened to fall over Halloween because of the older kids' school schedules. I convinced my cousin and his kids to let me pick a group-themed halloween costume for us all to wear to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. This was much harder than I realized at first, since we had a huge range of ages and sizes and I wanted to choose something that everyone would feel good about. At first I thought maybe we could do the Rockford Peaches baseball team, but the costumes available online were prohibitively expensive.

In hindsight, I probably ended up spending more on raw materials + effort and should have just bought the costumes! All my DIY projects should begin with the caveat "Buy it if you can!" But, I digress. 

Ultimately, I landed on the idea of a box of crayons with spray-painted t-shirts and fancy hats.


THE SHIRTS

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Each person was responsible for choosing their color and finding their t-shirt and sending it to me. For my family we went to our favorite clothing thriftstore (where I also got the raw material for Kristoff's Costume). They have all the clothes sorted by color and size and were able to get all our shirts for under $5. 

For the Crayola emblem, I did a reverse-knock out. To do this I bought some cheap felt alphabet sets from Micheals and cut an oval out of some spare cardboard. Even though I thought I was being very careful I ended up with lots of overspray anyway!  For the color name I used sharpie and a Papyrus stencil (also from Micheals). All told, I spraypainted 18 Crayola logos. The only one that didn't work out was Navy Blue because the shirt was too dark... but, if you look really close, it's there I promise! 


THE HATS

The raw material for the hats came from my favorite anything thrift store (not to be confused with my favorite clothing thrift store which is a bit of a hike from my house, my favorite anything thrift store is only a few blocks away and always seems to have what I need!) It just so happened that I stopped by the thrift store for something entirely different and found vintage hats in most of the colors that I needed for our costumes! Pink, Green, Brown, Hot Pink, and yellow! All in one trip! For the other colors, I did have to do some shopping at the halloween stores (the teal wig, the race car hat, and the blue top hat were all purchased new, but everything else came from the thrift store for under $2 each!) I found cardboard witches hats at Micheals for $1.99ea and cut the brim off to make the crayon tips.

Each hat was it's own creation. I have the table laid out with raw material and sewing scraps and paint and hot glue guns. A good friend came over a few nights to help with the hats and the tshirt, what a life saver! There really was no plan, it was mostly improve. A lot of "ooh, that looks cute, glue that there!" and "I wish we had some more ribbon, let me go look in the box". I was really impressed with how they all came out--- better than I expected!


THE EVENT

 Did you know that you can mail yourself a box when you are staying at a Disney resort and they'll put it up in your room for you when you arrive? That's how I got all the hats down to Disney without ruining them! My girls had had a hand in making their hats, but for my cousin's family they were a big surprise and since we arrived early to the hotel I had the opportunity to lay them out on each of their beds before they got there--- my only little bit of Mousekeeping magic, if you will. 

On the night of Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party we were unfortunately running very late to dinner and by the time we got out it was dark and everyone was in a hurry to get to the attractions they most wanted to ride. My one regret is that we didn't get a really great photo of us all together in our costumes. But we did have a fun scavenger hunt throughout the night where everyone had to find and get their picture taken with something of their crayon color! Check it out! 

TEAL: floral decorations, glittery puff paint, teal glittery duct tape and a teal bejeweled keychain belt!

TEAL: floral decorations, glittery puff paint, teal glittery duct tape and a teal bejeweled keychain belt!

I can't tell the Ugly stepsisters apart, but whichever one this is was willing to be my teal for the scavenger hunt!

I can't tell the Ugly stepsisters apart, but whichever one this is was willing to be my teal for the scavenger hunt!

The other Ugly Stepsister was happy to pose as pink for both Viola and her cousin!

The other Ugly Stepsister was happy to pose as pink for both Viola and her cousin!

HOT PINK: thrift store wig and part of a pink feather boa

HOT PINK: thrift store wig and part of a pink feather boa

PEACHY PINK: thriftstore hat, craft paper, and a peach feather boa

PEACHY PINK: thriftstore hat, craft paper, and a peach feather boa

RACE CAR RED: Lightening McQueen hat from the halloween store, red ribbon that I had leftover from another project.

RACE CAR RED: Lightening McQueen hat from the halloween store, red ribbon that I had leftover from another project.

The gun racks outside Pirates of the Caribbean are full of red things!

The gun racks outside Pirates of the Caribbean are full of red things!

Eva picked a purple balloon, but we had to wait until the morning to photograph it!

Eva picked a purple balloon, but we had to wait until the morning to photograph it!

PRETTY PURPLE: purple butterfly ribbon, lilac boa, and fairy figure found around the house

PRETTY PURPLE: purple butterfly ribbon, lilac boa, and fairy figure found around the house

DUCKLING FEATHERS YELLOW

DUCKLING FEATHERS YELLOW

We actually started off the night with two halloween duckies, but lost the one dressed up as a witch somewhere along the way!

We actually started off the night with two halloween duckies, but lost the one dressed up as a witch somewhere along the way!

The Thriftstore hat already had feathers on it, I just added the crayon and the duckies!

The Thriftstore hat already had feathers on it, I just added the crayon and the duckies!

I don't think my cousin understood the assignment... 

I don't think my cousin understood the assignment... 

GECKO GREEN: thrift store hat, green buttons I had from another project, little lizards painted to match the crayon. We started out the night with two lizards but, like the duckies, lost one along the way.

GECKO GREEN: thrift store hat, green buttons I had from another project, little lizards painted to match the crayon. We started out the night with two lizards but, like the duckies, lost one along the way.

BLUEBIRD BLUE

BLUEBIRD BLUE

Halloween shop hat, craftstore flowers and birds

Halloween shop hat, craftstore flowers and birds

I really wish I'd taken better pictures of the hats before we left with proper lighting but I forgot all about it! At least I took a minute and grabbed photos in the hotel room because the hats were all left behind. Except for my teal one, that is! 

Oh, and in case you were wondering, it's pretty much impossible to get a good group shot with nine people. Honestly. Ah well! 



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Turtle Talk with Crush (all about his kids)

Turtle Talk with Crush is one of our favorite shows at EPCOT. It's one of those experiences where even adults get the "it's magic!" goosebumps!  On our last trip (2013) an unfortunately named little girl asked Crush where his kids were at --- and his answer was both adorable and informative! Did you know that turtle clutches are either entirely male or entirely female? Here Crush explain why in the video below! 

Seriously, what kind of hippies name their kid "Cello"? :-) 

What cool conversations have you had with Crush? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below! 

1900 Park Fare: Breakfast vs. Dinner

One of our favorite Disney restaurants is 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian Resort. In the mornings they offer the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast, and in the evenings it's Cinderella's Happily Ever After Dinner.  Both are buffet meals, eligible for Table Service Dining Plan credits.

In addition to these two meals, the venue offers the Wonderland Tea Party in the afternoons. This is an opportunity for kids aged 4-12 to enjoy tea, crafts, and character interactions sans parents. To date, my kids have been too young to participate in the Tea Party, but we have enjoyed the other two Park Fare offerings and am happy to share our experience for those of you considering one or both character meals. 

When you arrive at the Grand Floridian, be sure to allow yourself extra time to enjoy the lobby and the grounds. The resort is one of the prettiest on the property, and the Alice In Wonderland themed splash area is ranked as one of the top 5 pools for little ones! (Pool hopping is allowed in certain circumstances: if you're one of the lucky ones eligible to hop to the Grand Floridian's pool, definitely make sure you set aside time into your schedule to do that before or after your meal!)

During the holidays there are photopass photographers on the Grand Floridian's main lobby... that's where we got this amazing photo of our younger daughter in the midst of her very first crawl! 

And after you check in at restaurant's front desk, there is a photopass photographer waiting to take your family's portrait in front of the mural at the entrance to the dining room for both Breakfast and Dinner. 


Supercalifragilistic Breakfast

The Grand Floridian is located on the Monorail loop, which makes 1900 Park Fare a great breakfast option on days you're planning on attending the Magic Kingdom, which is just one stop past the resort. Breakfast is from 8:00-11:50 most days. The buffet offerings are fairly standard for a Disney buffet, with the addition of the restaurant's signature 'Strawberry Soup', which is served cold and is like a cross between a smoothy and a watery pudding. (Btw, the recipe is available online here, if you're looking to recreate it at home.)

The characters you can expect to see at the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast include Mary Poppins, Alice, the Mad Hatter, Tigger and Winnie the Pooh. An odd assortment to be sure. I'd happily trade Tigger and Winnie the Pooh for alternative characters such as Bert or the White Rabbit, especially because the Hundred Acre Woods friends can be found at the Crystal Palace already. 

The girls loved meeting Alice, Mary, and the Hatter. They were fun and spent a fair amount of time at our table chatting and interacting with the girls. 

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Cinderella's Happily Ever After Dinner

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The Park Fare dinner is a reception of sorts celebrating Cinderella and her Prince Charming, to which the Tremaine Family has been invited (or possibly crashed). There's a lot of entertaining back-and-forth between the Charmings and the Tremains, as well as other delightful moments, such as when Prince Charming and Cinderella take to the floor for a waltz. Prince Charming even chooses a lucky girl from the audience to dance with as well! 

For those whose favorite princess is Cinderalla, this is definitely a must-do! I personally preferred the focus of having only Cinderella characters over the mix of princesses that you'll see at the other meals. Though the food and the decor aren't as regal as what you will experience at Cinderella's Royal Table (CRT) or Akershus, the character interactions are as just as good ---- arguably better; my girls adored the back-and-forth snarky comments between the Tremaines, and you won't see that sort of cross-character interaction at the other princess meals. 

If you are traveling to Disney while CRT is closed, or are unable to get a reservation for one of the other princess meals, or just looking for an alternative, definitely consider Cinderella's Happily Ever After Dinner. Expect to see Prince Charming, Princess Cinderella, her Evil Stepmother, and Stepsisters Anastasia and Drizella.

We did this buffet dinner in 2011, but opted to skip it in 2013 in favor of dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table. The 1900 Park Fare dinner left an impression on my eldest daughter: almost four years later she recalls it clearly and made it #1 on her wish list of things to do on our next trip. How's that for an endorsement? 

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By far, one of my favorite pictures from the trip! Notice how contagious the Evil Eye can be.... 

By far, one of my favorite pictures from the trip! Notice how contagious the Evil Eye can be.... 



#throwbackthursday: BBBoutique then and now

On our first trip to Disney in 2011 we booked the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique on a whim. It was a truly magical experience. Viola picked out a Rapunzel costume (which was a surprise because at the time her favorite princess was Cinderella) and we were able to meet Rapunzel right afterward---- she made such a fuss over Viola, it's still one of her very favorite memories and I'm sure part of what took us from Disney fans to Disney SUPER fans who couldn't wait to go back! Not to mention, it kicked off my interest in the variety of Princess costumes available.

So, I thought I'd share some of my favorite pics from our two trips to the BBBoutique! Next year I'm hoping to be able to make side-by-side reservations for Viola and Eva to go together! Eva (who hasn't gone at all) put the BBBoutique at the top of her wish list, whereas Viola is really excited on this trip to try out the Pirate League (and the BBBoutique, of course).

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The BBBoutique can seem a bit over-the-top when you're not at Disney World, but trust me: when you're in the park surrounded by gaggles of little girls in sequin dresses and up-dos, it seems downright odd NOT to get a makeover. 

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There's only a couple more years left when Viola will be into this sort of thing, so I'm embracing it while it lasts! Our next trip will probably be out last for dress up with her, and Eva isn't that far behind. Someday some lucky, lucky person will inherit our awesome collection of princess costumes.... but not quite yet!!

Pirate and/or Princess

This summer Disney is offering a Pirate & Princess Sweepstakes. I meant to enter earlier in the summer, truly I did. I even left myself sticky notes. There were four total sweepstakes period from July - August, and last one is going on now and ends August 18th so at least I didn't miss the contest altogether! Go on and check it out, you just need a pic of your kid in pirate or princess gear!

I tend to be pessimistic about entering contests---- in that I've never won anything. But, how could I resist when I have pictures like this in my arsenal? Behold, this is what happens when you leave your adorably dressed toddler princess alone with Daddy for a few hours in Magic Kingdom while her older sister visits the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique.... 

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How did I let this happen, one might ask. Well, in a nutshell, when I was planning our 2013 trip I debated making a reservation for both girls at the BBBoutique. Eva was right on the cusp of being old enough to go and at the 180 day mark when I made the reservation I decided that she probably wouldn't be ready for the boutique experience. But, I was wrong. Once the trip rolled around, I realized I'd made a terrible mistake, but it was by then too late to get a second BBBoutique reservation. 

When it was time to take Viola to her appointment, Evs was upset to be left out, to say the least. I'd read about the Pirate League, though, and was able to get her in a walk-in appointment there. They said they had an Empress package that was similar to the make-over at the BBBoutique. So we split up, each taking a girl to a makeover appointment.

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Taking the pirate oath...

Taking the pirate oath...

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At this point Evs Daddy caught up with us and Eva started stealing the spotlight... she even caught the attention of the BBBoutique photographer, which is why we don't have "all" the photos of Viola that you usually get.

At this point Evs Daddy caught up with us and Eva started stealing the spotlight... she even caught the attention of the BBBoutique photographer, which is why we don't have "all" the photos of Viola that you usually get.

Meanwhile, at the BBBoutique.... 

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The little makeup palettes are very popular at home, I wish they sold them without a BBBoutique appointment, we'd bring home a stack!

The little makeup palettes are very popular at home, I wish they sold them without a BBBoutique appointment, we'd bring home a stack!

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Seriously, what are these plastic face guards they use and where can I get one for when I'm doing the girls hair at home??

Seriously, what are these plastic face guards they use and where can I get one for when I'm doing the girls hair at home??

Needless to say, Eva came back not with the Empress makeover but with the full Pirate treatment. Which is pretty cute, except that we had dinner reservations at Cinderella's Castle directly afterwards. I was able to convince Eva to give up most of her accoutrements by telling her that pirates simply aren't allowed in the castle. (Look, I'm not proud of it, but I did what I had to do to get good dinner pictures, people!---- Which, coincidentally, ended up being all for naught as Eva refused to even look at Cinderella anyway! Karma.)

Sigh. Sometimes, you just don't get the picture you are hoping for.

Sigh. Sometimes, you just don't get the picture you are hoping for.

The Pirate League makeover includes a Photopass Photo Session in front of a big globe, which is pretty awesome. After your appointment at the BBBoutique you can your child across to the Castle Couture shop where there is also a Photo Pass station. Actually, you don't have to have gone to the BBBoutique to get your photos taken there, anyone can walk in. And, if you don't have a photo pass account I believe you have the option of purchasing prints. (Prints are included in the higher-level BBBoutque packages, but we've always gotten the lowest package as we bring our own costumes... btw, if you are on the fence about bringing your own costume or buying one in the park I recently stumbled across this great guide to princess dresses in the theme parks).

The photopass station inside Castle Couture is one of my favorite "secrets" at Magic Kingdom, we always make sure to swing by when the girls are dressed up on their way to see Rapunzel or Belle or whomever. It's so conveniently close to the new Fairytale Hall that I imagine this would be a great activity while one parent hods a spot in the standby line.

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Eva's photo from the Pirate League.

Eva's photo from the Pirate League.

Viola at the Photopass station inside Castle Couture.

Viola at the Photopass station inside Castle Couture.


At dinner we met Snow White, Ariel, Aurora, and Jasmine, but Eva never really warmed up to them, either.

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Here are some pictures we took while we killed time between the girls' makeovers and dinner. Riding Cinderella's Carousel while dressed as Cinderella should be mandatory, don't you think? (Though it's been renamed the Prince Charming's Regal Carousel it will always be Cinderella's Carousel to me!)

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Finally, just so you don't think I'm completely anti-pirate and heartless, we ended the night at the Pirate and Pals Fireworks Voyage which I've written about previously. So, immediately following dinner Evs got to put all her pirate gear back on and go around pillaging and plundering and stuff!