One of my favorite things about 1) having twins and 2) being a stay-at-home mom for a year was that I got to use my babies as dolls to dress up and place wherever I chose to take a good picture. The 5-10 month age range was especially great for this, as the babies sat and didn’t go anywhere, smiling on cue. Since the babies started walking and then I went back to work, my photo opportunities have dwindled dramatically.
That said, I still love a good, cheap, easy photo opportunity. The holidays provide many occasions to dress the babies up – Halloween, Thanksgiving, the Christmas Card, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. I like to spend a while dreaming up the outfits and setting I want to take the pictures in, and then make it my goal to find the clothes as cheap as possible, usually hitting up the local thrift store in order to get what I want.
The first holiday on the list this fall was Halloween, of course. My husband and I are very aware that there are only a few years in which these babies will wear whatever we put them in, without personal costume requests of their own. And because they are boy/girl twins, we have a lot of options in making them matchy-matchy. Last year, we stuffed them in monkey suits, they cried their eyes out for five minutes, we took a picture, undressed them, and called it a day.
This year, we narrowed down our options, wanting to avoid an animal outfit with a hot and sweaty headpiece. After much deliberation, we decided on making C a mad scientist and B her Frankenstein. At the time of our decision, B was still walking with his arms out, waddling like a penguin, and C wasn’t walking yet but making her requests known from afar. It seemed to fit.
To make these costumes work (and after consulting the magical Pinterest), we gathered what we could from the thrift store, the party store, and the dollar store. For C’s mad scientist costume, I dressed her in khaki pants and a plaid shirt. I borrowed a white lab coat from a friend’s toddler who used it last year (Thanks, friend 🙂 ), bought a purple bow tie at the party store, and kids’ reading glasses from the dollar store. I popped out the lenses on the glasses as well. For B’s Frankenstein outfit, I bought a black velvet pants and dress jacket set from the thrift store and a green spider shirt for under the jacket. The key for his costume was the hat. It needed to be one that stayed on his head. I took him to the party store with me and bought a $2 plastic hat. My husband cut the rim off of it, super-glued a cardboard container on top of it, and then glued felt fabric over the entire thing. It tied under B’s chin. (In the end, the fabric curled around the inside edge of the hat, making it just small enough that it wouldn’t fit on B’s head. So the hat ended up being a lot taller than originally planned!)
Now, the twins are going through the stage where any piece of clothing or accessory could be a no-go, depending on the day. Hats right now are usually out, so I just hoped B would be distracted enough on Halloween to wear it. And as for C’s glasses, I decided to introduce them to her a week early to see how she would take them – and she absolutely loved them. She wore them for as long as she could and still will if I let her. She loves the glasses.
On the afternoon of Halloween, I waited for my husband to get home from work and we slowly dressed the twins, one piece at a time. I knew there might be meltdowns and sure enough, C cried just from the shirt alone because it was too baggy and she didn’t like how it felt. But we waited 20 minutes between adding new pieces, and distracted with toys. Finally the babies were super fussy, and after trying to get C’s hair up and all crazy with her crying and screaming, I decided to forget the hair and we headed outside to play.
Going outside ended up being exactly what we needed. They were distracted by being outdoors and we were able to completely dress them up. Now granted, this was at 4:30 in the afternoon. By the time it got dark out and the trick-or-treaters were coming around, it was time for the babies to eat dinner, they were fussy, and they had since ripped each piece of clothing/accessory off one at a time, until C was literally shirtless. A 6:00 pm dress up wouldn’t have worked out in the slightest. But 4:30? The perfect time. They didn’t trick-or-treat, they didn’t even leave our yard. But they played, explored the leaves, and I got my photo shoot. Phew. A successful Halloween, I’d say. We’ll see what next year brings.