Well, it turns out that wildlife education really does trickle. In the months leading up to Purim, a sort of Jewish equivalent to Halloween, Omri (my four-year-old) announced to us that this year he wants to dress up as a crocodile (and an astronaut. And a cobra… but that’s a different story).
Since publishing and printing my two children’s books, I’ve never tried to force Omri to connect with them and read them. He came with me to collect the copies of the test print and was present on many occasions to deliver the books to Kickstarter supporters and buyers. We also read the books quite a few times before bedtime, and it’s fair to say he knows them by heart, but it’s not his staple. Omri likes to diversify and chooses different books almost every night.
But I think that the unconventional choice of dressing up like a crocodile might be due to a relationship he built with them through a book highlighting their inspiring traits. So when he asked, we obviously couldn’t say no.
Purim has always been stressful for me. I mean, the parties are great fun. It was thinking about a costume and then executing it with which I struggled. I had a hard time doing it for myself, so add kids to the equation, and you get where I’m going. You have to think of something in advance so your online order arrives on time, or you stand in long lines at shops for leftovers of the same props from China, only for quadruple the price.
This year I decided to take a different route. Here are a few reasons to make your own costume:
- I want my kids to see craftsmanship in action. We’re living in times of same-day delivery, so embracing the process - from collecting the different materials from different local shops, to actually making them, is something I want them to witness.
- Making your own costume requires creativity. You’re basically making something from scratch that didn’t exist before. It’s problem-solving: you want a crocodile costume, but we don’t have one? Let’s see how we can use our means to create one.
- It’s more affordable. I estimate that making the costumes ourselves cost us $20-40 less than ordering them online.
- It’s environmentally friendly. Fast fashion accounts for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions. If you plan it out thoughtfully, you can make a DIY costume from recycled materials and reduce your environmental footprint.
- It makes the kids proud. They know that you made the effort for them and delivered your promise. And then you hear them saying to others: “my parents made this for me” which means the world.
So, now that we’ve covered the background and the why, let’s get to the how.
- Empty egg tray.
- Baseball hat.
- Green felt.
- Green shirt and trousers.
- Green paint.
- Sowing kit.
- White bristol board.
- Textile glue.
- Black marker.
How to make a homemade crocodile costume:
- Separate the bottom part of the egg tray where the eggs sit, from the upper part. This will be the upper jaw, and you can make it as long as you choose.
- Paint the cut part of the egg tray completely green.
- Cut triangular shapes of teeth and glue them to the egg tray.
- If your baseball hat isn’t green, cut pieces of felt that can cover it and sow it to them.
- Cut the bristol board into shapes of eyes, draw black, round pupils in the center.
- Glue the eyes to the cap.
- Glue the egg trey above the visor of the cap, with the teeth pointing down.
- Cut pieces of felt that look like scales, and sow them to the shirt.
- You’re ready to go!