Trick-or-Treat

Posted by on Nov 1, 2005 in Chicago | 16 Comments

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love costumes and take every chance I get to dress in one. Last year I was in Jinghong, China on Halloween and didn’t have a chance to properly celebrate. I tried to find chocolate (take my advice–avoid Chinese chocolate at all costs) but ended up with a small piece of “milk candy.” Apparently, sometime during my quest for chocolate candy I became so desperate that I began to hallucinate. I saw the words “milk candy” and thought “milk chocolate!” Boy, was I disappointed.

My costume last year–a Canadian tourist–didn’t go over very well. This year I decided to be Trillian from the recent film version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. (Photos of the original costume) Although I have been planning this costume since I was on my trip and actively looking for fabric for the past three months I only finished sewing on Saturday. Because the costume is rather unique I was forced to draft the patterns completely from scratch. The lines on Trillian’s suit are made with piping which must be sewn between two pieces of fabric. This meant that each section of the suit needed to be a separate pattern piece.


Testing the pattern for fit: too small! // Lots of pattern pieces

In total I drafted 24 distinctly shaped pattern pieces–most of which were repeated on the opposite side. Drafting the pattern was a lot of work, and covering 20 yards of cord in fleece to create all of the piping was a bit tedious.


My Trillian costume // Details of the piping

Every year I start planning my costume in the Spring. Because my costumes often times take a lot of work I try to start early. Sometimes I help out other people as well. This year I made two other costumes for friends–Han Solo from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Lando Calrissian from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. I finished those two costumes late last week and managed to get my costume ready for a friend’s pre-Halloween party Saturday night. On the way to the party I stopped by a bar to see my friends in their Star Wars costumes. Everyone was impressed, store bought costumes just aren’t the same.


Han Solo // Lando Calrissian

Very few people knew what my costume was, mostly because hardly anyone saw the movie. Other people were dressed up as a Hufflepuff, boxer, sorceress, Alice Cooper, Trixie, Willy Wonka and Violet, vampire, and Run DMC. The party went on quite late and I left around 3am.


Partaay // My trick-or-treat booty

On Sunday I relaxed, cleaned up the three rooms I had used to make costumes and waited for Halloween to come.

Monday was Halloween and, as usual, it was overcast and windy. When I was young Halloween was a free for all. Kids would start trick-or-treating as soon as they got home from school. If Halloween happened to land on a weekend you could expect kids all day long. The first village ordinances were put into place to stop kids from trick-or-treating all day on weekends. I believe trick-or-treating officially started around 3 or 4pm when I was a teenager. The rules have gotten progressively restrictive and now trick-or-treating was supposed to end at 7pm. Although it gets dark at 6pm in late October the real fun of trick-or-treating is after dark–especially for teenagers looking to get away from their parents and 10 year old boys looking to cause trouble.

Our first trick-or-treater was around 3:30–a neighbor girl dressed as a princess. Sadly, we only had three trick-or-treaters in total not including when my mom locked me out of the house and I had to ring the doorbell. I had even bought metal jack-o-lantern hanging lights for the walkway to encourage kids to walk up the long driveway. It didn’t work.


Waiting for trick-or-treaters

After our first trick-or-treater I rain upstairs and put my Trillian costume on. I was sure we’d get a lot of people this year, it wasn’t even raining (yet)! I’m not sure how many of you have never gone trick-or-treating, but most kids stop going out when they are about 13 years old. There are always a few high school age kids who go out, usually late and often after drinking. I never stopped trick-or-treating. For a few years around 19 years old I got nasty comments and disapproving looks when I rang a doorbell, along with the accusatory “how old are you!” comments. However, I truly believe that you are never too old for free candy. So I enlisted my 19-year old neighbor and headed out around 6:30pm. We walked around the two streets in my neighborhood, me dressed as Trillian and her in a gorilla mask. I was a bit disappointed that she was wearing a mask because I was counting on her young looks to lend a little legitimacy to me. As long as I didn’t smile (and show off the smile lines around my eyes) I figures I could pass for a lot younger than 28. She suggested that people might think I was her daughter and I refrained from slapping her. I did used to baby sit her but she’s only 9 years younger than me!

Trick-or-treating really comes down to strategy. You have to decide what you want–a lot of candy or a smaller amount of good candy. I live in a village with no sidewalks, no street lamps and long driveways. It’s hard to get a lot of candy when walking between two houses can take a few minutes. When I was younger walking around the dark, deserted streets was lots of fun. Every 30 minutes or so you would run into another group of kids and hope they didn’t throw eggs at you. A few years ago I went into town where there are sidewalks and houses close together. There it’s possible to hit four times the number of houses. But there are so many kids in the area that these houses routinely run out of candy and more often than not give out little pieces of bad candy. I’d rather not even take a tootsie roll! But it is fun to see all of the little kids walking around and it’s definitely more safe for kids–more than one dog around my neighborhood has been eaten by wild coyotes. I planned to go into town to get better pictures of the wee trick-or-treaters for you all to see but I figured the corresponding questions from parents wouldn’t be worth it (when did everyone become so paranoid of photography?).

We avoided the houses of neighbors my friend knew and was too embarrassed to be seen by and ran into a witch and her brother, Billie Joe. This kid was 9 years old and dressed as the lead singer of Green Day. I started listening to Green Day before he was born! Green Day, I’m sorry, but when nine-year olds start dressing up as you any possibility of maintaining your punk rock cred is gone. He did look pretty cute and was insulted when I told him he didn’t have enough eyeliner on. He held his red tie out and yelled back at me “I do have eyeliner on!” Then it started raining.

We got back to my house and decided to drive over to my mom’s friend’s house since she never gets trick-or-treaters and I heard she was giving out full sized Mr. Goodbars. She only lives about half a mile away, but it was raining and the main road we would have had to walk down would have not been candy-friendly. Usually, after hitting your own neighborhood you get into a car to hit other neighborhoods, especially the ones with full size candy bars. Kids remember which houses have good candy and it’s not who you’d think. My small village has been very resistant to development. When we moved here in the 70’s the houses were all bigger than average but fit nicely into their lots. Recently a lot of McMansions have gone up and the people who live in those homes are often at odds with those of us who have lived here for over 20 years. They like to show off their money with big houses but they’re much cheaper than the older residents. When it comes to Halloween candy you’re much better off going to a small house who doesn’t get many trick-or-treaters. They will usually have full size candy bars or be so desperate to get rid of their candy you get two handful of “fun size” candy.

Against our better judgment we decided to drive over to some of the biggest houses in our village for fun. By this time it was already 7:30–after curfew but still early enough to push our luck. Some houses we actually drove up the driveway and parked right in front of the front door which felt a bit like cheating. It was raining steadily by the time we parked outside the gate of the biggest house in town. A group of 3 teenagers walked up at the same time and introduced themselves, promptly asking “how old are you guys?” Surprisingly, this was the first time I had been asked and my neighbor answered 19 and I laughed as she said “me too!” I let her assume I was 19 as well and we found the doorbell. The two boys we really excited, literally hopping up and down, because they thought it was Scottie Pippin’s house. As much as we tried to correct them, I’m certain they will be bragging about getting candy from Scottie Pippin’s wife to everyone they see this week. We got our candy and walked away while the kids gushed to the woman about how beautiful her house is–it was really embarrassing. I mean, we wanted to see the big houses too, but we were cool about it. I just thought about how high their heating bills will be this winter and laughed at how unfurnished most of the houses were. These kids had driven here from Palatine, a few towns over. Interestingly, the woman in the biggest house gave us full size candy bars.

At the next house we went to a pickup truck with three high school boys pulled up behind us. They were hooting and hollering (literally), yelling things like “let’s just go get drunk!” and ringing the doorbell incessantly even when it was obvious no one was going to answer. They followed us for a few houses, acting like idiots and telling us how small their houses in Schaumburg (another town nearby) were like shacks compared to these. We were finally able to ditch them and headed back home, stopping at houses still lit up.

In the end, the smaller houses did have the best candy although I was pleasantly surprised by some of the larger houses. One woman gave me a little bag with a witch head printed on it including 1 spider ring, 1 skull ring, 1 purple clacker, 1 gummy body part eye, 1 gummy spider, 1 Kit Kat, 1 Crunch, 1 carmel apple pop, 1 strawberry Laffy Taffy, 1 package of Grunts and 2 Sweet Tarts.

My bag was pretty full after only 1.5 hours of trick-or-treating. It weighed in at 4 pounds! Because I actually enjoy counting and organizing things I give you a list of my booty:

  • (10) Unfrozen ice pops
  • (2) Mini bags of microwave popcorn
  • (1) Strawberry Sour Patch straws
  • (1) 1.75 oz Mr. Goodbars
  • (1) .60 oz Mr. Goodbars
  • (2) “Fun size” Mr. Goodbars
  • (1) 2.1 oz Butterfinger
  • (1) “Fun size” Butterfinger
  • (2) 1.55 oz Hershey’s milk chocolate bars
  • (2) 1.45 oz Hershey’s milk chocolate with almonds bars
  • (1) .60 oz Hershey’s milk chocolate bar
  • (8) “Fun size” Hershey’s milk chocolate bars
  • (2) “Fun size” Hershey’s milk chocolate bars
  • (2) “Fun size” Hershey’s special dark chocolate with almonds
  • (1) 1.69 oz M&Ms
  • (1) “Fun size” M&Ms
  • (1) “Fun size” peanut M&Ms
  • (1) 1.65 oz strawberry/grape Nerds
  • (1) 1 oz Cheese Nips
  • (4) .67 oz Kit Kats
  • (9) “Fun size” Starburst fruit chews
  • (1) .75 oz Take 5
  • (2) .60 oz Almond Joys
  • (2) Smarties
  • (2) “Fun size” Twix
  • (1) Hershey kiss
  • (2) “Fun size” Snickers
  • (1) Snicker Mini
  • (1) Wonka Candy Donutz
  • (5) “Fun size” Krackle
  • (1) Tootsie Roll pop
  • (1) Cherry Starburst chew pop
  • (2) Strawberry Starburst chew pop
  • (2) Strawberry Blop pops
  • (1) Green apple Halloween pop
  • (1) Carmel apple pop
  • (1) Chocolate Dum Dum
  • (1) Milky Way mini
  • (2) “Fun size” Crunch
  • (1) “Fun size” Milk Duds
  • (1) “Fun size” Three Musketeers
  • (1) “Fun size” Sour Skittles
  • (1) Red & white peppermint
  • (1) Jaw breaker
  • (1) Gummy body part eye
  • (1) Gummy spider
  • (1) Strawberry Laffy Taffy
  • (1) Wonka Bottle caps
  • (1) Bag of Grunts
  • (2) Sweet Tarts
  • (1) Roll of 8 bubblegum balls
  • (1) Skull ring
  • (1) Spider ring
  • (1) Purple clacker

16 Comments

  1. Lisa
    November 1, 2005

    Of course you went trick or treating, and everyone knows the big houses do not give out good candy. I gave out candy this year. I had a 13 year old boy dressed as a prostitute, a little boy who said “Why do you have that dog” (I guess he didn’t like my dog) and a group of older kids that smelled like alcohol. And a lot of others. I would have given you and Ashley good candy. And I had Mr. Goodbars. Not full size, but not mini ones either.

  2. Han Solo
    November 1, 2005

    Thanks for the amazing costume!!

  3. vlad
    November 3, 2005

    wow, that’s awesome that you went trick-or-treating. i’ve given up on it years ago since so many parents would give me weird looks. luckily, there is usually lots of other fun things to do in SF for halloween.

    i cant belive your town actually has a rule where kids cant trick-or-treat past 7pm. thats SO early. ridiculous.

  4. me
    February 17, 2006

    nice costume, turned out well.

  5. laura
    December 9, 2006

    recently i had decided that me and my b/f should have matching costumes as trillian and arthur dent, thought his cosume is extremly easy as all he needs is a towel pajamas and a bath robe i havent been able to find any patterns for a trillian costume and i was wondering if u could give me any tips im making a pattern on my own

  6. Megan
    December 10, 2006

    Wow, Laura… you’re planning ahead. A girl after my own heart.

    Okay, do you have patternmaking experience? Because I’ve taken about 5 classes on that and have a background in it. If so and you have specific questions ask them but I’m going to assume you don’t.

    So, I would find a pair of pants that fit you. Maybe some sweats or something. I actually rain out of time drafting the costume and used my pajama pants as an outline. So I laid the pants over paper and traced them. Make sure the seams are flat etc. Alternately, if you’re a sewer, I would just buy a bell bottom pant and alter it, adding the huge cuffs. I had to guess on all of the big cuffs so I just traced the bottom edge of the pants so the lines/size would match for sewing and then freehand drew the shape.

    After that I would make a test cuff out of muslin or some cheap fabric to make sure it’s right. Obviusly, the cuff needs to be a lot bigger to fit over the bottom of the pants. Mine were too heay and I had to tack them in plce so they’d stay up. You can always use saftey pins.

    For the top I found a zip up fleece jacket of mine to copy. I had to draft the sleeves from scratch, but if you have something with sleeves you can try tracing that as well.

    The main problem is the raised lines. If you want you could always draw them on there, sew some string, fabric, etc on or something 2-D. The problem is that they’re actually raised and I wanted my costuem to be right. So, I ended up making piping with my material and sewing it in-between all of the pattern pieces. What that means is that my original patterns were whole and then I had to draw the lines on the patterns where they belong and seperate all the pieces there. So then then instead of like 6 pieces I had like 40. It’s not quick or fun but it was the only way I could think to make it look somewhat authentic.

    Once you seperate the pieces you need to add seam allowance. Don’t forget seam allowance on the piping too and all that SA get’s pretty bulky so you’re going to want to grade it down to lay flat and not make you look so lumpy.

    I had a really hard time finding material in the right color. In the end the fleece was the closest I could find but I don’t reccommend it—it’s too thick and gets pretty hot in a bar.

    Let me know what your experience level is and I’ll try to help more. I made the outfit into a top and pants instead of a jumpsuit because jumpsuits are hard to fit and hard to go to the bathroom in!

  7. laura
    December 14, 2006

    meagan,
    thank you very much for all your advice, it will b very helpful seeing as i had no idea where to start before i have some skill in sweing, but not much this last holloween i made a “pirate wench” costume (here is a link if u would like to see http://myspace-983.vo.llnwd.net/01326/38/96/1326086983_l.jpg) i think it turned out rather well for my first real project. i did have a few more questions; if not the fleece what type of material would u reccomend? also apart from the bathroom issue would it be easyer to make it into two pieces ? or to leave it all as one ? when i took a close look at yours i couldnt really tell that it was two pieces did u do anything to make it looklike one? and also what did u use to make the silver stripe on the elbow?

    well thats all i can think of right now
    once again thank you very much for all your help

  8. Megan
    January 11, 2007

    Sorry for the delay!

    Okay, if you aren’t an excellent sewer I would at the very least start from a pattern that you find at a local fabric store. You may have to change the cuffs a bit but starting from a sort of bell bottom pattern it could work. I think I described how to try to make the cuffs: to sketch a pattern onto paper and sew it in a cheap fabric like muslin first. You will have to do this a few times to get it right.

    Again, I think the way I made my pattern with the lines/ribs inside the seams will be too difficult for you. I would maybe make a small strip of fabric (fold the edges under so it’s a clean line and iron it down into the size you want first!) and sew it on the surface to imitate the lines. You should just make this out of the fabric you buy for the rest of the suit. You will need long strips so buy enough fabric. I cut my long strips on the bias, which basically means diagonally on the fabric so it has a bit of stretch.

    Not fleece because it’s hot and bulky. Realistically, you’re kind of stuck with fabric. The suit is a strange color and hard to find anything in that color, let alone something in the fabric you want. So if you find something go for it. Otherwise, I would make it out of a fabric with a little stretch for more comfort, maybe 2% lycra or something. It could be cotton, poly or whatever works. The suit looks like it’s actually a little textured but I didn’t see anything suitable.

    I planned on dyeing the fabric initially but the problem with that is that synthetic materials don’t dye well at all. You would want something like 100% cotton and it’s hard to find anything heavyweight in a natural fiber in the typical fabric shops. If you think about dyeing (and, again, you’ll probably even have to mix dyes to get a color anywhere close) do tests on a sample of the actual fabric.

    As for two pieces… it’s much easier to find patterns for pants and a jacket than a jumpsuit. You might find a jumpsuit in a Halloween pattern book but I didn’t see any. You see, I’ve aligned the belt right over the end of the jacket so it appears to be one piece.

    I made no silver stripe on the elbow and even ran out of time for the patch so that’s up to you! I’m sure you can find lots of silver edging or maybe even reflective material to work in. I don’t remember what it looked like now.

    Sorry, again, for taking so long to get back to you. Time kinda slips away on the road!

  9. Latoya
    October 16, 2008

    Really nice costume! I was thinking about doing something like that next year…im lara croft this year 🙂 I would really love to make one myself, i can’t even believe how awesome yours looks! Really good job, hope mine comes out half as good ^_^ Any tips like on fabric and patterns would be awesome if you could pleeeeease.

  10. Megan
    October 16, 2008

    Thanks Latoya.

    I actually made my pattern from scratch after I couldn’t find a jumpsuit pattern (that’s why I ended up getting my certificate in fashion, for Halloween!) but I ended up making it into two pieces instead for ease of use. I would suggest looking for bell bottom pants pattern and a close fit jacket pattern and add the cuffs.

    Despite looking for fabric for a few months I found nothing right. I ended up using fleece but boy was it hot. If you read the comment above yours you will see some more explanation.

  11. julie
    October 31, 2008

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that still tricks or treats”! And it’s sooo rediculous that they have halloween on the 30th or start so early on the 31st – the fun part of halloween is being in the dark and running in the cold from house to house – (AT NIGHT..and till 11 :00 at night) sure- I had my share of toilet paper and egg fights as a teenager- but who doesn’t? Adults have ruined it for kids and they never get to enjoy life anymore- everything is soo PC and “safe” – I trick or treated every year and never got molested or poisoned or hurt in any way, shape of form (and I was cute !) so get a grip people and let yoru kids be kids !!

  12. julie
    October 31, 2008

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that still tricks or treats”! And it’s sooo rediculous that they have halloween on the 30th or start so early on the 31st – the fun part of halloween is being in the dark and running in the cold from house to house – (AT NIGHT..and till 11 :00 at night) sure- I had my share of toilet paper and egg fights as a teenager- but who doesn’t? Adults have ruined it for kids and they never get to enjoy life anymore- everything is soo PC and “safe” – I trick or treated every year and never got molested or poisoned or hurt in any way, shape of form (and I was cute !) so get a grip people and let your kids be kids !!

    HAPPY HALLOWEEN !!

  13. Kathy Kenney
    September 30, 2009

    Your Trillan costume is AMAZING!!!! I’m trying to find something similar for this year. I can sew, but not like that, plus I don’t have that much time. Oh it’s just perfect, I’m amazed. What fabric did you use? Fleece?

  14. Megan
    September 30, 2009

    Thanks Kathy! Finding the material was the worst part. I can’t tell you how much time I spent agonizing over it. I wanted a sort of fake suede-type material with a bit of texture but couldn’t find anything in the right color and dyeing seemed like it would be a huge undertaking. I ended up using fleece which was difficult to sew (especially with the piping and all of those seams) and was pretty hot. I think I had to grade the seams down since they were so bulky.

    It will probably be hard to find a jumpsuit pattern but you can fake it with a jacket pattern and pants with the belt in the right place. Instead of making the piping between seams you could tack on the outside, even hand baste it. Or, if you don’t want to sew the lines on you could even draw them on or just use contrast stitching to make the lines (maybe draw them on the inside with a pencil/washable pen and sew on the inside).

    You’ll never find a pattern with those oversized cuffs but that should be something you can draw yourself. Just draw what you think it should be, fold the paper up around the costume and then add/fix the paper pattern cuff until its right before cutting it out and sewing it on.

    Good luck!

  15. Ilene
    October 10, 2010

    Hello!

    I’m considering making a Trillian costume myself in the near future and your suggestions are great! It’s a hard costume to find much info on, so reading about what you did is great. I was wondering if there was some way I could see a photo of your costume – it seems there was once a link on this page and I can’t find it now.

    Thanks!!

  16. Megan
    October 10, 2010

    llene, they should be fixed. Thanks for asking! If you make the costume post a link to your results, I’d love to see them.