Thursday, October 7, 2010

Costumes, Crafts, and Party Goods

***NOTE*** Friday is fast approaching! Please send me your submissions – what you’ve written, what you’ve read – as soon as possible so we can get it included in this week’s State Department Blog RoundUp. Thank you!***

Buy costumes at  It works for us. True, the crafter-mom part of me is disgruntled as she thinks she should be allowed to make the costumes, but the kids want particular disguises, and we do NOT live in the land of JoAnn’s Fabric and Crafts. Fabric and notions can be costly anyway, then add on the shipping, and by the time I ordered all the bits and bobs I’d need, I might as well have bought it ready-made… so I do. Buy Costumes is a great website, with fun costumes and accessories, and fair prices. They carry very elaborate costumes, that obviously cost more, very cheap simple costumes, and pretty much everything in between… many, many choices for kids and adults! Most importantly, they ship fast, package well (to survive APO handling) and have proven reliable for us over the past three years.

I lucked out this year because Honor wants to wear the same costume she wore last year… she was very cute as a leopard!


Brian wanted a new costume though, and he chose Snake Eyes from GI Joe. He makes a great ninja!



(sorry these photos are a little blurry… it’s hard to get ninjas to  STAND STILL! :D  !)

The Leopard dress is a higher quality costume… an actual well-made dress, sturdy headband, etc. Snake Eyes is a typical kids’ costume. Thin, stretchy (but good cloth) body suit with velcro snaps. It will likely hold up well this year, maybe next… but by next year, he’ll have outgrown it! The pants are already too short. Maybe, with enough taekwondo lessons behind her, Honor will want to be Snake Eyes next year??

Another awesome shopping resource… for all of your party planning, not just Halloween, and not just for little kids… is Oriental Trading Company. They have everything that you could possibly want, separate, sorted by theme, whatever, and it’s sold in bulk! I had never heard of this place until I’d been overseas for a few years. I was always wondering where the Embassy, and other people, were getting the great party favors and decorations! I found out, and this is one of the most popular resources. Check it out. Oh, but do yourself a favor… sign up for their emails so you can shop after you receive a ‘Free Shipping’ advertisement. We have also had very good luck with receiving our orders quickly and in good shape from this company. They do sell bulk goods, and some of it will be, obviously, better than others, but the customer reviews are a very helpful feature. The favors and supplies are comparable to what you find in US party stores, and it’s much better than anything I could ever find in Cairo or here in Amman.  For our party this year we were able to order a pinata, candy and toys to go in the pinata, goody bags, prizes, decorations, crafts to do at the party, plates, cups, plastic ware, balloons, and cute boxes to use for our planned cookie exchange. There’s no way that we’d be able to find all that stuff locally, of decent quality or at a decent price, and most probably not in Halloween theme!

For our actual party, we plan on decorating the day before, planning meals in advance, yet opening the menu up to allow others to bring favorite holiday potluck meals.. if they want to. We bought Halloween craft kits for the kids to do… some for the little kids, some for the bigger ones. My friend found ‘bobbing apples’ … plastic apples with little prizes in them. I picked out a bunch of long, skinny plush snakes and large balloons. I’m hoping I can push the snakes into the balloons, blow them up, then tape them to a sheet or something in the backyard. Kids will be blindfolded, turned loose with a toothpick, and have to go find a balloon to pop to win a snake. Other balloons will be empty or have a piece of wrapped candy in them. If the snakes don’t fit in the balloons, I’ll have to make snake ‘coupons’ to trade in. We will also have a beanbag toss, and lawn darts (inflatable!) to play with. My house is going to hate us, and we will be hiding the cats away in a back room for the day, but I think that we are going to have some fun!

One last idea for you folks still in the US… you know those little cookbooks that are sold by the cash registers? Often they have specials for holidays with recipes, decorating ideas, crafts, etc. Grab some. Sure, you can use the internet, but if you’re like me and like thumbing through books too, remember that you’re not likely to find these little gems overseas.

Wow! This post sounds like a paid commercial! But honestly, I’m not a pro. The above is all based on my personal experience and opinion, and I only want to share by giving my personal reviews. (Of course, if any of the companies mentioned above wanted to send me some sort of compensation for the free advertising, I wouldn’t say no, but that’s not the purpose of this post!)


MsTypo said...

I totally have the theme to the 80s GI Joe cartoon running through my head now. LOL

Now you know! And knowing is half the battle! LOL

Go Joe!

Z. Marie said...

I got our costumes there this year, too. Best costume site ever!
Here's my contribution to the roundup:

Rebecca said...

I wonder, how well does Halloween go over for folks in other countries? I mean, do you go door to door in Jordan, trick or treating?! I have heard that other cultures are appalled at the American Halloween "holiday." Have you found this to be true?

Connie said...

Typ0 - There's a theme? Hmm? I am so culturally deficient when it comes to tv trivia... my hubby probably knows it ;D

Z. Marie - Their costumes are awesome and great shipping too. Not sure about customer service because I've never had to contact them!

Connie said...

Rebecca - As to how foreigners think of Halloween. I think it depends on where you are. When I was in the UK, we lived in town of mostly locals along with a few other 'married without kids' US couples. The local kids made sure to make costumes and come by our house every Halloween. Not sure if it was widespread, but they knew we'd give them goodies and their parents were out there walking them around! In Egypt, the Embassy did a lot to help celebrate all holidays, and the kids' school threw a HUGE Halloween fair. Local teens would also dress-up, party, and cause trouble by throwing eggs and tomatoes (in fun, but troublesome fun). You could find limited costumes and decorations in town. I actually have a brass jackolantern that I bought in Khan al Khalili bazaar! In Jordan, the school has a fair, the Embassy does trick or treating and a haunted house. I haven't had any local kids trick-or-treat, but I was in a toy store the other day that was filled with costumes and decorations, and I've heard announcements on the radio for Halloween parties.
Halloween can be a lot of fun for kids and adults, and while it still may be new and 'odd' in places, fun does spread!