Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

Halloween 2015: How to Make M & M Costumes November 2, 2015

I’ve basically given up on getting a good picture of the kids. I’ll settle for one where they don’t look totally weird.

Here’s the Halloween Photo:

A pack of M&M's!

A pack of M&M’s!

(What is it with the Kindergarten smile? They just can’t settle at that age, I suppose.)

I digress. My mom and I worked on Halloween costumes over my fall break. Of course, the project and design were much improved by her input. They were also rendered slightly more complicated. However, I’m thrilled at how these turned out!


  1. Locate fabric scraps in M&M colors. (We made do with a bold purple, even though it’s not traditional.) Interfacing and white canvas were also necessary to give the project body.
  2. Find the appropriate size circles. The yellow m is about 18 inches in diameter, and fits the five year old. The purple was probably closer to 24 inches, and the red, maybe 14 or 15.
  3. Trace and cut two circles of each color and the same size in interfacing and canvas (2 of each).
  4. Mom sewed them together using a zigzag stitch.
  5. The M is freehand, but then traced onto canvas and applied with double backing iron on sticky.
  6. Mom made the straps for the top from left over fabric (she measured the kids, but only the yellow one. The others ended up fitting perfectly.
  7. Then there are tie straps tacked into the sides of the costumes.

These costumes looked great, and they’re perfect if you live in a place where you don’t know if Halloween is going to be warm, cold, or rainy. We ended up fine with light long sleeves and pants under each costume.

The boys got lots of compliments, and they didn’t have annoying parts of their costumes to deal with (things that fall off, come untied, drag, or whatever). If I were to go more all out, I might find bandanas in the same colors for their heads, or paint faces, but we were pretty happy. They wore these four times in a week. (As for washing, I’m not sure…Seamus got chocolate on his, so it needs to be washed. I hope that we might loan these to our friends who are expecting their third baby soon next year, so I need to figure it out. Mom? Spot clean?)

As for the actual Halloween, the boys were in heaven. We went to my school for Halloweenfest on Friday, where they played games with student representatives of the different clubs. Seamus got to play checkers, Porter went pumpkin bowling, and Gilbert charmed the heck out of some students. They also got to play musical chairs and pin the mustache on Mario to get a gold coin. The yarn club had made super cute spiders and ghosts. It was a blast. The fashion club was very interested in the construction of the costumes. They gave them a thumbs up.

On Halloween night, we took pictures in the cul-de-sac, and then went trick or treating. Gilbert really wanted to trick-or-treat at his teacher’s house, so we took a different rout than usual. The street we went on was having a rollicking good time. There were fire pits, loud music, and lots of fun. Too bad they’ve torn down five houses on that street in the last five months to make way for bigger houses.

At one point, Gilbert turned, and said, “I love this holiday!” They were so confident and having so much fun talking to the people at each house.

As for the candy, we let them have some (two pieces that evening). They set aside the healthy stuff for lunches this week. Then they sorted candy into different configurations all day Sunday. They got a few more pieces on Sunday, and then we packed it up to share with my students this week. It’s all gone from the house now, except they did say that if the students didn’t eat it all, could I bring some back!


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