You know I love a family themed costume! This year Georgia was set on being Sofia The First. Originally I figured that meant we would all dress as The First Royal Family. However, as much as Conroy loves Sofia, he wasn’t into dressing up as Prince James. That’s when I decided to forget about having coordinating costumes and focus on making sure Conroy was as excited about my favorite holiday as Georgia was.
We first considered being Max from Where The Wild Things Are. It was his favorite book and he loved acting out all of Max’s poses on each page. He liked the idea, but it wasn’t sticking. Then one day I thought – who does he love more than anyone? -Duh. Daniel Tiger. He’s always singing the songs from the show and we have borrowed every Daniel Tiger book we could find from the library. Then one week in our art class when I was asking the students what they were planning to be for Halloween, Conroy shouted, “I am going to be Daniel Tiger.” He was so excited! I took that as my go-ahead to get to work on his costume.
Daniel Tiger is the new version of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. It’s an animated series featuring the children of your favorite Mr. Rogers’ characters – Daniel’s friend Prince Wednesday is King Friday’s son and Miss Elana is Lady Elane’s daughter. They ride “Trolley” every episode and sing a tune to help teach that day’s lesson. Some of our favorites include “Try new foods cause they might taste goo—ood” and “Stop and Listen to be safe.”
This teaching method is genius. One time after Georgia watched an episode I asked her what the lesson was. She looked at me blankly. I said, “What did you learn?” Still nothing. Then I said, “What was the song?” She said, “Oh, when you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath, and count to four. One-two-three-four.”
One of Conroy’s favorite songs to sing is “It’s ok to be sad sometimes, little by little, you’ll feel better, again.” Chad says he’s a two-year-old singing the blues. Dressing up as Daniel just prompted many more spontaneous adorable sing-a-longs.
I could have bought a costume off the internet, but doing that didn’t feel right. Instead, we spent one solid Friday morning going into every store in Downtown Brooklyn searching for the supplies to put together a Daniel Tiger Costume. We found the perfect mustard yellow turtleneck at Cookies for three dollars and then hit up Kids Foot Locker for Daniel’s classic red Converse low-tops. Again, this is where I’m a little wack-a-do with money. I wouldn’t spend the $45 dollars for the costume on the internet, but I happily paid $30 for his red chucks! Rationalizing this to myself – he does love those shoes. Red is his favorite color. Plus, he has worn them many times since I bought them. We already had a red sweater from last Christmas, so that was one less thing we had to buy.
After several hours of searching, we came up empty when it came to Daniel’s pants.
Now – if you know Daniel Tiger – you know he doesn’t wear pants – what?!? Why doesn’t he wear pants? And neither does his dad, but his mom does? And when he’s swimming he wears swim trunks and when he sleeps he wears pajama pants….It’s a whole other discussion that I don’t have an answer to.
For our costume, Conroy’s pants would be his Daniel Tiger fur. He’d also need a tail and a hat with ears. One day I quickly stopped in our neighborhood fabric store on the way to pick up Georgia from school. This store is a hidden gem. They have spools and spools of six-foot tall fabric, packed into a narrow store. You literally have to step over the fabric to get to the back. And don’t even try to get in there with a stroller. It’s impossible. As I ran through the store like I was on an episode of Project Runway I found a match to the turtleneck I had already bought. It was a little spandex-y, but I knew it would work. I bought a yard and raced to Georgia’s school just in time to get there before dismissal.
I love the internet. I’ve said this before, but it’s so true. Again, I don’t really know how to sew, but I do know how to search YouTube. In a few seconds I found an easy tutorial for “Easy Child Pants.” I watched the video twice, then printed out the free pattern from FleeceFun.com.
It couldn’t have been easier. I then clicked around Angel’s site and found a pattern for a bear hat – which resembled Daniel’s ears the best. I sewed a simple tail, stuffed it with filling, and attached it to the pants. In retrospect, I probably should have sewn the tail first & included it while I was making the pants, but I just used the seam ripper to make space for the tail and then sewed it back up.
When I was trying to figure out the right color felt for his stripes, I wasn’t happy with the dark brown. Daniel isn’t your typical orange and black tiger. He’s more of a mustard yellow and light brown cat. The day before their school Halloween party, I went back to our local fabric store in search of the right brown. They didn’t have it in fleece so I bought a light brown velveteen. I used paper to cut out a pattern for the stripes. I pinned and sewed them on. This is another part you’d probably want to do before you sew the pants together. It wasn’t the easiest, but I was able to sew on the stripes using the machine without sewing the pant leg closed. The same goes for the tail. I probably should have sewed the stripes on first but since I didn’t, I just made simple loops and slipped them over the tail.
The tiger ears and hat were my favorite. I watched Fleece Fun’s YouTube video and first thought, is that going to work? Then I did it, turned the ear right side out and – oh my cuteness!!! I had made the best little ear ever.
For the inside of the ear I used a light brown felt I had on hand. I attached the ears to the piece of the hat, sewed, and voila! I had a hat! Sewing is magic!! (Note to all other amateur seamstresses: When sewing the top of the hat – don’t sew the “v” on your first pass. You have to sew everything else, then fold the fabric the other way and sew the “v” straight. That’s what makes it fit your head, instead of having a random “v” at the top.” Angel casually says this. I’m sure anyone who really knows how to sew knows this, but the first time I did it, I messed it up, wondered why my hat looked odd, watched the video again, then realized my mistake.)
I made a quick watch using dark brown and white felt. I sewed on a simple button so we could easily take it on and off.
Conroy really wanted Chad to be Dad Tiger and when that kid asks you to be Dad Tiger you don’t say no, even if Dad Tiger’s signature hoodie is Duke Blue – and you’re more of a Carolina Blue guy. Knowing the severity of the UNC/ Duke rivalry, I asked Chad if it was ok for me to buy him a “blue” hoodie for Halloween. Chad agreed saying, “It’s just for Halloween.” I found the perfect hoodie at Old Navy that was the most Dad Tiger and the least Duke Blue I could find. Thanks to FleeceFun.com, I was able to print out a pattern for an adult sized hat with ears. I just sewed a longer tail and safety pinned it to the bottom of the hoodie.
My original plan was to be Sofia The First’s mom – Queen Miranda, since Chad was being Daniel Tiger’s dad. I fell short on time and I didn’t have a pink gown in my closet. Conroy kept asking me to be Mom Tiger. The day before Halloween I cleared it with Georgia - she was totally fine with it - and I sewed myself a quick tiger hat. If I had more time I would have gotten myself a white and purple Hawaiian shirt, but it just didn’t happen. And really, no one minded.
Conroy wore his costume on the Friday before Halloween to drop Georgia off at school and see his teacher. Then he wore it to dance class where we took a couple photos with his friends. I seriously love this holiday.
What’s cuter than little kiddos dressed up!?!? For Halloween we drove up to Boston for trick-or-treating with my best friend and her kids. It was a beautiful night. The city blocked off the street so the kids could walk safely and the houses were decorated to the nines!!
Conroy loves to tell you how he dressed up for Halloween as Daniel Tiger. He likes to follow up that fact with a rendition of a song. The last one he sang to my friend while we were having lunch was “Thank you for everything you do” – which was pretty much the cutest thing ever.
If you have a toddler, we highly recommend Daniel Tiger. It’s a great show that both our kids have learned a lot from. It’s nice to be able to solve life’s problems by singing a song. If your child is a huge Daniel Tiger fan, we hope this has inspired you to put together your own costume. Conroy is very proud of his red Converse and his red sweater every time he wears them – even after Halloween.