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This year will be the year when at least one of the kids leaves the house on Halloween wearing an awesome, innovative, homemade costume. Faithful readers of this blog may recall that last year I planned one of the coolest costumes made by anyone anywhere ever in the history of cool Halloween costumes, only to be foiled at the last minute by the dark forces of the Target costume section.

When I asked my seven-year-old son what he wanted to be this year, he told me "A samurai". This is no doubt because he developed a sushi fixation some time in the past year, which is something apparently most little kids in Marin go through at some time. His concept of the samurai wasn't just a simple robe-and-sash affari, a la Toshiro Mifune in Yojimbo, but rather the version with armor and a helmet and all that. Much, much more complicated. Despite my suggestions to do something a little simpler (like my awesome Tintin costume idea), he remained steadfast in his determination to stick with his vision.

Unfortunately, I tend to take my costumes a little bit too seriously. I've always wanted them to be as close to the real thing as possible, which is usually not possible. Even as a child, I harbored a prejudice against cheesy store-bought costumes. When I was really little my next door neighbor showed up at our local Halloween parade wearing a Jaws costume. Except that he wasn't dressed as a shark, per se, but rather had on a plastic apron that said "JAWS" and wore a mask that looked like the underside of the shark's head from the movie poster. Our conversation went something like this: "What are you supposed to be?"


"You don't look like Jaws. You look like a Jaws movie poster. Jaws is a shark. You don't look like anything like a shark."

Thus began a lengthy disagreement over the nature of what constitutes a good Halloween costume. I don't recall if I won, but I should have in any case.

Anyhow, I found a few resources online that, lo and behold, described how to make a decent-looking, albeit stylized suit of samurai armor out of fome-core or cardboard. I'm just working on the pattern now, and I'll probably end up using craft foam for the armor, as it will be easier to move around and lighter than cardboard. I'll post progress reports here if everything goes the way it should. If it doesn't work out, then I probably won't bring it up again.

My daughter is still undecided as to what she wants to go as for Halloween, but she better make up her mind soon. I think I've got my work cut out for me, so I don't think I'll mind if she goes to Target again this year.