“Chester Racoon stood at the edge of the forest and cried. ‘I don’t want to go to school,’ he told his mother. ‘I want to stay home with you. I want to play with my friends. And play with my toys. And read my books. And swing on my swing. Please may I stay home with you?'”
~ The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
It was three days before Halloween and I thought I was let off the hook from making a costume for Evie because, I repeat, it was THREE DAYS before Halloween and she had a dozen other costumes hanging in her closet. I was 4 months pregnant and ultimately too tired to do anything that required my focus. But just as I was confirming with her what she wanted to be for Halloween, she grabbed a book off of her shelf titled The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. She was a bit obsessed with this story for the entire month, asking everyone to read it to her repeatedly. It is about a young raccoon named Chester, who is a bit nervous about going to school. Mrs. Raccoon kisses his center palm and tells him that “whenever you feel lonely and need a little loving from home, just press your hand to your cheek and think, ‘Mommy loves you. Mommy loves you.’“
While every little girl in the world wanted to be Princess Elsa, Evie [5 years old] wanted to be Chester Raccoon. She read the book over and over again and thought that it was the cutest story of a raccoon and his mother. I must have asked her a dozen times, “Are you sure you want to be a raccoon?” She was absolutely unwavering about the idea.
Evie wanted her entire body to be covered in fur, but I told her that we should just make a fur coat that she could add to her fall/winter wardrobe. We went to the fabric store to find grey faux fur, and I worked on her costume over the course of 2 days…
Raccoon DIY Costume
SUPPLIES FOR EARS & TAIL:
Grey Faux Fur
Safety Pin [to pin tail on coat]
I don’t have any photos of the process, but it’s simple if you know how to duplicate a pattern. I started with a basic pattern–tracing the front, back, and sleeves–using a coat she already owned. We used one of her black headbands and sewed ears onto it. The tail was stuffed with polyester stuffing and the selvage side of the fabric was incorporated to look like stripes. There wasn’t quite enough fabric [approx. 1 yard] so the tail and sleeves were a little short. Had I bought more fabric, I would have made her tail longer and spray painted thick black stripes. To complete the outfit, she rummaged through her drawers and found a plain light grey shirt, black leggings, and a dark grey tulle skirt [Zara Girls].
Presently, 10 days before Halloween, I asked her what she wanted to be. One would think she would be influenced into being a Disney Princess after seeing other little girls walking around in their costumes throughout the month of October–but Evie blurted out to our neighbor last week that she wanted to be a… mammal from the weasel family. Predictably, our neighbor’s eyes bulged out of her sockets and her nose and upper lip scrunched up on one side as she muttered under her breath, “A whaaaaat?” I presumed she was expecting to hear that she was going to be a pretty and dainty something…
…But Evie has another original idea–unwavering in her decision, again. She’s also hoping that I would agree to dress Emaline up as the same thing.