Twins Take Manhattan, Part 2

So, Night at the Museum. My sister is awesome and she knows my boys. She knows, for example, that if the theme night of “A Night at the Museum” is Come dressed as your favorite mythical creature, then Sam MUST be there. Not only is she a special education teacher AND the principal of her school, but she adores my boys and they adore her.

There are a million reasons why John would hate it. More. So we hatched a plan. The two of them would ride the subway into the city that evening (Sam’s first!) to SLEEP AT THE MUSEUM and John and I would stay in her adorable Brooklyn apartment reliving my city days.

But first: the costume. What mythical creature could he be? His first choice was a Chimera. Well… my sewing skillz are mad but not that mad (a fire-breathing monster: a lion’s head, a goat’s body, AND a serpent’s tail? No.) His second choice was Pegasus and for the sake of brevity, I will not tell you how much money and time I poured into the all-white costume only to have it look like a fluffy unicorn — not at all like the fierce warrior horse it was supposed to be. I will instead tell you that, with just five days to spare, I went back to the drawing board (Sam a little worried but fully on board), and began creating a Gryphon.

Body of a lion. Head and wings of an eagle. Pretty simple, right? These are the mad steps I took:

  1. I found a simple child’s pattern and faux tan fur.
  2. I studied the directions and inexplicably sewed the wrong sides of pants together (confusion and delay, up until 2 a.m. ripping stitches).
  3. Finally figured out how to measure and sew elastic into pants waist. Did I mention this is the first outfit I’ve ever made? I’m a whiz at curtains though.
  4. For the wings, I used pliable wire that I found in the garden section and fashioned wing shapes the length of Sam’s arms, then I inserted an old cardboard tube at one end so that he would have something to grab when he wanted to move the wings by raising his arms.
  5. I covered the wire structure with some very cool mummy-mesh type fabric and then glue-gunned a feather boa down the middle. Since the wings were the first part I made for Pegasus and were originally all white, I got a bag of brown feathers and added several to look more like an eagle (well, not really since eagles wings are black, but to make them less white). I sewed up the hood with some white felt and was spare with attaching additional feather boa pieces to the top (because, you know, I wanted to avoid making him a fluffy gryphon). 
  6. The beak took shape with a piece of yellow foam board. I hand sewed it to the top of the hood and pinched the tip (assisted by glue) to make it “hook” and then added googly eyes on a couple pieces of felt.
  7. The tail was made with extra fabric and stuffed with polyfill. I hand-sewed it to the back of the pants (see below).
  8. Feet were borrowed brown shoe covers and I attached six “claws” made out of black felt. They look pretty authentic, I think.
Walking to subway, carrying rest of costume in bag.

(If anyone ever tells you that a home-made costume is cheaper — it is definitely not.)

How I wish I had been there to see the joy on his face in person. All reports indicate that not only was he not overwhelmed by the crowd and the sensory stimuli, but he was in his element. He loved every minute of it and was quite independent. My sister reports that “Sam knows his limits and asked to rest when he needed it.” It was a big costume night and nomination slips were everywhere. Several people came up to ask his name in order to nominate him for a prize (first place in the hybrid category). I wish I had been there to see how proud he felt, to see how he liked being the center of attention (my guess is immensely). But there are pictures!

Love you, sister.


Leave a comment
  • You are an AWESOME mom and how lucky that you also have an AWESOME sister. So very happy to read this and see the joy on your boy’s face. What a memory, what a night– simply amazing.

  •! And over-the-moon happy for you and your boy! What a great time. (I hope you and John had as good a time as Sam and your sister seem to have had!) Kristin is right, you are an AWESOME mom.

  • Wow. That is amazing.

    First of all, I laughed hysterically at your costume making trauma. I am sorry but I did. Especially at “fluffy Gryphon.”

    Seriously, though, the costume came out incredibly. Nice job!! And I’m so thrilled to hear that he had a great time. I looked at that photo of the cots all packed together and got the shivers. I couldn’t have hacked it.

    It sounds like this event was a dream come true for Sam. I’m so sorry that you weren’t able to be there, but what a special thing for Sam and your sister to share. So wonderful!


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