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Rain Blanken

Target Disses Your Mom, Homemade Costumes, and Iron Man

By October 22, 2010

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This year, Target has chosen to poo-poo the homemade costume, with a commercial apparently aimed to A.) Convince children that homemade costumes are inferior to store-bought costumes or B.) Take a jab at insecure parents who fear that their homemade creations will not endure as family memories, but instead as traumatizing childhood events. I'm not sure which one is worse.

In this commercial, a homemade Iron Man costume is revealed (complete with a tap-light in the middle, which I thought was genius), then swiftly compared to the corporation's idea of a superior store-bought costume. The same store-bought Iron Man costume that five other kids will be wearing to the Halloween party. The same costume that grown-ups handing out candy have already seen three other neighborhood kids wear. So much for your Tootsie-Roll intake.

Indeed the Target tagline 'Expect More...Pay Less' seems to be shooting right out of the television screens at kids. Expect More! You shouldn't have to make an Iron Man helmet out of a cardboard box! Why aren't your parents treating you better? Expect More!

Incidentally, I turned this query over to Iron Man himself, (we weld together on Tuesdays) and he replied, 'Well... I made MY own Iron Man costume'. I then asked my son, who is a 12 year veteran of trick-or-treating. His professional opinion was: 'Whatever brings in the most candy.'

Visit any costume contest this year, and I guarantee that the clever, unique handmade costumes will catch the eye of the judges while the shiny, store-bought get-ups will simply parade on by. In addition, the people with the candy bowls (yes, and therefore all of the trick-or-treat power) are going to save that extra Milky Way for the kid coming up the walk in a 'dirty laundry' costume. If kids are really going to 'Expect More', then a cookie-cutter factory made costume just isn't going to deliver.

As you can probably tell, I'm a fan of homemade costumes. Trust me, there were a few homemade costumes that my mom put on me which still haunt me today. The itchy black yarn geisha wig and caked-on face paint comes to mind. But she stitched the Japanese kimono and obi herself (and forced my sister to wear it too, so that was a plus). One year, I was a gypsy and got to wear armfuls of my mothers bracelets and wispy scarves that were normally off-limits. But no matter what we wore, my sisters and I spent time with our mom cobbling costumes and memories that we can now smile and laugh about together.

Hey Timmy, remember when we went to Target that one year and you said 'I want this one.', and I said, 'Put it in the cart.'? What a riot. Good times.

What do you think?

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October 22, 2010 at 5:24 pm
(1) Robin says:

Excellent points and I totally agree with you. Individuality is a definite plus!

October 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm
(2) Charlie says:

I saw that commercial and my first thought was, “Wow… that’s actually a pretty darned good Iron Man.”

October 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm
(3) Danilo says:

Yes! I was just having this discussion the other day as it related to store-bought Spider-Man costumes, and I pointed out that the real-life Peter Parker, who presumably had no more skill at sewing or costume-making than any other 15-year-old kid, made his own Spider-Man suit at home in his bedroom. What’s the world coming to?

October 22, 2010 at 7:14 pm
(4) Patti Wigington says:

I totally agree — I’ve always made my kids’ costumes, from the time they were little, and they’ve always gotten compliments on originality. Sure, you can be one of 14 Power Rangers or the 6th Barbie to come up to my door, but I guarantee you I’m giving the most loot to the kid whose mom took the time to make him look like a box of Spaghetti-Os or a cardboard-box-and-solo-cup Lego brick.

October 22, 2010 at 7:47 pm
(5) Abi says:

Where in the world would you find a good unicorn costume with out making it yourself??? The only ones I can find are those bodysuit things with the hoods on them. It’s horrible.
Homemades are usually more comfortable when made out of regular clothes and a few extra accessories to make it the costume.

October 25, 2010 at 8:57 am
(6) Rainey says:

Not to mention you get a lot more for your money out of homemade costumes. They costumes I make are always more durable and more easily cleaned than the cheaply made store bought costumes!!! My girls wear their homemade costumes all year for dress up. Plus my kids love adding their own taste to the design. If she wants to be a purple iron man, then hey, we can do that!

October 25, 2010 at 9:15 am
(7) Kara says:

Looks like the marketing hacks have noticed the handmade trend and this is all they could come up with to combat it. My daughter couldn’t care less where her costumes come from as long as they are exactly what she asked for. I’ve bought one costume and one set of accessories in five years for her because she is just that picky! Plus, as Rainey said, the ones I make last through way more pretend play when Halloween is over.

October 25, 2010 at 11:43 am
(8) Donyae says:

Yeah that Iron Man costume is REALLY good. The touchlight is epic. I brought my daughter’s costumes last year and what a waste of money. Flimsy fabric, velcro closures. For the money I spent on them I could have brought some fabric and still had money left to buy candy to give out! What a waste!

My mom made a great deal of my costumes (not all of them but even the ones she store brought she added her own touch to) and I never felt like I was getting the short stick.


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