The DIY Green Ninja Costume of Fail
October 24, 2012
So. As you may have gathered from the million and seventeen point two times I have mentioned it, my children are pretty obsessed with the Ninjago series from Lego.
(Well, Noah and Ezra, anyway. Ike seems on the fence about it. On the one hand, you can't actually ride on any of the Sonic Raider Dragon Chopper Skull Truck Whatever The Hell things, unlike our ancient neglected Cozy Coupe which is getting a late-in-life chance at love again. He especially enjoys driving it off the step into our living room, Thelma-and-Louise style.)
(On the other hand, he very much enjoys chewing on the small rubber tires that come with many of the Lego vehicle sets and then multiple like rabbits throughout my house. If you ask him "What's in your mouth?" he'll obediently spit out an entire slobbery set of four.)
ANYWAY. While there are easily 4,230,402,293 different building sets and minifigures to buy at this point, Lego has not expanded the line to include stuff like party favors or Halloween costumes. You know, because responsible consumerism and un-stifled creativity and also to be a tremendous pain in my ass.
Ezra started asking for a Green Ninja Halloween costume in August. August! Which gave me plenty of time to ignore that request and assume that he would TOTALLY move on and chose something else closer to Halloween.
When he continued to insist on a Green Ninja costume in September, I gave in and started looking at our options. And lo, they were not good. He had no interest in any of the non-green ninja options. He could not be talked into a t-shirt and headband. Someone on Etsy made a nice-looking one, but wanted $150 for it. And while a single mass-produced unlicensed knock-off costume existed, it was 1) not particularly convincing (read: ugly as butt), 2) pretty expensive for a cheap-looking polyester unitard, and 3) ALREADY SOLD OUT ALMOST EVERYWHERE.
Eventually my feeble peanut brain started working out a plan. I could buy a white karate uniform and dye it green. He could wear Noah's old green belt. I found a trick for turning a t-shirt into a ninja scarf. Add a gold-handled plastic pirate sword from a local costume shop and we were in business. Glorious, DIY craft-blogger business.
(BECAUSE YEAH THAT'S JUST SO AMALAH.)
I shopped around until I found a 100% cotton karate uniform since that seemed more likely to dye evenly than one with polyester or nylon. This meant ordering it directly from some random martial arts website instead of Amazon, and it took FOREVER. When it arrived, I was concerned that the size chart had been a little...misleading, because it seemed awfully small for something that was supposed be a 4T. It fit, but only just. But there was no time to wait for an exchange to arrive, so as long as it didn't shrink, it should work.
Ezra's school is having a Halloween party this Friday night, so it was time to finally execute my World's Greatest Mother Nobody Tells My Kid He Can't Be The Green Ninja Foolproof Plan.
I dyed it twice: the first application colored it beautifully and evenly, but was a bit on the lime-y side. Another dye bath deepened the color, but it still wasn't quite in Authentic Green Ninja Territory. It didn't even remotely match any of the half-dozen green t-shirts I rounded up from Ezra's closet, and clashed terribly with Noah's green belt.
But still. I held out hope that if I could just get all the pieces on Ezra together that it would be convincing enough. That he'd be okay with just going as the Greenish Patchwork Ninja. Worst case, I figured, I'd have to spend the next couple days gluing or sewing some extra embellishments on it to better match the stupid minifigure.
Noah took one look at the sad pile of karate suit and announced, "That doesn't look like the Green Ninja."
Ezra heard this and looked at the suit, then me, then repeated, "That doesn't look like the Green Ninja."
"What do you mean? Of course it does! Don't listen to Noah. Let's try it on."
We tried it on.
It had shrunk. MASSIVELY. A questionable 4T was now a definitive 2T. The sleeves hit Ezra just past his elbows, an inch of belly showed above the waistband of the pants...which were of course way, way too short for him anyway. And all the various ties and drawstrings were now a weird bright blue color and completely distracting because there wasn't enough fabric to hide them anymore.
I started to attempt the cool t-shirt-as-ninja-hood trick, but at this point Ezra was shrieking and pulling at the too-tight everything and demanding I take it all off, he didn't like it, he didn't liiiiiiiiike it.
So the bad news is that I have no costume for my kid and two days to come up with something. (I don't even have any workable hand-me-downs, as Noah was in full-on costume rebellion at this particular age/size, and apparently last year's chef costume is too big of a step down in awesomosity after months of Green Ninja promise.) After showing Ezra every possible option — Red Ninja! Black Ninja! Batman! Spiderman! Sexy Spiderman! — on Amazon Prime, I think he may be warming up to Captain America, or at least an overpriced polyester unitard version of him. WHATEVER.
The good news is that I now may very well have the perfect toddler-sized costume for Ike.