costumes

Frightfully Easy DIY Halloween T-Shirts

October 25, 2016 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Easy DIY Halloween t-shirt

Want to get your craft on this Halloween, but worried you’ll slice off an appendage trying to carve a Pinterest-perfect jack-o’-lantern? Then try these frighteningly fun, eerily easy DIY Halloween t-shirts!

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SuperLunchNotes: Now I Eat My ABC’s

March 18, 2016 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

As the old year rebooted to a new one, I kicked it off with SuperLunchNotes A-to-Z in my son’s lunch box. I was bored at the idea of just doing a character that starts with each letter, so I decided to include a word describing or associated with the subject. A word he could figure out on his own — either in context or using his ever-increasing reading skills. If he wasn’t always going to eat well, at least he could learn something.

I initially thought I’d also choose words that could apply to Jon, either in reality or aspirationally. But you’ll see I quickly hit a snag with “E” and broke that rule.

In any case, grab your lunch salad and a water (or goldfish crackers and a juicebox — I won’t judge), sit back and enjoy an alphabetized study in scrumptious superheroics!

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1.4 Aquaman  |  1.5 Brave’s Merida   |  1.6 Catwoman

superlunchnotes a-to-z

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Branch Out with This DIY Groot Halloween Costume

October 13, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

DIY Groot Halloween Costume

For most, 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy was their introduction to one of comicdom’s lesser-known super teams. Marvel’s gamble paid off, with millions becoming fast fans of Star Lord, Drax, Gamora, Rocket, and of course, Groot.

This majestic, trisyllabic creature is both powerful and compassionate, frightening and kind. And he steals every scene with a wooden smile and only three words: “I. Am. Groot.” Naturally, when my son requested begged to be Groot for Halloween, I said yes. Then I immediately panicked, having no idea how I was going to pull this off.

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Are You Tough Enough to Tutu?

October 12, 2015 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts is sponsoring a campaign to raise both awareness and funds for breast cancer research. And to see how many of you are tough enough to wear a tutu.

breast cancer awareness month

Courtesy of Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC. Photo by Ward Morrison.

As you can see, this challenge is not a huge stretch for me. However, as a tutu-wearing advocate, I want to encourage as many of you as possible to participate in this fun way to give a little — a way that doesn’t involve getting doused in a bucket of ice water.

And when you think about it, wearing a tutu (or doing a walk or giving money) involves very little bravery when compared to those living with and fighting breast cancer. I’ll wager there are very few people who read this who haven’t been affected by breast cancer, whether it’s a family member, friend, coworker, or yourself.
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HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

1. Take a photo of yourself in a tutu.

Don’t have one lying around? Head to your closest A.C. Moore, where they sell a tutu-making kit, just for this occasion! For you crafty types, you can make your own using this short tutorial from A.C. Moore’s web site.

2. Share the photo on social media with #‎Not2Tough2Tutu‬.

And if you knew my late friend Oren, add a #Dads4Oren to it, too. While Oren didn’t have breast cancer,  he had it pretty much everywhere else — and his life and death continue to motivate me to get more involved, to give back, and to live life to the fullest.

3. Tag 3 friends to join the challenge.

Call them out. Triple-dog-dare them. Throw down the frilly, tulle gauntlet. It can be anyone — man, woman or child. Big, hairy dudes are of course the funniest, but please don’t limit yourself to that.
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HOW THIS MAKES A DIFFERENCE:

In addition to putting a smile (or a giggle) on everyone’s face who sees it, for every post on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, the AC Moore Foundation will donate $1 to the American Cancer Society.

As an added bonus, I’m matching that by donating an additional $1 for every social media post that also tags me. (DesignerDaddy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) If you don’t have the time or inclination to don a tutu, please consider making a donation to the American Cancer Society anyway.
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Got questions? Shoot me a message, leave a comment, or check out the official press release from A.C. Moore. It also explains their inspiration and motivation for the #Not2Tough2Tutu campaign.

And finally, here’s the original challenge video, from A.C. Moore’s CEO (and fellow fat, hairy dude), Pepe Piperno:

#Not2Tough2TutuOur CEO Pepe Piperno is #Not2Tough2Tutu, are you? A.C. Moore will donate $1, up to $25,000, to American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer for every picture we see. So put on the tutu, post a pic, use the hashtag, and prove you aren’t too tough to tutu!

Posted by A.C. Moore on Thursday, October 1, 2015

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To learn more about the American Cancer Society, or to make a donation directly, visit Cancer.org.

To see me in (yet another) pink tutu (minus the makeup and wig, sorry), follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

DIY Ghostbusters Halloween Costume

October 31, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE, THINGS MY KID DIGS

At some point I may do a write up of how I turned my occasionally mild-manners son into Egon Spengler, the nerdiest of those superhero/super-scientists known as the Ghostbusters. But for now I’m just going to share the photos of my very happy little boy. And go take a nap…

DIY Ghostbusters Halloween costume

Who you gonna call? THIS GUY, striking an impressive pose in his Dad-DIY Ghostbusters Halloween costume. And next year he’s going as Jonathan Lipnicki in Jerry Maguire.
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Movie-Inspired Halloween Costumes

October 28, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

If you’re frantically looking for easy, last-minute Halloween costume ideas, this is probably not the post for you. But if you love Halloween, creativity and the movies, you’ve come to the right place!

I recently started writing family-related content for Fandango, and my first assignment was an article about creative family Halloween costumes. Our family has always had a blast dressing up together, and I knew I had more than a few friends out there who did the same. So I pooled my massive sea of Internet resources, and they delivered… TOO MUCH! I ended up with more content than Fandango could use, so I wanted to give these other cinematically-creative families the spotlight on my own site. Go grab some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy these picturesque, movie-inspired Halloween costumes!
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Halloween costumes - Rocket Raccoon - Guardians of the Galaxy

Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy
An avid comic book fan, James decided to make his young son into Rocket Raccoon for an upcoming comic-con, who had seen (and been enamored by) the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer he’d seen on TV. The costume was a simpler version than shown here, but James made it all himself. At the convention it caught the eye of an experienced costumer who ended up making the custom mask, feet and tail shown in the photo. Way to work a room, Rocket! James’ son will, of course, be trick-or-treating in his full Rocket gear this Halloween.

Get the look: The jacket was made by cutting up and sewing pieces from a red t-shirt onto a navy turtleneck, accented with gold buttons. The raccoon tail (found at a frontier shop) was sewn into the seat of blue sweatpants. Read more here.

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Six Silly/Spooky Candy Corn Crafts

October 5, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Candy Corn Crafts for Halloween

Gun control, gay marriage, abortion…candy corn?!? Who knew Halloween’s perennial kernel-shaped snack could be so divisive?

I took a poll to find out how folks felt about candy corn, and the results were quite polarizing. None of the replies were of the “I can take it or leave it” variety. Certainly some sang its praises, and a few rode the fence with a love/hate relationship. But the most entertaining and creative answers came from the haters.

“I would rather write an essay on a blackboard using nothing but a fork.”

“My teeth hurt just reading this.”

“Insipid confections spawned from hell.”  

“Rather eat corn in sh*t.” 

“I would like to feed All of It to Dick Cheney, staple him to Donald Rumsfeld and launch the whole lot into the sun.”

“HAAAAAAATE”

Alrighty, then. There seems to be some seriously deep-seated loathing of this defenseless little sweet. Yet according to the National Confectioners Association, 25 million pounds (9,000+ metric tons) of candy corn are sold annually. I imagine there must be more than a few metric tons lying around somewhere, uneaten and unloved, serving no purpose but to populate our landfills and choke our dolphins.

So for all you candy corn abhorrers — and for the admirers that also love super silly crafts — here are some ways to put that bumper crop of corn to good(ish) use.
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Honey Maid Redefines “Wholesome” to Include Gay Dads

March 13, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, THINGS DAD DIGS

Looks like the gay agenda is continuing to blaze its flaming path into more and more homes, this time via a commercial for…DAH DAH DUM!!! graham crackers.

But seriously, this is a seriously sweet ad. Not only does it depict doting, gay dads, but also a mixed race family, a single father, and a tattooed dad banging the drums as his little girl dances around the living room. The ad, the campaign and the company have gotten quite a bit of coverage, but I wanted to get the scoop on some of the thought behind the spot.

A representative from Honey Maid was kind enough to answer a few questions in the midst of what I’m sure is an extremely busy time for them.

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Halloween Highlights: Creepy & Creative

November 8, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Halloween is quickly becoming my favorite holiday. All the decorating, crafts, food and fun of Christmas crammed into a shorter period of time and without having to log all that extra church time. PLUS COSTUMES!

We had multiple events, all of which were an opportunity to put on my Designer Daddy hat (or horn, as it were) and we had a blast! Here are a few Halloween highlights…

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The first event was the Saturday before Halloween – a fundraiser/fair at JJ’s preschool, the “TODDLER BOOOOGIE!” For this occasion, JJ went as Batman. Yes, there were multiple costumes. You were expecting different from a super-hero obsessed toddler with two gay dads?
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batman

Batman’s still figuring out the fit of his new costume.

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No, We’re Not Hasidic Jews

November 1, 2011 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Yes, we got asked if we were Hasidic Jews last night by an annoying (and drunk, maybe?) passerby as we were heading to our neighborhood Halloween block party. We also got asked if we were some sort of Two and a Half Men thing. The cutest was overhearing a little girl behind us asking her mom if we were related. Unfortunately her mom said, “I think they’re just friends.”

I guess it would have been clearer had we ALL been wearing not only tuxes and matching top hats and red bowties, but also beaks and giant yellow feet. Maybe I’ll have more time to be crafty next year, but I doubt it. JJ’s birthday is next week, and I can only fit in so much craftiness in such a short span of time. Hey, I did add the red ribbons to our grownup hats.

So in case it wasn’t clear, we’re penguins. Inspired (partially) by one of our favorite family books, And Tango Makes Three. This equally adorable and controversial book is about two (real) male penguins in the Central Park Zoo who hatched and raised a baby penguin together. It’s a must for any same-sex parent household, as well as for any family with a kid who loves penguins (so yeah, all of them). There was also a funny episode of Parks and Recreation spoofing/celebrating the whole “Gay Penguins” phenomenon.

But mostly we were inspired by how awesomely cute JJ is in a penguin costume. And luckily he didn’t seem to mind wearing it.

You can’t hear him, but he’s saying (and doing) “Waddle, waddle, waddle!”

So what did your kiddos (or you) dress as for Halloween? Please share photos — would love to see ’em! And to all you seasoned parents out there, I’m also curious how long your kids let you choose their costume. I know it won’t be long before JJ makes the jump from happily dressing up in whatever cutesy animal suit Daddy picks out to demanding to be Jango Fett, Optimus Prime, or -shudder- a Wiggle.

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