A Calvin and Hobbes Halloween

Nov 3, 2017

Last Halloween, almost everyone recognized that our costumes went together. It wasn't difficult. The red and white stripes of a half dozen Waldos was quite striking.

This Halloween, almost no one noticed our theme. Even those who knew we were supposed to go together couldn't figure out who we were or what connected us.

But the few who got it (the nerds!!!) loved it. And we loved it, too. In fact, these might go down as our favorite Halloween costumes ever.

My boys have long been obsessed with the comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes. I think they've read every single collection (many of them several times), and yet rarely leave the library without one in hand. They can spout off a dozen lines with the least provocation, and they laugh themselves silly recollecting Calvin's antics.

Mike is right there with them. He has loved Calvin and Hobbes since he was a kid, and I think he relishes the chance to enjoy them all over again.

One night, probably six months ago, the boys were talking about what we should go as for Halloween (you can never begin too early . . . ). One of them suggested Calvin and Hobbes.

I was just about to regretfully tell them we would need seven costumes, not just two, when they all jumped in with suggestions:

"Bradley can be Calvin because he looks the most like him."
"Maybe Aaron and Max can go as Calvin's alter egos."
"Yeah! Max can be Spaceman Spiff!"
"And Aaron can be Stupendous Man."
"Mom and Dad can be Calvin's mom and dad, of course."
"Clark can be Hobbes."
"And the baby . . . what about the baby?"
"How about the snowman?"

And just like that, they had it all planned out.

Mike did most of the costume planning and constructing, but I made one important contribution. We decided Bradley needed a Hobbes doll he could carry around. Even though Clark was going as the real Hobbes, he wasn't going to be right next to Bradley all the time, and without him, Bradley didn't look all that dressed up.

But you can't buy a Hobbes doll (unless you go to Etsy and pay someone to make one for you) because Bill Watterson never released the copyright to commercialize any of the characters. So I decided I'd have to make one.

It was a labor of love for sure. I was reminded why I haven't sewn much in the last eight years--it just requires so much work to get out everything and then put it all away an hour or two later. It took several sessions to complete the doll, but I was so pleased with it. It added just the right touch to Bradley's costume.

As the mom and dad, Mike and I also struggled with how to look any different than we look in real life. Turns out, we both bear a striking resemblance to Calvin's parents. However, Calvin's mom has a bit more of a mullet than I do, so a mullet wig was in order. Unfortunately, just donning a wig didn't make me instantly recognizable, but I at least felt like I was wearing a costume. (And I will say, I received more false compliments on that wig than almost anything I've ever worn.)

The first time the boys put on their costumes, they became the characters. Maxwell especially, as Spaceman Spiff, literally seemed to transform every time he put on his blue suit and darted around the house yelling, "Kiss your protons good-bye!"

And that's why, even though we may not have made much of an impression on most of our neighbors (no one pointed to us and exclaimed, "Look! They're Calvin and Hobbes!"), I'm so glad we made these our costumes this year. My kids will always remember the year they transformed into their favorite comic strip characters.


  1. I love it! No one ever has any idea who my kids are - we usually pick a favorite book character and we apparently like not as popular books - but we always have so much fun and my kids always love their costumes. You guys look great. I love that you and Mike get in on the action too.

  2. Uh, SUPER impressed by your sewing skills! Even if I WANTED to make that, pretty sure I couldn't (as my sewing skills are basically nonexistent). What a fun family costume idea!

  3. How do you manage to all go together? Who is home handing out candy? It's the logistics that always boggled me.

    In California I'd hire a teenager to give out candy while I went out with my two and his Mom and younger siblings. And then our kids would mess up our sets -- one year Scooby Doo and Miss Muffet spent all of Halloween two doors ahead of Shaggy and the spider. And a Shaggy costume isn't much without Scooby Doo. Lucky my kid has a cute smile so he got tons of candy anyway.

    I expect some kind of Harry Potter theme is in your future, and I look forward to the pictures. I mean, I think you can field a quidditch team, right?

  4. I think this is wonderful! And that Hobbes doll you made is amazing. Bravo to you!

  5. I personally despise Halloween and dressing up. But I LOVE how you coordinate your costumes every year. This year is ACES. I love how your kids took the idea and ran with it. It makes it even better.


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