MMM: Carnival Costumes

Holidays and festivals are an important part of a culture. The way we celebrate, the people we celebrate with and the foods we eat, all make up these special days and create memories. As a child growing up in the United States, I don't think I could name a single kid who didn't enjoy Halloween. Dressing up and trick-or-treating with your friends in the neighborhood was definitely one of the highlights of the year. I tried to emulate that this past October 31st by dressing us all up as a Star Wars family. Although we looked pretty amazing, if I do say so myself, it just wasn't the same. Halloween is an American holiday and that's that.

My daughter will experience a different set of holidays as she grows up in Spain. Even though she will never do the whole Halloween thing, she will get to partake in Carnival (aka "Carnaval"). In short, Carnival is the kick off to the Lent season. Therefore, it is no surprise that it would be celebrated in a predominantly Catholic country. However, there is nothing very religious about it. During this week long celebration you can see parades, extravagant masks, and people dressed up in elaborate costumes. The most famous of all parties takes place in Tenerife and Cádiz.

Regardless of where you are in Spain, one thing is for sure: children have costume parties in school, in which they dress up according to a theme. Violeta's class theme was "Personajes del Castillo", characters from the castle. Although I found the theme to lack imagination, not to mention a little stereotypical in terms of gender roles (princesses and princes), I took the opportunity to participate and be an involved parent. Violeta would be a fairy, and I would make the costume. This was the first time I had made any type of costume from scratch, and I have to say it was not only cheap (the whole thing cost me about 2 euros), but also a lot of fun to make. It didn't turn out half bad either.

Fairy Wings:

1) Using wire, shape four of the following:


2) Using a pair of cheap tights, cover each wing piece and tie knots at the ends:


3) Connect the four pieces in the middle using a ribbon (the most difficult part):
Left over ribbon from Christmas (Use what you have!!!) 
Left over ribbon from Christmas (Use what you have!!)

4) Decorate the wings with whatever you have. Stickers and glitter glue work well. As a former elementary school teacher, I had a lot of gold/silver stars lying around, so we used those all up. Then we used 2 large rubber bands to attach the wings to her arms:


Here is a front view of the final product. I used a straw for the wand, and cut out a star using cardboard. We painted the star yellow and taped it to the top of the straw.

My little fairy! 
My little fairy!

I was afraid that she'd take it off immediately, but to my surprise she didn't want to take it off at all!


~Nicole & Violeta

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