When I was a mom of two preschoolers, I remember feeling an extreme pressure to ‘create traditions’ for my family. It seemed everywhere I turned, I felt bombarded with supermoms who had a 100 family traditions for each  season of the year.

I can remember scouring the internet in an attempt to not fail my children and have them reach the age of 18 and not have any ‘seasonal family traditions’ that mark their childhood memories.

It seems that most of my attempts to create family traditions ended in me being seriously disappointed. Often I would find myself stressed out trying to ‘create’ a beautiful moment for my children to remember, and it would end with me being disappointed and the kids being uninterested.

I wish that someone had been there five years ago to tell me… “Relax momma. It happens naturally. The traditions just evolve over time as you live life together as a family. Trust the promise of Proverbs 3:5-6, ‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.'”

Now with a nine year old and a soon to be eight year old, I realize that the family traditions that my kids enjoy the most did not start out as something that I claimed as a ‘family tradition’ the first time they occurred.

This revelation has helped me take pressure off of myself as a mom. No longer do I try to be the ‘supermoms’ that I see in magazines or read about on blogs. I am not like any other mom in the world. My family is uniquely my family.

Most of what I would call our ‘family traditions’ simply started from our doing something together naturally as a family and then realizing in that moment that we all LOVED it and looked forward to doing it again.

  • Eating hot dogs every Friday night.  Who knew kids could be so easy to please.
  • Spending an entire day watching Star Wars or Narnia movies together.  I must admit that I am not a fan of these days…but if sitting on the couch all day makes me a supermom…I can do it.
  • Laying in the bed together reading books on a summer afternoon.  Our summer book-a-thons will likely not last many more years, but I savor each afternoon that the kids hop in bed with me and they let me read to them out of a picture book.
  • Surprise impromptu pajama rides in the car drinking hot cocoa and looking at lights in our Holiday Specs (if you do not own these…you need to go order some immediately…seriously…for a few bucks you will be crowned Mom of the Year this Christmas)
  • Secretly planning our Halloween costumes together as a family. Well…one particular family member can’t do secrets…but we at least it is fun trying to keep it secret.

The first year we dressed up together, I really thought that it was a one-time thing. Then the next year rolled around and when the costumes rolled out in Target the kids began asking “What are we going to dress up as this year?”

Having the classic family costumes of Scooby-Doo and Star Wars behind us, I just knew that there would not be a third year of dressing up together. I assumed that the kids had outgrown wanting mom and dad to dress up with them.

Rule Number 1012 in parenting. Let your kids be kids as long as you can and don’t miss an opportunity to be a kid with them.

Year three proved to be the most fun and creative year of all in our dressing up together as a family. Hours of planning and creating all paid off as we once again experienced the joy of a fun ‘accidental’ family tradition.

What started off with Caleb saying “I want to be Captain America,” turned into a mission to convince him that he wouldn’t want to be one of the million Captain Americas walking around the streets of Tulsa on October 31st.

Then we stumbled across pictures of Lego Minifigure Costumes and he was torn between the two. Then came the ‘AhHa” moment of combining the two. The rest of the costumes evolved from there.

So many people have asked us, “How did you make those?”

I wish I had taken more pictures to document the evolution of the costumes…I have a few. We followed a few different instructions we found online and adjusted them and added our own ideas.

We hope that these pictures will inspire you to start your own family traditions…no pressure though. Really.

The magic starts with a cement form from a Home Improvement store. We chose to use the large diameter size for all but Batgirl…who has a much smaller head. We read up on some other instructions online as to how tall to make the head. Some people got technical and had formulas to follow. Not into all of that.  We chose to just measure each of our heads from top of forehead to chin and leave ‘a little on top and bottom.’ This worked well for us.

Next we measured out the Styrofoam.

A small handsaw was used to cut the circles (4 large and 2 small for each head) out of the Styrofoam. A large Styrofoam circle was placed snuggly in the top and bottom of the form. To create the signature rounded off look of the minifigure head, a second large circle was glued (we used wood glue) to the top and bottom. Then, a little sawing and sandpapering created the rounded edges. The two small circles were glued together and glued to the top to create the ‘nub’ on the top of the head. We did choose to follow online suggestions to cover the Styrofoam in dry wall compound. Once the compound dried, we smoothed it out with sandpaper and this helped to get a smoother paint surface. Once everything was dry, we guesstimated the size of hole in the bottom we would need for each of us.

I had intended to take great pictures to remember the creating process…that didn’t happen. If I had anticipated so many people asking us “how did you do that?” I would have taken pictures of each step. After we got the shape of the heads just right, we spent our evenings in this room painting away. We used acrylic paint (spray paint will dissolve the foam) and cut out some of the facial features (like the mouths and glasses) and gave everything a coat of mod podge to add shine.  This did cause some bubbling of the cardboard, but nothing about the costumes were perfect and we loved the shiny look.

The bodies were made out of cardboard and simply cut and shaped with duct tape then painted and accented with paper details that were Mod Podged onto the cardbard. Holes were cut for arms and head. Joe made one set of legs and once we realized how difficult these were to walk in, we decided to have Batgirl just wear tights and cool boots.  Batgirl loved that this meant a shopping trip for new boots.  I might add here too that we read online where some people added Styrofoam to the inside to keep the heads from tipping forward.  We didn’t take the time to do this. You can see in this picture that Joe did rid some cardboard on the inside to help with the tipping.  The heads still tipped some, so you might try the idea of sizing the Lego heads to each person’s head by glueing pieces of Styrofoam on the inside if you want a more perfect fit.

I really wanted the signature Lego ‘hands.’ I stayed up way too late one night cutting Parmesan cheese containers and covered them with yellow duct tape. These looked great and were easy for the kids to manipulate…but they were not very durable. Good thing they were only needed for one night.

A toy shield and a black cape added the finishing touches. Joe had fun creating the Batgirl ears. He actually shaped a piece of the larger cement form with ears and eye holes. He fit this piece around the small cement form we used for the Batgirl head. He glued the two pieces together. It was worth the extra work because it gave the head incredible detail.

We weren’t excited about making two more bodies out of cardboard and were even less excited about the thought of having to walk around in cardboard, so I decided to make us iron on tshirts that read “It’s Hip to Be Square” and added the Bible reference 2 Corinthians 5:16 (which says “So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!”)

Our dog Pistol Pete, had to endure a cardboard Lego costume… If we could have done anything differently, we would have made bigger eye holes for all of us. What you sacrifice in visibility, you get in coolness. I guess it is a matter of what is more important to you!

An accidental family tradition…my favorite kind.

Halloween 2009

Halloween 2010

Dressing up and begging for candy 2010