Simple Costume Ideas

Costumes can be fun to buy, but can be pricey and add up. They can also be pieces that last a lifetime if you can sew (I cannot). So to get around BOTH of these issues, I have turned to one type of item as the base for many of our Halloween costumes – sweatsuits. Thankfully the past three years costumes have lent themselves to this style, so it really has worked to my advantage. If she ever wants to be a princess though, I’ll have to rethink my game plan.

The first reason I love using sweatsuits as the foundation of any costume is because Halloween usually tends to be pretty chilly. Instead of taking away from the outfit with a jacket or sweater, the layer of warmth is already built in – genius. A second reason that I love the sweatsuit route, is because it makes the costume more unique and stand out in its own way. Another reason I love it, is because sometimes it proves to be a bit cheaper in cost, thus allowing me to spend more on the accessories that accompany it. Lastly, and probably my favorite reason, is because the sweatsuits can be then recycled as normal day-today clothing.

In order to carry out my sweatsuit style Halloween costume, I usually turn to Amazon. Sometimes you aren’t as lucky to find a matching sweatsuit in the color that you need, but a few quick searches (sometimes even in the opposite gender’s section) usually turns up exactly what you are looking for. A few years ago my daughter was set on being “a pig with spots” (direct quote). She knew for months that that was what she wanted to be, so while I put off finding the right costume, I finally decided she wasn’t wavering and went with it. Enter: our first sweatsuit based costume. Using a pink sweatshirt and pants I found on Amazon, I adhered spots of brown felt all over it with fabric glue, topped her off with a pig nose, ears, and tail, and voilá a pig was spots was created.

Boo at the Zoo – 2018

The following year she wanted to be a walrus. Thankfully this particular interest really lent itself to a puffy oversized look, and again a sweatsuit fit the bill perfectly. Using a brown one this time, we accessorized with an adorable felt walrus mask I found on Etsy. Unfortunately the shop I purchased ours from seems to have closed, however you can find similar felt masks here. To create her flippers, we used a cheap pair of black gloves, and fastened felt to them.

Walrus at the garden center scavenger hunt – 2019

This year was our third sweatsuit based costume. She decided she wanted to be Winnie the Pooh (her little sister accompanied her as Piglet). Using Amazon a third time, I was able to find a yellow sweatshirt, sweatpants, and a plain red T-shirt. To finish it off we bought an inexpensive Winnie the Pooh headband for the ears, and painted a little nose on her face using some black eyeliner.

Winnie the Pooh (and Piglet) – 2020

Don’t get me wrong. We have our fair share of ready to go costumes and outfits that the girls love to dress up in on any giving Tuesday. In fact, this week is one of the best times to stock up on costumes for dress up or even next year. One of my favorite after Halloween sales is at Hannah Andersson. The costume accessories are quality and can be reimagined with a set of PJs, sweatsuit, or other clothing. They are also very classic looking, and seem like the sort of thing you’ll have for your kids kids. A second favorite spot to stock up for the following year is the moms Mecca – Target. I have usually done well in the past loading up line reduced cob webs, strobe lights, etc. Sometimes even when you aren’t sure why, picking up some of these items to have on hand helps with inspiration for future costume ideas to come. I hope you and your family had a sweet and safe Halloween celebration this year, and are able to create some of your own sweatsuit based costumes using my tips above!

Clifton Mini Guide

Clifton is small town charm nestled within surrounding suburban communities. While the downtown part is small, the charm is in abundance. From the historic homes on Main Street to the grand trees and rolling hills – Clifton provides the rural experience and only is a short distance for most of the DMV.

One of our favorite stops in Clifton is the local Italian spot, Trattoria Villagio. The left side of the restaurant is an upscale, rustic spot that exudes romantic vibes. Tucked behind the cozy tables and bar is an outdoor courtyard. There in the (usual) winter they open an outdoor lounge, equipped with heaters, blankets, and movies on the screen. The right set of doors to Trattoria Villagio is Little Villagio – an Italian market and take out pizza spot. One of our favorite things to do is grab a pie from Little Villagio and drive up the road to Paradise Springs Winery. If picnicking is your style, ask Little Villagio for plastic ware and plates with your order. Fun fact: Trattoria Villagio and 2 Silos Brewing in Manassas are affiliated with one another (their logos are on the takeout bags).

If an upscale meal is your plan, another option is Trummers on Main. This American Bistro is a great spot for brunch and dinner alike. Their menu ranges in price and variety, with items like baked flounder, hand cut pasta, and prime rib. Their dessert menu is also worth a peek if you have the room, most notably their table side s’mores that your roast yourself!

If the experience you are looking for is 21+, try a wine tasting at The Wine Attic located next door to Trattoria Villagio. Up the set of stairs in, the attic, you’ll find an expansive variety of wines and other adult beverages. If tasting from home is more of your comfort, they also provide curbside pickup and delivery for a 10 mile surrounding area.

Most notably our favorite spot is Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot. Located in the old train station, this outdoor creamery hits the sweet spot – pun intended. In addition to their well known ice cream and milkshakes, is their sandwich and hotdog menu. Fun fact #2: Peterson’s has converted an old bus into a walk up ice cream spot at 2 Silos Brewery.

Around the corner and across the street from Peterson’s, is a large field and playground that is perfect for littles to run off their sugar high. Another spot to see with little ones is the red train car located next to the tracks that run directly through town. Both of these places add a little small town magic to any Clifton outing.

Up the road from Main Street is Paradise Springs Winery. This gorgeous property gets very busy as it is one of the closer wineries to more neighboring suburban and urban areas. However, the property is expansive enough that social distancing is possible. We recently went on a Wednesday evening for dinner and it was the perfect time to be there. Paradise Springs is dog and family friendly, however the outdoor porch is adults only. If you can, try to plan an outing soon as the trees in Clifton are gorgeous right now and provide the perfect backdrop for a fall outing.

For the adventurous and outdoorsy (or those who want to earn their keep at any of the aforementioned spots), check out Hemlock Overlook Regional Park. The grade descending down towards the river can be steep and muddy, and those parallel to the river are a bit narrow. With that said, it is can be an easy hike for the family that can be varied in length.

Another spot to hike nearby is the Bull Run Occoquan Trail. Similar to Hemlock, trails vary in difficulty and length. It is also another popular spot for hikers and canoe launching, however the trails are wide and it is easy to keep your distance from others.

While these are just a few of the places we love to visit when we go to Clifton, there are other options as well. Horse Hippie is a free trade retailer, Clifton Café for a European style bistro experience, Belle Jar for interior design inspiration and antiques, and The Main Street Pub. Hopefully this mini guide provides you with ideas for your next outing and shows you that sometimes small towns can provide big memories.

Leesburg Mini Guide

One of our favorite places to spend the weekends is out and about in Leesburg. Whether it is at some of their gorgeous wineries or breweries, grabbing cappuccinos at Shoe’s, treasure hunting at antique or reclaimed materials places, or going for a hike – it is truly filled with countless opportunities for family fun and adventure.

Our first stop on our outing today was to my favorite – the Lucketts Store. We were able to get there a little after open and while the parking lot was full, we were able to treasure hunt in the outdoor shops and spaces there. While the inside is a trove of You Might Find It, we are still trying to avoid non essential indoor spaces as much as possible so we remained on the grounds outside. We love this place for a lot of reasons, but especially because of the countless picture opportunities for holiday cards. It is a popular spot for this however, so timing it is crucial to avoid lines. Across the street from the shop is the Lucketts Community Park, which boasted a large, flat, grassy area, huge playground, and picnic pavilion. Surrounding and nearby are a few other antique spots, as well as Roots 657 which has good food and artisan snacks, wines, and beer.

@gardenhatherings space at the store
@gardenhatherings space at the store
@gardenhatherings space at the store
@gardenhatherings space at the store

After we left the shop, we went up the road about two minutes to Brossman’s Farm. There, we set out to select our pumpkin for Halloween and some local jam. It reminded us of the countless farm stands up in Long Island Wine Country; and while we normally opt for one of the local grocer deals of 2/$10, this stop was part of our outing itinerary and helped support the local farming community. Located right on Route 15, you can’t miss this bountiful, open air farm stand.

Around the corner about two miles from Brossman’s, is the Barnhouse Brewery. We had never been to this particular brewery before today, and it is now one of our new favorites. The grounds are well maintained, had clean facilities, and was a quiet alternative to some of the larger ones (which we also love but have been avoiding throughout the pandemic) nearby. Most importantly though the beer was delicious. We sampled a few of the brews such as their IPAs, Oktoberfest, and Lager. All were perfect and paired well with our picnic and the cloudless, blue sky day that we had.

Our last stop on our outing out west was to visit the grounds at Morven Park. Perfect for a fall day, you could spend hours walking around the gardens and grounds of the mansion, watching the horses practice their jumps in the countless fields, or even enjoy a hike. You can even pack a picnic as the mansion parking lot had a handful of picnic tables – each very spaced out from the next. In normal times, you are able to visit and your the inside of the mansion, but for now the outside has plenty to do and see.

Since we were already pushing nap time we were unable to make it downtown Leesburg for a coffee from Shoes Cup and Cork or grab tacos from Señor Ramon Taqueria – maybe next time.