Every year, I ponder the question, “What will I be for Halloween this year?” And every year, I scramble at the last minute to come up with something that is an acceptable level of creative, nerdy, and not completely ugly. Don’t judge me, I am a PhD student and I feel schlubby every other day of the year, if I want to be cute on Halloween, I can. However, I am not content to dress up as a ‘sexy’ version of any profession or cartoon or fairy tale character and call that a Halloween costume. I do have some standards, thank you. This year I was faced with both the dilemma of what to be and the knowledge that none of my normal Halloween crew were going to be around.
The club we normally go to was having a zombie themed Halloween party, and a friend and I hit on the idea of doing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. However, this idea was pretty heavy in the effort department. There would be sewing and planning involved, and this year I just wasn’t up for it.
So I was back at square one until I saw a post on the internet about someone selling amigurumi (crocheted stuffed animals) brain slugs attached to headbands. For those of you who don’t know, which is probably everyone, when I say ‘brain slug’ I’m referring to an episode of a cartoon called Futurama in which Earth was invaded by the Brain Slug planet.
Brain slugs would affix themselves to unsuspecting human’s heads and would feed off their brains turning the humans into mindless zombies (see it even fits the theme!!).
The main character, Fry, was the only one immune to the brain slugs because he was so stupid that the brain slugs had nothing to feed off of; the poor things kept starving to death. I figured that my husband and I would have been members of the unenviable population for whom the brain slugs would get plenty of nourishment and I set forth in trying to acquire one of these brain slug head adornments for our Halloween costumes.
Well, it turns out that EVERYONE (well, probably about 100 other people) also wanted a low-rent Halloween costume this year and the store selling them was a tiny shop on Etsy. Sold Out. Boo! But anyone who knows me knows that I don’t give up that easily. Once an idea takes hold, I don’t let it go for ANYTHING. I was poking around this person’s Etsy store in a vain hope that perhaps they had more brain slugs hiding in some nook or crannie and I would be the only store visitor intelligent enough to find this hidden cache of Halloween goods. Surprisingly, this did not happen, but she did gave a web link to the crochet pattern to make the brain slugs yourself! Perfect! Now, I didn’t really know how to crochet, per se, but I can cross-stitch. How much different could it be?
So at this point I approached my husband with my plan. We would wear brain slugs! Cheap Halloween costume! Yay! He was excited and thought it was a great idea so I was like, “Great, I’ll just go learn to crochet and we’ll be set.” and he was like, “Wait. What?” I explained that the person that made these had them in a shop on Etsy and they were sold out, but I had the pattern, which if you think about it is even. better. He was skeptical, but he was committed to the idea of a Brain Slug Halloween. Especially after I said, “You need to be committed to this idea, because I’m not going to learn to crochet to make our Halloween costumes unless this is what you really want to do.” To which he said something about not wanting it to be too much trouble and maybe we could find something else if I was too busy, but I had already moved on to the next phase of my plan.
LEARN TO CROCHET
First, I needed materials. I printed out my brain slug pattern and made my way to Michaels with my get your whole order 20% off coupon. I agonized for about half an hour over which set of shiny metal crochet hooks to purchase (Do I get just the hook it says I need in the pattern or do I buy the set with a bunch of different sizes just in case I love crocheting so much that I want to go make blankets and hats and scarves? Wouldn’t I be silly if I just bought the one hook and then had to come back and buy all the other ones later?! Ooh and this one has a foldy scissors. Ooh but that one has a book, a DVD, tapestry needles, scissors and crochet hooks.)
I finally settled on a pack of 5 crochet hooks of varying sizes.
Then I spent about 30 seconds picking out the cheapest brain sluggy shade of green yarn for the slug itself, and I was off!
I won’t bore you with the minute details of actually learning to crochet, because it mainly consisted of me staring intently and about 30 different YouTube videos of demonstrations of exciting things like the Magic Loop, a Treble Crochet, a Half Double crochet, crocheting 2 in 1.
Ooooooh…. Aaaaah. I know you’re jealous. Either way, it didn’t take as long as I thought it would, and before I knew it (one season of Secret Diary of a Call Girl later) I had the top half of a brain slug.
I was going to visit my friend Marie because we were playing a piano duet for her friend Todd’s wedding. Marie crochets a LOT. She makes blankets and all sorts of fun things and so I proudly brought along my brain slug top to show off how I learned to crochet just from the internet. She glanced at it and then picked it up and look at it curiously.
Me: Oh no. I did it wrong, didn’t I.
Her: Well… show me how you crochet.
Me: [I showed her]
Her: Umm… did the pattern tell you to just crochet through the back loop?
Me: Uh… so that’s not how you do it huh.
Her: No. [She shows me how it's supposed to be done]
Me: OOHHH. Wow, I was doing it wrong.
Her: Yeah, but you did it wrong really consistently so it looks ok.
Me: I can live with that.
We’re not after quality here people, it only has to last for a day.
Fast forward a few weeks, and I had 2 complete brain slugs. They are mistake-laden, and for the life of me I could. not. get the antennae the same freaking length. But for teaching myself to crochet and popping these guys out in less than a month, I think they look darn good!
Us and our brain slugs (I gave Chris the one I screwed up the most)!
And that’s how I learned to crochet to make our Halloween costumes this year.