Mayim Bialik Keeps it Practical

by Katy on March 8, 2013 · 14 comments

I was reading on Kveller this morning about How Family Purim Went Down for the Almost Divorced Mayim Bialik, and I was struck by how the practical (and wealthy) Bialik put the costumes together for her family.

“For both boys, as we have in the past, we secured items for the costume which could be used as “regular clothing” throughout the year. Tintin wears a white collared shirt (we used the boys’ Shabbos shirts), a blue sweater (thank you, expensive but wonderful Hanna Andersson catalogue), brown pedal-pushers (plain brown sweatpants tucked into knee-high sport socks), and dress shoes (Fred wore his Shabbos shoes, Miles wore saddle shoes).”

That’s right, this famous yet practical mother tried her best to pull costumes together from what she already had and clothing that could be worn the rest of the year. Bialik could have easily bought the stars and the moon for her young sons, but instead she went the frugal route to avoid the waste of clothing to be worn once and never touched again.

This reminded me of costumes my family has pulled together throughout the years. The Michael Jackson costume my older son wore a few years ago that included a pair of Goodwill penny loafers that still get used once a week or so, and this skeleton costume my younger son wore in second grade:

The Non-Consumer Advocate: Skeleton Costume

I don’t remember where I got the idea, but the entire costume was constructed using black sweatpants, a black turtleneck and a roll of white contact paper, from which I cut the bone shapes. At the end of the day, we peeled the bones from the garments, and voilá, my son had comfy yet practical clothing that he then wore until he grew out of them. And my older son’s costume? It was from our dress-up bin.

The mindset of working to avoid single use items is not common in our culture. And I’m guessing it’s even more rare in the Hollywood culture. Not only is it expensive to buy something that has that single use, but it’s also entirely wrong. Wrong because of what it took to manufacture these products, but also wrong because this practice clutters our homes with stifling and unnecessary stuff.

So whether it’s Purim, Halloween or simply a Friday, please think twice before you buy single use items.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Starr @ The Kiefer Cottage March 8, 2013 at 10:36 am

My girls, for the past three years, have worn costumes from the dress-up chest we have. My middle child has actually worn the same costume all three years (it’s a pumpkin costume) because she loves it so much (she also sleeps in it, wears it around the house, tries to wear it to preschool).


Katy March 8, 2013 at 10:40 am

My older son was a pumpkin one year, and it was so cute!



Rachel W. March 8, 2013 at 11:15 am

My daughter wore the same costume 2 years in a row – twice. One was a pumpkin costume which was too big for her for her first Halloween but fit perfecting for her second (which was just after she turned 1 year). The second Halloween costume she wore twice was a hand-me-down from a college classmate of mine (who had twin girls about a year older than my daughter). It was a cute poodle skirt costume. One year she was hula dancer – the only thing we had to buy for that was a lei and a grass skirt. One year she was a hobo which was made from clothes she already owned but was outgrowing (with some of my darker eyeshadows smudged on her face and hands for dirt and soot). That remains her favorite costume so far. LOL.


Carol Doane March 8, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Does single use also include wedding dresses?


Elaine in Ark March 11, 2013 at 6:35 am

Because of the sentimental value, usually “no”. Bridesmaids dresses are another matter, though! I like more casual weddings where the bridemaids can wear anything dressy that they already have, or buy something new if they choose. Weddings don’t really have to be such big fancy productions.


claudia March 13, 2013 at 7:50 pm

The wedding dress my mom paid $75 for in 1958 is about to make its third appearance… on my daughter. (I wore it in 1983.)


Rebecca B. A. R. March 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm

I have so much respect for Mayim Bialik. She seems like one of the few Hollywood stars that is down to earth.


cathy March 8, 2013 at 9:37 pm

At our house, costumes are often made from what’s on hand. Those that aren’t, are usually completed with supplies from thrift stores. When my kids were really small, the base for many a costume was a pair of black sweat pants and shirt. I made a tunic out of royal blue felt. When we added a black turtleneck (pulled up over the chin and mouth), hoodie, a headband, and a black sash over the tunic he was a ninja. Take off the hoodie, put on “armor” over the tunic, he’s a knight. Lots of possibilities. Last Halloween, one of my kids dressed as Gandalf. Let me tell you, the perfect use for an old woman’s skirt is a kids’ cloak! We’re defnitely all about both multi-use items and repurposed stuff, too.


Diane March 9, 2013 at 5:40 am

That skeleton costume is the best yet…Pin that idea!


Katie March 9, 2013 at 6:22 am

Contact paper bones – what a great idea! I also love the blonde bangs on the grim reaper. 🙂


Katy March 9, 2013 at 6:28 am

I love those blond bangs as well. These sweet Halloween boys are now 17 and almost 15, so this photo makes me all nostalgic. And you’ll understand how wonderfully shocking it is for me to hear these boys bust out in Japanese.



Katie March 11, 2013 at 8:28 am

Yes! Your sons seem like such cool people. You must be so proud of them.


Claudia March 11, 2013 at 7:56 am

Those bones are perfect. Did you use a template?

Incidentally, I ADORE your staircase.


Katy March 11, 2013 at 8:53 am

I think I freehanded the bones, but it was 6-1/2 years ago, so the details are fuzzy.

And yes, the staircase sold us on the house.



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