• Erin P. Griffith

How and why I turned my kids into Jawas for Halloween.

No, no no no no no! This was my response when my kids told me they wanted to be "Elsa" and "Batman" for Halloween. "Where is the imagination? Where's the creativity?!" Truthfully, they dress up as Elsa and Batman a few times a week because, guess what, we were Elsa and Batman for Halloween two years ago.

So I told them that this Halloween it's mommy's turn to pick and make their costumes. I told them that next year, they can be whatever they want. But for this single solitary Halloween, mommy gets to pick.

I decided to make my kids Jawas. Why Jawas from Star Wars, you ask? Well, first of all, my daughter has a voice with the volume and frequency of a Jawa. I kid you not. When she yells "Utini!" it takes you back to the old days in the deserts of Tatooine (ah memories)! Secondly, what's more adorable that a couple of kids dressed as desert junk collectors? Nothing. You're damn right!

So, I found a vintage star wars costume pattern (1981-ish?) on Etsy and bought it. Honestly, any "wizard robe" costume pattern would have worked just as well...but I only get this Halloween, so I am going the extra mile. Plus, if you look, the pattern only cost $4 in 1981. Let's take a minute to remember when things only cost 4$...hmmm...those were good times...goooooood times.

Anyway, I then bought black morph suits. These were probably my kids favorite part of their costume, because let's face it, the empty space, japanese horror flick effect they have is pretty awesome. They ran around in these so much, I was afraid that they were going to wear holes in the feet before halloween.

Now, I am skilled enough to make the Jawa robes myself, but I had some time issues (a lack of any holidays or snow days, parent/teacher conferences, staff meetings,IEP/ETR meetings, grade level meetings, science department meetings, professional development meetings, meetings about other meetings that we will meet about later, multiple birthday parties, gymnastics etc) So, I shipped the Star Wars pattern off to my mother, who is stuck at home with my dad while he goes through chemo and radiation. She skillfully completed the robes in a few days, where it would have taken me weeks due to the constant meetings and interruptions.

Now, the robes were actually the easy part of the whole costume (no hemming required, its better for the costume if the hems are torn up and stringy to add to the "desert scavenger" vibe. The hood is separate which is kind of a pain, but if you are going for "authenticity" the costumes in the movies had separate hoods. Of course the glowy eyes in the movie were duct taped to the actors heads as well, so "authenticity" is kind of a pick and choose kind of thing in this case. The challenging part was the eyes. How does one make eyes that glow without duct taping them to your child's head?

Well I looked at a couple of tutorials on youtube and a few different web pages and, in my usual, "Yeah, your ideas are really cool, but I am going to go ahead and screw with them, combine them with other ideas and create a Frankenstein style monster out of it." way I have, I made it my own.

Now, you can buy LEDs with an attached battery pack on ebay. They are marketed as "Jawa Eyes" -no, I am not kidding. Instead, I went with a lower budget option. Instead, I popped the backs off of 4 LED tea lights using a small screwdriver. The electronics, switch, and the LED are all on the back portion of the tealights, which was AWESOME!

Then, I took a 5$ hockey mask from Walmart and drilled two holes under the eyes making sure that the hole was big enough for the LED to fit into the hole. Next, I hot-glued the back of the LED candle to the mask with the LED poking through.

The next step involved giving the eyes the classic JAWA round look. For this, I went to Meijer (because they have a huge selection of quarter machines) and got 4 little toys. I gave the toys to my kids (they were little parachute monsters-so they were thrilled); because, what I wanted was the little plastic bubble they came in. I threw the lids away and sanded the inside of each bubble so that they were opaque enough that you could not see the LED itself inside. Roughing up the inside scatters the light and hides the electronics. I hot glued the bubbles over LEDs.

I ended up cutting the hockey masks in half under the nose because the masks were for adults and were just too large for my kids faces. They were still a bit wide, but I simply tightened them up to hug their heads a little more. The plastic was pretty soft and cut easily with a pair of utility sheers.

Finally, I covered the whole mask with black felt so that it blended in and disappeared in the hood. Some tutorials used fur to cover the mask and that is awesome as well, I just had black felt and used that. I also made little flaps out of the felt to cushion the kids faces against the LEDs. After a dry run, I also added felt bumpers to the mask to push the mask away from the kids faces a bit more to make it more comfortable.

Overall, the mask was a jimmy-rigged hot mess, but worked perfectly for the effect that I wanted.

My kids also have a large remote control inflateable R2D2 that they recieved as a christmas gift a few years ago. I wanted to incorporate this into the whole costume because it was expensive and came from Great Britain. My mother came through again with my old ramshackled Radio-Flyer wagon that had a wood crate attached to the bed and wheels (the side slats having rotted into the ether years ago). It was already painted black and was as stable as Brittany Spears during 2007. I threw R2D2 in there and threw a piece of netting from the party store over him and BAM! My Jawas had a smooth ride and a prisoner.

Their costumes were awesome and they recieved lots of attention at all of the Halloween events we attended. They even met a couple of cos players at an event and had their pictures taken with them.

The only time they really seemed truly annoyed was on beggars night. They were trying to keep their trick or treat flow going and people kept stopping and asking to have their pictures taken with them or just to take their pictures period.

They would go up to houses and say "Trick or Treat!" and the candy-giver would yell, "stay right there kids" The person would open the door to the house and yell "Jimmy, Irene, get out here and look at this! " Then my kiddos would have to wait for Irene and Jimmy to come out in order to get their dum dum lollypops and kit kats. Abby finally threw her little hands up and said "No mo' pictures mama! I'm seewious!" and she pointed her little Jawa finger at me and stormed off to another house. There is something to be said for having a good flow going on trick-or-treat night.

Anyway, I turned my kids into Jawas for halloween this year because of reasons. My mother and I made the costumes and it was awesome! My kids were minor celebrities during trick or treat and won a costume contest. Aaaaaand next year I will buy $30 costumes from some big box store and they will most likely be a princess and a super hero. But I had this one Halloween and it was brilliant!



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