how to send a boy to school in early american costume

The school that my boys attend hosts a festival each year celebrating what they are studying in history.   This year Ryan’s 4th grade class presented A Colonial Holiday Ball.

4th grade boy in American colonist costume

As a fifth year parent in the school, I know to be prepared.   It is usually best to find out BEFORE Halloween what the festival theme will be and find a costume at that time.   Costume availability is often limited after Halloween and I don’t want to be stuck last minute MAKING a costume.


When we found out that Ryan would be a Colonist, blog-Stedman Googled until he found suitable clothing.

All Early American settlers wore flimsy cotton vests fitted with lace trimmed polyester sleeves.

Betsy Ross would not have approved.

I realized that I needed Betsy Ross when it was noted that our internet purchase had arrived defective.   One of the sleeves was missing a major seam and was INSIDE OUT.

colonist costume needs repair

Oh lordy.

It was going to be up to me to solve this issue and ordering another costume was out of the question.   I decided to ignore the INSIDE OUT thing and just try to replace the missing seam.

Out comes the 18 year old BRAND NEW sewing machine!

sewing machine and colonist costume in need of repair

Thankfully, the machine was already threaded with beige thread including the bobbin.

That saved me three hours of manual reading.

Three wiggly seams later and I had completed the sleeve.   It was not pretty.   It was good-enough.

Good-enough is awesome.

I searched the world over for socks that would be long enough in the boy and men departments without luck.   I ended up trying to sneak one of my pair of white knee socks into the costume, but Ryan was on to me.   It some serious convincing to get him to wear girl socks.

He also questioned the lace trim.   It took some serious convincing to get him to wear a girl shirt.

Are you SURE that I don’t look like a girl?

It took some serious convincing for him to be assured that no self-respecting Colonial GIRL would wear this manly attire.

And then his 4 year old brother started the chant of…




His 4 year old brother was met with swift justice ending in room extraction to a time-out location.

And then his 7 year old brother started calling him Mr. Long Socks.

long suffering fourth grader in colonist costume with long socks

His 7 year old brother was met with swift justice…well, not really because I was laughing too hard.

But if you don’t have the time or creativity to make one of these costumes on your own, this Boy’s Colonial Aristocrat Costume on Blue Digger is perfect. In fact, they have a few different colonial costume options for both boys and girls!

And if you are looking for other every day costume ideas, check out these Dress Up America costumes!


  1. yeah.. I dont think Landry would have EVER worn that.. maybe I need to re think this.a nd BTW you really should tell 1st year parents to start looking for costumes!!!!

  2. Fantastic story! I remember when my son was 10, and he had to dress up like the Pope. I made a “dress” (his words) and decorated it to look like the Pope’s robes…he was mortified when he had to try it on. He did wear it at school, and enjoyed all the attention, but the convincing part was just like you described.

    Thank you for the giggle today.

  3. He looks adorable! I might have gotten my 8 year old into it but my 6 year old would have taken one look at the lace and run in fear. He thinks the shirt looks pink in the photos as well. BUt I can’t get him to wear a kilt to Ren Fest anymore despite the fact that all 3 adult males with us are wearing them. “No skirts Mama. Boys don’t wear skirts”

    But apparently MEN do.

  4. Mr. Longstocking to you.
    Holly, all I can think of is the Neil Gaiman book – Anansi Boys. There is a scene where a boy goes to school dressed as his favorite president for Presidents Day. And now you must read it to discover why I am cracking up right now. Hope the “festival” is fun and Ryan comes home with a big bag of candy.
    Seriously, read it.

  5. Well he looks great…even if he is partly miserable about this ‘girly’ attire 😀

    I think the name ‘Mr. Long Socks’ is going to keep me laughing for a very long time! *G*

  6. I never figured the terms “new” and “18 years old” could work together so well. 🙂 He’s a very good sport!

    My youngest was Little Bo Peep for Halloween, and someone asked me if she was Betsy Ross!

  7. He he! I know the feeling! I hate when we have to come up with a costume at the last minute, but we all seem to pull it off! I think he looks great! You did an awesome job! 🙂

  8. I have allergic reactions to sewing materials. It’s very serious. You can’t know how impressed I am with women who are brave enough to use a sewing MACHINE. I recently tried to sew a button back on a jacket (something I normally cure with a safety pin) and it took me 20 minutes just to thread the needle. Many 4 letter words were used. You have throughly intimidated and impressed me with your sewing abilities. Great post!

  9. I love that last picture of your son. He has a look on his face that says, “I will get you for this someday!” so funny. Good for you for sewing it, my machine has been gathering dust!

  10. On Friday, Child A needs to go school as a Brahmin nomad.

    I think that means I send him to school with a camel.

    I don’t have a camel.

    A cat will have to do.

  11. That is so funny! At least you had time to prepare. Nothing like getting the memo at 7pm that they need a Greek costume by tomorrow.

  12. Oh dear me, this was hilarious. Here from blogfrog and happy to follow. You made me smile too many times not to do so!

  13. He looks adorable! Love the dialog. Following from Mom Loop.

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