My daughter, Tara, wanted to be a hippie for Halloween when she was in the 6th grade in 1994. It was her homage to the 60’s, a decade she had learned to love through me.
Musically, I had raised her right. She adores Frank Sinatra, The Big Bands, The Beatles, but most importantly, The Doors.
Tara had hair down almost to her butt, just like I had had when I was in my teens and into my 20’s. So I made something for her that I had once made for myself back in the late 1960’s: a braided head band.
I bought 3 pair of extra long leather rawhide boot laces and then I bought a bunch of different colored and sized wooden beads.
I began the braiding in the middle of the laces and continued until it fit just perfectly around Tara’s head and across her forehead. Then I tied the laces into a strong, sturdy knot and that left 6 long strands to hang down Tara’s back over her hair.
I then threaded several of the different sized and colored beads onto the laces, placing them at different lengths all along the long strands. Then I put 6 identical beads near the ends of the laces and then put small knots at the end of each lace to keep the beads from falling off.
Tara put her head band on and she loved swinging her long hair around and hearing the clink of the wooden beads. It looked just as neat on her as I remembered mine had looked when I was just a few years older than Tara was now.
I took Tara to Goodwill to buy her 2 pairs of jeans because I was going to turn them both into genuine hippie bell bottom jeans and a hippie jean purse. These were going to be originals, just like the original hippie ones were, before they were mass-produced and sold all over the place after the trends had caught on.
We stopped by Joanne’s to hopefully find some paisley fabric or something that would be similar to what was used in the 1960’s. We got lucky, we found some pretty blue paisley cotton fabric that would be perfect.
Tara picked out which pair of the jeans she wanted to wear and I began to turn them into hippie jeans. I slit the side seams of each leg up about 12″ and then I sewed a triangular-shaped panel of the paisley fabric in between each side seam. That made a home-made hippie bell-bottom pair of jeans.
To the other pair of jeans, I cut off each pant leg by the crotch. Then I cut open the crotch, leaving it flapping open. But then I sewed it completely across to create the bottom of the hippie bag.
Then I took 2 long strips of denim from each of the cut off jeans legs and sewed them into 2 long tubes. I ironed the tubes flat and then I sewed one end of one of the tubes at the side of the waist part of the hippie bag and then I sewed one end of the other tubes at the other side.
Then I threaded the tubes through the belt loops, crossing them at the back of the hippie bag and then I sewed the other ends of the tubes at the other sides of the waist of the hippie bag.
These tubes then made the drawstring handles of the bag. You pulled the bag shut by pulling on both of the handles and then when the hippie bag was shut, the handles were long enough so that you could sling the bag over one shoulder.
Those original hippie bags were great purses, then and now! The back and front pockets were handy to keep things in too and the real working zipper and the waist and the belt loops made interesting details as well.
I still owned my original African dashiki top from the early 1970’s and it kind of fit Tara. It hung down a little bit too long on her but that was a minor detail.
I insisted that she wear a long-sleeved matching top underneath it though because the sleeve openings showed a little too much Tara. But it looked really cool with the hippie jeans and the hippie bag I had made for her.
One finishing touch was the old-fashioned round wire glasses that had once belonged to my dad’s mother. Tara said she could adequately see out of them.
So I bought some blue-colored Saran wrap to cut out matching lens-shaped pieces of the plastic film. Then with a few drops of water, those film pieces fit perfectly over the lenses and stuck like glue. Voila! Instant John Lennon type hippie glasses!
Now for the additional accessories. I still had my Vietnam War POW/MIA bracelet that I molded to better fit Tara’s tiny wrist. I also had a yellow Smiley face button and a peace sign pendant as well that I allowed Tara to borrow.
I bought some face make-up and I painted several 1960-style daisies on Tara’s forehead as well as a peace sign on one cheek.
Tara also wanted the phrase “Make Love, Not War” painted on the other cheek because she knew that had been a popular phrase from that era while protesting the Vietnam War. I also thought that since she was wearing my POW/MIA bracelet, that phrase would be quite appropriate.
When we did a dress rehearsal of everything the day before Halloween, wow, it was like looking into a mirror of the past. Tara looked just like I had so many years earlier!
When Tara went out into the living room to show her costume to her grandmother, she said, “Oh my God, for a second there, I thought you were Jeneane, you look just like she once did!” So that made Tara happy to know that she looked so authentic!
We got up early on Halloween the next day to put Tara’s make-up on and her costume on before I took her to school. Her whole school was going to go trick or treating from classroom to classroom and then after school, Tara was having a Halloween party with her Girl Scout Troop as well.
When I picked her up after her Girl Scout party, Tara was grinning from ear to ear. She had received compliments on her costume from so many people all day long.
Mrs. Toups, the Scout co-leader, told me that she had laughed when she had seen Tara’s hippie bag because that had brought back so many memories of her and her older sisters making their own hippie bags too out of old pairs of jeans in the 1960’s.
However, Mrs. McCollom, Tara’s other Scout leader, took me aside to primly tell me that she did not find it at all appropriate that Tara had “Make Love, Not War” printed on her cheek.
I had to refrain from rolling my eyes at her. If I squinted hard enough, I always bet to myself that I could just about literally see the stick hanging out of that woman’s ass.
I replied to her that Tara had wanted to portray a genuine hippie and that is something that genuine hippies often said. I told her that perhaps she had not noticed but Tara was wearing my original POW/MIA bracelet and so that phrase on her cheek was even more appropriate, in my humble opinion. I then left before she got a chance to say anything else.
Tara had so much fun being a hippie and I had had so much fun helping to put her costume together. She still has her braided head band too! And I still have my Smiley face button, my peace sign pendant and my POW/MIA bracelet. Who knows? Maybe my granddaughter Evvie will want to be a hippie too in a few more years?