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DIY Halloween Costumes
Halloween has become really big business. In 2014, Americans spent more than $11 billion, or more than $100 per family. A big chunk of that money goes to costumes. So before you shell out big bucks to outfit your kids or yourself, consider a do-it-yourself approach.
Of course, if you are handy and/or creative, making your own costumes is likely to be easier. There are lots of ideas online, ranging from basic to elaborate. If you are making a costume for your child, involve the child. Encourage the child to be creative, to have a one-of-a-kind costume. Spend some time brainstorming about ideas for a costume and how you might be able to make that costume together.
Start with things you have lying around, or things for which you might have a use later on. Sweatshirts and sweat pants make excellent foundations for many costumes. You can add a tail and some face paint to create several different kinds of animals. And as a bonus, face paint is much safer than a mask because it does not interfere with the child’s vision.
To help you get started, here are some tried-and-true ideas.
For babies and toddlers. First, let’s be honest: Babies are adorable no matter what. And they can’t eat candy anyway, so taking a baby trick or treating is pretty much a ruse to get more candy for yourself. Stick with something simple. For example, take a hooded sweatshirt and cut doggy ears out of felt. Sew or glue them to the sides of the hood, use non-toxic face paint to create a brown nose, and start hitting up the neighbors for goodies.
Pirates and cowboys. Perennial favorites of little boys – and big ones too. Pirates need a bandanna tied around their head, big gold hoop earrings (check thrift shops), an eye patch and a plastic sword (check dollar stores). Cowboys need jeans, a bandanna tied around their neck and a cowboy hat. You also can make a vest from a paper grocery bag; cut armholes and fringe.
Princesses. Check out your closet or a thrift shop for something frilly that could work for a dress. Use lots of “jewels” – costume jewelry and stick-ons. You can make a tiara from beads and pipe cleaners. Or fold construction paper into a cone and add a sheer scarf, then use bobby pins to keep it in place. If you add wings, your princess becomes a fairy.
Costumes for adults and teens. Older teens and adults usually get a lot of mileage out of being clever. For example, make an artist’s palette out of cardboard, put on an old coat, wrap a towel around your head and put fake blood over one ear, and go as Vincent van Gogh. Or create a costume based on something in the news or on a pun.
Finally, if saving money is your goal, make sure you don’t end up spending more on the components of a make-your-own costume than you would have spent to get one off the shelf.