Amanda Mole, Care.com Contributor
Halloween is supposed to be fun, but with the price of kids’ costumes sky rocketing, it’s hard for parents to get excited about a holiday that’s going to cost big bucks. Fortunately, you can easily whip up some fantastic and adorable costumes using things from your own home. Read on to inspire your inner do-it-yourself-er and assemble a costume that both your child and your bank account will love.
1. Christmas or Birthday Present
Stephanie Carbone, from Gainesville, Florida, loved her mother’s creativity when she was a kid. One Halloween she dressed her up as a present for Halloween. “People thought I was adorable,” she remembers. Find a box large enough for your child to fit in and cover it in colorful wrapping paper. Then cut holes for arms and legs. Don’t forget to add some ribbons and bows to complete the package.
2. Grandma or Grandpa
Fridley, Minnesota-based Deanna Leahy is a single mom on a budget. And she knows how to be frugal when it comes to costumes. “Being ‘grandma’ or ‘grandpa’ is easy,” she says. Your child will need some older-looking clothes, such as a robe and slippers or sweater-vest and loose pants. Age their hair by sprinkling it with baby powder, cornstarch or flour. You can also add some props, like a cane, old purse or fake glasses (or real ones with the lenses removed).
3. Closet Monster
What could be scarier than the monster that lives in the closet? To make this simple costume, all you need is some face paint and a bunch of your child’s clothes. Paint your child’s face with one or more dark, creepy colors, and then pin or tie the clothes all over your child’s body.
4. The Leftovers
Sometimes, the scariest things live in your fridge. Remember that mystery meat leftover you found hiding in the back? “This is a hilarious idea you always hear about, but you never see,” says Michelle Justiniano of Austin, Texas. For this costume, you will need a lot of heavy duty aluminum foil. Wrap your child in foil, but get creative with it! Use small pillows or boxes to make the foil look lumpy. Include a “tag” with an expiration date. And to make a unique candy bag, cover a gallon-sized freezer bag with foil to match the costume.
This idea comes from Lauren Strange of Cambridge, Mass. You can easily whip up a zombie costume using things you already have at home. Gather some old clothes and a pair of scissors, and add some rips and tears. Rub cocoa powder or cinnamon onto the clothes to make them look “dirty” and give them a fresh-from-the-grave look. Once your child is dressed in the zombie clothing, rub some of the cinnamon or cocoa powder onto your child’s face and hands. If you want to add a little blood, you can use red lipstick or face paint or, if you’re feeling really crafty, mix some red food coloring with corn syrup for authentic looking “fake blood”. Make a bag that matches the costume by destroying an old pillowcase the same way you did the clothes. Just be sure to check all the “brains” your child brings home before he or she eats them.
6. Fairy Princess
If your little girl wants to be a fairy, you can make a cute costume with clothes she probably already has — just add lots of glitter! Dress her up in a matching shirt, skirt and leggings. Use either glitter or glitter spray to add a shimmer to her hair and clothes. Grab a tiara from the dress-up box or craft one out of pipe cleaners. Make a wand out of a colorful straw and a felt star. If you’re a serious DIYer, you can create a pair of fairy wings with some aluminum wire and panty hose — simply bend the wire in your desired wing shape, and stretch pink panty hose over the wire. Secure ribbon through a loop in the wire so you can tie them around your fairy’s arms. For a finishing touch, fill a clear tube with glitter and tie it around your little one’s neck for instant fairy dust!
7. It’s Raining Cats and Dog
Not only will your child look adorable, but this costume also serves as a little lesson on idioms! To create this look, have your child dress up in a rain coat and rain boots. Then, get a big umbrella and some small plush cats and dogs. Use a hot glue gun to fasten the plush toys to the umbrella. Voila! Your child will be the only one dressed as a figure of speech.
8. Bag of Jellybeans
All that is needed for this costume is a large clear garbage bag, a wide-tipped black permanent marker, small colorful balloons and a bit of ribbon. Cut two holes for your child’s legs at the bottom of the garbage bag. On the back, you can make a nutrition facts label, and on the front of the bag, you can simply write the word “Jellybeans” or come up with your own cute brand name. When you’re ready to go trick-or-treating, have your child step into the bag and then fill it with the blown-up balloons. Loosely secure the top of the bag using some ribbon.
This one’s easy and the kids can help, too! Grab a cardboard box and cut holes for the kids’ arms and head (remove the bottom for their legs). Add one more smaller hole next to where your child’s head will go for the headphones. Spray paint the box black or white, then have your kiddos pick which apps they want on their iPhone costumes. Help them look up app images on the web, print them out and cut them into small squares. Or, you can have the kids draw their own app icons with crayons. Glue foil onto the edges and also at the back of the costume in the shape the iconic Apple logo. Let your kids get in their iPhone, give them headphones to plug in and they’re ready to trick-or-treat!
Also check out Care.com’s DIY Halloween Costume Video Series:
Popcorn Box Costume: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94yKXUyf8VU&feature=BFa&list=UUPOg8KRgp5dE7E3GNwIaZkg
Rock Star Princess Costume: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FIrKzGNLlM&feature=youtu.be
Dinosaur Costume: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6j9AUfJXGA&feature=youtu.be
Ice Cream Cone Costume: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK_k4LYaHJA&feature=youtu.be