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Can you believe Halloween is only two weeks away? Now none of you mentioned it out loud when I first brought up this 31 days challenge last month, but I know at least a few of you were thinking “Spending freeze? In October? Yeah right! What about HALLOWEEN?” Or something like that.
But I promise I didn’t forget about Halloween. In fact, the girls and I have been working on ideas for this post for weeks! Because let me tell ya, it isn’t always easy to get a 3 and 6 year old to repeatedly cooperate with getting dressed up and posing for pictures…..especially when you are all out of
bribes Lifesavers and unable to purchase more because of said spending freeze.
They were such troopers.
My goal was to come up with as many FREE Halloween costumes as we could possibly think of, using ONLY the things we had at home. I must say, though, if you have to buy something, let it be this face painting kit. I bought ours more than 3 years ago and we have used it for countless costumes, birthday parties, play dates, & church events since and it is still going strong. It is by far the best $17 I have ever spent.
Along the way I came up with six tips that will hopefully help you come up with some free costume ideas of your own, since obviously the things I have laying around my house might not be what you have lying around yours.
1. Raid your kids’ closet
Even “regular” clothes can turn into a costume when you mix them up in a silly way or add different accessories. Most kids have at least a few colorful or eccentric pieces to choose from. Between the clothes in their closet and the box of hand-me-downs in the attic that I am still waiting for Trouble to grow into, I found enough costume-worthy elements for a Movie Star, Rock Star, & Harriet the Spy.
2. Check the dress up bin
Most kids love to play dress up so chances are you’ve already got a stash of ready-made Halloween costumes ready to go. Pair a playtime fire hat with a few other accessories (in this case old boots spray-painted black and a faux fireman’s coat) for a quick & easy fireman’s costume, or pair a red princess dress with a red coat or cape & a basket for a darling Little Red Riding hood ensemble. And if you’ve got a little girl ages 3-8, chances are they probably want to be a princess anyway!
3. Use your sports gear
My girly girls are into dance & gymnastics so leotards & tutus are the only sports gear we’ve got at home. However most little boys would be perfectly content wearing their football, baseball, or soccer gear & dressing up like a sports star.
4. Think outside the box
Husband and I needed to dress up earlier this month for an early grown-ups-only Halloween party with friends. Since our clothes are pretty boring and we don’t have a dress up bin, we had to be a little more creative. We decided to “think outside the box” and go with something that could keep people guessing. I’ll give you a hint: our costume themes are related. Any guesses?
5. Recycle Old Costumes
Who says you can’t re-use an old costume? Too-small costumes can be given new life with leggings or other accessories, or consider trading last year’s costumes with another family.
6. Sew something
You do NOT have to be an expert seamstress to make a Halloween costume. In fact it really only has to look good for one night (or one picture, if we’re being honest with ourselves!) If sewing is too hard, then try hot glue or safety pins or even staples. It’s one night!
For Trouble’s super hero cape, I literally just sewed two pieces of scrap fabric together, then sewed a ribbon to it. It took all of 10 minutes, if that, and required sewing nothing more than a straight line. The ninja costume was one I whipped up for a Ninjago-themed birthday party a few months ago. I made 2 of them in less than an hour–hardly quality craftsmanship, but good enough! (It was a ninja princess costume because a skirt was easier to make than pants) Princess’ Bumble Bee costume, which I actually made last year, was only very slightly more effort. (Get the full Bumblebee Costume tutorial here.)
Of course sometimes the costume you sew ends up something like this one, in which case you can just let people try and guess. Any ideas what Trouble is supposed to be here? 🙂
These were all the costumes we managed to get pictures of before the girls finally flat out refused to help me anymore, but there were several more on my list, including:
- Fairy (dress up dress + butterfly wings + face paint)
- Black Cat (black leotard + black tights + face paint + handmade ears & tail)
- Robot (assorted boxes covered with tin foil)
- Balloon Bouquet (black leotard + black tights + balloons attached all over body)
- Ghost (white sheet with holes for eyes–classic!)
- Pirate (pirate-y clothes + eye patch + bandana)
- Lumberjack (flannel shirt + jeans + suspenders + fake beard)
- Reporter (trench coat + fedora with “press” card inserted in brim + notebook & fake camera)
- Paper Doll (paper doll “dress” with tabs made out of cardboard)
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Do you normally choose homemade or store-bought costumes? What are your kids going to be for Halloween this year? What’s the most creative homemade costume you’ve seen?