Home truly is where the heart of everything begins, including memorable homemade Halloween costumes.
There are many things that make the holiday season great for individuals and families; Halloween stands at the starting gate of the happiest times of the year, especially in the world of childhood.
Some of the stress of the ghost and ghoulie holiday revolves around the question of what the children are going to wear. In many cases out of last minute desperation a harried late night trip to the store yields a costume that is neither the right character, nor the right price.
By making a homemade Halloween costume, both the problems of last minute searches and endless mind changes of your fickle 5-year old will become a memory of Halloween’s past. The fun of creating a costume together will also become a cherished tradition remembered with fondness for years to come.
Where’s The Duct Tape?
If you plan to make the costume yourself an ounce of planning is worth a pound of prevention. Start making your plans early, so that the million mind changes most kids experience don’t land in the middle of costume creation. Make sure you set a deadline for your child to pick a costume by so that you aren't stuck with last-minute changes. Be clear that you won't allow any major changes after this deadline, so your child should be sure that they are confident in their decision before sharing it.
Don’t let the idea of doing it yourself scare you, after all it is the costume that should be scary, not the prospect of creating it. There are a few basic supplies you will find useful no matter what type of costume you choose to make. A short list of necessary items for do-it-yourself costumes 101 are: a needle and thread, tape, yarn or string, face paints or at least a wide variety of make-up dedicated for Halloween use, and a variety of dress-up clothes.
The exact supplies you will need depend of course on what your child chooses to be. Help him or her decide well in advance and keep their decision firm by including them in the process of making the costume. Much like dinner, your kids are more likely to really enjoy the end result if they are included in the process of creation.
You may even be able to re-purpose last year's Halloween costume into something totally new. Refreshing an old costume can turn it into something even better than what it was last year! The ideas you can come up with are only limited by your and your child's creativity. The important things are to make the costume look the part, and to make it hold up. The last thing you want is for your child's costume to fall apart in the middle of trick-or-treating!
The following are a few homemade Halloween costumes that are sure to please.
Classic Halloween Characters
A few costumes are as classically Halloween as a ghost, mummy, witch, or zombie.
Ghosts are among the easiest homemade costumes to create. For a basic ghost take a large white sheet and cut out eye holes to allow your child to see. There are a few obvious draw backs with this simple costume. It falls off easily, and it is difficult to see out of the small eye holes. It is also not very creative or fun. To remedy these problems and add a bit of pizzazz try altering the basic plan. You can use just about any color sheet and give your specter a personality all its own. Instead of eye holes try cutting a hole large enough for your child’s head to poke through. You can paint your child’s face white and add a bit of makeup in keeping with the chosen ghostly persona. Your child can be the ghost of a movie star or a politician.
The ill fit of a bed sheet is easily remedied with the addition of a belt. Don’t settle for a standard belt; try chains, or ropes, or vines. Anything will do; just think of the personality your ghost is trying to portray. In addition to a belt, a few simple stitches may go a long way to helping the sheet fit properly.
Homemade Halloween Costumes
Not So Wicked Witch
A witch is always fun and with certain popular books featuring witches and wizards, the stereotypical witch with a black pointed hat and shoes is no longer standard fare. Sit down with your child and discuss what he or she thinks a witch or wizard would wear. The clothes really aren’t as important as the props. The wand or broomstick will make almost any outfit work. Create a perfect wand by going on a nature walk and finding that perfect stick. A broom can be easily made with a long stick or branch and some straw.
Mummy anyone? First of all don’t be tempted to use toilet paper. It is long and white and looks like a great item to create bandages, but it won’t stand up to the wrapping process. Make your own wrappings using an old bed sheet. You can also find inexpensive sheets at almost any second hand shop that make great mummy wrappings. Depending on the size of your child you will most likely need more than one sheet. Start out by making the rags. Have your child help by ripping the sheets with you. Leave the strips as long as possible, you can cut them later and you use them if needed. It is also wise to have an extra sheet just in case you need more rags when you get dressed. It is always better to over budget on rags.
When making the costume it will help if your child wears something white or at least light colored as a base layer. Begin the wrapping process early on Halloween because it may take a long time. With your pile of rags and safety pins begin wrapping. Don’t worry about frayed edges or knots it will add to the authenticity. Overlap edges and start with the extremities. When you are finished add any stains or personal effects to finish off your desired look.
Zombies are definitely a classic, and very easy to create. One of the best things about being a zombie is that it requires very little of what you don’t have on hand. Zombies are the un-dead, so they can wear anything, as long as it is properly ripped, torn, and soiled so as to resemble a sudden demise and burial. This is a great way to get rid of clothes that are ready to be retired from your child’s wardrobe. The fun begins when you tell your child to wear their costume and literally go roll in the dirt. Resist all urges to make them stop, or to launder the soiled items! The dirt will really sell the zombie look. On Halloween put on the costume, dirt and all, then use make-up to complete the look. Remember the point of this make-up is to create great big black hollow-looking eyes, sunken cheeks, and of course a smear of dirt.
If your child is not excited by classic Halloween favorites then shop the current trends. Costumes for pirates, princesses, popular cartoons, movie characters and sports heroes are very easy to create at home.
All you need for a sports figure in most cases is a jersey. If your child is a fan you may already have this in your possession. Add the necessary padding, wigs, and ball to complete the look.
Princesses are a bit trickier. If your little one has a particular princess that she loves, then you may need to shop, or negotiate carefully. If you can convince her to wear her chosen princess’s casual look then your job is much easier. A peasant’s gown with a cute apron is all that is needed; you can also add a crown.
Pirates are very much the rage in children’s toys and movies today. This is good news for do-it-yourself costumes. All you need is a T-shirt and a pair of pants that can be cut ragged across the bottom. Add the accessories and you have an instant Black Beard. To make a belt, cut out a large cardboard rectangle. Inside the rectangle cut out two smaller ones, leaving a space in the middle between the two. Cover this with tin foil and thread it onto a belt. Fasten the belt in the back with the tinfoil and buckle in the front to complete the look. Use a bandana on the head and some eye-liner on the face to create facial hair in your desired shape. Wala, instant pirate.
For those little NASCAR fans, try making your own race car. This is not as difficult as it may seem. Start out with a box. Any size will do, but a box that is large enough for your child to stand inside, but small enough to carry without being too bulky is best. Xerox boxes are ideal. Using paint, stickers, and markers decorate your box so that it looks like your favorite car. Use extra cardboard to add details like fins, a steering wheel, a dashboard, or fenders. Once the box has been transformed into the car of your child’s dreams remove the bottom with a box cutter so your child can stand inside of it. To help your child carry the car attach two lengths of ribbons from the front and back of the car long enough to rest comfortably on your child’s shoulders yet let the car hang around the waist. Add a few sponsor logos, driving gloves and a ball cap and you are all set.
Homemade Halloween Costumes
Children everywhere love the movie Ratatouille. There are two very easy costumes from this movie that you and your child can create. For the rodent star you can use the face paints to make a nose and whiskers, complete the look with grey sweats. For the little rat hands use pink or white gloves. What rat would be complete without a tail? This is not a problem, to create a tail use a bit of rope. Tie a knot near the end and fray it just a little.
Ears are also necessary. With the use of a headband, a bit of heavy construction paper this is not a problem. Cut two circles out of grey paper and two smaller ones from pink. Glue the pink circles inside the grey ones. To create a bit of three dimension shape, cut a slit to the center and then over lap the ends and glue them in place. Attach the ears to the head band using duct tape (it’s grey and very strong) or hot glue. Other animal costumes are just as easily created. Using face paints, and clothing colored like the animal’s coat you can create almost any animal. Stripes and spots are easily added with a bit of scrap fabric and a needle. If you don’t sew, you can still add those using safety pins of fabric paints.
If you or your child doesn’t fancy the idea of being vermin for Halloween then try the chef! A pair of over sized pants, a white shirt and an apron should not be difficult to dig up. What might be trickier, but essential is a chef’s hat. If you are handy with a sewing machine you can whip one up easily enough. But there are also other options. Most party stores sell an inexpensive paper chef’s hat that will be fabulous. Load the apron pockets with a whisk and ladle, smear the apron with tomato sauce and dust the nose and cheeks lightly with flour and your little one is ready with a four star costume.
Who wouldn’t like to have a skeleton or two in their closet? Not the deep dark family secrets, but a skeleton costume. Start with your basic black sweat suit, and add the bones. You can do this by cutting bones from poster paper and pasting them on with fabric glue. For a more sturdy costume use fabric paint or sew on the bones with a needle and tread. For the face add liberal amounts of white paint and a bit of black for the eyes, nose and mouth. Hide the hair by flattening it to the head with loads of hairspray, for long hair a tight bun will help. Once the hair is properly plastered, use a white colored hairspray to tint it white. For a bit of fun and safely, use glow in the dark paints on the bones.
With a bit of creativity you can create a wonderful and creative homemade Halloween costume, and have a ton of fun doing it. You and your child will have so much fun it might be the start of a new family tradition!
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The image featured at the top of this post is ©Jessica Rockowitz | Unsplash.