Thursday, October 15, 2015

Easy Halloween Costumes for Kids

A few years ago, I finally learned my lesson, and now I buy my kids’ Halloween costumes at Costco the first week they appear in the store (which is usually around mid-August), before they sell out (which is usually around late August). I sew, and I’d love to make their costumes, but the ones at Costco are so inexpensive (and reasonably well-made) that I can’t compete with the cost. But there are plenty of easy and inexpensive costumes that you can make yourself, either ahead of time or at the last minute, so I thought I’d post a few ideas for those of you who either aren’t fortunate enough to have a Costco nearby, or who just like to be a bit more creative. Here are ten simple costumes that you can make or put together quickly and inexpensively with easy to find materials.

Raining Cats and Dogs

What you need:
  • Your child’s usual rain gear (raincoat, boots, rain hat)
  • An old umbrella
  • Stuffed cats and dogs
  • Fishing line or heavy-duty thread
  • Needle

What to do:
Stitch a few stuffed animals on top of the umbrella, then sew lengths of the fishing line onto the edges of the umbrella and attach a few more, so they look like “it’s raining cats and dogs.”

NOTE: You can also make a similar "rain cloud" costume by gluing or stitching puffs of cotton batting or white tulle or chiffon to the umbrella instead of the stuffed animals. 

Stick Figure

What you need:
  • White or light colored pants and long-sleeved shirt
  • Paper plate
  • Narrow elastic
  • Stapler
  • Black electrical tape
  • Thick black marker (or black paint and a small paintbrush)

What to do:
Using the black marker or black paint, draw a smiley face on the paper plate. Staple the elastic to both sides at a comfortable length to hold the mask in place. Have the child put on the pants and shirt and put on electrical tape to form a stick figure.

Lego Block

What you need:
  • Cardboard box large enough to fit over the child’s torso
  • Heavy, sharp scissors
  • 12 plastic Solo cups OR 12 plastic cups from single-serving applesauce or fruit cups
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Glue gun
  • Spray paint

What to do:
Cut armholes and a headhole in the cardboard box (be sure the holes are big enough that the child can get in and out, but not so big that the box slides down his or her shoulders). Using a ruler and one of the cups, trace 6 evenly-spaced circles each on the front and back of the box in the pattern above. Use the glue gun to glue on the cups. When dry, spray paint the whole box and allow to dry. If you want to get really fancy, you can use a smaller box to make a matching hat. Extra points for having the child wear a shirt and pants the same color as the block!

Elmo from Sesame Street

What you need:
  • Red hoodie
  • Two large Styrofoam balls and one slightly smaller one (oval, if possible)
  • Black paint or Sharpie
  • Orange paint
  • Glue gun

What to do:
Paint the small Styrofoam ball orange and allow to dry. Use black paint or Sharpie to add “pupils” to the large balls. Using glue gun, attach eyes and nose as in photo above. Be generous with the glue!

Wyldstyle from Lego Movie

What you need:
  • Black hoodie or long-sleeved shirt
  • Purple (or pink) and blue electrical or masking tape
  • Purple (or pink) and blue hair spray or clip-in hair extensions
  • Hair elastic
  • Brown eye pencil
  • Pink lipstick

What to do:
Make a pattern of pink and blue swooshes on the right side and right arm of the sweatshirt, using the photos above as a guide. Use the hair elastic to make a small high ponytail on the left. Spray in hair streaks or clip in extensions as shown above. Add freckles using the eye pencil and some pink lipstick to complete the look.


What you need:
  • Black beret or soft, floppy hat
  • Black long-sleeved shirt or sweatshirt
  • Large piece of cardboard
  • Pencil
  • Several colors of paint, including white
  • Large paintbrush
  • Sharp scissors
  • Black ribbon or cord (yarn will work in a pinch)
  • Black or brown eye pencil

What to do:
Cut out the shape of an artist’s palette from the cardboard, including a large “thumb hole”. Paint white. When dry, add blobs of several colors of paint. Using the point of the scissors, make two holes or slits near the top and thread the ribbon or cord through, making a large enough loop to slip over the child’s head. Use the eye pencil to give the child a tres magnifique French mustache!

Mike Wazowski from Monster Inc./Monsters University

What you need:
  • Light green T-shirt
  • White, dark green, and black felt
  • Sharp scissors
  • Glue gun
  • Optional: Dark blue or black baseball hat and light blue felt

What to do:
Cut out three concentric circles from the felt, with white the largest, dark green much smaller, and black slightly smaller. Glue onto each other and the shirt to form the eye. Cut a thin smile from the black felt and glue to shirt under the eye. If you want to add a Monsters University hat, use the template here to cut an M and a U from the blue felt and glue to the baseball hat.

Bert from Mary Poppins/Chimney Sweep

What you need:
  • White dress shirt
  • Dark pants
  • Suspenders
  • Red bow tie
  • Newsboy (or similar) cap
  • Old broomstick or dowel
  • Pack of black pipe cleaners
  • Small piece of black felt
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun
  • Brown or black eye pencil or dark foundation makeup

What to do:
To make the broom, criss-cross pairs of pipe cleaners at the top of the broomstick or dowel and glue in place. Repeat until broom looks full. When finished, cut a black felt circle about 2 inches across and glue over the top of the stack of pipe cleaners. (Good photos and directions here). Use eye pencil or foundation to make dirt smudges on the child’s face. 

Rosie the Riveter

What you need:
  • Denim or plaid shirt
  • Red bandana or red polka-dot scarf
  • Jeans

What to do:
Fold the bandana into a rectangle and wrap around child’s head, tying in front. Roll up the shirt sleeves above the child's elbows and knot the front shirttails at the waist.


What you need:
  • Black long-sleeved shirt (or hoodie) and pants
  • White duct tape or masking tape (extra bonus points if you can find glow-in-the-dark tape)
  • Scissors

What to do:
Following the photo above, cut strips of tape and stick onto shirt and pants to form a simple skeleton. 

Happy Halloween!!!

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