Making a Kid’s Halloween Costume

It’s about that time to figure out those Halloween costumes.
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Perhaps you go to the store and buy something—the latest Disney princess or movie superhero costume.  Maybe you’ve got a child who can’t make up their mind as to what exactly they want to be for Halloween.  Or maybe they’ve decided on something so random that you’re puzzled as to how exactly to put such a Halloween costume together.  One year, I told my mom that I wanted to be Andromeda from the movie ‘The Clash of the Titans’ (the original one with the jerky special effects).  So she put together a drape-y toga dress and I wore strappy sandals.

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Here are a few ideas if you’ve got to work on a budget or you’re trying work with the obscure:

Get your child to find you a picture of what it is, exactly, that they want.  Then, at least, you know what you’re up against.  My daughter is so into the plush figures of Japanese cartoon characters that her dad brought back from a business trip, and she wants to dress up as one of them.  Fortunately, there are pictures all over the internet, and she’s got the doll for me to look at.

If your child wants a Halloween costume to dress up as something popular, such as Cinderella, Rapunzel or Iron Man, ask around and see if you can borrow something.  If you’ve got a girl who loves dress-up, it’s reasonable to expect that if it’s a Halloween costume for October, it’s going to be worn as dress-up play for November, December and January as well.

If you’re making a Halloweencostume, get your child to help you put it together.  It can be a great activity to do together, and you’d be amazed at how creative they can get once they get going.  My brother made a Martian helmet out of a gallon milk jug, two toilet paper tubes and two tennis balls.  Once it was all green, it made the perfect hat with two antennae.

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Search the house and your kid’s closet (even yours, if you’re willing to have it ransacked) for items you already have.   A black cat costume, for instance, only takes a black shirt and black leggings or pants.  A thin black feather boa at the fabric or craft store makes an excellent tail, and if you just snip two inch-long pieces off for ears, you’re done.  For this Halloween costume, I sewed the bits onto a headband, but you could also glue them onto barrettes.  Note that a glue gun is necessary to contain all the stray feathers once that boa’s been cut.

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If you’re going to buy clothes to make a Halloween costume, make sure they can be worn as regular clothes when you’re all done.  A red long-sleeved onesie covered in black felt dots to make a ladybug for my two year-old was later stripped of its spots to continue its use as a shirt.  A last minute ‘50’s girl Halloween costume was easy enough to put together by using a white cardigan, tights and maryjanes that we already owned.  Then I found the most poufy skirt she had in her drawer and sewed a black felt poodle onto it. The black felt poodle could be removed later, but I kept it on, because it was so cute (see picture of darling girl at the top).

Felt squares, by the way, are perfect for all kinds of details on Halloween costumes—logos for superheroes, flowers, animal ears and noses, and tons of other things.

When I put together this year’s Japanese Melonpana costume, the green leggings and long-sleeved t-shirt will be worn to school at a later date.

Get creative, make it fun, and it will be fantastic!

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