Halloween always sneaks up on me, and if you are like me you’ve procrastinated. In the past, I have come up with many costume ideas for free or very cheap and wanted to share them. My sons went through a stage where all I needed to do was let them rip up some old clothes and add mud and blood while allowing them to be creative.
1. Sheets -old sheets or cheap twin-size sheets from Wal-Mart make great costumes. White sheets can be used as bandages, ghosts, wedding dresses or veils, and Greek togas. Black sheets make great capes for Dracula, witches, and anything dark, scary or ghostly. Since they are cheap, you can ruin them with spray paint, markers, fake blood, cutting up, and fabric paints.
Witch (black sheet from Wal-Mart) — Cut (hem if desired) a witches “toga” by folding in half, cutting out a head hole and then trimming the length for children. Wear over black jeans or sweat pants and a black shirt. Tie with a black sash (can be made from a sheet edge). Black hat and witches make-up as cheaply as $1.00 each from a dollar store. Total cost about $5.00.
Dracula (black sheet from Wal-Mart) — Wear black pants, shirt and shoes. Take the short-side of the sheet and wrap from middle around neck, attach something to hold sheet together. Safety pins work well and can be hidden from view. Trim the other end of the sheet to fit and hem under. One sheet can make two capes for small children. Keep the cape for dress-up all year and future costumes. Slick back hair with gel, paint face with dollar store make up. Only use spray-on or temporary black hair dye on darker hair. Blonde hair can sometimes retain part of the hair coloring for quite a few shampoos and it looks gun metal gray after a few days.
Super-Hero (appropriately colored sheet) — Make cape the same way as Dracula cape. Create Batman, Superman, or other super-hero symbol with computer image printed out or drawn onto light cardboard. Attach image to an old, same-color t-shirt with craft glue.
Toga or Ghost (white sheet, super easy) — cut head hole for toga, eye holes for ghost. Trim length for children. Tie around waist for toga. I never like to tie on a ghost outfit around the neck for small children, if you are going to do so use something easily broken like masking tape.
Mummy — cut or tear sheet into strips, wrap them around your child leaving eye and mouth space.
Patient — cut sheets into strips wrap bandages around body and add fake blood.
2. Cardboard — Save a cardboard box or two. I usually have one or two around the house that have been kept in case we needed them. Cut the box open, and cut out two shapes for a front and back that corresponds to costume. Use spray paint, acrylic paints or poster paint to color it the way that you want. Use an awl to punch out holes and attach zip ties or string to hold them together. Make sure that the holes are lined up to go over the shoulders. It’s best to measure your child before you cut out the shape and punch holes so that the costume fits as well as possible.
Wear the cardboard over a plain white, black or appropriately colored sweat suit. I don’t like buying new sweat suits just for Halloween costumes. It defeats the purpose when trying to be frugal, so I usually will match costume idea to something that is already owned.
Either buy a cheap corresponding mask or paint face to match outfit.
- current goofy cartoon character like Phineas and Ferb, Spongebob or Backyardigans
- inanimate objects like iPod, refrigerator, water bottle or teapot
- car, truck, popcorn stand, etc.
3. Aluminum foil — wrap yourself up as a baked potato or wrap up a big box and be a robot.
4. Balloons — Blow up a bunch of dollar store balloons and attach them to a sweatshirt with a safety pin on the inside of the shirt. Be careful not to pop them when doing this.
- gum-ball machine
- put in a clear plastic bag to be a bag of jelly beans
5. Clothing and other household items
- Old man or woman — Use old clothing items, hats, scarves, purses, etc. or items bought cheaply from local thrift store.
- Hobo — Old suit, soot makeup on face
- Cowboy or girl — Western boots, hat, shirt, and jeans
- Bride — old wedding dress can add fake blood to be Bridezilla