Halloween Costume Ideas for the Family
Halloween on a Dime
Costumes for Teens
The Cost of a Halloween Costume
A Grape Idea
I made an inexpensive costume for my daughter that won her first place in the town Halloween costume contest. She went as a bunch of grapes.
She wore black sweats as a base. I bought a small remnant of green fabric and cut out leaves as you would paper dolls. They came out in a long strand that wrapped around her neck. Then I took a brown paper bag and attached it to a party hat with staples & twisted it as the stem. I used purple face paint and blew up about 20 purple balloons and attached them to her sweats with safety pins (through the lip of the balloon). The only thing to keep in mind is it's awkward to sit down, so be sure you don't do their rear. Also remember that they need to fit through doors - especially the bathroom!
Boxed To Go
One year my brother and his family made costumes out of refrigerator boxes and washer boxes. They were different size trees and the kids were bushes. They painted the boxes to look like trees with holes cut out for their eyes. They turned out great and it was quite funny to see the forest walking around the room and it wasn't till the end of the night when they removed the trees did anyone figure out who they were. they spent nothing on the boxes, got the paint from the art room at the church, went to a second hand store for brown shirts, and paid very little for the crepe paper used for leaves.
Off to See the Wizard
The wizard of oz is a great family costume theme:
Dad = tin man or the lion or the scarecrow.
Mom = Dorothy
Baby = Toto ( in a basket with the basket being a baby carrier) or a Muchkin
Go to your nearest fabric store and look into the pattern books for ideas, you don't have to sew your costumes if you do not know how to sew, but there are a lot of ideas in the books.
My brother and sister-in-law came up with a great family theme for Halloween last year. They went as flower children. All they did was tie-dye matching shirts (even for their 3 month old!), found old bell bottom jeans, etc. They even wore flowers in their hair. The baby held a little homemade sign that said "Flower Power". They were a hit.
The easiest costumes I ever did involved sweatsuits. Here are a few we used...
Puppy Dog: Black hooded sweat shirt & pants & four pairs of black socks (could use all pieces brown, yellow gold, white, or combination or any) -- pin or baste two socks on either side of hood top for floppy ears, cover hands and feet with socks for paws, roll one sock up and stuff into final sock to stiffen and pin or baste on as tail. Easy!!!
Pumpkin: Orange sweat shirt and pants with a green baseball hat (wear backwards) or a green scarf/bow tied in hair. We accented by tying a rolled towel around tummy under shirt to round out our pumpkin and pin black felt triangles to shirt front to make a jack-o-lantern face.
Dragon: Green shirt and pants of course, with a large green banana clip or pointed party hat (or two) in hair for horns. I stitched and stuffed a long green felt zig zag of scales and pinned from neck to hem of shirt and dragging down to floor. You could stuff a knee sock of pair of tights and pin on as a tail.
You can always substitute colored tights or trousers for sweatpants, and if you live in a warm climate, oversized t-shirts work as well as sweatshirts.
We also scout resale thrift shops for leotards and tutus -- these are starting point for fairy tale princesses, gypsies, butterflies and of course ballerinas. We find wildly striped pieces for pirates and clowns. Park district uniforms double as athletic heroes - send a piece of sporting equipment along for authenticity. We also look for anything in an animal print. A tiger striped robe with homemade felt or construction paper ears attached to a headband can look fantastic. Even skimpy leopard peignoirs can be worn over t-shirts. Metallic and glitter trimmed clothing make great starting places for rock stars and astronauts. We never use masks (for safety reasons). A black or brown eyeliner pencil and a red lipliner pencil usually do great for whiskers, noses, freckles, whatever. There are wonderful face painting books available at most libraries and I find that my cosmetic purchase "mistakes" make a wonderful collection of costume paints.
I always try to create something that is slip on, tie on, easy-to-get on, as I am often out of town during our school's costume party week, so Dad or a teacher is usually providing any needed assistance. II usually ask my children two weeks before a costume event what they would like to be. It is fun and challenging to come up with a way to create their choices. We do have one rule though, once Mom starts on your costume, you cannot change your mind!
Lori in Lombard, IL
It's Already Here
I found that you can find a lot of stuff around the house. A Cowboy/Cowgirl theme always seems to work. You usually have these items in your closet; jeans, western shirt or jean shirt. You can probably borrow a cowboy hat from someone if you don't have one. As for the 1 year old, you can find a hat at a party supply store for about $1.50 or so, and then they will use it for dress up after that. Cowboy boots aren't necessary for the 1 year old. Add a bandana and you got yourself a cowboy family! Good luck!
Denise in Glendale, AZ
Where to Look
Here are a couple of ideas for your reader needing costume help.
- Arrange a neighborhood/moms group/school costume exchange
- Call a local community theater. They may be interested in renting costumes for less than a shop, maybe they will accept a donation that would be tax deductible.
- Attend a few early events and steal the best ideas.
- Keep in mind things your kids like to do. Boys usually really like an implement of some kind; farmer and hoe, knight and sword, wizard and wand. Girls often like to be someone special or specific. By the way, what did you want to be- when you grew up- when you were a kid?
- Some adult themes that might work for the family and still be something the adults can stand; be the Village People (native American, construction worker, etc) all the characters from a movie (Wizard of Oz, Addams family) or a book (3 bears and Goldilocks) Try to think back a few years, or about stories and movies from your childhood and you may have better luck being unique, instead of this years latest trend.
- Pun ideas can be very clever costumes. Think of a saying and dress as it literally. Example: wear dark glasses and a sign that says "bless you" and you are a "blessing in disguise" Wear a poster board with a wad of gum, piece of fur, a hand, etc. and let people figure out that you are a "forest of trees" (gum tree, fir tree, palm tree ) These costumes are for people who enjoy having others guess, and are patient enough to explain over and over.
- Try to make it simple, stressing over ideas and last minute sewing is not "holiday fun." Let's not add Halloween to the list of holidays that come with too many obligations. If you all throw on jeans, boots, cowboy hats and squirt guns at the last minute, you'll still get the candy, and get to enjoy some time with your family.p
Last year my little boy went trick or treating as a "referee". He wore white sweats. The top had black felt stripes sewn on it. He had a black baseball cap and I covered the "logo" with a felt "R". I bought a cheap whistle and put in on a black cord. It was very easy.
Take the Next Step:
- Find more costume ideas from our readers at Halloween Costumes.
- Make your own Halloween Monster Make-Up.
- Get free shipping on your Halloween Party Supplies.
- Save time and money when you subscribe to our free weekly Dollar Stretcher for Parents Newsletter. You'll find great articles just for parents!
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