By Nancy Twigg
Halloween is just around the corner, and if you're anything like the rest of us, procrastination + busy = no time to go costume shopping!
Below is a list of inventive homemade costume ideas that go beyond superheroes and cartoon characters. All of these costumes require only basic supplies that you probably already have around the house or can obtain inexpensively. Use this list to brainstorm with your child and help her come up with her own one-of-a-kind costume
• Piece of Pizza – Cut each of two large pieces of poster board into the shape of a pizzaslice. Using paint, construction paper or felt, decorate one side of each piece with pizza toppings. Attach two strips of poster board to the top edge of the two slices so that they can be worn over your child’s shoulders like a sandwich board. Glue on sponges or felt for sausage, pepperoni or mushrooms. Use this same idea to make an American flag, dollar bill or Oreo® cookie costume.
• Die – Or, if your child has a Halloween partner, they can go as a pair of dice. Find a big, square box and paint it white. Remove one side from the box so the whole thing can slip over your child’s head. Cut holes in the top and sides for her head and arms to go through. Cut black circles from felt or construction paper and glue them in the appropriate places to make the box look like a die. Use this same concept to make a Rubik’s Cube® or Christmas gift costume.
• Cellular Phone – This idea is similar to the one above. Find a tall skinny box. Cut out one of the ends so that the entire box fits over your child’s body. Paint the box black. Use construction paper to add the display and keypad. Unlike the die costume in which your child’s head sticks out the top, this box will actually rest on top of her head. Cut a hole for your child’s face and holes on the sides for her arms. Use this same concept to make a TV remote control costume.
• Postage Stamp – Decorate a large piece of white poster board to look like a postage stamp. Cut holes for your child’s face and arms to go through. Dress your child in a white long-sleeve shirt and white pants. You can also use this same concept to make a humorous “Wanted” poster or sports trading card costume.
• Ladybug – Use a large circle cut from red poster board and smaller circles cut from black construction paper to make the ladybug’s shell. Attach straps to the underside of the shell so that the shell can be worn like a backpack. Attach black pipe cleaners and pom-poms to a hairband to create antennae. Dress your child in a black sweatshirt with black pants or tights. Use this same concept to make a turtle, butterfly or bumblebee costume.
• Bag of Jelly Beans – Carefully cut two leg holes in the bottom of a large clear plastic bag. Dress your child in a white sweat suit. Put your child’s legs through the leg holes and then fill the bag up with small balloons of all different colors. Cut two holes and put the child’s arms through them. Fasten the top of the bag around her shoulders with clear tape or safety pins.
• Bunch of Grapes – Dress your child in purple or green sweats. Use small safety pins to attach green or purple balloons all over her clothes. The pins go through the tied-off end of the balloon, near the knot. Your child can wear a brown hat or knit cap to look like the stem.
• Pizza Delivery Person – This one is simple. Dress your child like an employee from your local pizza joint. Give her a cardboard pizza box (clean, of course!) to use instead of a bag for holding her Halloween candy. Instead of saying, “Trick or treat,” your child could say, “Pizza delivery!”
If none of these ideas suits your child’s fancy or if you are really short on time, consider these classic, last-minute costume ideas:
• clown - • scarecrow • old man or old woman • princess • cheerleader • angel • computer geek • cowboy • ballerina • bride • hobo • any type of athlete • hippie • or any distinguishable profession such as a doctor, fireman, carpenter, nurse, etc.
Nancy Twigg is the author of Celebrate Simply.
Updated August 2012