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Those who make their own costumes, where do you get ideas?


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I steal ideas from my mother.

 

Two ideas DD is considering this year are an M&M (the costume my mom made for my sisters when they were 5: two posterboards, a sharpie, and a bit of tape. If you want to go all out, matching pants and shirt) or a ghost (plain white muslin, zigzagged at the bottom edge, hole for the neck, belted with a strip of fabric. A bit of makeup and voila!

 

Other possibilities are a kitty: $5 dress up kit, black clothes, a bit of makeup

Belly dancer or genie: DD has some hand-me-down SCA garb we can dress up for it

 

She originally wanted to be Blossom the PowerPuff Girl, but we couldn't find a suitable long orange-red wig, plus I want to keep it low-budget this year.

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One-we ask the kids what they want to be for Halloween.

Two-we go to Goodwill and walk around to get ideas.

 

Last year my 8dd was the Toothfairy. She had on a blue tutu and leotard with long underwear underneath for warmth. The dentist gave her a gigantic toothbrush to use as a wand and also a tooth necklace. We made a tiara with plastic glittery teeth that we made. I don't think we spent any money on it and she looked so cute!

 

My 12dd went as a clown. We saw the colorful wig at Goodwill for $5. She found a crazy, baggy outfit for a buck or so. We picked up some face paint and a red nose for a few bucks.

 

My 3ds went as Elvis. He wanted to be like Elvis in the army. So, we found an Army type jacket. I used white tape and black ink to look like the jacket was embroidered with Presley. No body really knew who he was but my little guy thought he looked just like Elvis. The jacket probably cost $1.50.

 

The year before that my then 8dd went as a 50s girl. We found the perfect skirt at Goodwill and then found a poodle applique at Walmart. We ironed that on and tacked some brickabrac ribbon as the leash. She wore a white shirt and pink sweater. Cute.

 

My then 11dd went as a baby. She wore a pair of pajamas, had a pacifier, and a stuffed animal. She had her hair in pigtails.

 

My 2d went as a bug. Costume found at Goodwill for a buck or two.

 

We have only purchased a costume from a store once in 12 years. We have so much fun putting it all together. One year we all went as Wizard of Oz characters. We even had Grandma as the Wicked Witch and an Aunt as the Cowardly Lion. All made from things we already had at home. It was a great memory.

 

HTH. Be creative and have fun.

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If you do a search for "homemade halloween costumes" you'll find some ideas. Boys are harder, I think. Last year one of my ds went as a nerd. Simple and cheap. All I had to buy was some big black glasses. I borrowed a white long sleeve shirt. And I think I also bought a calculator as we didn't have one. Khaki pants that were a little short and hiked up, parted hair down the middle and slicked down, and a lot of pens in his pocket w/the calculator. We even already had a bow tie. He looked very funny.

 

This year he's going to be a mad scientist. I need to get him a lab coat and I think we can find the rest around the house or friends. I think he can reuse the glasses.

 

My other son is very creative and is making a Bionicle costume out of cardboard. He's made the helmet and it is quite impressive. Now he needs more cardboard for the armor type parts. Underneath I think he'll need black pants and a black shirt, which we don't have yet, but at least they can serve another function later.

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I've gotten an idea or two from the Family Fun magazine. I usually just ask my boys what they want to be and if they have no clue, I make suggestions. This year my 9ds is going to be a zombie. We bought a button-up shirt and suit jacket from the thrift store for a few bucks. I'm gonna rip and rough them up a bit. He already has some hole-y jeans and we'll add some face paint. My 7ds is going as a skeleton. Of course I wanted to make his costume but he saw one at Target that he wanted instead. I tried to convince him to go as Frankenstein or a werewolf but he wouldn't hear of it.

 

Last year, oldest ds was a vampire. Got the teeth for a few bucks. Already had some facepaint. He wore black pants, a white shirt, and a black with red lining "magician's" style cape that I had made the boys for Christmas one year. We already had the pants and shirt so it was easy-peasy. Last year our youngest went as a mummy. I tea-stained some cheesecloth that I bought from Joann's with my 40% off coupon. I thought it'd be easier to hot glue the cheesecloth to some old long underwear he had. It worked wonderfully! I even glued on a couple of spiders on him and a lil mouse on his shoulder.

 

We've also done a candy-collecting robot. I did buy some gray long underwear that I knew we could use anyway for the winter. Just spray-painted a cardboard box and you could use some of the dryer hose things on the arms and legs. I also added a "blister" or "bubble" piece of plastic from some toy the boys had gotten recently to the front of the robot. I filled it with candy. It was so cute!

 

Usually though, I start talking about costumes way ahead of time so I'll have plenty of time to come up with ideas and start collecting supplies.

 

ETA: Forgot to add that Better Homes and Gardens website usually has some cute homemade costume ideas. If you don't want to purchase the Family Fun magazine, their website has some ideas too.

Edited by Leighton Academy
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Do you know how to sew? If not, there are some "easy sew" patterns that aren't too hard. I have mostly taught myself (although my mom does help me out here and there) by doing their costumes and pajamas. I'm not great, and I wouldn't send my kids out in public in clothes I made but it does the trick for halloween costumes.

 

I like my kids to do themes - one year they were Captain Hook, Peter Pan, and Tinkerbell...all homemade. This year we are doing Alice in Wonderland. I am making the dress for Alice (dd5). The Mad Hatter (ds11) costume will be thrown together from thrifty stores and stuff around the house (except we did buy the hat with orange hair from the Disney store). DS6 wants to be a playing card...I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to do that one, and the baby will be the dog, using an old costume in the attic.

 

Goodwill stores are a great source for costumes. I think the godisney website has lots of make your own costume ideas. And we get ideas throughout the year...one of the kids will say "I want to be that for halloween" after we've seen a movie in January. If you don't sew, you make things like a box of popcorn, bunch of grapes, or candy bar.

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I ask the kids what they want to be, brainstorm, & usually override them w/ something else. I have no filtering system for what's easy/possible/a good idea, so the sky's the limit. Usually, I like matching costumes for all of them, from something we've been reading. Last year, we did the Wizard of Oz.

 

We've done:

 

scarecrow

lobster

elephant

doctor

artist

Tinkerbell

Peterpan

Shakespeare

Queen Elizabeth

caterpillar

Audrey Hepburn

James Bond...

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We talk about costumes all month, but the making of them can not start til the week before...it is a funfun time

 

we spend a couple afternoons that week making our costumes

 

we have had

 

dominos, we did their ages as the dots

 

tables, box with table cloth, staple paper plates and glue plastic forks

middle is for your head, and a hat with flowers in it

 

my daughter was a homeless last year along with grocery cart

 

they are pondering butterflies this year, and my one daughter wants to be

metamorphis, a butterfly coming out of a black garbage bag cocoon!!

 

I love the conversations up to it, and letting them ponder hows and whys!

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Any tips for beginners? The boys are disappointed with the store selections and ouch, they are pricey after you buy the costume and an accessorie or two. We may just go the Lego Brick route this year (made from a box), but I'd like to learn more about this for next year as well. Although my 6 y/o wanted to be a UPS guy (they only had toddler sizes) or silly bones (again out of his size), my 9 on Halloween, something to do with hockey or football, and my 10 y/o a Ninja.

 

We seem to get our ideas from history or literature. I have found that a cheap solid color sweat suit works best for the base. I soooo miss this now that the boys are too old for costumes (or so they think).

 

Easy ones:

 

Convict: white sweat suit with black duct tape stripes, paper mache ball spray painted black and a plastic chain (found in hardware).

 

Tin Man: Grey sweat suit, silver poster board used to make chest/back shirt, large funnel spray painted silver, silver face paint for face, neck, and hands.(this one won a neighborhood award)

 

Tiger: Orange sweat suit, black duct tape stripes, make some ears and tape to a headband, orange socks with black claws (black marker) for hands. Sew up a long orange tail and attach to back of pants.

 

Duct tape, fabric glue, and poster board make costume creating easy.:D

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My son decides what he wants to be and we/I make it. He gets excited and says he wants to be different people, but I won't seriously 'discuss' it till 10/1 and final decisions need to be made before 10/15. By 10/15, he is commited to that costume, period. Often it has something to do with something he's read or seen.

 

We were at Sagamore Hill on Thursday. He has officially decided he will be going as Teddy Roosevelt in his Rough Rider uniform.

 

Last year and the year before (two different locations) he was Davy Crockett.

 

When he 5 it was something sort of darth vader-ish he created.

 

At 4 he was a pirate complete with waist coat and fluffy shirt and boots.

 

At 3 he wanted to be a fireman. So I made a FDNY fireman suit. Then somehow his tutu I'd made got involved and he went as a firefighter ballerina.

 

Before then it was whatever I thought was cute.

 

Sometimes I buy patterns, sometimes I cut up thrift store clothes to use as patterns (what I had to do in Okinawa since I couldn't get patterns, or at least read patterns I would have been able to get!) and sometimes I make up my own patterns.

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Our ideas come from books, poems, movies, magazines, et c.

 

I'll ask my girl what she wants to be and she thinks about it for a while and then we just kind of brainstorm some ideas.

 

One year my daughter really liked a poem and illustration in a book and after we thought about it awhile, we thought it was doable and it was. It was a great costume. Feel free to use it! This is the illustration, scroll down from the poem. We shopped at goodwill for the jacket, pants, and stripped shirt. I sewed on the pockets and we used fabric paint for numbers, I think. We even filled them. We printed Turkish money from the internet. She passed out copies of the poem, too. Oh, regular face paint for the green face.

Hmmmm, the link isnt' quite working. I'll try again in a bit.

 

Last year she won a costume contest being Bert the chimney sweep from Mary Poppins. I don't remember how she came up with the idea. It was really neat and ppl all over stopped her to comment. I got a black cap from walmart, she her black turtleneck, black pants, and an oversized black blazer from her dress up box. I used a burnt cork to blacken her face/hands. I made the broom by buying one from the dollar store, cutting off the bristles, and using two pieces of cardboard and some hot glue. Spray painted it black. It was wildly popular with friends, neighbors, and perfect strangers.

 

Sometimes she likes to go to the fabric store and browse the patterns. Sometimes, if they're easy, I buy the pattern and make it. Sometimes I just put it together w/o pattern.

 

She likes to dress as characters from books as well. This year she is going to be a giant. She got the idea from a Family Fun activity book. The head, anyway. She's actually going to be St. Christopher for All Saints.

 

Anyway, to answer your question, we just think about book characters, et c. and think of ways to make it happen. Sometimes we can, sometimes we can't, sometimes we probably could but I don't want to go to THAT much trouble. Ent wife comes to mind.

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here is that eliza'a jacket link. scroll down to the green girl with the jacket with numbers.

 

http://books.google.com/books?id=PEFEJAn67NUC&pg=PT27&lpg=PT27&dq=eliza's+jacket+calef+brown&source=bl&ots=C_RNbuoDnl&sig=hfg_OMgq0mO4hJ_mSHVLJWPCq_s&hl=en&ei=MuawTLajPIGKlweI_LXlDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCEQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

Oh, this link goes to the poem. You have to scroll up to the illustration.

Edited by MomOfOneFunOne
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Any tips for beginners? The boys are disappointed with the store selections and ouch, they are pricey after you buy the costume and an accessorie or two. We may just go the Lego Brick route this year (made from a box), but I'd like to learn more about this for next year as well. Although my 6 y/o wanted to be a UPS guy (they only had toddler sizes) or silly bones (again out of his size), my 9 on Halloween, something to do with hockey or football, and my 10 y/o a Ninja.

 

Have them pick what they would like to be then look at costumes online. See what you have that could be used to approximate the costume.

 

UPS - brown pants, brown shirt, brown ball cap. Make two UPS logos on paper, felt, or cardboard, fasten one to shirt and one to ball cap. Carry a small box.

 

Bones - you can find lots of skeleton costume patterns. Basics are black pants (sweats or jeans) and a black sweatshirt. Make bones from felt and pin or sew on clothing. Make skull mask from cardboard or foam.

 

Football or hockey player - wear a jersey and helmet, carry football or hockey stick as appropriate. If he has shoulder pads, pants, and other gear he could wear those as well.

 

Ninja - white or black sweatsuit. Tie strips of red fabric around wrists, ankles, and waist. Tie a white or black (depending on color of sweatsuit) bandana over lower portion of face. Carry a toy sword or one made from cardboard.

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I've gotten an idea or two from the Family Fun magazine.

 

(snip)

 

Usually though, I start talking about costumes way ahead of time so I'll have plenty of time to come up with ideas and start collecting supplies.

 

ETA: Forgot to add that Better Homes and Gardens website usually has some cute homemade costume ideas. If you don't want to purchase the Family Fun magazine, their website has some ideas too.

 

I love Family Fun, too -- I browse online or look at back issues. Also, the library has books along those same lines -- ask the librarians.

 

 

Our ideas come from books, poems, movies, magazines, et c.

 

(snip)

 

I'll ask my girl what she wants to be and she thinks about it for a while and then we just kind of brainstorm some ideas.

 

(snip)

 

 

Anyway, to answer your question, we just think about book characters, et c. and think of ways to make it happen. Sometimes we can, sometimes we can't, sometimes we probably could but I don't want to go to THAT much trouble. Ent wife comes to mind.

 

This sounds like how we actually do things, regardless of how much I say I like Family Fun. We just come up with crazy ideas all year long, and some of them make the final cut.

 

Last year the kids were bacteria. Have you seen the bacteria plushies you can buy? That was the inspiration. They made up a song and dance they did at each house. We used sweat suits as the base.

 

The year before they were Greek goddesses with thoroughly researched costumes. (History! Homeschool nerdiness at its finest!)

 

This year they've considered being characters from Naruto (manga). They've considered being lumberjacks (Family Fun had a lumberjack in it this year) and singing the Lumberjack Song from Monty Python. They've considered being characters from Twelfth Night. A friend wanted to be the Borg from Star Trek, but I nixed it as too complex. Another friend wanted to be nuclear power sources, but it was too weird and derivative of last year's science theme; but those of you who haven't been something scientific in the recent past might want to consider being atoms or molecules.

 

Characters from Percy Jackson -- orange tshirts with iron-on letters that say "Camp Half-Blood".

 

Dress up as a book. Or one person be a book, another a character from the book.

 

One year my husband was Noah's Ark. We used thick foam in an ark shape around his waist, and we put Fisher Price animals on it. I was an apple tree, and wore a toy snake.

Edited by GailV
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For young kiddos, I always try to think of the costume as individual pieces that will be in the dress-up box for several years to come, and handed down through the family. So when I sew pieces, I try to make them multi-sized or adjustable, and I finish them well so they will last. If it's something that can be used in many ways, it's worth the time I put into it.

 

Capes are good, because they can fit for long time. We still have one I made for ds when he was young that we use as more of a shoulder-cape - it was full-length when I first made it.

 

I've also done a tiger outfit using a pajama pattern - that one was worn as pj's until it was threadbare! We did a paper-plate mask and some kind of tail to go with it. You can do a lot with a basic pj pattern - we've done everything from the tiger to Harlequin to Pride & Prejudice in pj's.

 

Historical stuff for girls is all about the hats. Long skirt + apron + petticoat + full cotton blouse can cover many time periods with the right hat. Sunbonnet, pilgrim coif, mob cap - they are the key. (Obviously this isn't historically-authentic, but it is good enough for situations where you need a suggestion of the look rather than strict authenticity.)

 

When I do elastic waists, I kind of overlap the (clean-finished) waistband ends but don't sew them closed, so that I can easily access the elastic to update the size.

 

I usually size the pieces generously to start with, or even add in a grow-stripe or two if it works with the style.

 

I usually ask my kids what they want to be. If they can find something in the dress-up box and they are happy with that (even if it seems kind of lame to me), then we go with it. I'd rather have them be creative than have to have things "mommy-perfect".

 

We are also fans of Goodwill/thrifts. If you can get the general shape of the garment right, and/or the fabric choice or design, it goes a long way to making the costume work. For example, anything linen or leather can work well for historical costumes.

 

Accessories are key. Various bags, scarves, hats, and glasses have dressed up assorted costumes over the years. Jewelry - gypsy earrings, just the right pin, or an elaborate faux gold necklace - can really help a costume come together. We've found a Greek-looking pin that when paired with white curtains made a great Julius Caesar costume, a fabulous pirate belt (the buckle made it perfect), and many other "finishing touches" for very little money at thrift shops.

 

We also borrow from family and friends - you never know who might have a pair of antique welding goggles in their basement or an NYC police hat in their attic!

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My kids.

 

Usually they come up with something outrageous like a harpy and I have to suggest some more realistic things.

 

Last year my daughter wanted to be a video game character called Samus Aran from Metroid Prime. HUGE costume. We talked a bit, looked online, found some other possibilities and finally settled on the Egyptian goddess Bastet (if only she wanted to be a vampire or ghost...)

 

I picked up a white cotton dress at the thrift store and basted it so it fit her more like an egyptian gown. Got some bright satin (gold) and velvet (jewels) and made a collar. Then we found a paper cat mask kit in a dollar store and she painted it black and used some gold paint to outline the eyes. I'll have to post a pic. She looked awesome. Of course, no one knew what she was.

 

This year she wanted to be some mythological half-snake creature but thankfully I pointed out that people might think she was an eel-like mermaid. Now she wants to be a phoenix. Sigh. But that's doable.

 

Halloween costumes are never an easy thing when your kids are geeks.

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My kids always want to be weird things. One year, ds1 wanted to be Larry Boy, but there weren't any costumes. I ended up having one made for him and it was pretty expensive, but I don't sew and it was worth every penny because he wore it for a long time. He still wears the hat sometimes.

 

This year, ds2 wants to be a chocolate covered doughnut with sprinkles (which is the treat he always picks if he's allowed). So, I think I'm going to get some big cardboard box and cut out doughnuts from them and connect them with strings and he can wear it like a sandwich board. I'll put felt chocolate icing and felt sprinkles on it. At least, that is my plan so far.

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What we do for halloween costumes:

 

1. I used to collect/buy up costumes of various sizes at garage sales/thrift stores.

 

2. We use what we have on hand.

 

My youngest wants to be Daphne from Scooby-Doo. The costume costs almost $25 in the store. So I took a good look at Daphne.

 

purple dress/outfit

red hair

purple books

purple headband

green scarf

 

You know what we have all of that. I pulled out a purple skirt outfit, green scarf, boots and the red Ariel wig and we have a Daphne costume.

 

For UPS, you could find brown pants & shirt. Then if you are handy with a needle make a UPS patch and give him a box to carry(for his candy) so it looks like he is making a delivery.

 

Good luck.:001_smile:

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Any tips for beginners? The boys are disappointed with the store selections and ouch, they are pricey after you buy the costume and an accessorie or two. We may just go the Lego Brick route this year (made from a box), but I'd like to learn more about this for next year as well. Although my 6 y/o wanted to be a UPS guy (they only had toddler sizes) or silly bones (again out of his size), my 9 on Halloween, something to do with hockey or football, and my 10 y/o a Ninja.

 

Ninja is easy. Black long sleeved shirt, pull it on part-way, with the neck over the face so your eyes are looking through the neck hole, tie the sleeves around the back of the head to hold it on. Black shirt and black pants. Weapons made of cardboard, if desired.

 

Hockey/football are easy - borrow a uniform or make do with a team shirt. For football, burn a cork or use black lipstick to draw those lines under the eyes. Carry a football or hockey stick.

 

For UPS, as a previous poster said, brown shirt and brown pants - check the thrift shops. You could dye a 100% cotton shirt brown if you wanted to, or just use a brown t-shirt. Using felt, embroider a UPS patch -look online to see what they look like.

 

When my kids want to be comic book characters, I ask them to show me pictures of the character, and I try to get a sense of what is the key essence of the character. Often, there is a logo or patch. If you get that right, the rest is mainly about getting the right color/shape of the clothes. Logos and patches are easy to embroider on felt.

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