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DIY Your Kids’ Halloween Costumes

DIY Your Kids’ Halloween Costumes main article image
Posted on September 4, 2022 by Jennifer Carroll
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Summer is ending and you know what that means! The Holiday season will be approaching. It starts with harvest celebrations and fall festivals. Then at the end of October, we have Halloween. It’s the beginning of the three months that we call the holiday season. I love this time of year. Honestly, I think we all do.

When my kids were little, it was the season that we looked forward to the most. The fun parties, cooler weather, and general festivities were a lot more fun when I had kids at home to add to the merriment. One of the things I enjoyed the most was helping them come up with their Halloween costumes. I’ve always been a crafter, so this was right up my alley. I love to go thrift store shopping too. Creating costumes involves both of those things for me, so I was all in!

Start With What You Have…

I don’t like to spend a lot of money on things that are going to be worn once. So, I always began my search for the perfect costume right in my kids’ own closet.

Here’s a simple costume that you probably won’t even have to leave the house to complete. It will work for a boy or a girl and it might not cost anything, depending on the materials you have on hand.

Dress your child in dark blue or black jeans and a tee shirt of the same color. Find dark shoes or boots to complete the outfit. If you have a cutting machine, use it to cut the letters “FBI” from white vinyl. I didn’t have a cutting machine when I made this costume for Trevor several years ago. I just printed the outline of the letters on a peel-and-stick mailing label that I had on hand for my eBay business. I cut one size for his tee shirt and another smaller set for his cap. I peeled them off and stuck them to his apparel. We finished the look with a badge and pair of handcuffs from his toybox. This costume didn’t cost me a dime and Trevor made a very convincing FBI agent. This is still one of my favorite Halloween memories. And if you’re a fan of Criminal Minds, you know Spencer Reid doesn’t have anything on this cutie!

When my kids were little, it was fun to have them and a few of their cousins in coordinating costumes. One year they were the three little pigs, the next they were all pirates, and one year they were all the main characters from The Wizard of Oz.

To transform my kids into the three little pigs, I put them in jean overalls. My son wore work boots, and the girls wore tennis shoes. I bought three pig snouts that stayed on their faces with an elastic band. I gathered sticks from the yard to give one a bundle to carry. I used straw from a decorative hay bale I had on hand and for the smartest little piggy, I painted a few small cardboard boxes to look like bricks. I tied all three bundles together with twine and they carried their building materials over their shoulders. A fourth child could have been the big bad wolf, but I only have three because that was enough!

One year they all agreed to be pirates. These were fun costumes to put together. We even borrowed a younger cousin to be Jack Sparrow, because everyone knows that the two-year-old is always the boss.

For the boys, I searched my local thrift store for a flouncy shirt with long sleeves and a collar. They wore their baseball pants because they were tight, like pirate pants and they could tuck them inside their boots. I looked for things like leather vests, bandanas, and big hoop clip-on earrings. To add to the look, use waterproof mascara or liquid eyeliner to black out a front tooth or two. My kids didn’t need assistance that year. They already had gaps in their grins.

My little girl pirate wore a simple cotton print dress with an apron and boots. She was the perfect little maiden for the rowdy pirates that year.

When I made costumes for my kids, I wanted a complete look. The right shoes, all the appropriate accessories right down to the bags they carried to hold all the candy I would spend the next month or so loathing. When my son Will was a cowboy, he used saddle bags to hold his candy. When the kids were pirates, they carried a small treasure chest with handles. Chloe was the cutest Dorothy ever and she carried her candy in Toto’s basket.

Goodwill and thrift stores are your friend if you’re looking for all the right elements to make your child’s costume. My pirates wore ladies’ blouses because some pirates are fancy that way. Costumes are all about creativity, so plan ahead and think of all the things that will make a costume unique and one of a kind. Pirates are all about the treasure so don’t forget the beads. And apparently, they fight a lot because there’s always one with an eye patch or a wooden leg. The Dollar Tree is a great place to look for these little accessories.

One of the most creative costumes I’ve ever seen was assembled by my Chloe as a teenager. She was a Barbie Doll in the box that year. She used a large cardboard box to make a giant version of the box that Barbie comes in. A projector was used to trace the graphics onto large sheets of paper and the box was painted hot pink. Then she channeled her inner fashionista, climbed in the box, and tried to look plastic. She did a great job and I still think this is the best costume I’ve ever seen.

I hope you spend the holiday season making memories that last a lifetime. Until next time – happy crafting!

Please follow me here and on Facebook to see my latest creations.


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