Halloween is fun for a variety of reasons: the candy, the spooky walk in the dark to trick or treat, and of course, the chance to dress up and pretend to be someone else for a few hours.
Wal-mart, K-mart, Target and other stores all sell a wide variety of costumes: Spiderman, Ghost Ship Pirate, Werewolf, and even Transformers. Most of these costumes are $20 or less, many even less than $10. But you might be a little strapped for cash, or maybe your kid doesn’t want to wear a cookie-cutter costume like everyone else.
Here’s a few costume ideas that you can make yourself:
Cowboy/Cowgirl: This is probably the easiest costume to make, as you’ll have some of what you need on hand, and whatever you need to buy you will likely be able to use year round. For a cowboy/cowgirl, all you need is a pair of jeans (or a flouncy denim skirt – ruffles are cute for this), a western shirt (RCC Western Stores has some great ones, located at 2230 NW 10th St in Ocala), cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat. You can also add a horse head on a stick, or some rope as a lasso to really amp up the effects. If you can teach your child to affect a drawl, you could even teach them to say something like, “Howdy, ma’am, trick or treat!” to get a laugh.
Lizard/Dinosaur: This can be an especially popular costume with boys. These materials and basic instructions work well for lizards, dinosaurs, alligators and crocodiles. You’ll need a green pillowcase (twin size is usually enough, but you may need a full or queen if your child is older or needs more room due to sensory issues), some green felt (as closely matched with the pillowcase as possible), some red felt, green thread, and depending on the length of the pillowcase once it’s on your child, you might want some green tights/leggings to carry the color theme. You cut a hole in the closed end of the pillowcase for your child’s head, and a hole on each long side of the pillowcase for his arms. You will cut the felt to make a head for the lizard. There are a couple of ways to do this: You can either cut it as a mask, with eyeholes for your child to look through, or with a top jaw for the top of your child’s head and a bottom jaw for under the child’s chin so that your child’s face is in the mouth of the creature. Cut the red felt into a tongue shape (the split tongue similar to a snake seems to be very popular), and sew it to the bottom jaw or the bottom edge of the mask (alternatively, cut a mouth hole in the mask and stick the tongue through it, then sew the tongue to the inside of the mask). You can also cut felt into triangles to add ridges to the mask or the back of the pillowcase. Cut a long strip of felt and sew it to the back bottom of the pillowcase as a tail.
Ghost: This is, of course, a traditional costume. You take a plain white sheet and cut out eyeholes (and a couple of holes for the child’s hands so they can hold their treat bag!), and make sure that it’s long enough to cover you but short enough that you don’t trip. If you want to change it up, you could add a face to it – use markers to give it lips, eyelashes, etc.
Scarecrow: Get an oversized flannel shirt, some old jeans (if they have patches, even better!), and a belt made out of rope. Stuff the shirt with plastic bags, paper bags, or straw. If you use something other than straw, add a bit of straw around the wrists and the neck (You can purchase straw at Seminole Feed Stores in and around Ocala). Take a brown eyeliner and dot a few freckles on your child’s face, and add an old straw hat. If your child can handle it, you could also get a stick and tape it to the back of their shirt, making sure some of it sticks out above their head.
Mummy: This is super easy, and relatively cheap. Just wrap your child up in white gauze bandages. You can add some green and black color to indicate mold, and depending on your child, you can either pat tons of white powder or smooth on white lotion (or zinc) to the face, without rubbing it in. Add some light black lines to age their face, and teach them how to walk very stiff-legged, and you’ve got a mummy wandering the streets!
Zombie: This is a great way to put some old, outgrown clothes to use. Take some old clothes and put lots of rips and tears in them. Make them look old and rotten, and then have your child wear them. Use some gray make up to turn their skin a sickly gray color, and a little red make up to give them some strategic blood spatter – and of course, a little blood trickling from the side of their mouth. Get them to say “Brains!” and you just might scare away all the other trick or treaters.
Mother Nature: Popular with girls, you can take a plain white sheet, cut a hole so your child’s head fits through it and the sheet rests on their shoulders and drapes down. Hit up a crafts store (Michaels is an excellent one, located on SR 200 in Ocala or Hwy 441 in Lady Lake) and buy a bunch of fake flowers, twigs, birds nests, birds, moss, and anything else you can find that relates to nature. Glue these items all over the sheet. Create a sort of crown out of some twigs and wind some flowers through it and place this on top of your daughter’s head.
There are countless other costumes that kids and parents alike can create. All it takes is a little imagination, creativity and time. Think outside the Wal-mart box and create an incredible costume that will make your child the envy of all his or her friends!