Halloween is here, and I have one kid left who’s decided to trick-or-treat just one more time. I did grow up in the ’70s, so is it any surprise that my attitude about costumes is a lot like the one described in this delightful article (my lack of skill with a needle and thread might also have something to do with it). Hearing all those other mothers talk about the outfits they’ve so skillfully and lovingly created can get a Halloween-negligent mom down.
Fortunately, older kids are capable of using their imaginations to figure costumes out for themselves. But, when that gets postponed until a perilously late date, they can end up pulling their hair out with frustration, collapsing into a heap and exclaiming, “I don’t have a thing to wear!”
Never fear. Simple solutions await that require absolutely no sewing. Try the following ideas:
Start with classic black Use black pants/tights/leggings/skirts/dresses/long sleeve shirts as a base. Now you have many options, a witch or warlock being the most obvious. Use accessories to spice up the old favorite. We found some cool purple and black striped tights at Marshall’s. That cheapo pointy hat you bought at the party store? Grab a glue stick and your old art box and decorate it. A cape from the dress-up bin that never gets used anymore will do wonders, too. Top it off with a great make-up job and some ghoulish black fingernails and you’ll be all set (green face, more example, makes you The Wicked Witch of the West). The old black cat is another classic using the basic black base. Get some ears, add a tail, some fun claws, and a cute face painting job and you’re adorable.
Don’t give up the ghost You must have a white sheet. Who cares if it’s been done before? You know what they say — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Make holes for the eyes and keep it from falling off with a nice necktie. Cut a bunch of extra holes and you’re Charlie Brown.
Thrift stores are your friend A quick trip to your local used clothing store should get ideas flowing. For example, with a red dress, plastic hoop earrings, black pumps, a black eye pencil, and a good hair curling job, you’re transformed into Betty Boop. A dark suit jacket, tie, bowler hat, fake cigar, moustache, and spectacles makes you Groucho Marx. Pair any flowing long dress with a viny headband and ankle-high sandals and you’re a goddess.
Cardboard If you can manage to snag some refrigerator or stove boxes, you can cover yourself in cardboard. Take two large round pieces, paint them blue, then use green to depict the continents in their appropriate places. With sturdy twine to tie the sides together, you can drape the whole shebang over your shoulders and be Planet Earth. Use the same idea for the moon or Mars. Or use your round pieces to paint a clock, make it midnight, don your pointy hat, and you’re the Witching Hour. Do the same cut and paint technique for a mushroom (add a brown or beige hat), an apple, a baseball, a pickle, or anything else easy.
Felt The beauty of this stuff is that all you need is a pair of scissors. To be Robin Hood, just cut a hole in the middle of a big piece of green felt, add some fringes at the bottom of the front and back, pop it over your head and secure it with a brown belt. Make the hat by cutting green felt into two triangular pieces, then glue them together. Don’t forget the feather and the tights.
Thrift stores to check out:
The Garment District
Morgan Memorial Goodwill