Sunday, September 28, 2008

Homemade Halloween

With Halloween just around the corner, we should all be thinking about costumes, right? Unless you're me, and you start thinking about this around June...

Anyway, I know Halloween costumes can be pricey to buy and stressful to make. I am a huge fan of Halloween, and I always dress up. My husband and I once went to a church Halloween party before we had kids. We thought that the party was mostly for kids, so we didn't even think about dressing up. When we got to the party, we realized that we were literally the only two not dressed up. Not only were all the other adults dressed up, but they went all out! I mean, Catwoman, werewolves... not just a t-shirt that says "This is my costume." We felt pretty stupid and since then have adopted our Halloween motto, "Better to be the only one dressed up than the only one not dressed up."

I don't only dress up because I feel it's my festive duty, but because 1. it's fun, and 2. it enables me to create (which Elder Uchtdorf encourages).

Sometimes the stress of putting together costumes for my husband and myself, not to mention three kids, can be overwhelming. Over the years of dressing up, I have learned a few tips that I would like to share.

1. Halloween costumes are supposed to be fun, so don't let yourself stress out too much creating the perfect costume. I almost broke this rule this year with my daughter's costume. I am not a great seamstress, and I know that if I were, the costume could have been made in one day. But it takes me a while to figure it all out. Here's a sneak peak:
If things don't turn out perfect, who cares? It's going to be dark and no one will notice the flaws. Plus, it's better to have made the effort to dress up than to not have even tried.

2. If you are on a budget (or not), look in your closet before you decide what to be. Look for things that stand out. What weird or random articles of clothing do you have? Do you have a fur coat, boots, overalls, any hats? One year, my sister realized that she had the perfect fleece-lined coat to dress up as a lumberjack. Some boots, a drawn-on beard, and a homemade axe later, and she looked like Paul Bunyan. You can usually put a few things together that you already own, and you'll only have to buy a few things to fill in the cracks.

3. It's also okay to buy a costume. Some of you really creative types might disagree, but with three little kids, I find that I can't make everyone's costumes every year. I bought my oldest's costume this year, and the baby will be wearing a costume I bought a few years ago. Oh well, I'm not about to put together five costumes from scratch. If you are going to buy a costume, check thrift stores, craigslist, or ebay first. you can usually get some good deals there.

4. If you want your husband to dress up, but he won't go for it, start with a low-effort costume. Let him choose what he wants to be. Let him wear his old jersey and be a baseball or football player. Just go easy on him; most guys think dressing up is lame. If you don't put too much pressure on him, he might come around.

5. Go to thrift stores for accessories or otherwise expensive items. Dollar or thrift stores are great places to find cowboy hats, shoes, stockings, and other accessories that might cost double or more at party stores. They are also great for finding generic clothes for costumes like cowboys, farmers, and sports players.

6. Don't choose a costume that is too hard to create, unless you are willing to invest a lot of time and/or money. My little sister is notorious for doing this. Last year, she wanted to be Nacho Libre, and my patient mother actually made her the costume. This year, my sister wants to be Barney the dinosaur. That just is not going to happen. So unless you want to devote a ton of time to making an elaborate costume, choose something doable. There are actually so many easy costumes to choose from. Some of these (I have done almost all of these) include: a farmer, a scarecrow, a G.I., a witch, a gypsy, a cowboy/girl, a cat, a pirate, and a princess. Characters are great ideas too, and are usually pretty easy and cheap, depending on what you already have. Again, use what you have, and borrow or buy the small extras.

7. When making costumes for babies, remember they might grow! I made this mermaid costume for my daughter when she was a baby. I made it a month early and it barely fit her for Halloween!

8. Dress up! Halloween is so much more fun when you dress up. As a kid, I loved it when the adults handing out candy had dressed up. Halloween isn't just for kids, so plan on dressing up this year!


  1. I love costume you made for Eden. It is so cute! What a good idea to make it yourself. We bought my girls a dress up kit with lots of outfits, and it came with headbands to go with the clothes. The one for Snow White, was a regular plastic headband, about 1/2"- 3/4" thick. It had red ribbon wrapped around the headband, and then there was a bow that was attached to the headband. It was so cute. That is just an idea if you wanted something to attach the bow to. But Eden may not keep the headband on. I know headbands can be a pain for kids to wear. The bow in her hair by itself would be really cute too. Or you could make her a crown out of felt (copy those felt crowns on isty). That would be cute too. How fun. Maybe next year I will be more creative with the girls costumes. With baby Luke coming so soon, I just wanted something easy and cheap. Kevin and I still need to figure out our costumes. We may dress up as Army people, as a tribute to the troops. I found two Army hats at DI. So we will see. I can't wait to see your costume! You are so creative.

  2. That Snow White costume is amazing! Great work. Whatever "not a good seamstress". From the pictures it looks like something you'd buy at the Disney store. I'm impressed!

  3. Wow! I'm amazed! You are amazing! Love the Snow White costume. I love doing crafty things but never get around to do anything! You are inspiring me. I should've checked this blog before I ordered my kids Halloween costumes last night. I think I could've done something way cuter than the Lightening McQueen found on Disney. Matthew will be McQueen, Andrew - Optimus Prime and Elise - Hannah Montana. I like your theme ideas though. Maybe next year.

  4. I tried to have our costumes double as pajamas the rest of the year.. one year it was flannel clowns; another astronaut p.j.s I'll be posting old pictures of Halloween costumes on my blog soon. Enjoyed seeing yours.