Halloween Kid’s Costumes – DIY Style

DATE: October 16, 2013

I can’t believe Halloween is only 2 weeks away! I feel like the kids just started school a week ago and already it’s approaching crunch time for final decisions on costumes.

Growing up in the late 70s, early 80s, I trick-or-treated with the likes of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Yoda and Chewbacca in addition to every Marvel superhero at the time. I can remember my mother twisting my pigtails into the iconic cinnamon roll side buns, a la Princess Leia, more then a few years in a row. This concept is very much lost on my children. The “Star Wars” of their generation doesn’t feature the character except as an infant. However, the persistence of superhero costumes has continued from my trick-or-treating days to today.

This year I will be escorting Captain America and Theodora, the wicked witch played by Mila Cunis in “Oz the Great and Powerful”. At first I was daunted by these costume decisions, since I try to make the kids’ costumes every year. However, after a little researching online, I was able to solve the major Captain America hurdles:

  • Helmet- bicycle helmet painted blue and a matching eye mask
  • Red Boots- large red socks attached at the top to a packing tube big enough to fit over my son’s shoes
  • Shield- painted Frisbee.

After that, I was just adding appliques and a striped torso to a blue shirt and blue sweat pants. I was relieved to have puzzled out the tricky details until I remembered my daughter’s costume request.

Understand that while I attempt to produce homemade costumes for my children, I am by no means a seamstress. For me it’s more crafting, creative thinking and occasionally I’ll pull out the needle and thread for details of fitting. When my daughter announced Theodora (in evil form) I almost wanted to say “no.” Instead of immediately denying her the black and green costume of her dreams, I decided to give it a day or two and hoped inspiration would strike.

The first thing I did was break down the look from head to toe:

  • Pointy Black Hat
  • Green Skin
  • Hooked Nose
  • Black Dress
  • Pointy Shoulder Detail
  • Black Pants/Leggings
  • Black Shoes

Going down the list I was able to check off several items – hat from a previous costume, black leggings and shoes from my daughter’s closet. I even checked off the green skin thanks to a stockpile of green body paint previously amassed for an Incredible Hulk costume. I crossed out the nose because it was unwanted, by both my daughter and myself. Though able to cross off almost everything on my list, what was left was the largest part. Fearing a repeat of the great “Enchanted” wedding dress disaster of 2007 (FYI-using balloons to create a puffy sleeve effect does not an attractive costume make), I called for back-up.

I have a friend who is constantly hosting theme parties and I got her on the phone with the hope she could give me a few ideas. Boy did she! Upon hearing my witchy fashion dilemma, she promptly responded, “Standard dress-up princess dress or bridesmaid dresses, black dye.” Brilliant, I thought. Though the princess dress was out due to it no longer fitting my daughter, I did have a few old bridesmaid dresses in the back of my closet. The winning dress was a baby blue, full length, strapless, A-Line with a fitted bodice and WAY too much skirt. To create the look, I took the crinoline off the bottom of the under skirt, gathered and cut it into two spiky fans. Then I used the excess length at the bottom of the skirt to create wide straps to attach the fans to. After dying everything black, I assembled the pieces and cut strips into the bottom of the skirt and underskirt, giving it a layered and symmetrical appearance. I made some final adjustments to make it fit my daughter’s frame and it was done.

When I revealed both finished costumes to my children, they were thrilled. They can’t wait to show off this year’s looks too all their friends come Halloween.

In need of some DIY costume ideas yourself? Try these sites:


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