Little Ghosts and Goblins

I abhor store-bought Halloween costumes. You may think I’m being unfair to people who aren’t terribly creative but have children who want to dress up. Maybe so, but store-bought Halloween costumes represent the worst of consumerism to me. They’re cheaply made somewhere outside the U.S. where the labor laws are slack, they fall apart, and they require no thought or creativity. My favorite part of Halloween is the creativity of coming up with a costume. I’m not saying that the entire costume should be homemade; there’s nothing wrong with purchasing a few elements, like a set of antennas for an alien costume. But walking into a store and buying the whole thing ready-made off the rack is so uninspiring. I like to be a little more creative. Here are some ideas and links for fun kids’ costumes.

1. The thrift store is a treasure trove of Halloween costume ideas. There are all kinds of outdated, interesting and funny things to be found at the thrift store. If you go in with an open mind, you can find something to build a costume around. If you can sew, even a little bit, this opens up your possibilities. You could hem a woman’s shirt to make a dress for a child, maybe something in a bright, hippie sort of fabric. Get some vintage looking sunglasses and some retro jewelery and you’ve got a little love child on your hands. It’s just a matter of walking in and seeing what inspires you.

2. If you’re not up for a creative challenge, check out costumes on Etsy. This is a website with handmade, high quality crafts, art, furniture and other handicrafts. None of it is factory made or mass produced. By shopping on Etsy, you’re supporting artisans and uber-crafty stay at home moms.

3. Look in your own closet. You could put your son’s own pants and dress shirt with one of your husband’s ties. Use brown or black eyeliner or washable marker to draw a beard or mustache on his face. If you have a briefcase, he could carry that and go as a businessman. One year when I was a kid, I went as my dad for Halloween. My father is a commercial fisherman, so I wore my own jeans, his flannel shirt and tucked my hair up under one of his hats. My mom drew a beard on my face and everyone laughed and said how much I looked like my dad. It was one of my most memorable costumes ever, and it cost nothing.

This year my kids are going as a pumpkin and a bumblebee. My little girl got a dress up outfit for her birthday that came with a black and yellow tutu, wings and a headband with antennae. I put a white shirt and black leggings with these things and her costume was done. It cost $0 because most of it was a gift.

For my son, I had a hand-me-down orange onesie with a jack-o-lantern face on it. I bought a pumpkin hat on the clearance rack at Old Navy for $2.50 to complete the costume. So Halloween at my house cost $2.50. That’s how I roll.

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