Last-minute kid costume pointers (or ideas for next year)

So why not keep your child and wallet happy at the same time? Fashion gurus agree that homemade Halloween costumes are the perfect solution to this dilemma—not only do they provide relief for families on a budget, but it’s a good experience for the young ones.

“It’s a great way to get your kids involved in the process,” said Katie Campbell of Art Institute of Tampa. “It’s a chance for kids to be creative.”

Campbell, having three kids herself, said that Michaels, Joann Fabrics and even Walmart have great and cheap materials to work with. Making your own costume also gives you a chance to use some of those untouched crafts materials that have been lying around for years.

“Once you decide on materials you need for a costume, you’ll be surprised on what you may already have,” Campbell said.

With the right materials and dedication to the process, your kid will not only be satisfied with the results of their costume, but they’ll have a completely original outfit which can’t be found in stores — most importantly, they will be proud of the costume they’ve accomplished and learn a valuable lesson about hard work.

Campbell had some suggestions on things to consider while making a costume.

“Most importantly, keep it simple. Don’t treat it like a competitive thing,” she said. “Your kid will probably love the end product either way.”

Campbell also reminded parents to keep the kid’s comfort in mind — don’t trap you kid in a restricted and warm costume. If their Halloween experience is anything like mine was when I was younger, they’ll be wearing that thing for hours on end.

As far as costume ideas go, there are countless options for both boys and girls. If you find that your child is indecisive on their costume idea, offer the following easy-to-make suggestions:

• Pink poodle
• Mermaid
• lady bug
• paper doll
• Frankenstein
• Construction worker
• Alligator hunter
• Robot
Here’s a fun example of a simple and attractive costume, taken from, that will catch all the neighborhood kids’ attentions.

Robot CostumeNeeded: Gray sweat suit, one long aluminum dryer hose, 2 rectangular
disposable foil pans, baseball cap, foil, colored markers, ribbon.
1. The foundation is a long-sleeve sweatshirt or undershirt and
grey sweatpants.
2. Cut aluminum dryer hose in 4 parts. Place one on each leg over
sweatpants for the legs. For arms, use ribbon attached to the hose
with a stapler to connect the other 2 pieces across the child’s back.
Put on like a coat, one arm at a time.
3. Attach the two disposable foil pans with ribbons close to the
corners, making sure there’s enough space so it can go over the
child’s head like a sandwich sign.
4. Have your child use markers to create “robot” buttons and
knobs on the foil pans.
5. Wrap a baseball cap with foil and use as the robot’s hat.

Milva Di Lorenzo, Fashion Design faculty for Miami International University of Art & Design, recommends the following websites for creative creations: (click on Holidays link on left)

So dare to do something different. Whether you’re on a tight budget or not, use this time to spend quality time with your kids — and create spooky Halloween that will blow store costumes out of the water.

As Halloween rolls around, parents become afraid of more than just ghosts and goblins.

Instead, they become concerned with finances. Every parent wants to afford their kid’s dream Halloween costume. This is out of love, of course, and also because “but all the other kids have cool costumes, mom!” However, coming up with a hip Halloween costume can often break the bank.

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