Sure, this Halloween you can go to the costume shop and buy expensive, perfect replicas of your child’s favorite character, but making costumes at home is part of the fun. If you are the least crafty person on the planet — next to me — there are some fun ideas that are easy to make, meaning your children can do most of the work.
The trick is starting early, so the paint is dry before they head out hunting for treats. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Thanks to the internet, you can find images for almost anything you can imagine.
For the video game lover, pick a favorite character. I usually try to steer my son toward a highly recognized character, otherwise he is disappointed when house after house asks, “Who are you?” But older kids may enjoy being an obscure character that only their friends understand.
• Mario and Luigi. These costumes require: overalls, a T-shirt and matching hat (red for Mario, green for Luigi), white gloves, and a bushy moustache. You can easily make and tape onto the hats the M or L logo. If your child no longer wears overalls, you can usually locate an inexpensive pair at the local thrift shop.
• Wii remote. You can use a box and paint it white, then draw on the logo and the buttons. Use a narrow box. For a smaller child, you could use a large, white T-shirt and draw the buttons and logo with fabric paint.
• Minecraft. This very popular game is based on building a world from blocks, so it lends itself to easy costumes. The costume could simply be the block head made from a box and an outfit that looks vaguely like the character you are emulating. Yes, you can purchase a Creeper or a Steve head, but all you need is a square box. Cut out eyes and a mouth and draw the face with paint or markers. My 11-year-old quickly made himself a Steve character head with supplies in the garage when I said “no” to paying good money for a cardboard box.
You can also make an entire body out of boxes painted to match the character, just be sure your child can walk and climb stairs in the getup. You can buy the pickaxe needed to mine in the game, but again, some foam board or cardboard and markers will do just fine.
Even if you are not a Mac family, the “i” devices make for fun, easy costumes.
• iPod. You need a slim, long box. Paint it black, or cover with black tape. On the front screen area, your child can draw on his favorite apps, or even print the icons and stick them on. Arms, legs, and head stick out from the iPod body, or your child can be inside the box, so that he is in the screen area acting as if he is in a You Tube video. If you want a coordinating costume, maybe you can go as the older, original iPod that your child may not recognize — you remember, the ones with the circle (aka scroll wheel) on the front.
• Mac computer. Another easy box costume, painted silver or covered with duct tape. The simple apple icon is easy to print on the front.
• iPad and iPad mini. These two would make a cute matching ensemble for an older and younger child. You use the same idea as the iPod with the apps, just use boxes shaped more like the iPad. You can get clever and design your own apps and see if anyone notices.
Test out costumes at least a week beforehand, so you can make any adjustments. Remember to make costumes that are easy to walk in, see in, and be seen. A flashlight or reflective tape is always a nice, safe final touch.
Sue LeBreton is a writer and mother of a tween and a teen. She loves watching them create interesting Halloween costumes and tries to limit her role to cheering on their efforts.
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