09 October 2011

Day 9: Trick or Treat

I've never bought a Halloween costume.  It bothers me how much they cost.  I wouldn't say I'm cheap, because I am more than willing to pay good money for something I feel is useful.  But I hardly feel I get my money out of a costume my child wears once.  My husband just sent me this fantastic article from Get Rich Slowly.  Incidentally, this is a great site for making simple changes in your life that will build wealth over time.  But that is another topic, so we'll stick with what we've started.

Halloween costumes, right.  Fortunately, my kids have never cared about store bought costumes.  And so we've always made our own.  And when I say made, I don't mean sewn a look-alike costume from scratch.  I mean made as in my kids can help.  In fact, my oldest is eight, and this is the first year I've used my sewing machine at all for costumes.  In the past we have

  • used garbage bags to make rain cloud costumes
  • used cardboard boxes as turtle shells and dump trucks
  • used toy toolbelts and such as accessories
  • used only thrifted or already owned items
This year, I got roped into making two sets of costumes:  one for the Bigs' school party, and another for all of us for a party at some friends' house.  I made all of them from items we had at home or thrifted items.  

Up first:  Harry Potter

I started with these capes that I had made for last year's Star Wars costumes.

I cut an opening down the middle and sewed up the sides.

I attached a triangle of scrap fabric in the back as a hood.

I dyed them black.

I found a maroon and white striped scarf and old glasses at a thrift store.

I painted the white stripes yellow and knocked the glass out of the glasses.

I spray painted two sticks black to use as wands.

I put together a button down shirt with a gray shirt on top and dark pants for their outfits under the robes.  These were pieces of clothing they already own.

And there you have it.  Two Harry Potter costumes.

 They aren't an exact replica; as I've said before, the charm of home made is in its imperfection.  The key to costumes is finding good matches for a couple key accessories; in this case it was the glasses and the scarves.  The rest can be approximated and still do the job.

The Bigs had a ball finding the perfect sticks to turn into wands, helping me smash the lenses of the glasses, and painting the yellow stripes on the scarves.

We'll use some smudged eyeliner or mascara to make a scar on their foreheads, and they'll have a fantastic time at their party.

Ok, your turn.  What can you accomplish with your creativity hats?  I bet you have almost everything you need for a great Halloween right in your own home.

If this is your first time here, welcome.  Take a minute to check out my other 31 Days to Home Made posts, by clicking here or on the button at the top of this page.


  1. Wow--and it doesn't have to be a perfect replica, because there are a few key items that make people know it is Harry Potter. These are great. Can't wait to see the family costumes!

  2. Thanks! It's kind of really fun to think of these costumes.