Finding Inspiration at Home for Halloween Costumes

Looking for something more creative than a store-bought costume? Try some of these outfits for an innovative alternative.

One of my favorite parts of Halloween has always been the opportunity to shed my ordinary existence, to see what it feels like to dress up as someone — or something — else for one night.

My children also love to embrace the opportunity for a temporary transformation, relishing the process of selecting the perfect costume and then developing the right persona to go along with all of the trappings.

Take a Homemade Approach

Typically, my kids gravitate toward the more popular choices, such as Disney characters, animals, and spooky creatures, all found in the big box store’s seasonal aisles. However, in the past few years, we’ve noticed some of our neighbors make their own unique costumes.

This year, I decided to take a page out of my neighbors’ books and explore some creative costume options for my own children. If you’re looking to do the same, here are a few of the best ideas I came up with, thanks to my innovative friends, as well as a wealth of ideas featured on Pinterest and other websites.

Homemade Halloween Costume Ideas

Storybook Characters

If your child has a favorite book, how about using it for inspiration? For instance, my daughter loves stories about the French student Madeline. She could wear a big yellow hat and a navy blue coat to dress like the main character. My son loves Harry Potter, so a pair of studious glasses, a cape, and a wand could help him walk in his idol’s shoes for an evening.

Sports Figures

Most kids have a favorite sport or two. In my family, my daughter is into gymnastics while my son loves golf. It would be easy for each of them to dress up as athletes representing these sports. My daughter could wear her leotard under a warm up suit, then add braids and a medal around her neck. My son could wear a polo shirt and khakis and carry a golf club, a scorecard, and a big trophy.

Television and Movie Personas

If your child has a favorite cartoon, series, or movie, how about creating a costume to portray someone or something from the show? My daughter loves Sophia Grace and Rosie, so a big tutu, large sunglasses, and an over-the-top bow in her hair would be an easy way to channel her inner diva. My son enjoys game shows like Wheel of Fortune, so I thought of making a big mock wheel out of poster board that can really spin, and putting it over a business suit like the host, Pat Sajak, wears.

Professions

An easy way for your children to play dress-up this Halloween is to let them try out a profession they admire. My daughter enjoys baking, so a chef outfit could be a possibility. I can combine a white button-down shirt, loose pants, and an apron, topped off with a wooden spoon and chef’s hat. My son enjoys learning about outer space. An astronaut costume can easily be made from a bike helmet (you can also use paper mache to create this) and a white painter’s suit and gloves.

Household Items

When you’re looking for inspiration, how about turning to your home or your yard to fuel your imagination? My daughter loves snowmen, so a hooded white sweatshirt, with three big black felt “buttons” down the front, would create that look. You can add a top hat, a red scarf, and a carrot (make it out of clay or papier mâché, or use a plastic one) and attach it to a stick to hold it in place.

My son loves ketchup, so a red warm-up suit with Heinz stenciled on the front, along with a construction cone painted red to put on his head, and some red face paint, can be an inexpensive way to create this costume.

Be Unique

This is just a sampling of some out-of-the-box costumes. If you want to help your children get creative this Halloween, encourage them to brainstorm some of the things they love. Use that list to search online for ideas of how to create a one-of-a-kind costumes that represent their interests.

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