Halloween can work out very expensive if you have more than one child to dress up, but over the years with trick or treating, fancy dress parties and special dress-up days at school, I have become adept at throwing together panicky cheap DIY costumes for children.
I know it’s a little while until Halloween, but if your children are anything like mine, then they will already be discussing what they want to wear on the night.
Over the years I have had to make numerous last-minute costumes for various school events, parties and Halloween. Buying a ready-made costume can work out very expensive at times, and some children might not want a costume that every other child has.
Here are a few costumes I have made before, which are easy to do.
Harry Potter Costume/Ron Weasley Costume
Please excuse the less than perfect photos, I made this way before I started blogging. One year Harley was determined to be Harry Potter, but I couldn’t find a costume anywhere.
I did manage to get a wand and a pair of glasses from the local market, and I managed to make the rest myself. To make the cape I used a cheap old hoody of mine, and literally cut from the centre upwards to the start of the neck on the front. This instantly made a cardigan type cape, and he loved it.
I found a scarf in the Pound shop that was roughly the school colours for Harry Potter, dressed him in his school top and trousers, used eye liner to draw on a scar and we had a very happy ‘Harry’. If you can’t get glasses anywhere cheaply, you could also use the eyeliner to draw on ‘glasses’.
The Captain Sparrow costume next to him obviously wasn’t home made, but Fin received it as a gift, as I would never pay that much for a costume! Smiling to myself at how little they were in this one.
Here’s a better look at the ‘cape’ below. Harley decided the year afterwards that he wanted to be Ron Weasley, so we left the glasses off and I made our pound shop scarf into Ron’s tie. That £1 scarf was one of our best buys as it’s come in handy for loads of outfits.
Being told by Fin a few days before the event, that he needed to dress as a Viking for school sent me in to a bit of a panic, as funnily enough it’s not an outfit we had readily at home.
Luckily though we had a very cheap brown blanket at home, that we’d bought for something else and then not used. I think it came from the Asda value range or somewhere similar.
I cut the blanket in to a cape shape (i.e slightly wonky rectangle), and used my slightly dodgy sewing skills to sew two corners together to make a head hole. I bought a very cheap green men’s long sleeve t-shirt from Asda to work as a tunic – I don’t mind buying items like this, as they can be used for more than one dress up outfit, or even for a painting t-shirt for Si or myself afterwards.
I then cut a strip from the remains of the blanket to use as a waist tie, and for somewhere for Fin to pop his sword. The sword we already had, and the helmet we bought from a fancy dress shop for around £3.99. I know Harley will have to dress as a Viking at school at some point as well as he’s 2 school years below Fin, so the helmet and the rest will get good use.
Here’s how the outfit looked – eyeliner beard is optional.
I’m wishing now I had taken a lot more photos of some of my other costume makes! I have some tips for making your own though and not just for Halloween…
- If you ever see a grey/brown waistcoat at a bargain price, buy it! Waistcoats are handy for lots of different costumes including Victorians, World War 2 evacuee (at our school they go off on the train with everyone waving), old man and more
- Before you go out and spend lots of money, have a look around at home, it’s likely you have something there to use. We all have clothes that don’t fit us (groans) so why not make use of them for material if it’s not something you are honestly likely to wear again. Brilliant way to justify an impulse buy that has never seen the light of day
- Eyeliner is amazing – fact. You can use it for beards, scars, mix it with red lipstick to make cuts and ghoulish looks for Halloween, draw on glasses, or wrinkles…I may start claiming mine are eyeliner..
- Look in charity shops, pound shops, B and M, Primark, basically anywhere that may have items you can use for a cheap price. If it’s a one-off costume and the item you need to buy isn’t something you will ever use again (rare in this house I love finding a recycling use) try to buy it for the lowest price that you can
- Ask a friend! As parents we have all had to dress our children up as something at one point or another, and if your children don’t want to wear the same Halloween outfit two years running, then how about they swap with a friend’s child? You can do a costume exchange, they both get to wear a different outfit and neither you or the other parent have to pay a penny
- Even if you aren’t great at sewing, have a go! You’ll be surprised at what you can make when you get creative and try.
Do you have any tricks that you use for costume finding and making?