10 Last-Minute Halloween Costumes for Kids

It's almost Halloween and your kids still don't have costumes. What's a parent to do? The pre-made costumes that you see at every store are pretty expensive, especially if you have more than one child. Here are some ideas that are inexpensive, quick, and easy.

  1. Artist or Painter - Take one of dad's old white button-down shirts and put a few dabs of paint on the front. Pick up a beret or similar flat-looking hat. Cut a large paint palette out of cardboard and paint colored circles around the edges, with some blobs of mixed colors in the center, and get a couple of paintbrushes. Black sweatpants or tights complete the outfit, although you can draw a thin curly moustache on with eyeliner, if desired.
  2. Nintendo's Mario or Luigi - For Mario you'll want to use red, and for Luigi you need green. A basic long-sleeved shirt or sweatshirt and a pair of blue or black overalls make up the costume, along with a boots and a pair of white gloves from the dollar store. A small scrap of white fabric with a red letter 'M' or green letter 'L' can be attached to a baseball cap for the hat, and a thick moustache drawn on is the finishing touch.
  3. Animals - A one-piece sleeper is the perfect base for almost any animal costume. Pick one up in your desired color at a second-hand or consignment shop. You'll want to get the sleeper in one size bigger than your child actually wears to allow for clothing to go underneath to keep them warm. A plastic hair band from the dollar store can be used to attach ears to, made from fabric scraps. You can glue florist wire or a straightened wire hangar to the fabric to shape it if you'd like. A tail can be made from cotton balls, yarn, or fabric, and attached with safety pins. Draw on some whiskers and away you go!
  4. Construction Worker - Take an old plaid shirt and cut off the sleeves. Wear this over a long-sleeved white t-shirt or turtleneck, along with dad's (empty) tool belt and a pair of jeans. If you don't have a hard hat handy, you can get imitation ones at the dollar store. Construction-type boots are great if you have them, but if not, running shoes or winter boots will work just fine. A toy walkie-talkie and toy tools are perfect finishing touches, as well as a bit of brown makeup smeared on the cheeks to give the impression of a hard day spent in construction.
  5. Beauty Queen - Little girls will love this one! Use a party dress or pick one up from a second-hand store. Try to get one that your child can wear a shirt underneath for added warmth. You can gussy up the dress with glittery stickers or cutout shapes if you like. Take a long strip of white fabric (a strip from an old bed sheet will do the trick) and write 'Miss USA' or other title in permanent black marker along one side. Make a crown out of inexpensive, sparkly star garland, available at craft stores. Add some fancy shoes (or hot-glue glitter to a pair of old, beat up shoes) and a bouquet of fake flowers. Bright colored eye shadow, blush, and lip gloss are absolutely required.
  6. Butterfly - Pick up some of those large foam sheets that you can find at craft stores, in various colors. Cut out two butterfly wings from the foam, and pairs of shapes from the other colors. Glue the shapes to the butterfly wings, creating identical patterns on each side. Attach the wings to an old shirt or vest by punching holes into the foam and the garment, and using strong string or shoelaces to tie the wings to the garment. Make antennae by attaching pipe cleaners to a plastic hair band.
  7. Highway - Really fun and really easy! Get a pair of old gray sweats and, using white or black paint, paint the lines of a road down the middle, from neck to toes. Pick up some lightweight toy cars from the dollar store, and glue them on the highway. Ta-da!
  8. Flower - A green sweat suit, sleeper, or tights and a long-sleeved green shirt make the stem. Cut leaves from felt and clue them to the garments in a random pattern. You can either cut out large flower petals and attach them to the neckline of the shirt for the flower itself, or use a brightly colored hat to attach the petals to.
  9. Referee - Start off with white pants and a white sweatshirt. Cut out long black stripes from a sheet of felt or scrap fabric, and glue them to the shirt. Top it off with a baseball cap and a whistle on a cord from the dollar store.
  10. Tourist - This one's really easy, since you likely have everything you need already at home. A big, loud, printed shirt and a pair of Bermuda shorts (or casual pants), a straw hat, a pair of sunglasses, and sun block applied in a thick layer across the nose make the basic costume. Add a couple of maps hanging out of pockets, a toy camera, and even a plastic lei or other souvenir items, and you've taken your tourist costume to the next level!

No matter what your child decides to be for Halloween, make sure that the costume is comfortable and easy to maneuver. Also ensure that your child will be able to pull the costume on and off easily in case of a bathroom emergency. Stay safe and have fun!

author: Carrie Grosvenor

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