Speech Buddies Parents’ Corner – Spooktacularly Easy Halloween Costumes

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Growing up there were no trips to the costume store – old school Halloween costumes meant using what you could find in the house to create a unique, fun, and cheap way to disguise yourself for a couple of hours – and I still love this challenge. Halloween is only a few days away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find an adorable, frightening, or financially feasible costume without investing a ton of time or money – so try some of these spooktacular ideas for both kids and adults.

Easy Halloween Costumes

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Easy Halloween Costumes for Kids (and their parents!)

Gorton’s Fisherman – One of my sons loves to take commercial ideas and turn them into costumes, so he wore a yellow raincoat, cut out a cardboard ship steering wheel and painted it brown, and carried a fishing net with an empty Gorton’s Fisherman fish stick box inside of it slung over his shoulder – adorable and easy!

Pillsbury Doughboy – With white sweatpants and sweatshirt, all you need is a baker’s hat, a kerchief around the neck, and oven mitt or wooden spoon (you can go one step further with white face paint). Don’t forget to laugh like him!

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Santa Claus – Usually the child to design elaborate costumes, one of my kids opted for pure comfort with this easy idea. He found red sweatpants at Target, borrowed a red button-up shirt and wide black belt from me (tucked in a pillow case with fluff that he attached to his undershirt with safety pins), added his own snow boots, and finished it off with a Santa hat from the Dollar Tree. With a faux fur trim for the beard he called out Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho! instead of trick-or-treat!

An Artist – Dress your child all in black, including a beret. Then cut out an extra-large artist’s pallet from cardboard and add splotches of paint (this can even be hung around your child’s neck by a ribbon. Add a black French moustache with eyeliner and give your child a large paintbrush from the shelves at home to carry.

Easy Halloween Costumes

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Scuba Diver – Take the snorkel and face mask from the garage and dress your child in black leggings and long sleeved tee shirt. Make homemade flippers by cutting craft foam in the shape and hole punching 3 holes on each side (then thread shoelaces through them). The final touch is to create an air tank or two from an empty 2 liter soda bottle by painting it and taping it with black duck tape around your child’s torso (or by affixing it with a large belt). You can make a hose for the air tank like this adorable one from Artsy Fartsy Mama.

Who says only the young kids get to dress up on Halloween? My husband and I love to get creative for Halloween parties, trick-or-treating with the kids, or even our favorite – helping scare people at the local haunted house. If you or your older kids need some easy and creative ideas, let your imagination have some fun with these.

Cereal Killer – Using a play on the macabre serial killer, this version is easy to make and brings out your sarcastic side. Take a plain long-sleeved shirt (that you’re OK ruining) and randomly affix empty cereal boxes to it. I used a large craft needle to punch through the cardboard and then upholstery thread to sew the box to the shirt. Take plastic knives and drive them through several of the boxes, leaving just a bit of blade showing (you can make a slit with a scissors first if needed). Add some splotches and streaks of red paint where the knives drive through the boxes and let dry – then voila – a cereal killer.

Where’s Waldo and Wenda? – Go as a matched storybook set with this easy option. Take plain white shirts and create stripes with red electrical tape – and do the same for some white stocking caps. Waldo wears jeans and Wenda wears a jean skirt (striped leggings if you can find them, otherwise red ones look cute, too).

Easy Halloween Costumes for Kids and Adults

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Scary Clown – We just finished working at a haunted house where we spent a hilarious evening scaring people – dressed as matching clowns. I was fortunate enough to find two jester type satin shirts at the local thrift store. To make them more “clown” looking I made 3 simple yarn tassel balls for each shirt. My husband wore purple scrub pants and I wore satin pajama pants, and we added wigs and face paint (from ideas online) – and I carried an annoying bike horn for effect.

More Easy Ideas

  • Simple plastic headbands make great bases for ears, antennae, and unicorn horns made from felt, craft foam, or colored paper.
  • Thrift store, thrift store, thrift store. Help out a good local cause while shopping second hand for costume pieces.
  • Look at things a new way. Last year my daughter received faux fur leg warmers to wear as boot covers for her birthday. Her younger brother immediately called dibs on them to use them as his fur legs for his planned werewolf costume.
  • Face paint that comes like crayons allows even the drawing-challenged to succeed without fancy chisel brushes (but still the same effects).

Have you ever read Halloween, by Jerry Seinfeld? It is a hilarious tale of plastic masks, store-bought costumes, and the allure of the perfect Halloween disguise. It reminds me of that excitement I had as a child, and a bit of that longing for the perfect costume. Judging by my kids’ enthusiasm, I guess I’ve passed along those genes fairly well, and I look forward to the fun of the night with my kids, too. We usually start the day with bobbing for apples (breakfast!), some games and crafts, and more fun along the way. What are your favorite, easy Halloween activities and costumes – for you and your kids?

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