Are you making or buying your Halloween costume?

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If your kids are anything like my kids, their adrenaline levels have already gone up in anticipation of Halloween, their favourite holiday, now just a few days away.

But what about the stress of having the perfect costume? What’s the best approach, making one or buying one? The clock is ticking…

Two of my children, a.k.a. store-bought Pirate and handmade Wonder Woman, in a battle for costume supremacy

Two of my children, a.k.a. Store-bought Pirate and Handmade Wonder Woman, in a battle for costume supremacy

This morning I was interviewed on CBC Radio’s morning show Metro Morning,* talking about DIY costumes. So yesterday, I did my research by asking the experts (my three daughters) what they thought the advantages were of making your own. Here’s what they said:

1) It’s less expensive (more money left over to spend on candy!).

2) It’s more creative – you can be whatever you want. You don’t have to just choose from what’s available in the store. And even if you want to do something traditional, you can make it look exactly the way you want it to look.

3) It’s a fun activity to do together.

But the advantage they identified as being #1 in their eyes really struck me:

“It’s more special.”

While listing off their costumes from years past, they said that the ones that stuck out the most in their minds, bringing back the strongest Halloween memories, are the ones we made.  We have kept some of these costumes for years, they reminded me, even the simple ones, because they’re special and unique.

Think about the Halloween pumpkin. If we went to the store and chose a pre-carved pumpkin off-the-shelf, would it be as much fun as planning your design, making a big mess, and then posing with your masterpiece? I think not.

But this is not the time for social pressure, and you have enough to worry about. Halloween is about fun; nobody should feel pressured to create an elaborate Pinterest-worthy costume.  If you want to buy one, do. Or you might choose to use some store-bought props and makeup to enhance a DIY costume.  But if you want to do it yourself from scratch, you can!

If you haven’t found the perfect costume yet, and you want to make it yourself, it’s not too late. Here are some suggestions for playful costumes that you can make with minimal investment of time and money:

1) A clear recycling bag with holes cut out so you can wear it + colourful blown-up balloons stuffed inside + a ribbon around your neck = a bag of candy

2) An umbrella with little stuffed animals tied with string to hang around the brim + a raincoat = raining cats and dogs (I demonstrated this one on CBC news, dressing up reporter Trevor Dunn, and he looked terrific).

3) A paper lawn bag + a tiara or crown = the Paper Bag Princess

4) A black suit + cool shades = Men in Black

5) A lab coat + funny glasses, crazy wig, safety goggles, bag of spiders, clipboard, bowtie, beaker (so many possibilities) = mad scientist, entomologist, inventor…

6) Any costume you love + zombie makeup = zombie bride, zombie marathon runner, zombie cat, zombie anything! It’s so much fun to wear zombie makeup.

The internet is bursting with great costume ideas; we made my 11-year-old’s Wonder Woman costume (in the photo) using instructions she found on YouTube, tailoring it to work for us. Whatever you choose to wear this Friday, have fun, be safe, and Happy Halloween!

Devorah Miller
Red Thread Design

* If you want to, you can listen to today’s CBC interview HERE.  The segment about Halloween costumes starts at 29:30.

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