Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Emergency Halloween! Quick and Cheap Costumes for the Time- and Cash-Strapped

I love Halloween. I love getting dressed up and going door to door, begging for sweets and constantly explaining my outfit. Because the look on people’s faces when they finally understand why you have a CD hanging around your neck while wearing an eyepatch is the real treat.

(In case you haven’t figured out the above, it’s a software pirate. Arrr.)

When I was a kid, my older cousin went to the fabric store and gathered all the materials to help make our costumes. Cats, witches, ghosts—they were always beautiful, tasteful, and well designed.

Sadly, none of her sewing skills were passed on to us, and as we got older and she got busier, my sisters and I had to rely on our own creativity, wits and crafting abilities to cobble together decent Halloween gear.

I recall our first attempt at being “punk rockers.” For some reason, we were all wearing garbage bags. It wasn’t a great success, but we were proud anyhow.

Toward our high school and college years, however, we got to see and make some really cool stuff, mostly thrown together last minute and on tight budgets. And they were some of our best outfits ever.

If you’re struggling to find something to wear tonight, I’ve put together a short list of some easy-to-do ideas I’ve come across over the years:

Me, as a bag of candy.
  • Wear all pink and tie a shoe to your head: you’re a Piece of Gum!
  • Turn a giant paper leaf bag into a smock dress: you’re the Paperbag Princess!
  • Fill a clear plastic garbage bag with balloons and cut out holes for your feet and arms: you’re a Bag of Candy!
  • Wear the ugliest non-matching clothes you have and put on terrible makeup: you’re a Fashion Disaster!
  • Alternatively, wear clothes that are on the verge of falling apart: you’re a Wardrobe Malfunction!
  • Wear any of the above and include a large empty picture frame around your neck: you’re Art!
  • Grab a big box and decorate it with wrapping paper: you’re God’s Gift to Men/Women/Humanity!
  • Tie a pillow to your tummy: you’re human sushi!
  • Put a lampshade over your head: you’re the light of someone’s life!

Got any last-minute costume ideas, advice, suggestions or tips to share? Let us know in the comments!
Have a safe, happy and crafty Halloween!


kris said...

My second son was famous for spending days planning his costume, then - 15 minutes before trick or treating - deciding that he hated it. He always ended up pulling on a coat and calling himself Raincoat Man.

Hey, he was 5 and cute, he could do it :-)

Kristina Mathews said...

Best costume ever, was when my husband dressed as our son's bedroom floor.

We attached Legos, Hot Wheels, Thomas the Train underwear, socks, candy wrappers and other misc. things to a sweatsuit.

It was hilarious. Took first prize in the costume contest.

mary sullivan said...

Vicki, I love all of your great costume ideas!!!!

Kristina, your husband's costume made me laugh!

My favorite costume was when I wore my Brownie uniform from when I was a girl. Miraculously, I could get into it as an adult, but it was super-super-short, so I tarted it up with black stockings, purple stilettos, wildly curly hair and a ton of makeup, effectively turning myself into a Brownie Tart. The men liked it ;-)

That uniform wouldn't cover one thigh these days. Oh, how times have changed!

Cathryn Parry said...

Oh my gosh, I am laughing so hard. Vicki, I love your bag-of- candy costume--that's so great!

I have no big tips to share--my creativity is going into a carved pumpkin for the Trick-or-Treaters tonight. :-)

linda s said...

Dd has been teaching my barely three year old grandson that practicing is part of how we learn. Yesterday, he went out the backdoor and around to the front of the house and rang the doorbell. When I answered he said "Trick or treat, you practice, grandma." When I gave him a box of smarties, he told me "good job" and gave me thumbs up, giggling of course. Delighted his little plot paid off.

Karina Bliss said...

Great ideas, Vicki, I'll definitely adopt some of them for the next costume party.

Snookie said...

Vicki, those ideas cracked me up. lOved the bag of candy and the software pirate :).

Kristina, your husband's costume also had me laughing... I can just see it!

Anonymous said...


You are so clever. You cracked me up . I also loved Kristina's husband's son's bedroom floor costume. When my daughter was that age, all her stuff on her floor would not fit on an adult sweatsuit.

Happy Halloween

Sonya Heaney said...

My one and only Halloween was in Korea in 2006. Everyone assumed I knew everything about the holiday because I spoke English. Didn’t matter we don’t celebrate it in Australia (or most other Western countries)!

I’ve never had a Halloween costume, so I have no suggestions, but I did slice up my hands giving my “expert” assistance carving a pumpkin!

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