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Why spend dozens of dollars on a Halloween costume when all you need is a few everyday materials to make your own?! For instance, Joanie’s ultra-frugal, genius mom persuaded her and her brother to decorate plain grocery store bags and wear them as Halloween masks. Total cost: pretty much nothing. True pre-Pinterest creativity, circa 1986!
With a little creativity, you can make a stellar costume for you and your kids. Here’s a little inspiration:
1. Fill a clear trash bag with different colored balloons and be a Jelly Belly.
Get this easy DIY look for under $5! Along with ribbon, you’ll also need to print a Jelly Belly logo onto a piece of paper.
2. Transform crepe paper into piñata decor, then glue strips onto your clothes.
Cut crepe paper into long 1″ wide strips and begin placing around a nude leotard. While a lot of cutting and hot gluing is involved, these step-by-step instructions show how easy this is to make. If you plan to make it colorful, then aim for 5 to 6 crepe rolls which you can find under $2 each at most stores. For the headpiece, use a party hat with glued-on crepe paper.
3. Roll up brown craft paper into a snail shell and put it on your child’s back.
Start by rolling the crumpled paper. Do this twice and glue the two sides together. Then, add tape along the way to keep it in place. These directions will get you on your way to the perfect snail outfit.
4. Mark all-white clothes with black tape and go as a stick figure.
For the face, use pasteboard, or even a paper plate, to cut out a circle, and draw the face with cutout eye holes. Tape it to an old pair of sunglasses with the lenses popped out.
5. Or, mark all-black clothes with white tape and go as a skeleton.
6. Wear red bottoms and a top with colorful pompoms for a gumball machine.
Any outfit will do, but the most important part is gluing the pompoms to a top. We recommend using acrylic glue or a hot glue gun to hold on the pompoms. You’ll need some grey felt and a black marker to make the gum dispenser.
7. Spray paint old clothes green for a toy soldier costume.
Copy this costume without spending a lot of money by hunting down a helmet, work shirt, vest, and cargo pants at a thrift store. Find plastic accessories at a Dollar Tree. Then, top it off with green face paint so your toy soldier comes to life.
8. Use a toilet paper roll, a styrofoam ball, and cardboard for a wind-up doll costume.
Cut the cardboard to look like a key top, and spray paint it gold as seen here. Use elastic bands around the arms to attach to the paper roll. Throw in a cute dress, bow, and some rosy cheeks, then walk like a robot for full effect.
9. Apply makeup over a fishnet stocking to achieve a mermaid look.
Follow these directions to get the perfect look.
10. Follow up the mermaid look by creating leggings with felt sheets.
No sewing required. This tutorial shows how easy it is to cut the felt into scales, layer them, then hot-glue them together. And, all in 15 minutes!
11. Glue creepy looking bugs to a pair of nylons or even your face.
It’s important that you use a glue which is rated for cosmetic use whenever applying anything to the skin.
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12. Attach a painted baking pan to your child’s back and turn him or her into a TMNT.
This tutorial shows how easy it is to transform your kid into a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle with a no-sew felt mask and some green and brown paint.
13. Have your friends wear all black with glued-on white dots and go as a set of dominoes.
14. Or, wear colorful matching tops and leggings and go as crayons.
Use empty water bottles to hold up hair before spray painting it the color of the clothes you’re wearing. One option for the logo is to glue colored paper over black paper and write out “Crayola” or the color you’re wearing, like “Pink Strawberry.”
15. Gather green clothes and sew on pipe cleaners for a prickly cactus.
Or, gluing straws onto your green clothes works great, too.
16. Attach balloons to a pillowcase for grapes.
This simple costume requires some black pillowcases, safety pins, and a large package of balloons. Follow these directions for the costume and stem hat.
17. Or, pin white, clear, and pink balloons to a white outfit and go as a bubble bath.
Use rubber cement to adhere a rubber duck to the balloons for a full bubble bath experience, and attach balloons to a headband. Check out these details.
18. Turn an old pair of gloves into monster claws.
All you need is a pair of gloves, felt, and a hot-glue gun. It doesn’t get much easier than that as these instructions prove.
19. Cut out a plastic bucket and fill it with plastic flowers to become a flower pot.
Cut holes in the bucket for legs to fit through, and use duct tape as straps. Hot glue plastic flowers from the dollar store to the inside of the bucket. These instructions show how you can be a flower pot in less than an hour.
20. Pin socks and dryer sheets onto your clothes for a static cling costume.
Don’t forget to mess up your hair a bit, too.
21. Turn broom bristles and poster board into a paintbrush.
Spray-paint some poster board silver then glue it according to you or your child’s head size. Grab strong-bristled brooms from the dollar store and poke them into a round styrofoam disc. Use hot glue to attach it to the inside of the poster board crown to get this look.
22. Glue or use wire to attach plastic snakes onto a headband and go as Medusa.
First, paint plastic or rubber snakes using a metallic paint and then tightly wire each one to a headband as seen here.