DIY Halloween Costumes that Won’t Spook your Budget

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little girl trick or treating

As the leaves turn, children of all ages begin their quest for this year’s “it” Halloween costume. Americans will spend $2.8 billion dollars on Halloween costumes this year, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2014 Halloween Consumer Trends Report.

The same study says 162 million people will celebrate Halloween, and they will spend $1.1 billion on children’s costumes alone. With many families continuing to feel the economic pinch, an average of 20 percent of consumers will make costumes instead of purchasing them this year. What to do if you’re not an expert sewer or crafter? Here are some DIY ideas from the experts.

“Start by doing research online – if you’re even a little crafty, there are many unique, fun costumes you can create with little money and no sewing,” says Milva Di Lorenzo, co-founder and designer of 3 Lily Pads handbags and Fashion Design faculty for Miami International University of Art & Design. She recommends these websites:

Kate Campbell, fashion coordinator at The Art Institute of Tampa, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design, agrees. “Get your child involved in creating the costume,” she says. “Look at ideas and decide on a budget together. This ensures your child is excited about their costume, especially when their friends tout the ones from the store.”

For more inspiration, try these quick costume ideas:

Robot costume

Needed: Gray sweat suit, one long aluminum dryer hose, two rectangular disposable foil pans, baseball cap, foil, colored markers, ribbon.

  1. The foundation is a long-sleeve sweatshirt or undershirt and gray sweatpants.
  2. Cut aluminum dryer hose in four parts. Place one on each leg over sweatpants for the legs. For arms, use ribbon attached to the hose with a stapler to connect the other two pieces across the child’s back. Put on like a coat, one arm at a time.
  3. Attach the two disposable foil pans with ribbons close to the corners, making sure there’s enough space so it can go over the child’s head like a sandwich sign.
  4. Have your child use markers to create “robot” buttons and knobs on the foil pans.
  5. Wrap a baseball cap with foil and use as the robot’s hat.

Butterfly costume

Needed: Long-sleeved T-shirt and leggings in pink or any favorite color, poster or foam board in matching color, ribbon, tissue paper in coordinating colors, assorted embellishments, such as beads, glitter pens, rhinestones, hair band, pipe cleaners, hot glue gun or other adhesive.

  1. The foundation is the T-shirt and leggings.
  2. Draw (find an easy stencil online or free-hand it) large wing shapes on poster or foam board and cut them out.
  3. Involve your child in decorating the wings. Make sure you plan the design before you start gluing.
  4. Use ribbon to tie the wings together and to create backpack-style straps to hold them on the child’s shoulders.
  5. Use additional poster board to create a belt to go around your child’s waist. Cut tissue paper in triangles and staple to the belt, overlapping at the top and with pointed ends down, to create a skirt.
  6. Decorate the head band and attach the pipe cleaners.

With a little imagination and patience, you can create unique Halloween costumes with your child and have fun, too! Remember to take plenty of pictures!

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