Homemade Halloween Costumes

Me as Dorothy, circa 1987.

This post may be a little late, but better late than never, right? And it is totally worth it because there are super-cute pictures of my kids at the bottom. Hahaha. So, growing up my Halloween costume was always homemade and almost always last-minute. Several years I went as Dorothy because I had a blue and white dress and red shoes (see above). Several years I went as a princess because what could be easier than putting on my puffiest dress, cutting out a crown from a cereal box, and covering it with aluminum foil? The one homemade costume I remember planning out weeks in advance and putting some real effort into was the die costume. My sister and I went as a pair of dice. We were so clever.

I still got candy every year, just for the record.

And then I grew up and married a designer and “homemade Halloween costume” took on an entirely different meaning. Allow me to introduce Exhibit A:

Micah channeling Edward Scissorhands

This is the costume Micah wore the Halloween we were engaged. And the Halloween before that. And a few Halloweens later as well. It deserved to be recycled. It’s awesome. He has officially retired it now, although every year he threatens to get it out again because he has spent the majority of his spare time coming up with really great homemade costumes for the boys and has no time to make one for himself.

I know that as their mother, it is my duty to do the Halloween costume, but it is with great joy that I delegate as much of it as possible to their father. Micah loves Halloween, loves dressing up, and, more than anything else about the holiday, loves building costumes. If it were up to me, I’d have a couple of kids in cardboard and aluminum foil crowns every year. But with Micah in charge, they look really great and they get lots of oohs and ahhs, which is 98% of the fun. He comes up with a plan, I acquire the materials (which usually come from the thrift store on 50%-off day), and he spends several evenings with scissors, thread, and the sewing machine. I am called in to do any “advanced” sewing or hand-stitching. Over the past 4 years, we’ve had some pretty sweet costumes.

This is us when we were still young and childless and living the dream life in Hawaii. Micah is the short one, I'm the tall one.

We made this porcupine costume for Manchild, but Squish wore it this year. It's too cute not to re-use.

The Fish-Child. Definitely a crowd-pleaser.

Man-Frog. Not Micah's favorite, but it cracks me up and I love it. Squish was sort of a pollywog, but he was also only 10 days old so his costume got the short end of the stick.

Manchild said he wanted to be a bush this year. My thought was box with green paper. Thankfully, Micah had a much better idea.

The costumes are not only fun to look at, but keep the kids warm for the cold October night. What were the best Halloween costumes you saw? What did you (or your kids) dress up as? What was your favorite costume from your childhood? Feel free to post links

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  1. I always had homemade costumes growing up, too, and I enjoy making costumes now for our kids. I think it is so fun and there are so many more options than store bought ones. But mine pale in comparison to yours. I love them!


    lizzie Reply:

    What are you talking about? Your costumes are great! And you’re so right that homemade costumes give you so many more options. Imagine trying to buy a bush costume . . . or a banana!


  2. Stephanie Bassett

    November 2nd, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    The best Halloween costumes I saw this year was at our local library, 4 girls (I assume sisters, all different ages) dressed up as matching Russian nesting dolls. It looked pretty simple to make too, they just wore white dresses with big blue bib/apron thing around their neck, painted with a pattern and a matching blue head covering.


    lizzie Reply:

    Oh, that’s a great idea. So clever and simple.


  3. Oh, my, does this bring back memories! Creating costumes came to Micah honestly. When his Dad worked for the church’s design department, they had themed Halloween parties — something the designers in the department waited for each year. Here’s a rundown of a few of the costumes he designed and we made:
    1 – I can’t remember the theme but we were rubber ducks one year. We had black wet suits from snorkeling while living in California so he made these great paper mache masks with beaks that moved when we moved our jaws (in an exaggerated fashion!). We also had squeakers inside the suits at our stomachs — push and squeak!
    2 – Dr. Seuss – We were the stuffed lime green things with pointy feet and hands. The kids later used parts and pieces of these costumes for years.
    3 – Twins was the theme one year so we went as Twin Popsiscles – red fabric-covered foam with sculpted faces. We had to arrive a little late so we could put on the huge paper wrapper and waddle to the door while peaking through a couple holes. We managed to ring the door bell and someone else had to unwrap us as they were trying to figure out who was inside.
    4 – Breakfast cereals – This party was right before Micah was born so I was ‘very’ big. Being a slim jim, Micah’s dad came up with the idea of him being a bran flake and I was, of course, the raisin!

    Thanks, Lizzie, for your great post and for prompting these memories!


    lizzie Reply:

    I love hearing about these costumes! I wish I could see them as well. The Dr. Seuss things sound really amazing. Well, they all do. I know Micah would love to build things like these every year. How did he find the time to work on them? He must have started in the summer. Every year we tell ourselves we’re going to get started early, but we have yet to fulfill that promise. Maybe next year . . . we’ve already got a good plan.


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