No Sew Costume Recipe

Here is a simple recipe to make costume creation fun and budget friendly for you and your family. It's also a permission slip to lower your expectations about Halloween. Yes, there are awesome ideas in the pages of Martha Stewart and all over Pinterest. But it's also okay to send your kid out in their favorite t-shirt and a smile.

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1.Clothes You Already Own

Work with things that fit comfortably that you already own. Or go through each other's closets for inspiration. This may be the perfect time to repurpose dance recital ensembles or fancy clothes from weddings you attended this summer.

2.Thrift Store

This can fill in the gaps of your base layers and possibly find the details that will bring your idea to life. Think outside actual costume section that takes over the whole store this time of year. Housewares, sporting goods, broken toys, scarves and purses and the jewelry section may have just the sparkle and creepiness you need. 

3. Cardboard 

Any remaining details can be sculpted from cardboard. Cut simple shapes, attach with some masking tape, string, staples or glue if necessary, add a coat or two of paint and you have created a new world. A tube of silver or gold acrylic paint can be absolutely transformative to cardboard. Cardboard can be anything from oversized belt buckles and swords to butterfly wings and llamas. (For serious cardboard inspiration, check out Mermag's Instagram contest.)


This weekend we finally started gathering the pieces to Franklin's Batman costume based on the recipe above. And wouldn't you know it, on the way to school today he said he might like to be Luke Skywalker instead... Good thing Steeb found a 1990s lightsaber along with the slightly cracked Batman mask at Goodwill.

Which is why it is so important for us parents to step back and be unattached to our young children's Halloween costumes.The things we bought or made have already been used in play, so it's no big loss if he doesn't wear them on Halloween proper.

There may be drama between now and the 31st, but it doesn't have to come from me. It's a great time for kids to experiment, try some things, change their minds and try something else. Last year he basically just wore a Superman t-shirt and some jeans and still got plenty of candy.

Before meeting my actual child, I assumed I would get to express my creativity and cleverness through my child's costumes and parties. He quickly taught me to express myself myself and leave him out of it thank you very much. He has never wanted big parties and really really hated costumes for the first couple years. Like dissolve into tears because I put on a blonde wig. He was even suspicious of bunny ears.

So I listen to what he wants. Try to involve him in the process of planning, shopping and crafting. Take a deep breath. And then just let it be.