DIY Halloween :: Creating Unconventional Costumes at Home


The first Halloween with our twins came when they were two months old. I think there is a picture of them in giant pumpkin bibs somewhere, and that was about the only thing to mark the occasion. Honestly, I can’t even remember it. (Anything before four months is a fuzzy blur.) 

DIYThe second time Halloween came calling, I was ready. Twins offer some unique costume opportunities, and given that the Summer Olympic Games of 2012 had just occurred, and me being the superfan I am, I had some inspiration. October 31 rolled around and found our boys dressed as Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps. They were tiny, barely walking, and oh-too-adorable. They even won a Yahoo! costume photo contest.

Thus began my foray into homemade and unconventional costumes. Often what I dreamed up, there wasn’t an inexpensive option to buy. So I began to make what I wanted. Now, I wouldn’t consider myself a Pinterest person, or even an excellent crafter, but after managing my first few unconventional costumes, I realized it was more about imagination than talent. So if you’ve ever wanted to branch out for Halloween costumes, but don’t know where to start, I have a few tips for you!DIY

  1. Embrace the “no-sew” phenomenon. For the first few years, I relied on sticky felt, no-sew glue, hot glue, and duct tape to fashion costumes. This got me pretty far, especially with smaller kids. Sewing is NOT a requirement.
  2. Use regular clothing items when possible. Budgeting is part of everything these days, and I love when I can reuse costume items as regular clothes. The twins wore their Team USA hoodies until they outgrew them, and we’ve managed to reuse many pieces of costumes for regular life.
  3. Up your Google search game. I quickly learned to specify in my Google searches: “DIY mermaid costume,” “homemade puppy costume for kids,” “no sew tiger costume,” or “easy car costume.” The more details or qualifications, the more likely you are to have a doable suggestion. I also only look at the image results in the beginning. Often several pictures lead me to my own hybrid of DIY design.
  4. Sewing for costumes isn’t the same as sewing clothes. Y’all, I can’t sew a straight line, but with the help of a sewing machine and solid colored pajama bases I CAN at least make costumes that will last 12 hours. I’ve managed a pretty sweet crocodile tail and an impressive pair of mermaid pants that lasted through both the school festival and taking pictures at my aunt’s pumpkin patch
  5. Costume suggestion > costume perfection. When you make a costume, people are automatically impressed. Even if the skunk tail is hanging on by a thread, other parents (and your kids) think you’re a wizard. I’ve learned that if it’s close, it’s good enough and everyone agrees, so don’t be worried if the end result doesn’t quite match the inspiration photo.

I never intended for this to become a tradition or even a big deal, but somehow it has. The boys love to come up with ideas that are a little different and make suggestions for how to execute them. I like that they think outside the typical TV show characters box and use their imaginations. They spend most of the year dreaming up different costumes. Sometimes, they talk about a different one each day. This year I had to mark a deadline on the calendar for when they could submit their final costume design drawing. Ridiculous I know, but somehow it works for us. It’s what makes Halloween special in our family.

What started out as a mother putting in a bit too much effort to make a clever Halloween costume for her twins has turned into something else entirely. But each time they have a new idea, they say, “Mommy, can you make me a . . . ?” and I smile. 

Do your kids like costumes that are somewhat unconventional? Are you a make ’em or buy ’em mom? 


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