Monday, September 11, 2006

Halloween Costume Ideas for Less

By Brandi M. Seals

Halloween costumes for little ones can end up costing an arm and a leg if you buy a fresh costume every year. Instead of ponying up money year after year for an outfit your kid will only wear once, why not buy key pieces that can be incorporated into a number of different costumes?

Growing up, my family didn't place much importance on having store-bought costumes. In fact, I never wore an official costume for Halloween. My sister and I would dig through our bag of Halloween gear and come up with something new each year.

Whether you are looking to cut out Halloween costume spending or otherwise do not see a point in buying something that can only be used once or twice, using a few key pieces to create unique Halloween outfits may be the thing for you.

Try a few of these ideas for the Halloween and every one to come:

Get a Cowboy Hat
It may seem that the purchase of a cowboy had would be trivial and could only be used in cowboy costumes. Actually, they can be used in a number of different get ups. Let your little boy be a cowboy one year, a country line dancer the next, and round it out the next year by dressing as a country singer.

That is three costumes centered around one piece. All three require little else to complete the look. Just some snug fitting pants and button up shirt should do it for all three ideas. If you want to go ultra-authentic and have a little extra money to spend, you could get a pair of cowboy boots to go along. However, since kids' shoe sizes change frequently, you really won't get your money out of them.

Purchase Wigs
Wigs are great to use again and again. Pick some up after this Halloween. They will be seriously discounted and can be used year after year. Get a basic color like black and your daughter can dress up as Pocahontas, a witch, Wednesday Addams, Dora the Explorer or several other things. Choose red and you have gone a long way towards creating Pippi Longstocking or Wendy (from the Wendy's restaurants).

Obviously each of these costume possibilities will require additional items. But, you will probably have most of the additional items on hand. For example, if your daughter already has a backpack, a tee shirt and some jeans, she is all set to be Dora the Explorer. Want to be Pocahontas but don't have a deer skin dress? That's easy -a long brown tee shirt from your husband's closet will get the job done. Pair it will a strip of cloth tied around your child's head and some braids. Instantly you have created a very simple Pocahontas costume.

Stock up on Bandanas
Bandanas are a perfect accessory for any costume. They can be added to an outfit to create a pirate, old time bank robber, or even a clown. Tie a bunch together and stuff them in your son's pocket. He can pull them out as he goes door to door as a clown. Everyone will love it since it's a favorite gag among clowns even today.

Put your kid is some dark denim and black button up shirt. Tie a bandana around his face (leaving eyes expose) and you have an instant bank robber.

For a pirate tie the bandana on your child's head. Fold the bandana in half to form a large triangle. Place the long side of the triangle on your kid's head near the forehead and wrap the sides around. Tie the ends behind his head, near the nape of neck. Be sure to tuck the point of the triangle under the knot. Pair that will some hoop earrings, an eye patch or a fake parrot on the shoulder and instantly you have a pirate ready to search for some booty.

These are just some of the many costumes you and your family can create at home that cost little or no money. It just takes some imagination and a little bit of time to come up with something new each year. Get your kids involved. They will love coming up with their own costume ideas and amazingly their little imaginations seem to come up with hundreds of ideas at once.

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