S ometimes I chuckle when people tout do-it-yourself projects as a way to save money. The same goes for do-it-yourself Halloween costumes. By the time you shop to gather all the “money-saving” supplies you need, you can end up spending more money than you would have on a full-priced store costume — not to mention the expense of gas and time.
So if you are considering making your child’s costume this Halloween, do research beforehand so it will truly be a cost-saving (and time-conscious) project.
When considering a homemade costume, look for projects that call for items you already have at home. For example, a vampire costume starts with a white dress shirt and black pants. If your already have these, all you need is a set of plastic vampire teeth, red makeup, and a black cape — items readily found at a dollar store. Capes can also be made from a black tablecloth or fabric remnant.
If you have to buy items, look for costume ideas that call for household products you’ll use again. Many creative costumes require colored duct tape and you know duct tape has a myriad of uses. One example is a bumblebee costume that needs a black hoodie and yellow duct tape. Simply attach the yellow duct tape horizontally across the hoodie leaving space for an alternating black stripe. In no time, you have a black- and yellow-striped bumblebee. Add black pants and antennae made from pipe cleaners to complete the outfit.
For a more abstract costume, dress your child in gray or white sweats and shirt. Attach a large “P” on the front of his/ her shirt and use inexpensive black makeup around an eye. Instantly, your child is a black-eyed pea.
Lots of ideas can come to mind at the thrift store. This option is especially good for costumes such as a clown, scarecrow, tacky tourist, or nerd. These characters wear ill-fitting, mismatched clothes. Have fun looking for the most outrageous clothing and spend pennies on the dollar for your get-up. Most thrift stores benefit charity so you are helping others as you save.
Helpful websites for inexpensive do-it-yourself costumes include crafts.kaboose.com, robinsfyi.com/holidays/halloween/costumes.htm#box and stretcher.com.
If your child has his or her heart set on a certain licensed character costume, check e-Bay or craigslist before paying full-price at the party shop. I have had luck finding costumes from Harry Potter and Star Wars for my sons on these sites.
— Bargain Beth is written by Memphis freelance writer and bargain hunter Beth Bartholomew.