DIY & Crafts

Halloween costumes for less

Halloween costumes for less

Author: Canadian Living

DIY & Crafts

Halloween costumes for less

Halloween can be a magical day for people of every age. It's all about freeing your imagination and stepping outside of yourself to become something or someone else. There's no limit to the possibilities.

Cardboard and Styrofoam can suddenly be transformed into wings or robotic parts. Glitter becomes fairy dust and ketchup becomes thick monster blood. Homemade costumes seem to hold the most lasting memories because the fun starts long before trick or treating. Kids love to make their own costumes in the weeks leading up to Halloween and it truly is amazing what a little glue and some imagination can create.

We asked our Canadian Living Online readers to share some of their favourite costumes and we got a plethora of creative and thoughtful responses.

Here are some of the best costume suggestions for both children and adults:

"Our 9 year-old daughter designed and made her own "Autumn" costume! She was a smash hit in our neighbourhood this Halloween. It took half an hour to make her costume (with no help from Mom or Dad) and all items were purchased from the local dollar store – at a total cost of less than five dollars! This costume worked well for indoors (over regular clothes for school party) and for outdoors (over a warm jacket)."

1. Cut circle from the centre of a plastic orange tablecloth to place over head.
2. Trim about a foot from the edge to hand on both sides and keep scraps to use as a belt.
3. Fringe edges all the way around tablecloth and ends of belt in 2-inch snips - trim them in leaf-like shapes.
4. Buy two packages of cloth leaves (12 in each) and staple leaves at random, all over tablecloth (easy to do because tablecloth is thin).
5. Create a round wreath-like halo from copper-coloured tinsel garland to fit head size.
Ready to go!
Mary Meister, Alberta

“I once saw two children at my door for Halloween. They wore their winter jackets and mitts so they were warm and cosy. Over their necks they wore cardboard boxes with a hole cut out on top for their heads. They had painted the boxes white and painted black dots on each side so that the boxes now looked like a pair of dice. It was a quick and easy costume and I'm sure they got raves at every house."
Susanne Craig, Ontario

“We've had a lot of great costumes for our kids over the years, but one of the easiest ones that got the most comments from people was the LEGO block. My husband, Lionel, simply took a rectangular box that was about the size of our child's torso, cut out a hole for the neck at one end and two arm holes on the sides and left the bottom open. He then glued six 500 g yogurt containers (evenly spaced) on one of the wider sides of the box. He then spray-painted the whole thing red. It was great - the kids loved wearing it and everyone (adults and kids) could identify with it immediately."
Deb Durocher, British Columbia

“Halloween is a very special time for my son. He is autistic and his communication impairment makes it difficult for him to express himself. Halloween comes along and it's time for him to cut loose. He loves dressing up and I try very hard to find him a costume that encourages his make-believe. This year he wanted to be a robot astronaut. He loves space stuff. To make this costume I went to the No Frills and picked up two boxes (one big, one little). Then off to Canadian Tire to buy a can of silver spray paint and white dryer ducting. I cut holes for his arms and a hole in the smaller box for his helmet. I used lots of duct tape to attach helmet to body, spray it silver, use duct tape to attach arms. I dug through the recycling box for tops of juice containers or water bottles to glue on as knobs. This costume took no time at all to put together and most importantly, my son loves it and is ready to go trick or treating."
Tracy Simons, Ontario

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“One year for Halloween I went trick-or-treating dressed as a table...yes, a table. But not just any table. Mine was set to perfection with everything from plastic plates & cups to cardboard food products and napkins and a fancy tablecloth. I had so many positive comments about it and, I must say, it had to have been one of the simplest costumes ever to put together. An added bonus was that no one saw my big lumpy jacket I had on underneath it!"
Julie Wirth, Ontario

“My favorite costume for Halloween is a fisherman. I borrow my father's hip waders, my husband's flannel shirt and a floppy hat. The topper is a mustache drawn on with pencil eyeliner, and of course I bush up the eyebrows with the same thing. I carry a fishing rod with blowup fish we got at Subway a few years ago. Costume complete! It's a really fun costume, and quite easy to dance in. I've stopped conversation when entering the women's bathroom – they weren't sure... what with the mustache and all."
Darleen McCartney

“A costume that makes a big impact but requires a small investment of time and money is a Jelly Bean Bag. All you need is some heavy duty gauge clear plastic, black leotards, a black top, (or colour of your choice), small colourful balloons, and draw string or elastic for casing."

1.Take the heavy gauge plastic and have someone fit it loosely around your torso. (From the neck to the bottom of the buttocks)
2. Sew up a side seam, sew a casing at the neck and at the bottom and insert the elastic or draw string of some sort.
3. Step into the now large bag. Start filling the bag while in it, having someone help you, with small, colourful, blown-up balloons all around closing the bottom once the bag becomes full.
4. Close the neck and PRESTO! You're now a jelly bean bag.
I once won First Prize at a Halloween Party, there's only one draw back, you need a bar stool to sit down periodically, as a full back chair can be quite difficult to sit in."
Robin Luckhurst, New Brunswick

“My friend did this one: the wind-blown look - lots of gel and hairspray so his hair stood all out to one side, stuck a wire coat hanger through his tie and bent it out to the side as well. I think it was starch that he used in his shirt. The overall effect was that it looked like he was walking through a very windy day."
Sandra Corkum

“One year I went as a 'little white lie'. It was a very fun costume! I just bought some white tyvek coveralls from a paint store (very cheap!), and wrote a bunch of little white lies all over them with marker. I also belted a marker to my waist so that people at the party I was attending could add more lies to my costume. It was great for interaction, and a lot of fun to read the next day. You sure get to meet a lot of people and have a great time."
Shari Weech, British Columbia

A great adult costume that we have made a couple of times with friends is a 6 pack of beer. Last year we got yellow Cori-plast (plasticized corregated cardboard), two sheets each 4 ' by 8 '. We then used a German beer label as a guide and drew on the cardboard to replicate the label (with giant permanent markers in red/black/blue). We folded the ends in to enclose the case and cut small hand holds to glue on the inside. We each wore a pie plate on our heads to resemble a beer cap and wore brown pants with Beer T-shirts to look like bottles. Lots of laughs getting in and out of parties inside the case and we usually do one dance together inside the case before the "6-pak" gets broken up for the night!
Deb Durocher, British Columbia

"One year we went as an old blind lady and her dog. My husband was the old lady which was easy to costume and I went as the dog. We had a dog costume but it would be fairly easy to make one using a brown jumpsuit with a tail pinned to it and a dog mask. Put a leash on the dog and away you go."
Gwen Pellerin, Saskatchewan

“Easy, easy costume: take an old coat (I used a mechanic's type shop coat bought from the flea market). Eat a lot of those small cereals - and save the boxes! Attach the boxes to the coat with stapler - place a plastic knife coming out of each box in the centre! What you are? A 'cereal' killer! Ha - I've worn this costume quite a few times and was a BIG HIT!"
Sandy Goba, Ontario

My favorite homemade Halloween costume was a fried egg. I got two pieces of white foam from a local hardware store, cut it into a shape of a fried egg, glued the two pieces together – leaving three unglued spots, one for it to go over my head, and the other two for my arms. I then cut a small hole in the front part for my face and one big round hole around the chest area. I found a bright yellow, shiny fabric and clued it around the inside of the large, round, cut hole, leaving enough of a gap to stuff the yellow fabric. I wore white tights, white runners, and a white turtleneck. On a footnote: I had met a nice man the weekend before; he invited me to a Halloween party and willingly helped me make the costume(s) – we went as a pair of fried eggs. I thought after only 7 days of knowing me and how willing he was to join me in such a fun, yet silly outfit, that I just had to marry him.

“This is from years ago. My then-boyfriend put on a western shirt and cowboy boots (both of which he already owned!) and affixed toasted bread to a western style vest. His costume? A toasted western. Cost: A loaf of bread. The next year? Same great outfit except this time the vest had pasta stuck to it. You guessed it: Spaghetti Western."
Pamela Fontaine, Ontario

“Costume: Gum stuck under the table. For this costume you need: pink pants pink shirt, hat, Styrofoam (18" x 18" approx.), brown paint and a hot glue gun. Paint the Styrofoam with the brown paint. When dry, glue the Styrofoam to the top of the hat. Dress in your pink outfit and voila – you are gum stuck under the table!"
Linda Donahue, Ontario


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DIY & Crafts

Halloween costumes for less