The Best Costumes Are the Homemade Ones

Halloween is Monday and, once again, my daughter has waited until the last possible minute to decide if she is going trick-or-treating.  (By the way, is 13 too cool for going door-to-door demanding candy?)  And then there’s the even greater dilemma, if she does go, what is she going dressed as? Oh, the drama.

I’m putting my foot down this year.  If she goes out trick-or-treating, she has to come up with her own costume and it will NOT involve fighting the crowds at the local craft or costume stores this weekend.  Seriously, she can just do what we all did as kids, come up with a costume made of items we already have in the house.

If I wore one of those ready made costumes as a child, I don’t remember it.  There was no Disney store to get the perfect princess costume from.  Not to mention Tigger or Pooh or even one of the 101 Dalmatians. Instead, we wore a sheet and went as a ghost.  I remember one year donning my mother’s long blond wig over the sheet, topping it with a pair of glasses.  Presto, I was Cousin It from the Addam’s Family!  Another year, my friend Kim and I squished ourselves into one of her dad’s extra-large t-shirts and we were a two headed man.  Good times. 🙂

As an adult, I continued to make my own costumes.  In college, my friends and I went as a box of crayons—the costumes all lovingly crafted by me.   Yes, I was supposed to be in Geology Lab, but a Halloween frat party only comes once a year, you know?  After all, the rocks had been around for eons, they’d still be there after Halloween. Alas, we didn’t win the prize for best costume.  We were way too over dressed for that.

After college, a co-worker and I went to our boss’s Halloween party as a pair of blind dates.  A homemade costume consisting of sunglasses, a brown garbage bag and a dowel painted white and red—genius, right?  Apparently not, because we lost to a group who came dressed as the Fruit of the Loom guys—in rented costumes no less! Shame on them! (Disclaimer:  We were not each others date!  We are both straight and married with children. You’re welcome, Mary.)

One year, my siblings and I went to a rock and roll themed Halloween party as DEVO.  Red flower pots on our heads and black jump suits.  Stuff found in the garage.  I don’t remember if we won a prize, but I do recall the hostess dressed as a fabulous Tina Turner.

So this year, my little lovely can go as a mummy or a hobo.  (She actually likes the hobo theme, but she’s considering putting a 21st Century spin on it and going as a character from Occupy Wall Street. :))   I found a list of the top ten easiest costumes to make and both ghost and hobo were on it.  So was a bed bug.  Hmm.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

What are some of your favorite Halloween costumes?  Casey Anthony and Charlie Sheen are popular this year.  Any takers?


About Tracy Solheim

Best-selling author of the Out of Bounds series--sexy, contemporary sports romance novels. See what she's up to at

Posted on October 28, 2011, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. We had 11 year-old costume drama this year, also. She wanted to wear a hat (that I bought months ago) and would use the rest of her clothes as the costume. At the last minute, her and her friends decided they wanted to be m&m candies. One girl got a free costume, one found one on eBay for $5 and I got stuck paying full price to quell the meltdown. Now, if her costume doesn’t arrive by Halloween, I’ll be the one having a meltdown.

    You are absolutely correct–homemade costumes are the best! My favorite as a kid was when I was a witch and my mom put green food coloring in her foundation and smeared it all over my face and neck. I looked great, but the green stayed with me for a few extra days!

  2. Hmmn. We didn’t have neighbors, so didn’t trick or treat. The school had a halloween carnival, which was loads of fun because the principal’s band played the music (White Lightnin’) for the cake walk. Not alot of dressing up going on for that.

    My favorite story is one my friend Claire tells about her prize winning costume. She’s about 5, they get to the party and it’s a costume party. So her mom grabs a purple K&B shopping bag out of the trunk, shoves it on her and says– you’re a K&B bag! And Claire won. The mom was like the chancellor of the Community College at the time with 3 small kids and a military spouse. They crack me up.

  3. Oh, and I dressed Lyle up as Charlie Brown one year… Black shorts, yellow shirt with marker stripe and a piece of shiny “ghost-like” material with cut outs for eyes. None of the kids really knew who Charlie Brown was, much less his regular vs. halloween costurme. I must have used up all my creativity on that because I have been Halloween superstore & pottery barn kid queen after that.

  4. I LOVED this, Tracy, and read it to MY 13-year-old daughter who has waited until the last minute and still doesn’t know what she wants to be for this MONDAY! So it looks like she might scrounge around the house for something or go up into the attic where 17 years of costumes are and put something together. Just like you, we didn’t go out and BUY a costume every single year for Halloween when I was growing up!

  5. I’m enjoying reading about the various costumes everyone put together. 🙂

    In the early days, I made costumes for my kids. One year, they were Ewoks. Another year, it was Superman and Batman. And I once made pirate costumes for my husband and me. Fun times!

  6. It’s funny. My daughter is going as a gypsy this year and we bought the most darling costume. When I was her age, I too went trick-or-treating as a gypsy but my mom helped make my costume.

    Is the difference I don’t have that kind of clothing/jewelery or perhaps I’m too lazy.

    How about no “stuff” to pass off as a gypsy and I’m too BUSY, not lazy. Busy, busy, busy!

    • Oh yeah! I went as a gypsy once, too! I’d forgotten, but now I remember pilfering my mom’s big jewelry and a black wig. Mom, what was up with all the wigs back then??

      Dianne, post a picture next week. Your daughter is so creative, I’m dying to see how cute she looks.

  7. I went to a party as a giant baby one year…put a pacifier on a ribbon around my neck, wore my feety pajamas, got a bonnet from somewhere and a nightgown, and a baby bottle that I kept filled with beer all night! LOL.

    Last year, my then 15 year old daughter and her friends dressed up as dead sailors from the Titanic. Basically just found old stuff and tights and hats and ripped them up and ghouled themselves up. It was pretty good.

    Other times she revamped recital costumes…went as a egyptian…good use for those things that only get worn once otherwise.

    • My girlfriend keeps her basement stocked with old recital costumes and other props. She always dresses up for Halloween and she makes her husband dress up, too, when they hand out candy. I wish I had that much creativity.

  8. You’re absolutely right. The best costumes do not come with a pricetag. They come with a lot of imagination!

  9. My nephew came up with the best costume! Anyone who’s read Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Nobody’s Baby But Mine will love Joe’s homemade ‘Cereal Killer’ costume. I will try to post it so all can see. It is too cool! BTW, Meredith may be stealing it!

  10. My eldest son, now in college, once attached a high-heeled shoe with the heel broken off on his head surrounded by fake blood, like someone had nailed him with it, and made an iron-on for his t-shirt with, “I met her mother.” Pretty hilarious.

    A black garbage bag over the head with arm hole and a big white M&M across it is a nice standby.

    Happy Halloween, everyone!

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