Coming up with costume ideas for Halloween is one of the best parts of the holiday. And many people enjoy creating and designing costumes for their kids, rather than buying them.
Growing up, my super-savvy mom used to make things for us to wear each year. One year, my sister Carrie was a gift box. My mom cut holes in a box for her head, arms, and legs, and then wrapped it in pink paper and tied a big bow around it.
The next year, my sister was a bag of jelly beans. She trick-or-treated in a large clear garbage bag filled with multicolored balloons. I was Little Red Riding Hood as a kindergartner and a punk rocker when I was in elementary school.
Unfortunately, I don't share the DIY love for homemade costumes. This year I bought my 7-month-old daughter a ladybug costume. Even though she looks adorable, I wish I loved creative handy-work like some of our Facebook and Twitter fans do. Here are some of their ideas, should you be looking for inspiration for kids' costumes you can make yourself. You can see photos here:
Mickey ice cream
We surprised the kids with a trip to Disney. Since we were attending the Halloween party there I wanted a unique costume for the kids. The thought process began with something iconic: Mickey Ice Cream! I found an image online of a retail box of ice cream and modeled my pattern after the box. I purchased a sewing machine (I haven't sewn prior to this) and some felt. I made the pattern from brown paper bags. For Minnie, I added a headband with a bow for my daughter and pipe cleaner eyelashes. In case people did not get the idea (but everyone did), I had the image I found online printed onto canvas tote bags for the kids to use as the treat bags. It was great fun to see the reaction on people's faces!
-- Kelly Mueller, East Northport
My 2-year-old daughter, Grace, loves strawberries, so her grandma made her a strawberry costume last year. She loved it so much she's wearing it again this year! -- Andrea Aldarondo, Mount Sinai
Last year my 1-year-old was "static cling." I spiked his hair up all crazy and then ironed on some socks and dryer sheets to his outfit. It was really cute! -- Denise-n-Jim Daney, Riverview, Fla., originally from Stony Brook
Super space man
I took a superman costume from the year before and used cardboard and duck tape to turn it into a space costume. It turned out to be a favorite with my son -- he wore it all the time.
-- Bettie Meinel, Huntington
A few years back, I turned my son Jamie's wheelchair into a bulldozer . . . complete with a candy bag underneath. -- Ross Goldberg, Holbrook
White cat, dinosaur, pirates
Through the years I've made numerous costumes for my kids. My daughter, Casey, was a white cat one year and an Indian another. My son, Ryan, was a cowboy and a dinosaur in past years. One year they were both pirates. -- Michelle Nickerson, Pinelawn
Alphabet Man and Punctuation Boy
I love homemade costumes. They are as fun for me to make as they are for my boys to wear. My 5-year-old, Keith, has special needs. He doesn't really like masks or fuzzy costumes, so I make most of his out of easy-to-use materials that are also comfortable to wear. He loves the alphabet, so one year I made him a superhero: Alphabet Man. His baby brother, Graham, was Punctuation Boy. Another year, Graham was James Bond. I put him into a tux, and made a little "milk martini" by putting some tissue paper into a plastic martini glass, and he carried some spy gear. -- Melissa Phipps, via Facebook
I made a Tarzan costume for my son, Carmine, when he was 16 months. I made it from one yard of fabric that I purchased at Walmart, and sewed it by hand down to the little hand cuff and shoe muffs. I added the shark tooth necklace and everyone thought he looked so cute. -- Jennifer Lania, Bay Shore
My mom made my brother a milk carton out of a big cardboard box! She painted it white with red lettering. -- Cheryl Foos, via Facebook
I made a "Squirtle" costume for my daughter who is an avid Pokemon fan. -- Diane Casamassina-Stevens, Farmingville
Psst, you need a . . .
I made costumes for my daughter over the years. Nothing fancy and required little to no sewing. A few examples were a pirate, Sandy the Squirrel from SpongeBob, a clown and a bunch of grapes. But my favorite was the shady salesman, complete with all kinds of small toys pinned inside the trench coat and a line of toy watches up her arm. -- Lisa Zbar Watson, Southampton
A hoot of a costume
When my son, now 42, was in first grade, I cut out and sewed fabric "leaves" onto a plain hooded jacket to make him a fall tree. He won for being an owl, LOL. -- Martha Rowan, East Rockaway
A skeleton in stitches
I took a jointed cardboard skeleton wall decoration, disassembled it, then sewed each bone section onto a black hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants. I painted his face to look like a skeleton, it was awesome looking! -- Sharon Jacobs, Wantagh
Yes, I knitted a pumpkin costume for my son when he was little. It came out amazing and I still have it! -- Jennifer Harper Robidas, via Facebook
Angry Bird, no matter
If my grandson's back-ordered Angry Bird costume doesn't arrive in time, I'll be sewing one for him from instructions I've found online.
-- Carol Kosark Southard, via Facebook
Dig deep for inspiration
It's amazing what you can create rummaging in your drawers and closets! -- Linda Goehner Perry, Upper Arlington, Ohio
Tooth fairy transformation
One year I took my older daughter's ballet costume, added wings and strung toothbrushes onto the skirt. I gave her a tooth cutout on a star wand, then added a cardboard tooth to a plastic tiara and she went as the "Tooth Fairy." I also made a bat costume for my other daughter, cutting a black umbrella in half and sewing each half to a black leotard or a turtleneck to make the wings, cut ears out of oak-tag and attached to a black headband. -- Lindsay Charles, Valley Stream