Making your own costumes, cheaply? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 10-31-2011, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So it was suggested to me this year to make the costumes for my DD's because it'd be cheaper than buying new. Well I lucked into an adorable premade bee costume for DD3 so I didn't have to make hers. But I still made DD2's. And wow, it ended up being more expensive than buying a new one.

 

The clothing parts I bought from a thrift store. The tulle and ribbon I bought with a coupon at Hobby Lobby. The elastic was the only thing I bought new and full price. Total cost was still over $30. Ouch! I could have bought her a Tinkerbell costume at Walmart for half that price.

 

So how do I avoid this in the future? What are the tricks to making Halloween costumes cheaply?

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#2 of 13 Old 10-31-2011, 01:32 PM
 
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I think it depends on what you are trying to do.

 

One year, I dressed DD up as a cat. I put on black clothes she already had, glued some felt triangles on to barrettes for ears and bought a small piece of craft fur and glued that around a pipe cleaner for a tail. I pinned the tail on the back of her pants and drew on a cat nose and wiskers with eyeliner. That was very inexpensive.

 

Another DD was a witch. I bought some inexpensive black velour and made a simple dress. I think we bought a hat at CVS for about $8. She actually wore the dress to school that year since it was an outfit as well.

 

My other DD has been even easier in many ways, she often wanted to twear something she had in dress up. I think I once bought her Cinderella hair but considering how I enever had to buy anything, I didn't mind.

 

Now the younger DD likes to wear what the older one wore last year which is great.

 

Maybe by the time they decide to be complicated, I'll have them figure out how to pull together their own costumes. The key is to use as much as you can from what you already have or the clothes they already wear.

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#3 of 13 Old 10-31-2011, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think that was the problem. She wanted to be either a bride or Tinkerbell. We didn't have any clothes to be a base that would go with either costume. Most everything she has is prints. So we had to buy the clothes part of it too. And either one was going to need a fancy skirt/tutu. And tulle is expensive! *sigh* 

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#4 of 13 Old 10-31-2011, 02:01 PM
 
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Well there are two tricks to it:

1 - don't try to recreate a store-bought costume
2 - be flexible about what you want to be

If you are trying to make a costume that looks like it was bought premade, then it's going to be costly. Sometimes you just have to let go of any kind of 'ideal' and just use whatever you have around your house, as long as you still generally look like whatever you're trying to be. So a bride doesn't need to have tulle. I usually use my/DH's old clothes for DS's costumes. Then if we need extra parts we make them from old boxes, and scrap yarn, and duct tape or electrical tape. He ends up looking like he is wearing a homemade costume, which is OK with all of us, because he still looks like what he wanted to be. And his costumes are always a hit with everyone who sees them!

I know it can be hard to get a kid to let go of the image they have in their head, but maybe if you include her in the creative process?? Challenge her to come up with things from around the house that would work as part of her costume? Or give her a pile of old clothes & craft supplies and tell her, "This is what we have available for your costume, what could you be with these things?"

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#5 of 13 Old 10-31-2011, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's something we both struggle with. Letting go of it looking store bought. I do try though. She has a hard time with it too. She was teased last year pretty badly by a little girl in her class and ever since she's just been totally set in things looking a certain way. Period. It breaks my heart. I am working with her on it though.

 

Thanks for the ideas. :)

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#6 of 13 Old 10-31-2011, 02:29 PM
 
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See if you guys can think of costumes that aren't SUPPOSED to look store-bought. So sad that she got teased!! greensad.gif But if you aren't trying to replicate something that's already out there, it won't look so out-of-place if all her friends have store-bought costumes. Think way outside the box. A homemade Tinkerbell probably won't get much admiration because you can buy 'better' versions of it, but a homemade ipod costume might seem really cool, since you can't buy it anywhere, you know?
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#7 of 13 Old 10-31-2011, 10:32 PM
 
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I agree it's much easier to make things that aren't commonly in stores.  Teasing from just one kid doesn't mean anything, does it?  We're in a pretty affluent area and homemade costumes are trendy, especially if they're creative.  At least 1/3 of the kids go to school wearing homemade costumes.  It's all about the mindset.

 

*BTW Our DS1's homemade costume won the costume contest this year at school. :D I guess it's not bad for my 2 hours of work.


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#8 of 13 Old 11-01-2011, 06:56 AM
 
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I do think it is easier when you are not trying to exactly re-create a costume from a store or a very specific character. A zombie, generic princess, butterfly or a generic fairy has more room to be creative and cheap than Tinkerbell or Buzz Lightyear.

 

This year dd wanted to be a raccoon with a full head. Faux fur is expensive. I bought just enough to cover the head and tail. We had some plastic canvas but I had to buy some foam. I made eyes from recycled materials. We were able to re-use a fleece body from a costume from a few years ago and dd used dark boots and gloves that we already had. It was much less expensive than buying a new raccoon mascot- style costume from somewhere but it does not look exactly the same. Dd was satisfied and no one who saw it thought to tease her because it was not something commonly found in stores.

 

One year I made dd's costume almost entirely from old sheets that I dyed different colors and painted. The only cost was for a little paint.

 

Plan in advance so you can look for cheaper materials- you might take old clothing apart to salvage elastic, ribbon or tulle. I started making dd's costume in August but we were planning before that.

Make things a little bigger so they might be reused for future costumes. Have a costume box.

 

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Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#9 of 13 Old 11-01-2011, 07:22 AM
 
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For what it's worth, I spend all year collecting fabrics and related items which I keep in storage for costumes (we have costume boxes too, like Zombie Cat above).  I find the best stuff in those bins outside fabric stores or tailor shops of either discarded scraps or bolt ends.  Last year I managed to get two huge spools of ribbon from a gift shop that was going out of business for .25 each.  I also will remove buttons, zippers, etc. for old clothes that can't be donated or if I find the clothing particularly useful for another thing.  

 

I agree with PPs above that trying to recreate a store bought look or theme can be much more expensive.  The way that we now go about it is:  What do we have to work with and what can we create out of it?  I keep my eyes peeled all year for deals and alternative materials by which to make stuff.  I also try to repurpose stuff like headbands, scarves, etc.  


"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
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#10 of 13 Old 11-05-2011, 07:14 AM
 
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I spent about $25 on DS's Halloween costume (octopus) and the same money on a costume he has to wear today for a performance. My problem with both of those was that I didn't have the base clothes we needed. I think with a little more time to thrift shop I could have done it cheaper. For the first I needed a black hoodie and for the second I needed a white base outfit. It's so hard to find boy's clothes at thrift stores that don't have graphics on them.

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#11 of 13 Old 11-05-2011, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone. :) The teasing wasn't just about her costume last year it went on all year and the teachers and daycare workers would do nothing about it since they didn't see it happening themselves. But now DD2 freaks if she doesn't fit in as she sees it. 

 

When I say Tinkerbell we weren't recreating a store costume. That's just what she called herself because she was a green fairy. Thankfully she ended up loving it. If we'd had the base clothes too it would have been a lot cheaper. But everything she had had prints or designs on them. And she had nothing green at all. I did buy the clothes at a thrift store but they didn't have much to choose from and what they did have wasn't on their sale either. 

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#12 of 13 Old 11-05-2011, 09:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoopin' Mama View Post

I spent about $25 on DS's Halloween costume (octopus) and the same money on a costume he has to wear today for a performance. My problem with both of those was that I didn't have the base clothes we needed. I think with a little more time to thrift shop I could have done it cheaper. For the first I needed a black hoodie and for the second I needed a white base outfit. It's so hard to find boy's clothes at thrift stores that don't have graphics on them.

So in this situation, I would use whatever color hoodie we had -- he could be a green octopus with black tentacles, for ex. And for plain (no graphics) clothes, you can turn shirts etc. inside out. We also make use of clothes in my & DH's closet, they are way too big obviously but we can sew or pin them or take advantage of the extra length to make more of a full-body costume.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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#13 of 13 Old 11-06-2011, 10:30 AM
 
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I agree, it can be more expensive to make than buy.

 

If you are going to make, I like ending up with pieces of clothing we can use again. For instance, this year my 8 year old was Charlie Brown.  I bought a yellow t-shirt and stick on felt for the zig zags. He already had shoes that worked, black shorts and our stash had a bald cap.  The nice thing is that I pulled the zig zags off of the t-shirt and washed it and now he has a fresh new tshirt...

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