As the nights begin to draw in, the kids may be back to school but it’s that time of year again when mum’s and dad’s start getting creative in preparation for that all important, fun-filled night in the calendar, All Hallows Eve.
Whilst the traditions of trick-or-treating, apple bobbing and pumpkin carving continue to be celebrated, your little ones will no doubt have ideas on which spooky character they want to dress up as.
With so many supermarkets and online fancy dress shops offering off-the-shelf Halloween costumes it is tempting to simply buy one and be done; but they can be costly. As each year passes there is a pressure to dress up in something better, your child wants to stand out, be the best.
It can be challenge but there is nothing more exciting for kids to get involved, making their own spooky outfit to get them and you into the Halloween spirit.
So if you need some inspiration this Halloween here are some cost effective costume ideas that my kids love:
Thanks to the recent Batman franchise the scarecrow is again a popular spooky outfit, and thankfully the messier this looks the better; but I would opt against the bag on the head for obvious reasons.
Raid your wardrobes or charity shops for the basic bird-deterring outfit: denim overalls, plaid shirt, straw hat and additional patterned material to use as patches. Simply cut pieces of the additional fabric and stick on the knees and elbows with fabric glue; the idea is they are there to fill in holes.
Then either ask a friend with a pet rabbit for some straw if you don’t have any or you can use raffia on a string. You need enough to stick out of the top of their boots, wrists, and neck and of course their hat.
Let your child tell you what ‘expression’ they want for their scarecrow, and get creative with the face paints.
Then taking a real flower from your house or garden, or a plastic one, place the hat on their head and attach a flower with a pin or glue.
There you have it, a terrifying Halloween costume to scare not only the birds away.
This one is great fun, as you would to create a ghost, paint their face with white face paint and around the eyes with darker colours.
Then take lengths of bandages and wrap your son or daughter up from head to toe. (You can use toilet roll for this too but you can’t guarantee it will last the night.)
Secure the bandages in place simply by knotting them.
Then carefully take some scissors and cut at parts of the bandages to make them frayed; they are meant to be dead so they need to look a little dishevelled. Also attach some separate pieces to their arms with safety pins, to hang down when they lift their arms.
Then take some brown or black face paint and smear it on parts of the body to give it a dirty look – if you’re preparing way in advance soaking the bandages in tea creates the desired grubby effect; you just need to soak, remove and leave to dry first.
To add a final bit of authenticity take some spider cobweb fabric and little plastic spiders (you can even make these with black pom poms, pipe cleaners and wiggly eyes) and attach them to the shoulders. A truly authentic mummy has risen!
Given that the high street is awash with colour it is easy to pick up a pair of red leggings and a vest or long sleeve top for a few pounds, or you can simply dye some existing clothes. For girls you can get a red leotard or dress and paint their legs and face red with face and body paint; a little messy but bundles of fun.
You may needs some red thread, scissors and Velcro to pull the outfit together and create some slashes in the clothes
Next grab a headband, and if it’s not red wrap it in red ribbon and secure with fabric glue. Depending how crafty you are use modelling or sculpting clay and paint and bake to make the horns; or simply use red coloured card, cut out 2 diamond shapes, fold the diamond evenly around the headband, tightly and glue together.
For the pitch fork, the part kids usually like best, simply take a garden cane, old mop or brush handle and paint it red and for the spikes so no-one gets hurt simply create a 3 point crown from red card or felt.
Check with your little devil whether you have to get creative with a tail, wings or a cloak; everyone has their own idea on how a little devil should look.
Adding a little glow in the dark paint to any outfit is always exciting; watch the kids faces as they suddenly see the glow.
I could go but I hope this inspires you to use art and crafts to create hair–raising costumes this Halloween. Just don’t forget to have your camera or video recorder ready to treasure the gruesome looks forever!
Carlo Rossi is a web writer and blogs on GLS art and craft supplies covering everything from dry brush watercolour painting tutorials to mixed media collage techniques and ideas. He also organises workshops for schools and community centres in order to improve children’s art skills.