With a birthday just before Hallowe’en, a make your own costume party was the perfect choice for my daughter’s 10th birthday. The idea was that the kids would make a costume and take it home to use for Hallowe’en.
Materials to Collect
We collected materials from thrift stores, dollar stores and our local buy nothing group to inspire their imagination. Shopping was part of the fun. We chose items costing under $10, that could be customised to make a costume of their own design.
- Drapes, sheets and lengths of material
- Feather boas
- Headbands and hats
- Glasses, gloves, masks and jewellery
- Plain shirts, leggings or shorts.
- Any low-cost ready made costumes to customise
- ribbons and bows
Inspiration from Goodwill costume experts
Earlier that week I had attended a Goodwill Hallowe’en event and was able to use the advice of their costume experts as inspiration. Did you know that every Goodwill store has a costume expert? (I didn’t). This is really useful to know, since I only ever buy costumes in thrift stores, putting together a costume is part of the fun but sometimes a bit of guidance would be helpful.
The costume experts helped us create a costume. I found a princess dress that I could also use for an 80’s prom night I’m going to with friends and at only $9.99 it was a bargain. Some of the costume ideas were really creative, I especially love the Mad Hatter ( I think the black tulle skirt she wore made it to our party and was used to form part of a sea monster costume).
For me these costumes look so much better than an expensive, ready put together one. Goodwill collect up items for their Hallowe’en costumes all year round, to put on display in October, so you will find all kinds of interesting goodies to make a unique and creative costume. There is even a dedicated Halloween Store in Tacoma. Halloween, generates the largest seasonal funding for Goodwill’s mission to provide career, job training and services to the unemployed. By shopping at Goodwill you’ll save yourself money, come home with a unique costume and support local people into employment.
Design and Make Hats
The party started by designing hats made from paper grocery bags. Paper grocery bags are the perfect size to fit an average sized head. Most of the materials came from donations, the dollar store or thrift stores.
- Paper grocery bags
- Tissue paper
- Glue and hot glue gun for bigger items
- Fake flowers and leaves
- Stickers and sequins
How to Make a Hat
- Remove the handles
- Roll the sides of the bag from the open end.
- Push in the corners to make an interesting shape.
- Decorate with coloured paper
- Add decorations to create a unique hat.
The hats were judged at the end of the party and prizes awarded for the best design.
Make a Costume
To make the costume making challenging and fun, we chose categories. The children picked a category from a hat and set to work making a costume to fit their category. The most imaginative costume would win a prize. The categories were
- mythical creatures
- under the sea
- be wild
- make me laugh
- a world of colour
- book characters
- heroes and villains
They could use any of the materials provided including elastic, velcro or ribbon to fasten things together.
They all had really clear ideas of what they wanted to be and when they couldn’t find what they needed, improvised with what was available. Rolls of coloured tulle came in useful as they used it to wrap their legs or arms. For a Winnie the Pooh costume, a yellow shirt was used to cover part of her legs and the rest were wrapped with yellow tulle. She added some ears and a honey pot made from paper.
Dressing up and creating their own costumes was such fun. I think it would be a good group task too. You could allocate each group a category and they could dress one person in the group. They all got to take their costumes home at the end of the party.
The creations were judged on how well they had interpreted their category and how imaginative the costume was. We had a bat, a sea monster, a werewolf, a zombie pirate, a unicorn, Rapunzel, a fairy, Winnie the Pooh and a flash of colour.
If you want more inspiration for making your own costumes, check out these great resources from goodwill.