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DIY Halloween Costumes That Won’t Spook Your Budget

As the leaves turn, children of all ages begin their quest for this year's "it" Halloween costume.

Date Published: 10/8/2012

As the leaves turn, children of all ages begin their quest for this year’s “it” Halloween costume. If you’re like most parents, this typically requires thinking ahead and spending an average of $26.52 for each costume, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey conducted by BIGresearch (NRF).  In 2011, seven out of 10 Americans planned to celebrate Halloween, spending $1 billion on children’s costumes alone. With many families continuing to feel the economic pinch, an average of 18.9% of consumers will make  costumes instead of purchasing them this year. What to do if you’re not an expert sewer or crafter? Here are some DIY ideas from the experts.

Milva Di Lorenzo, Fashion Design faculty for Miami International University of Art & Design, suggests, “Start by doing research online – if you’re even a little crafty, there are many unique, fun costumes you can create with little money and no sewing.”  She recommends the following websites:

www.spoonful.com/halloween  

www.marthastewart.com  (click on Holidays link on left)

http://www.parenting.com/halloween-central

Kate Campbell, department chair of Fashion & Retail Management at The Art Institute of Tampa, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design, agrees. She also advises, “Get your child involved in creating the costume. Look at ideas and decide on a budget together. This ensures your child is excited about their costume, especially when their friends tout the ones from the store.”

For more inspiration, look at the quick costume ideas below from our experts.

Robot Costume
Needed: Gray sweat suit, one long aluminum dryer hose, 2 rectangular disposable foil pans, baseball cap, foil, colored markers, ribbon.

  1. The foundation is a long-sleeve sweatshirt or undershirt and grey sweatpants.
  2. Cut aluminum dryer hose in 4 parts. Place one on each leg over sweatpants for the legs. For arms, use ribbon attached to the hose with a stapler to connect the other 2 pieces across the child’s back. Put on like a coat, one arm at a time.
  3. Attach the two disposable foil pans with ribbons close to the corners, making sure there’s enough space so it can go over the child’s head like a sandwich sign.
  4. Have your child use markers to create “robot” buttons and knobs on the foil pans.
  5. Wrap a baseball cap with foil and use as the robot’s hat.

Butterfly Costume
Needed: long-sleeved T-shirt and leggings in pink or any favorite color, poster or foam board in matching color, ribbon, tissue paper in coordinating colors, assorted embellishments, such as beads, glitter pens, rhinestones, hair band, pipe cleaners, hot glue gun or other adhesive.

  1. The foundation is the T-shirt and leggings.
  2. Draw (find an easy stencil online or free-hand it) large wing shapes on poster or foam board and cut them out.
  3. Involve your child in decorating the wings. Make sure you plan the design before you start gluing.
  4. Use ribbon to tie the wings together and to create backpack-style straps to hold them on the child’s shoulders.
  5. Use additional poster board to create a belt to go around your child’s waist. Cut tissue paper in triangles and staple to the belt, overlapping at the top and with pointed ends down, to create a skirt. Decorate the head band and attach the pipe cleaners.

With a little imagination and patience, you can create unique Halloween costumes with your child and have fun, too! Finally, remember to take plenty of pictures!

To learn more about The Art Institutes schools, visit www.artinstitutes.edu.

The Art Institutes (www.artinstitutes.edu) is a system of more than 50 schools located throughout North America. The Art Institutes schools provide an important source for design, media arts, fashion and culinary professionals. Several institutions included in The Art Institutes system are campuses of South University or Argosy University. OH Registration # 04-01-1698B; AC0165, AC0080; Licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 1287, 3427, 3110, 2581. The Art Institute of Tennessee — Nashville is authorized for operation as a postsecondary educational institution by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. See aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important information.