Saturday, October 13, 2012

Halloween Costumes Inspired by Nature

One of my family's most memorable Halloween costumes was the carrot costume my mother made for my sister heavily utilizing orange RIT dye on a white sheet and ked sneakers.  Our neighbors didn't know what to say about the lanky orange cylinder trick-or-treating on their doorstep.  Was it a tree?  Some type of candy?  No one knew.  And my poor sister was furious by night's end.

I look back now and commend my mom's efforts to homemake a costume that was not the latest cartoon character.  Timeless Halloween costumes can be inspired by nature, not something seen on a television or computer screen. 

While I haven't been brave enough to take on the DIY nature-inspired Halloween costume yet, every year I peruse the options.  Here are a few of my favorite ideas plus more every day on our new pinterest board:
  1. Animal kingdom costumes: dog, cat, lion, bear costumes are all popular and can be easily made by matching a homemade mask to color coordinated sweat pants and t-shirts.  Tails and ears can be made out of felt and attached with elastic bands.
  2. Plant life: trees, flowers, carrots anyone?  Green or brown sweat pants and t-shirts make a nice stem or trunk.  Felt leaves or flower pedals attached to a headband finish the costume.
  3. Celestial beings: clouds, stars, and the sun can be drawn onto fabric or poster paper and worn like a sandwhich board.  Glow necklaces and bracelets will make the costume shine.
  4. Natural elements: wind, water, fire, air.  Lots of hair spray and a few pinned on leaves makes a great wind costume.  Dress in blue and attached blue balloons with safety pins to the costume to make water.  Similarly, dress in red and carry an empty fire extinguisher.  Any ideas for air?
In past Halloweens, I've encouraged an ethic of reuse and recycle, having my boys select a costume from among the myriad dress up clothes we already own.  If they felt uninspired by the selection, I would encourage them to pick a costume with elements that could be reused after Halloween.  Most of our past character costumes have been centered around a t-shirt that they could then wear throughout the year.  Last year, my oldest went trick-or-treating as Indiana Jones wearing cargo pants, an Indiana Jones t-shirt, plus a fedora purchased on the cheap.  My middle child went dressed as Batman wearing a purchased bat cap, Batman t-shirt, and black jeans.  After Halloween, the t-shirts went in the drawer, the cape and fedora into the dress up bin.  I felt pretty good about myself.

This year, I took a similar approach and we are considering our options: hockey player, football player, policeman, all from the dress up bin or clothes already in our closet.

How do you manage the expense and commercialism surrounding Halloween costumes?

Check out these Pumpkin Carving Gifts for Toddlers ( article).

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