Don’t have time to go out and buy, or stay home and sew a costume for yourself or your kids? It’s okay, neither do I. Over the years, though, I’ve learned that most of the things I need for a good Halloween costume can be found in my home (or someone else’s, if they’ll let me raid it.) It’s free or close to it, environmentally friendly, and easy. So, don’t give up on Halloween. Just turn to the darkest, spookiest corners of your closet for some classic inspiration.
You’ll want any combination of black, form-fitting articles of clothing (shirt and pants/skirt, dress, pantsuit, leotard and tights, etc.), black shoes, black headband or hair clips, black felt or paper, black eyeliner, a black marabou feather boa or other black fabric for the tail, and a hot glue gun.
Cut triangular ears from the felt or paper and glue them to the hair clips or headband. (If your costume includes a black hoodie, you can safety pin or stitch the felt ears to the hood.) If you have enough marabou, you can glue some around the edges of the ears to make them fuzzy, then take the remaining maribou and safety pin or stitch it onto the area of clothing that lays on the small of your back. Use the eyeliner to blacken the tip of your nose, draw whiskers, and create a “cat eye” effect when you line your eyes. A sparkly choker “collar” is a plus. Purr and meow your way through the streets.
Fairy or Bug
All you need is 1-2 pairs of pantyhose (black or white won’t require any spraypainting), 2-4 wire hangers, duct tape, ribbon, maybe that glue gun again, and a matching outfit. Any frilly dress will work for the fairy – have an old bridesmaid dress hanging around? Green, blue, and black colored clothing work for the bug. (If you already have a black and red polka dot or black and yellow stripe outfit, you’re an instant ladybug or bee!)
Straighten the hooks of the hangers. Bend the triangle of the hanger into any shape you want – round, oval, etc. You can use 2 hangers – one hanger for each side of the wings by creating and “m” or “w” shape with each hanger, or you can use 4 hangers – 2 top wings and 2 bottom wings. Wrap the straightened hooks together to attach your wings together, then wrap with duct tape to secure any sharp edges. Cut the pair of pantyhose in half so that the 2 legs are separated, then slide the legs over your wings. You now have 3 choices: you can trim the excess hose and glue the ends down to the hanger (very carefully!) with your glue gun, you can tie the two ends in a knot around the straightened hooks of the hangers and trim off the excess, or you can wrap the ends around the straightened hooks and duct tape them down. Once the pantyhose are on the wings, wrap ribbon around the middle, where you’ve wrapped, duct taped, and glued. Create tight loops with the ribbon to go around your shoulers like the straps of a backpack. You can decorate the wings with sequins, glitter, or glow in the dark paint to add a little pizazz. Make buzzing noises while walking quickly around the room.
Gypsy or Fortune Teller
I’m doing this for a party this year! Just dig in your closet to find bohemian clothing to layer, and embrace some dark eyeliner and bright lipstick. Guys can be gypsies, too! A billowy shirt with a vest, long pants, bare feet, and some eyeliner goes a long way.
Layer a vest over a flowy top, or two skirts in different lengths on top of each other. Tie scarves or shawls around your head and waist, and pile on the jewelry – hoop earrings, and lots of bracelets, rings, anklets, and maybe a toe ring. Go barefoot, and apply some smoky eyeshadow and liner with red or a berry-colored lipstick. Shroud yourself in mystery and tell people their (very vague) fortunes.
Far from the classic white sheet (though there’s nothing wrong with that if you don’t mind cutting holes in them!), you just need some white clothing. Billowy and ethereal is nice, but not a must. You may have to buy some white face paint for this one, but that’s all you’ll need to buy.
Go corporate in a white button down, formal in a white dress, or comfy in a white robe or nightgown. If it’s white, it works. Use white grease or cream paint for your face and neck (be sure to cover your lips and brows), and go as a very dead “whatever.” For a little more dimension, break out the trusty black eyeliner to smudge under and around your eyes and under your cheek bones for a hollow effect. Moan and float around to the best of your ability.
This popular theme only require a billowy or striped top paired with a skirt, or khakis/jeans/Dickies and a bandana. Smudge your eyes with black eyeliner, and add a few smudges to the rest of your face while you’re at it. Tie the bandana around your head (bonus points if you have a captain’s hat, eye patch or parrot laying around), carry around an empty bottle and “yaaargh” a lot!
All of these costumes apply to both sexes, so they make couple and family costumes easy! Get creative with your props by digging through toys and using your imgination, and have fun.
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