Shoestring Living: Have a homemade Halloween

Molly Logan Anderson

The spooky day is nearly upon us, an event that can be most stressful for parents of young ones and adults that need their own costumes this year. With Halloween superstores taking up temporary residency in vacant buildings of strip malls everywhere, it can be tempting to spend too much on costumes for convenience sake. 

My answer is simple, don’t fall for it. Stand out with unique costumes able to be made from items at home or discount stores. The most difficult part of my suggestions is convincing kids (or yourself) to give the homemade variety a try. 

Umbrella bat

With a cheap black umbrella, black sweat pants and hooded sweatshirt, transform any adult or child into a black bat. Remove the metal innards of the umbrella and cut the umbrella itself right down the middle. Sew or safety pin each umbrella half to the underside of each arm for the wings. Sew or glue bat ears, triangles cut from felt, to the sweatshirt’s hood.

Bunch of grapes

Transform a purple sweatshirt and tights by securing purple balloons all over the front and back with pins in the tied ends. Pick up a piece of green felt to create a stem “hat” to wear and be the hit of any party. Omit the stem and vary colors to be a bunch of balloons.

Basket of laundry

Take an old or cheap laundry basket and cut a hole big enough for your waist, but not so big it falls over your hips when put over your head. Wear a matching sweatshirt and sweatpants of any color and fill your basket with laundry of all sorts. Secure some fabric softener sheets to the front and back of your sweatshirt.

Modern art

Dress in all black, either tights and a long sleeve shirt or sweats, depending on the whether. Cut a white sheet, your canvas, so that it’s full sized when attached to both wrists with arms extended and doesn’t hit the ground when standing. Use acrylic paints to copy an original modern masterpiece or create your own. Secure the sheet to your clothing and take your traveling contemporary art showing on the road. 

Cereal killer

Spend the next couple weeks collecting used cereal boxes from your friends and neighbors. Using both sides of the boxes, staple them together into panels to cover your front and back. Attach twine to the upper areas, like shoulder straps. Buy a few plastic knives and glue them protruding from the cereal boxes. Add some red paint where they meet the cereal boxes. Wear a monochromatic color underneath your cereal killer suit and bring a little silly spookiness to Halloween this year.

Molly Logan Anderson is a freelance writer who lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Mike, three kids and two labs. Join Molly on her family’s journey of living a frugal life and making financial freedom their reality.