Our daughters are now grown, and although we were never really big on Halloween, if there was a year that they wanted to go trick or treating, we would let them. In all honesty though, they rarely went. Many times their preference was to dress up and give things out to the little ones, then be disappointed by the adults who came to the door with their children, with bags of their own. Yes, it happens, yet fortunately just a fraction of them do this.
So, how does one get through the Halloween excitement when needing to feed their own family on a budget? Or, how about those who buy ahead of time, eat the treats then have to go purchase more for the trick or treaters, causing one to overspend and overeat all at the same time? I am going to share some costume ideas as well as meet the kids at the door ideas.
Fortunately I am able to sew most anything. And with the cost of disposable costumes (in my opinion) I found it to be most economical to create our own. One does not need to know how to sew to make a unique costume that your child would enjoy, just a little imagination.
Costumes you can make with what you have on hand:
- daddy’s flannel shirt – scarecrow – tie a rope around the waist, add some leaves into the shirt, add a cap (what-ever you have) with leaves as well. Dirty up the face a little, add rosy cheeks and provide a paper bag with handles (I’m sure you have one of those from a gift you received or shopping at a specialty store.
- pillow case – a ghost…for the little one, just cut a large hole for the face so that they can see well, cut two arm holes, then let it hang freely.
- old white bedsheet – ghost – if you don’t have one, check out the thrift stores for stained ones..it’s going to get dirty anyway. Let you child design this. Provide permanent markers so they can create big eyes, yet cut some holes for them to peer out of.
- Older siblings clothes make for a great clown costume. Add a rope belt, or tie an oversized belt. Add some big patches that do not have to be permanent. Just attach them with safety pins underneath. Make sure you let them enjoy wearing the oversized floppy boots. Ask a grandparent for a wig, you just never know what a grandparent can dig up for your kids.
- Cowboy/Cowgirl – jeans or denim skirt they already own. Add a long sleeved shirt, using a long-stitched sewing stitch on your machine, apply some fringed trim. A nice fitting belt and to make it look western, use aluminum foil to create a belt buckle. Possibly a cowboy hat…check w/family and neighbors, as sometimes they have exactly what you need for cheap or to borrow.
- Pillow cases can be made into almost anything…use your imagination.
- Have a variety of fabric hanging around that is weird colors? Do you sew? A cute little jumper style pattern can be made into a clown costume
- A 50’s style skirt can easily be made with fabric on hand, an old sheet no one uses. Add a shirt, white ankle socks and sneakers.
- A 50’s style greaser kid can roll up his jeans, white ankle socks, sneakers, white t-shirt w/rolled sleeves
- A geeky kid…pants they outgrew in length, yet still fits at the waist, is perfect!! Add a slim belt, button down shirt and bow-tie. White socks and dress shoes (sneakers if you do not have dress shoes)
- The older kids…well, they might be a little more of a challenge, but we have made pirate costumes, witch costumes, even a Winnie-the-Pooh from some fleece, etc from things we had on hand (or possibly from fabric I had on hand, possibly purchased on clearance or given to us).
Okay…what to give at the door, OR, do you give at the door?
- pencils, small pads of paper, etc. (I used to buy these in bulk at the beginning of the school year when they sold them for 10 cents a pkg – trust me, with over 100 children coming to our door each year, it was the most cost effective item). Believe it or not, the kids loved this idea!! Even the middle-high school students. If they are in the middle of testing, it is perfect!
- Consider large party bags of game style treats…similar to what you give at birthday parties. You can find these at dollar stores. Plus, even though they are not made to last long, they do not add to the over consumption of sugar, and gives them some frivolous fun. Mini card packs are fun for the teens.
- WAIT until right before Halloween to buy treats on sale (and use coupons) to avoid consuming them yourself. Toss all extra coupons so you are not tempted to buy extra!!
- Buy only what you do not like as it will keep your hands from being tempted to participate in the “one for you and one for me” scenario.
- bring your children to the community Halloween bash/contest events that many community centers and fire stations provide. Some high schools have events as well. They always need volunteers and chaperones, allowing you to be aware of what is going on.
- If you do not have the money to feed your family then you should not be spending money on candy you can’t afford to give. Instead, make some popcorn or cookies, hot cocoa, etc…keep it simple, then pull the shades and turn off the lights and provide some candles safely placed and lit (consider battery operated ones if you have them), then play some fun games by candle light, or watch a spooky movie in the dark.
- Consider a Halloween party of your own with a few families with the same aged children. Parents can share in the goodie bags the kids go home with. Don’t overdo it. For six to twelve children, each parent can spend $1-$2 dollars at the dollar store for the goodie bags. Each can either bake a snack or provide a beverage. Then have the kids play a few games and end the night with a kids movie.
- Have you thought about asking your children to visit at a retirement home? Call ahead to see if it is okay, then go over during the day when your kids are at school to drop off some treats for the residents to give out. OR, find out how many residents there are and have your kids give THEM the treats (possibly homemade cookies). This generation loves seeing the little ones in costumes. Consider having your kids put together a little skit that would entertain the residents. This type of gesture would teach your children about giving of themselves, not only at Christmas but at other times of the year as well.
Although I am not a big Halloween person, as it has never been a big interest of mine, I do enjoy dressing up and seeing the little ones. We keep things simple and limit what we buy. But, the years we don’t have the resources, I do not fret about turning the lights out and keeping things simple and quiet at home.
This year is one of those years in which we do not have the funds to share in the fun. And since it is just my husband and I left at home, we might not watch a scary Halloween type movie, but maybe hold hands and watch a romantic comedy instead.
May you enjoy your Harvest fun!!
~ Enjoy ~
Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor