By Tara Roberts
For Inland 360
But there’s one time of year that brings out a sudden love of making stuff: Halloween. Ever since I spend a weekend gluing fake spider webs to a white sweatsuit to make a ghost costume in second grade, I’ve been a dedicated costume crafter.
That childhood memory forms the basis of a DIY method that guarantees your favorite kid (or adult) a one-of-a-kind costume. It’s affordable, quick and suitable for the Northwest’s unpredictable Halloween weather.
The Sweatsuit Method of Halloween Costume Awesomeness
1. Figure out what you want to be.
Not everything works for this method, but it does cover a wide swath of possibilities: animals, monsters and iconic characters are all good places to start.
2. Determine the base color.
Iron Man? Red. Velociraptor? Army green. One-Eyed, one-horned, flying purple people-eater? You can guess.
3. Go buy sweatpants and a sweatshirt or hoodie in that color.
They’ll run $10-$40 total — well within the range most folks spend on flimsy commercial costumes. Local big-box or department stores tend to have good stocks of sweats, especially in common colors like black, blue or pink. For odder hues you’ll need to turn to the Internet. Children’s retailer Primary.com has a rainbow of choices (and a gallery of DIY costume inspiration. Pretty sure they stole the idea from me).
This is the time to call upon whatever craftiness you’ve got in you. Break out the puff paint, felt and glitter, and remember that a hot glue gun is almost as good as a sewing machine. Mittens and stocking caps make great additions, especially for chillier Halloweens. Put thought and creativity into your details: Batman needs some cardboard Batarangs; the Cheshire Cat requires duct-tape stripes and a sock tail.
5. For those times when a glue gun is not, in fact, as good as a sewing machine, reach out.
Find a family member or friend who can spare a few hours to sew hems or create key details. In my case this is my husband, who dreams up awesome extras like an adjustable-fit dragon tail that has been reused for two costumes.
6. Remember: When creating a critical element (say, the Cat in the Hat’s iconic hat) is way more work than you have time for, it’s OK to go store-bought.
7. Put it all together and get ready for a memorable Halloween.
A bonus to this method is that sweatsuits (even decorated ones) have a life beyond one-time wear. My son’s favorite pair of pants started as a Halloween costume two years ago, and half my household’s hoodies have felt glue-gunned to them.
For a unique and creative Halloween, the Sweatsuit Method is fun and foolproof. Skeptical? Every costume mentioned in this story is one I’ve made following these guidelines.
If you make a cool costume of your own, let Inland 360 know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #inland360.
Tara Roberts lives in Moscow with her husband, kids and poodle. This year she’ll be trick-or-treating as Babe the Big Blue Ox (made from a blue sweatsuit, of course).