By Michelle Schmidt
The problem, of course, is you and your kids define “perfect” differently. For them, it means “the coolest costume ever.” And for you it means “cheap and easy.” Here’s five ideas that aim to keep everyone happy:
The Costume: Minecraft is wildly popular with the kids, to put things mildly. With its distinctive pixilated characters this “create your own universe” video game inspires a simple costume that most kids will be thrilled to wear — and is as cheap as a small box.
You’ll need: square cardboard box, cardboard piece, printed templates, glue.
Special Considerations: Google “Steve head printable” and “Minecraft pickax template” and you’ll find several templates of varying sizes, so you can match the size of the printed template to your box. You’ll need the latest version of Adobe Reader so you can tile the pages (see “Poster” settings under “Page Sizing and Handling”). Finding a box and printing the pages will be the time-consuming part; after that, it’s just cutting and gluing. Overachievers can find instructions to create a whole body; the rest of us will just pair the head with a teal shirt and blue jeans.
Will Work for Candy
The Costume: Showcase your child’s stained, knee-torn jeans and knack for getting dirty, while they panhandle for candy around the neighborhood.
You’ll need: tattered/dirty clothes, stocking cap, dirt, piece of cardboard.
Special Considerations: A winter hat and cardboard sign are costume essentials, along with makeup: dirt smudges or drawn-on facial hair. For a more authentic look and smell, don’t let them bathe until after the holiday.
The Costume: This is the ideal costume solution for the indecisive child. After all, why decide between being a ballerina, a princess or a cat when you can be all three?
You’ll need: tutu, cat ears and tail, princess crown and accessories.
Special Considerations: This costume also is perfect when you can only find parts of costumes from previous years. Just be sure to give the idea a positive spin: “Wouldn’t it be cool to be all the superheroes?”
Jet Pack Kid
The Costume: A homemade jet-pack is an instant costume. As an added benefit, this will provide hours of entertainment after the holiday for any kid with imagination and energy — so pretty much all of them.
You’ll need: two 2-liter pop bottles, gray spray paint, orange/red/yellow tissue paper, duct tape, gray strap fabric.
Special Considerations: Paint the bottles and then tape them together with duct tape, filling the openings with any sort of “flame”; tissue paper works well, but streamers or even felt would do the trick. Attach straps like a backpack. Just be forewarned, even though they’re not powered, your kid is likely to be operating at high speeds while wearing it.
The Costume: Even though child-size bugs would disgust and frighten most of us, children dressed as bugs couldn’t be any cuter.
You’ll need: black shirt and pants, yellow duct tape, headband, pipe cleaners, wire hangers, nylons, ribbon or strip of fabric, safety pins.
Special Considerations: Using duct tape to create yellow stripes on the shirt is quick and easy — but cleaning up tape residue on the shirt may not be. Winding pipe cleaners around the headband will create antennae, and wings can be made by reshaping wire hangers and attaching them so they join in the middle. Cover the wires with nylons or even plastic wrap, use ribbon to wrap the messy part where the wires join and use safety pins to attach the wings from the ribbon to the shirt.
Schmidt can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (208) 305-4578.