Surviving Halloween :: Costume Confessions of a Non-DIY Mom


Halloween does not light my creative fire. I am strictly a Christmas kind of girl. I am also not crafty, so every Halloween became a struggle between shelling out mega-dollars for a pre-made costume or creating costumes for my children with my limited skill set. So, for all of you non-DIY moms like me, here are some tried-and-true tactics that I offer.

Surviving Halloween Costume Confessions of Non-DIY Mom - Pirate Ghost
The pirate ghost

A bedsheet is your friend. 

Scissors and hem tape (maybe) in hand, and you’re in full costume design mode. One year, my son wanted to be a pirate ghost. I folded the sheet in half, tucked in the corners, cut some holes to see and breathe, and added a skull bandana on top. Done! You could use this same method to create any version of ghost by accessorizing.

Raid your closets. 

My son went as Donald Trump one year (when The Apprentice was popular), wearing an old suit and shouting “You’re fired!”. We have also pulled out old cheerleading, sports, or band uniforms for a retro look your teenager may find irresistible.

Raid your neighbors’ closets. 

That neighbor who is a doctor – ask her to borrow a white lab coat. That paired with some wild hair and maybe a test tube as a prop, and you have a mad scientist. In fact, you could source any number of uniform ideas from friends and neighbors: scrubs, chef coats, work shirts with logos. Any of these make an instant employee costume.

Hit the drugstore. 

One year my daughter, who was four I believe, wanted to be a mummy. We wrapped her from head to toe in white gauze, taped together with white first aid tape and embellished with a little ketchup for drama. Our first wrap attempt had to be redone, when it all fell around her ankles as she walked across the room. This also exposed her lack of clothing underneath (her devotion to nudity and parenting a nudist is a topic for another blog), so we added a layer of white tights and white t-shirt before re-wrapping. To this day, she says it was one of her favorite Halloween costumes. (Of course, I did not take any photos that year.)

Surviving Halloween Costume Confessions of Non-DIY Mom - Use what kids own
Pirate and Peter Pan

Use what your kids already own. 

My son wanted to go from pirate ghost to pirate. We found an old striped shirt and shorts that we cut down, added a dirty face, and voila! My daughter wanted to be Peter Pan that year. We grabbed tights and boots from her closet, and I added a simple tunic that I made from leftover fabric from a long-ago sewing project (I can sew straight lines when required). We added a paper hat and she was ready to go.

Despite my limited skills, my children believed I was a costume genius. You too can achieve Halloween costume greatness with a little ingenuity and even less creativity. Oh, and one more necessary item, at least for me: candy corn, the only saving grace of Halloween.

Comment below and tell us some of your Halloween costume tips and tricks!


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Born in Wisconsin, Chris moved South with her family, first to Richmond, Virginia, and then to Birmingham when she was 12. She loves being a girl raised in the South, and her only remaining Midwestern traits are a love for the Packers and a fondness for bratwurst. In 2010, Chris reconnected with Christopher, a former Birmingham-Southern College classmate, after a random meeting in the cereal aisle at Publix. They married in 2011, not realizing that they were bringing together a perfect storm of teenage angst with their three children. Today, Chris is the center support that keeps the seesaw of her family balanced, leading a blended family of three young adults and enjoying an empty nest. Before the pandemic, most days were busy managing client relationships for a corporate event production company, but after six months of unemployment, she has become the parish administrator aka “the church lady” for her church. When she's not working, she loves reading a rich historical novel, volunteering with her sorority, and planning their next wine-tasting excursions.