Cute Costumes on the Cheap

3 local moms get crafty for Halloween.

Just in time for trick-or-treat night, "Cute and Easy Costumes for Kids: 35 Fun Dressing Up Ideas for Children" by Emma Hardy (CICO Books, July 2010, $19.95) features 35 ideas for easy-to-make Halloween costumes.

costumebook.pngAuthor and designer Emma Hardy is the mother of two and knows all about unexpected costume requests. As an avid sewer, she offers step-by-step instructions to guide parents all the way.

Choose from scary (witch, pumpkin, skeleton and monster) or wanna-be adventurer (astronaut, swashbuckling pirate and matador). Or, consider the king, queen or knight in shining armor. The animal costumes section is packed full of ideas for a butterfly, jellyfish, tiger and more.

Three local moms accepted our challenge to use the book and create Halloween costumes for their children. Here's a look at what they made, how long it took to make each costume, the supplies needed, and roughly what each costume cost to make.

Mom #1: Chrissy Premeaux

Children: Violet, 4 and Miles, 2

"This is the first year my kids are both old enough to choose costumes for themselves. They flipped through the book and "oohed" and "aahed" over the choices. I purchased a few supplies, but I confess that because I have a fabric/yarn/textiles addiction, I had a lot of supplies at home already which I was happy to use."

reindeer.jpgThe Reindeer

"What looked like the easiest, fastest project turned out to be a bit time consuming, because brown wintry items are elusive in August. I ended up making gloves using brown felt, but I did find a brown hat, onto which I sewed the two antler/gloves. Violet and Miles helped me stuff the antlers … well, they helped me empty the polyfil bag! I bought a brown long-sleeve tee and a hat. While I followed the directions for the pom-pom, it swallowed Violet's face, so I had to trim it down a bit. And although she agreed to wear it while I took pictures, she took it off immediately afterward. The costume took me about two hours to make – 30 minutes of which was clean up of the polyfil the kids thought they could stuff everywhere!"

"Because Miles has to be just like his big sister, I also bought a second shirt and pants for $9.50 and was able to make two reindeer costumes."
Shirt $6.00
Hat $1.00
Pants $3.50
Polyfil $3.00
Felt $3.00
Thread, batting and notions $0.00 (personal supplies)
TOTAL $16.50
Step by step instructions to make the Reindeer


"This costume was a little trickier than I thought it would be. I read the instructions in the book, and then turned to the back of the book where the patterns were located. I carefully tore them out to find a very confusing mess. … I did eventually figure out where all of the pattern pieces were, traced them onto parchment paper and assembled the costume. My son is a bit small for his age, so I used the smallest pattern line, but it still came out something my 4 year-old could have worn. I cut it all down to fit him. It took me about 2 1/2 hours to complete.

Fabric for pants $7.00
Fur, felt and notions $0.00 (personal supplies)
TOTAL $7.00
Step by step instructions to make the Elf

Mom #2: Erin Hadden

Son: Knox, 3


"I have always been a huge fan of Halloween, and I strongly believe in wearing the 'classic' scary costumes, so when I saw the skeleton I knew it was perfect. No sewing – more than a running stitch for the mask – also was a big seller. It probably took about two hours to make the costume. Cutting out all the bones took the longest. Knox was able to help me lay out the bone pattern, and then it was just gluing. He really likes being a skeleton!"

Shirt $3.50
Leggings $4.00
Felt $4.50
Elastic $1.00
Fabric glue $3.00
Embroidery floss $1.00
TOTAL $17.00
Step by step instructions to make the Skeleton

Mom #3: Sarah Browning

Children: Hannah, 7, and Kyle, 5

hulagirl_315.jpgHula Girl

"Hannah loved helping me make this costume. It took about three hours to make, but that was with Hannah's help. She was able to cut and pin all the ribbon, and cut the flowers out and string them onto the necklace, arm band, leg band and head piece. The book didn't mention heat-sealing the ribbon so it doesn't fray, but I recommend it. This is a very fun project for a creative child. It turned out to be a beautiful outfit both of us love."

Ribbon $9.00
Thread $2.00
Felt $2.50
Elastic $0.50
Pipe cleaners $0.00 (personal use)
TOTAL $14.00
Step by step instructions to make the Hula Girl

superhero_315-copy.jpgSuper Hero

"This was a fun outfit to make and took less than two hours to complete. It was very easy, even for a beginner. The hardest part was sewing on satin, because it's such a slippery material. Kyle is now the heroic Super K in his awesome cape, glasses and belt. My son never wants to take it off and flies through the house saving all his stuffed animals from his evil big sister!"

Shirt $1.50
Satin $9.00
Thread $2.00
Heat N Bond $3.00
Ribbon $0.50
Felt $2.50
Elastic $0.50
TOTAL $19.00
Step by step instructions to make the Super Hero