Adventures in Costume Making

Easy and affordable DIY costumes for kids

Last year was our first Halloween as parents. I’ll be honest; I wasn’t super excited about putting our son in a costume. Dressing him in regular clothes is a chore with our littler squirmer. The thought of wrestling him into a bulky costume that he would likely despise for five minutes just to take photos and “make memories,” well... I’d rather take a nap. I’d pretty much rather take a nap than do anything else since giving birth, but that’s beside the point.

The part of me that thought it would be a travesty to simply ignore Halloween prevailed, and about a week before the big day I started thinking about costumes.

Shopping at the last minute didn't help with my lack of enthusiasm. I tried three different stores. The first had 1 option for boys... a monkey. It was cute, but there were dozens of monkeys on the rack. Which means every other little boy with a last minute costume would be a monkey. Plus it was $25, which seemed high at the time. 

The next place only had costumes in a bag, which I think look cheap. If one year Des wants to be something out of a bag I will be all for it. But while I still have a say, I'll pass. 

The third place had a bunch of options. My favorite was a chicken. So cute! Plus, we call Des 'chicken' all the time. Perfect! I took it off the rack ready to buy when I looked down at the tag: $40. No, no, no. NO WAY. Maybe I'm the cheapest person on the planet, but $40 for something he’ll wear for less than an hour and that he's going to hate me for putting him in anyway? Out of the question, no matter how cute.

Finally I resigned to making his costume. I'm kind of artistic! A little bit crafty! I think. I poked around the internet trying to decide on a cute costume that would be easy to DIY, and settled on a pirate. A baby pirate! Come on, how cute is that?

I took a quick trip to the craft store and put it together one night when he was sleeping. I bought an iron-on skull and cross-bones patch, gold puffy paint, black t-shirt, and a bandana. Everything else we already had on hand. I didn't have to sew a thing. One of the reasons I chose a pirate is that the dishevelled, frayed look actually works FOR you. 

Total time to make: ~45 minutes, including trip to craft store

Total cost: less than $10


This year I’m a little more ahead of the game having already decided what he will be: a train conductor, for our boy who is obsessed with trains. We have overalls, a striped hat, a red bandana, and a whistle. We just need a few more minor accessories to make it complete.

I’m hoping to keep this DIY tradition alive through the years.


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