Halloween Costumes: Why I’m a Little Bit Store-Bought, a Little Bit DIY

Check out our adventures in homemade and pre-made individual and group Halloween costumes! This mama is a little bit store bought, a little bit DIY!

Check out our adventures in homemade and pre-made individual and group Halloween costumes! This mama is a little bit store bought, a little bit DIY!

 

Year #1 – DIY Lite, AKA, Etsy!

I am a crafty person, and I was SO excited for my oldest daughter’s first Halloween! It was my first year as a mama, and I had to do it right! Pinterest and my mom groups had a million ideas – but how do you choose?

Evelyn was born on May 4th, May the Fourth Be With You, so we knew that we had to go with the Star Wars theme. I had seen these amazing crochet Princess Leia bun hats on Etsy, and based her first costume off of that hat!

Crocheting is not in my skillset, so I went hunting for a design I loved. I shopped around for the perfect look, a shop with great reviews, and prices that weren’t absurd for a hat she would soon outgrow.

The rest of the costume was not as well made, but it still came together wonderfully! I really wanted a “family costume”, so I pulled together an R2-D2 costume for me, and a Jedi costume for my husband.

Evelyn’s Princess Leia was composed of her adorably perfect crochet hat, and then a white Aden + Anais muslin blanket for her robes. She was not even six months old yet, so we just held her wrapped up in that white muslin blanket. It was too cute!

My R2-D2 costume was simple a white t-shirt with puff paint. I have little-to-no creativity from my own brain, but I am able to copy other people’s designs with amazing results. So freehanding all of R2-D2’s elements was a breeze!

My husband’s Jedi costume was based on his Darth Vader lightsaber replica. I used a few yards of brown fabric to make a robe, stuck the saber in his hands, and he was done! Star Wars purists won’t love that I paired the Sith lightsaber with the brown robes. But I don’t care, and I love how it turned out!

Year 1 DIY Factor: 65%

Check out our adventures in homemade and pre-made individual and group costumes! This mama is a little bit store bought, a little bit DIY!

 

Year #2 – Mom Guilt: Give Yourself Some Grace

Her second Halloween came around, and I was so bogged down by work. It was early in October, and I hadn’t started on a costume yet. I didn’t even have a cute idea for her, much less a full family theme.

My mom bought her the cutest little ladybug and owl costumes, but I just didn’t think we would use them. I had mostly DIY’d her first Halloween costume, and I wanted to be the awesome mom who came up with super cute DIY family costumes every year!

Day after day, other tasks pushed Halloween costumes further down on my to-do list. The DIY costumes didn’t happen, so we went ahead with the store bought costumes.

I felt so disappointed by this idea of “letting her down”. But guess what? She still had so much fun! And am I really going to beat myself up over not making a costume when gets older and she sees some elaborate get-up at Target that she has to have?

It took some time for me to not regret that year of store-bought costumes, but now I look back and laugh. We are all parents who are doing the best we can for our kids.

If you or your kid desperately wants a DIY costume, go for it! But if that banana costume off the racks is screaming your name, jump on it (just don’t slip on it)!

Year 2 DIY Factor: 0%

Check out our adventures in homemade and pre-made individual and group costumes! This mama is a little bit store bought, a little bit DIY!

 

Year #3 – Piece by Piece, Recreating Her Favorite Character

As a family, we are all big fans of Daniel Tiger. This show brought Mr. Rogers back to life in an adorably animated tiger, who also teaches my daughter important lessons through cute jingles.

Daniel Tiger helped teach my oldest how to “take a step back and ask for help”, that “when you’re sick, rest is best”, and when “it’s almost time to stop, (so) choose one more thing to do”.

She was so enamored with Daniel, and we knew that this needed to be her costume! I started with buying the trolley patch from the Fred Rogers store. I wanted the authentic look with that piece!

The next step was to find her a red jacket. This was a way bigger task than I anticipated because nobody sells solid clothing! They all have cutesy characters and designs on them! After a few weeks of searching, I finally found the perfect knit jacket at a thrift store!

The jacket was a size 4, and my tiny girl was barely fitting into 2T clothes. But that jacket was so perfect, I had to make it work! I cuffed and pinned the sleeves, and hemmed up the bottom of the jacket. Then we unhemmed it over the years and it continued to fit her!

Finally, I kept an eye out for a tiny set with tiger ears and a tiger tail. I was going to DIY this step with felt, but this set cost $3 and it completed the costume! Who can say no to that?

This year was all purchased pieces, but the way I patchworked them together definitely counts as a little bit DIY!

Year 3 DIY Factor: 25%

Check out our adventures in homemade and pre-made individual and group costumes! This mama is a little bit store bought, a little bit DIY!

 

Year #4 – My, What Big Ears You Have! A Total DIY

Sometime in September 2015, I asked Evelyn what she wanted to be for Halloween. She said emphatically, “the big bad wolf!” We assumed that she meant Red Riding Hood and started showing her pictures for ideas. We were wrong, she wanted to be the wolf.

She had told my mom a few weeks prior to this that Juneau (my parents’ husky) needed to be Little Red Riding Hood and she would get to be the wolf. This was hilarious to everyone because Juneau didn’t need a costume to play the part of the wolf!

So off to the fabric store I went, coupons in hand, to buy gray and pink felt for our red riding hood! I made my own pattern for a wolf poncho, clawed shoe covers, and an adorable set of felt ears on a headband. Ah-whooo!

I love the idea of a poncho style costume because Halloween in Kansas can be 65 degrees or 15 degrees. It’s so important to be able to layer some warm clothes underneath her costume!

I salvaged an old red t-shirt to make a hooded cape for her American Girl doll. We already had a doll stroller, which was the perfect way for her to keep her costume together!

Some people definitely thought she was a mouse. But it didn’t bother her and she was so proud of her costume! We even had some old baskets that matched the theme, and we used those for Trick-or-Treating.

Year 4 DIY Factor: 95%

Check out our adventures in homemade and pre-made individual and group Halloween costumes! This mama is a little bit store bought, a little bit DIY!

Check out our adventures in homemade and pre-made individual and group Halloween costumes! This mama is a little bit store bought, a little bit DIY!

 

Year #5 – My Favorite Animal, My Favorite Pajamas, My Favorite Costume

Since she was just one or two-years-old, Evelyn has been obsessed with pandas! For her fourth birthday, her Papa bought her these adorable panda pajamas with a tail and hood with panda eyes and ears.

She wore these heavy panda jammies multiple times each week. Even through the hottest summer nights. There was absolutely no question that they would also be her Halloween costume.

But just throwing on PJs doesn’t make a great costume – it’s all in the details! So I got some face paint and made her a green bamboo stalk to “munch” on. We also created some panda ear pigtails, which became her signature look for the next few weeks!

Her doll stroller made a reappearance in her costume because she also had to bring along her mama panda, baby panda, and panda purse. Just a small sampling of her ridiculous panda collection!

What you can’t see in the picture is that she is also wearing panda socks, panda leggings, and a panda t-shirt. I can’t believe it took her this many years to choose a panda for her costume!

Year 5 DIY Factor: 20%Check out our adventures in homemade and pre-made individual and group Halloween costumes! This mama is a little bit store bought, a little bit DIY!

 

Year #6 – Our First Elaborate Family and Friends Group Costume

This year was Alice’s first Halloween, and we decided on an elaborate family and group costume with my best friend’s family. Our big kids had been obsessed with the movie Trolls all summer, which gave us tons of characters to choose from!

Our two six-year-olds were Princess Poppy and Branch, her younger son was Aspen Heitz, and my baby was Bridget the Bergen. My bestie and I were two other trolls – Mandy Sparkledust and Moxie Dewdrop. Her husband didn’t play along, but I dressed mine up as young Prince Gristle.

These costumes were a combination of total DIY and shopping for solid colored clothes for our get ups.

The troll hair came from a million strips of tulle. We started by looping it on a headband, but that just flopped forward or backward. Then we made a full crown of troll hair, which turned out amazing!

My kids’ outfits came from www.primary.com – adorable solid kids’ clothing, and I was able to find the colors that I needed for their fur and their clothes. I just decorated Evelyn’s dress with some fabric paint, in order to make it look like Princess Poppy’s dress.

I found my adult solid colored clothes on Amazon. Yellow pajamas for my fur, and a tank top and skirt to match my character. My husband’s costume was just a cut up t-shirt that I decorated with Sharpie, the perfect boa, and a little crown created with felt.

It was so fun when we went to events as a group! Group costumes definitely get a lot of attention, especially when 4/7 participants are adorable little kids!

Year 6 DIY Factor: 80%

Check out our adventures in homemade and pre-made individual and group Halloween costumes! This mama is a little bit store bought, a little bit DIY!

 

Year #7 – On a Roll, Year Two of Our Family and Friends Costumes

We continued our family and group costume theme this year! We decided on Woodland Creatures, and all of the big kids got to choose their animals.

Evelyn’s friends chose a Raccoon and Fox for themselves and a skunk for their brand new baby brother. I chose an owl for Alice (we like to call her owl-ice). And Evelyn couldn’t decide, so she settled on… a panda-unicorn!

I decided on a patchwork owl cape for Alice. At the fabric store, I chose six coordinating fabrics (two pink, two purple, two blue) and started cutting them into feather shapes.

I can hand stitch, but I won’t pretend that I’m capable of operating a sewing machine. For this reason, I decided to hot glue her owl cape. Aside from a few burned fingers, this turned out perfectly! I used fleece to create an owl head hat for Alice, and she was finished!

Evelyn already owned her panda pajamas – we actually have a second set in a larger size because she outgrew her original set! She also had a great unicorn headband. All she needed was some hooves!

When I was shopping for Alice’s costume fabric, I found this furry fabric that screamed “unicorn”! So I bought that and created boot covers and wrist cuffs for her unicorn hooves.

Year 7 DIY Factor: 75%

Check out our adventures in homemade and pre-made individual and group Halloween costumes! This mama is a little bit store bought, a little bit DIY!

What Are Your Thoughts and Experiences?

As the years go on, I look forward to continuing some combination of DIY and store-bought costumes. Whatever makes my girls happy! What is your Halloween costume style?

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