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Slacker Mom's Guide to Halloween Costumes

Published on: December 30, 2013

halloween-girls-stock_000021163369xsmallSure, you could spend months planning and creating elaborate Halloween costumes for the whole family. But if you, like me, lack the skills/drive/time to match your DIY ambitions, not to worry. Save the sewing for next year (or the next, or the next). Between costume swaps and easy homemade solutions, Halloween can be a snap.

1. Tap into your village

An obvious one, but worth repeating for newbies. In September and October, local moms’ listservs (find a long list of them at the bottom of this article) are a veritable swap meet for Halloween costumes. Post what you’re looking for; chances are, someone will have it.

2. Do an easy DIY costume

While we love fantastically cute costumes, what about modestly cute and fantastically easy? Check out these ideas 15 DIY costumes (some very easy, some not as much) or easy DIY costumes out of recycled materials, or Value Village’s mini-encyclopedia of easy costume ideas, for girls, boys and even pets (!).

boys_superboyHere are a few ideas rounded up from readers and our own staff of crackerjack slacker moms. Once you’re thinking in the slacker mindset, it’s easy to come up with dozens more:

- Class outfits: gymnastics, ballet, etc.

- Karate uniforms paired with a mask = karate zombie

- School t-shirt + pompoms = cheerleader

- Box + decorations = old-school robot

- Florescent t-shirt or vest + garbage truck-obsessed child = garbage man

- Dress in black from head to toe, top the noggin with a black ski mask; fill mesh/see-through bag with several stuffed cats = cat burglar

- One parent’s recipe for a rapper: "necklace and foil on teeth with some trendy clothes and a baseball cap ... super-easy and super-fun!"

- The classic white-sheet ghost — endless variations

- “Anything with fake fur. Easy to cut, doesn’t unravel, no major sewing skills needed to slap something together.“

3. Find a costume swap

Our region, it turns out, is ground zero for costume swaps. Green Halloween, started by two Puget Sound moms, organizes National Costume Swap Day ever year. It’s held on Saturday, October 12 this year. You can either organize your own swap (find great tips on the site), or find a local one. Some local events include:


- Issaquah Costume Swap is having a costume swap on Saturday, October 12, from 8-10 a.m.

- Kids Discovery Museum on Bainbridge Island is hosting a costume exchange from Oct. 5–30; just visit the museum during regular hours and you can participate for free. You can even take a costume without bringing one in!

4. Buy secondhand (or firsthand)

As mentioned, Value Village is Halloween Central in October, with tons of new and gently used costumes for sale, plus accessories galore. Other secondhand stories are also good bets, and of course, there are many party/costume shops around, including Party@ Display & Costume (stores in Seattle, Everett and Issaquah and buy online); Vintage Costumers in the Roosevelt neighborhood in Seattle, which rents; Champion Party; and, for awesome accessories galore (lobster claws, googly eye glasses, etc.), Archie McPhee in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood.

5. Leave it all up to the kids


You’re onto this cross-cutting strategy already, right? Think of it as “teaching kids to be self-reliant.” Have them come up with the idea, help them figure out the

essential elements, and then let them execute. A trip to a local secondhand store, the dollar store (or your basement) should do it.

We know we’re just scratching the surface of doing Halloween the slacker mom way. Please chime in with your tips!

See also

- 15 amazing DIY costumes

- 25 ways to keep Halloween green

- 10 costume ideas for baby’s first Halloween (not really slacker, but oh so cute!)

- Healthy Halloween treats

- Our full guide to harvest and Halloween fun

- Giant list of pumpkin patches and corn mazes

Photos sourced from Value Village’s costume website

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