DIY Dress-Up Outfits, Goody Bags & Kid-Friendly Fun
Boo! Halloween is almost upon us. October’s candy-rich holiday is one that some folks love, and others endure. Whether you find Halloween spooky or sweet, here are a few easy ways to make it fun for your little ones.
Design Your Own Creative Halloween Costumes
Save your pennies and skip the premade costumes. Instead, encourage kids’ creativity by “shopping” for costumes in their very own DIY dress-up box. You may already have a dress-up box for pretend play time. If not, instructions for how to create or enhance at-home costume supplies follow below. Fill your dress-up box and get ready to enjoy putting together fun, satisfying, and oh-so easy homemade costumes.
DIY dress-up box for imaginative costumes
Fill a cardboard box or plastic storage bin with items from past years’ Halloween outfits, colorful scarves, hats, and accessories from family members’ wardrobes, and a few extras, such as wands, fairy wings, or kid-safe hair chalk you can purchase online and use multiple times. (Hint: if they live nearby, ask grandparents, aunts, or uncles to contribute!)
Invite children to use their imaginations to put together creative Halloween costumes like “Rainbow Fairy Princess” or “Clown Detective.” They can create costumes inspired by favorite storybook characters, historical figures, or invent something altogether new.
Make fun and spooky masks while getting crafty
Feeling crafty? Try making a paper plate masks with your child. It’s a fairly low effort Halloween costume that offers a great opportunity to spend creative quality time with your child. On the back side of a white, non-coated paper plate, sketch two eye holes (nose and mouth holes are optional). Have an adult use scissors to cut out the openings and punch two eye-level holes along the rim of the plate. You will use these holes to string through yarn or elastic later.
Turn the plate over and invite children to decorate as they like using paints and markers, or glue on crafty accent materials such as glitter, googly eyes, stickers, and pompoms. Get creative by attaching construction paper ears, a carboard unicorn horn, or chenille stem hair to the masks. Or create half-masks by cutting plates into approximate halves with eye holes, a nose notch, and of course punched holes for attaching. Let mask decorations dry then string the punched holes with yarn ties or a length of narrow elastic for wearing.
Now put on your original and imaginative costume for all to see!
When it’s time for the Halloween party or trick-or-treat outing, put on the selected costume box pieces and your mask, if desired. You can enhance the look with non-toxic makeup and add gel or chalk to hair for a final touch. As long as the look is eye-catching and fun to wear, it's a great costume. And no one else on the block will be wearing the same Halloween outfit!
Make DIY Goody Bags with Stick-on Chalkboard Paper
Kids can easily custom make their own goody bags for trick-or-treating. DIY loot bags are a perfect complement to low effort Halloween costumes for those who enjoy a low-key costume holiday. DIY goody bags are a fun family craft project which also prevents confusion over whose loot bag belongs to whom!
- For this simple craft, begin with a reusable grocery or shopping bag made from thick plastic or heavy papers. Make sure it has reasonably sturdy handles.
- Draw two fun Halloween shapes from black or white stick-on contact paper. Consider a large white contact paper ghost or a black contact paper cat. Simply sketch the outline of your image on the peel-off side of the paper. Children can draw their own freehand images or you can find a traceable pattern on the internet. Each shape should be large enough to fill at least half of the space on one side of the bag. You can also make smaller accent shapes, such as moons and stars, or layer white and black contact paper to create black-and-white creatures like pandas and penguins.
- With adult help, cut the shapes out and lay them on a flat surface (peel-off side down). Invite kids to decorate their shapes with features, patterns, their name, or other designs using liquid chalk markers.
- Finally, lay your chosen bag on a flat surface and smooth out any large folds or wrinkles. Peel off the sticky backing and attach one large shape to each side of your bag, add accent shapes if desired. Smooth from the center to the edges of each shape to press out bubbles. Then use a soft cloth to gently remove any loose chalk dust from the drawing. Voila! Your one-of-a-kind goody bag is ready for trick or treating.
Paint Pumpkins with Liquid Chalk Markers
While you’ve got those liquid chalk markers on the table, consider painting your pumpkins (and gourds) instead of carving them. Painting is safer for little trick-or-treaters, and the pumpkins will last longer, too! You can use those liquid chalk markers to decorate glass windowpanes, too, giving your home a fun and seasonal lift.
Hang Tissue Paper Ghosts in Your Yard
Add a touch of not-so-scary spookiness to your front yard with easy tissue paper ghosts. Open and layer two white tissues. Roll a third tissue into a ball and place it in the center. Gather the tissues around the ball to form the “head” of the ghost and secure with a chenille pipe cleaner stem or twist tie. Tap into your craft supply stash for those chenille stems, as well as stick-on googly eyes and more fun craft accents to add to your homemade ghost decorations. Hang your ghosts in trees or bushes outdoors, or attach to a banister or even kitchen chair backs inside.
Enjoy Trick or Treat Fun at Home
If your plan for this year’s Halloween is to stay at home, consider putting candies or small treats in dishes outside bedroom doors or hidden on bookshelves, in cupboards, and even on stairwells. Kids can enjoy collecting candy even if touring the neighborhood isn’t on the agenda.
Make a Plan For All That Candy
Figuring out what to do with all that candy is a challenge for many parents. Search the internet for local “Halloween Candy Buyback” campaigns run by dentists or other businesses. You may find an opportunity for your child to trade in their candy for small prizes or other rewards. And you can explain to them that the candy will be donated to a worthy cause.
Alternatively, make a game out of sorting and selecting candies at home. Invite kids to give candies they don’t like to the grown-ups (you’d be surprised how some kids really don’t enjoy that many different candies). Make a plan for enjoying the remaining pieces after sports practices, ballet lessons, or other routine events. Discuss other ways to use the candy, such as baking cookies with M&Ms and Reese’s Pieces or creating candy stained glass with hard candies.
Take Time For A Halloween Wind Down
Getting to sleep after trick-or-treating can be a challenge, especially for younger kids. Make a plan for winding down after all the fun. Read a Halloween story or two. Make a calming, low-sugar snack, or even have a second mini-dinner such as a small helping of pasta with cheese, carrot and celery sticks with peanut butter, or half a bagel. Tuck away those dress-up clothes as you reflect on the fun of choosing and preparing this year’s creative Halloween costumes. Wash faces and brush teeth (and maybe shower out that hair chalk). Allow a little extra time for kids to get to bed. Less pressure and more happy reflection can help pave the way for sweet dreams of a very Happy Halloween.