Halloween is in four days. In other words, if you still need a costume, START PANICKING NOW! Then take two deep breaths and tell yourself (1) you are not alone and (2) you can make it happen.
First of all, there are plenty of premade costumes still available at your local department store. A little tip I learned from a coworker who was unsuccessfully searching for an Elsa costume: skip the Halloween aisle and go to the toy aisle. You will likely find dress up clothes that will work perfectly fine for a Halloween costume. (And yes, she found an Elsa dress up costume – but that was last week and you probably won’t be so lucky now.)
However, if you’re feeling crafty or your kid has to be Elsa and you cannot find a costume to buy because the scores of Elsa costumes shipped to your local stores have already been scooped up by the 5,000 other girls in town, there is still time to whip something up. In fact, I’ve got four tips to help you get there.
1. Know Where to Go
To make a costume, you need stuff. Make a practical and realistic list of 3-4 stores you can actually get to over the next few days. My stores were: Walmart (opens early enough that I was able to stop before work), Marshall’s, Michael’s (a craft store is critical) and Target.
2. Have a Plan (and a Plan B)
Have a couple of ideas in your head. If you’re set on one idea, keep a plan B in mind as you find your supplies. You may want a princess dress, but can only find lady bug wings. Go with what’s available. The time for being picky was last week.
Halloween is dark and scary and I happen to think Halloween costumes should reflect that. But for little kids? My Plan A was Max from Where the Wild a Things Are. It may not seem controversial now, but Maurice Sendak’s exploration of a child’s anger was actually banned by various librarians. So I think it’s sufficiently dark. My Plan B was an old school rapper, in large part because my son has a bright blue Adidas track suit. All he needed was gold chains and a Kangol hat. (Future programming note: I’m seriously contemplating having my son dress up as the boy from The Shining when he’s old enough to pedal a Big Wheels.)
3. Think Outside the Box
When you are making your own costume, things don’t have to be perfect. I thought finding something for a Max costume would be easy. I mean, he’s basically wearing a white onesie pajama with a yellow crown. Except, try finding a plain onesie pajama ANYWHERE IN ANYSTORE EVER. (Or, in the three stores on your way to/from work the week before you have two costume events to attend.) Even if I had the time to order a costume online and await delivery, the cheapest one I found was $75, with others as high as several hundred dollars (!!). When I came across the perfect slippers, I knew I could turn it into a costume, even if they weren’t the right color.
4. Look Outside the Box
You need stuff, but you don’t have time to run in and out of a thousand stores. You need to use your time in each store efficiently and effectively. Make sure you scan sections you normally wouldn’t because you never know where the perfect item for your costume will be lurking. I found a girl’s hat with pink ears that I turned into a wolf hat to complete the Max costume.
I started shopping on Wednesday, and put the finishing touches on with about an hour to spare before our first costume event on Saturday. A stitch here, a stitch there, and voila – my son had a costume! And it looks really good. We had a great time at our two costume parties, and hopefully we get some stains out in the wash before the Big Day on Friday. The moral of this story is: you can put a costume together by Friday with some quick and creative thinking!