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Halloween Costumes on a Single Parent Budget

Remember the fun of dressing up for Halloween? If you have been shopping for costumes lately, even at the discount stores, you know that you can pay a fortune for a costume that will probably only fit or be “stylish” for one year. So, how can you come up with great costumes on a tiny budget?

It’s a time to be something or someone you aren’t, or perhaps to be the real you that no one ever sees. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this task. I always preferred face paints to masks and CVS, Walgreens, and Eckerd’s always have a wide variety of different face paints for reasonable prices. Black nail polish and black lipstick by Wet n’ Wild run $.99 to $1.19 a bottle/tube. Try a goth look for one night of the year. Imagine your bubbly teen dressing in all-black with dark make-up and promising not to smile.

Dazzling glitter makeup in bright colors (again, Wet n’ Wild has body glitter in a variety of shades and wild eye colors for as little as $1.19 each) let you add some sparkle to face, shoulders, arms, and hands. At Halloween, you can find the temporary spray-in hair color for as little as $.99 a can. Take a trip to the thrift shop or the vintage store to find an ‘80s dress (wild, giant polka-dots and poof-sleeves), go wild with the hair and turn yourself in to a pixie or a Cyndi Lauper wannabe.

The smaller version of pixies are cute, too! Go with pastel colors instead of the brights on the make-up. Ponytails high on top the head make a cute statement. And if you want to add wings, those cut from poster board and decorated with glitter glue are fabulous pinned to the back of pastel sweatshirt with safety pins. Not too heavy or too expensive.

Need something a bit more traditional for the younger kids? Here are some simple ideas:

Hobo - Find some old clothes that are too big (from grandpa’s closet, perhaps?), a bandana, a long stick from the yard, and some coffee grounds. Be sure that pants legs are rolled up so that they won’t be tripped on and that the belt for the pants holds the pants at the waist sufficiently. Stuff the bandana with newspaper and tie it to the end of the stick - instant carryall. Coffee grounds? What would make a better 5 o’clock shadow? Press the dampened coffee grounds to the face and viola! Even if they start to drop off as they dry, they will “stain” the skin, leaving the appearance of that 5 o’clock shadow without the stubble.

Mummy - All you need are white crepe papers streamers or an old sheet ripped into strips. Have your child dress in sweat pants and a t-shirt or sweat shirt, depending upon the weather. Then practice your bandage wrapping techniques. Don’t wrap too tightly, for the paper will tear with the bending of the arms and legs if you do. Wrap well and thickly however, to insure good coverage and back-up if there is a small tear. Leave ends loose here and there to resemble bandages threatening to come undone. Be sure to leave the eyes unobstructed.

50’s teen - Girls: roll the jeans up to mid-calf; roll the socks down to just above the ankles, tennies, a plain t-shirt and an old button-up-the-front sweater complete the outfit. Hair in a ponytail with a long scarf either tied around the base of the ponytail or around the neck. A few freckles made with an eyebrow pencil and a dash of red lipstick. Guys: Jeans rolled to the ankles, tennis shoes, white t-shirt with rolled sleeves, greased hair, and a black jacket, if desired. The girls will swoon!

Old camouflage can quickly turn your little boys in to soldiers with a bit of camouflage face paint to top off the image. And who can’t resist the traditional vampire, witch, or ghost. Stick with simple costumes and face paint like the ones we had when we were kids. You can even tell them stories about your trick-or-treating days as you get your own little goblins ready to go out.

And mom, dad, there is no rule that says that you can’t dress up to so that you don’t stick out like a sore thumb when you escort your ghoulies around the block. See how many of your neighbors actually recognize you! But most importantly, have some good, safe fun this Halloween without having to rob a bank to do it! Have a spooky evening!

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Content copyright © 2013 by Cynthia Parker. All rights reserved.
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