Modern day Trick-or-Treating, possibly derived from guising [modified from disguising], is a favorite activity for young children dressed in costume on Halloween, the last day of October, in which little ones advance from house to house at dusk and dark, asking for treats (hopefully candy) poising the question, "Trick or treat?" Halloween festivities for grown-ups continue in the form of costume parties, pumpkin carving, and general merrymaking today.
The name Halloween (archaic spelling Hallowe’en) Scottish in origin and a contraction of sorts for All Hallow's Evening precedes All Hallow's Day, or All Saint's Day, a day set aside by Pope Boniface IV to honor Catholic saints. It was Pope Gregory IV who formalized All Saint's Day as the first day of November.
Traditional Halloween costumes are whimsically spooky and scary such as vampires, ghosts, bats, scarecrows, witches, and devilish apparitions. Today’s most often seen favorite costumes are action heroes, fairies and princesses, cute bugs, fuzzy animals, pirates, wizards, space aliens, and of course, funny or scary renditions of jack-o'-lanterns. Many children’s costume ideas are easy-sew, or no-sew to make in no time at all.
Some quick-to-do young children’s costume designs to spark imagination involve hooded sweatshirts that are easy to accessorize (comfortable and warm to wear) to make into a myriad of charming characters.
Cut out animal ears from two pieces of felt or other fabric, sew together, stuff lightly and hand sew or fabric glue to the hood – puppy, bear, rabbit and cat ears are easy to do and coordinate to the color of the sweatshirt for old standbys.
Lightly stuffed brightly-colored triangles that attach to the center of the hood and down the back of the sweatshirt to represent dinosaur scales are always popular and quick to make.
Bat wings can be added to the underarm and side seam of the sweatshirt.
Jack-o’-lantern cutouts out of black felt or fabric for eyes, nose, and mouth fused to the front of an orange hoodie produce the easy pumpkin costume. Add green and brown leaf-shaped cutouts to the hood for added effect.
Stuff four tubes of black fabric for spider legs to attach to the sides of a black hoodie for an easy spider costume – fuse white circles of felt or fabric to the hood for spider eyes. Sew or glue red sequins to the eyes for extra effect.
For additional inspiration:
Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids from FabricLink - A Halloween costume closet of ideas, including 11th hour costumes.
Halloween Costume Gallery from Better Homes and Gardens has 50 crafty ideas for handmade costumes.
Be sure to follow a few common sense sewing safety guidelines when making Halloween costumes. Use new fabrics listed as flame resistant if making children’s garments, add some bright reflective or glow-in-the-dark safety tape where you can, costumes should not be too long to avoid tripping in them, and be sure any masks or head gear allow for easy unobstructed vision.
Sew happy, sew inspired.