If necessity is the mother of invention, then desperation is the father of ingenuity. One year, Halloween crept upon us before we could think about a costume for our three-year-old son. He was too young to have his heart set on any character costume. He still didn’t quite understand what the holiday was all about. But new parents as we were, we wanted him to participate in the fun. With no time or money, I grabbed an old bed sheet and began to tear and rip until—voila—before us stood a shepherd boy. A long, wood staff completed the look.
Years later, I sewed a great Three Musketeers outfit, with a feathered hat, cape and leather boot covers. And it was fantastic, if I do say so myself (I brag because I have very little sewing talent so the result came as a happy surprise!) But it was no simple feat. It took yards of fabric and notions so it got a little expensive and about a week to put it all together. After Halloween, it sat for years in a plastic storage bin, taking up space and getting moved from place to place.
When we look back at our holidays past, that simple shepherd boy costume still tops the best of the best for ease and economy. If you need a quick, easy and cheap costume, try some of these simple ideas you can fashion from a bed sheet:
1. Classic mummy. Dress your child in white t-shirt, shorts and socks or white leotards and tights. Tear the bed sheet into thin strips and wrap them around and around your child’s legs. Use separate strips for each limb for better mobility. Wrap the upper torso separately than the lower half so your child can easily remove some of the strips to use the restroom. Teach your child how to walk stiffly like a mummy.
2. Charlie Brown ghost. Using a black Sharpie, color large black “holes” all over the sheet. Make eye holes.
3. Shepherd boy. Tear the sheet to fashion a head covering and a tie to keep it snug as well as a loose tunic and a waistband tie. See picture.
4. Greek god: Fashion a tunic that goes over only one shoulder. Tie at the waist with a sash and fashion a “laurel leaf” crown out of gold paper. Make a lightning bolt out of cardboard and go as Zeus, a winged shoes for Hermes, bow and arrow for Eros, etc.
5. Scary ghost: Tear the sheet so it falls over the body and arms. Tack down under the arms with a safety pin and tear the fabric that falls from the underarm to the wrist into thin strips so it will billow. Spray paint hair with temporary hair dye in a gray tint. Paint the face to look scary (white, gray and black circles around the eyes).
6. Accident victim: Tear the sheet into strips and create “casts” around the leg and arms. Wrap a bandage around the head and let fake blood drip from it. Use face paints to make a gaping wound in the cheek. Give the person some crutches or place him in a wheelchair.
7. Priest. Dress in all black and a slip of white paper for a collar ring. Then, drape a white sheet over all (poke head through the top).