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When Things Get Hairy: A Homemade Halloween Costume Story

At the fifth-grade costume parade, my costume started shedding. Everywhere I went, little strands of hair from a wig my mom had purchased at a thrift store were leaving behind a trail. My mom’s valiant effort to create low-budget Halloween costumes for me and my siblings was quite literally coming apart.


That year, my mom tried for the punny costume ideas, sticking marshmallows in the hair of my little brother, dressing him as the “Unhappy Camper." At 10 years old, I was very into the Harry Potter books, so my mom crafted a punny “Hairy Potter” costume, with a sign reading “Pots for Sale” and chunks of cut wig hair taped to my long-sleeved shirt.

Rachel, age 10, as the "Hairy Potter"

I valiantly rocked my costume next to the princesses and ninja turtles and hand-sewn pirate costumes and store-bought ladybugs, but by the end of the night, when only one person thought my costume was funny (or they could have just been laughing at me), I told my mom that I would handle my Halloween costumes from there on out.


While I didn’t learn how to sew until I was 23, I started creating my own Halloween costumes in middle school. I played with makeup to give myself doll and animal faces. I twisted clothes hangers together to make insect wings, and I painted a variety of cardboard cutouts for different props.


Creativity became the name of the game for my Halloween costumes, with usually a few items purchased from a thrift store and the rest made from items around the house. Halloween quickly became by favorite holiday because it gave me space to bring out my creativity and wear something silly or elegant or spooky that I had created.


Halloween can often be a stressful time for families. Store-bought costumes are expensive and kids are picky! But a little creativity and a hot glue gun can go a long way. Share with us some of your favorite homemade costumes or costume stories!

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