Make your own Halloween costume

Sometimes the best ideas take a little creativity and whatever's lying around the house

October 26, 2005|By REBECCA HYLER | REBECCA HYLER,BALTIMORESUN.COM STAFF

Did you wait until the last minute to go shopping for your Halloween costume? Before making a mad dash to the mall or local costume store, you might want to consider making your own costume this year. These homemade costumes don't require a lot of time or money. In fact, all you need is a few household items, a little craftsmanship and a lot of imagination. If you need some inspiration, think Martha Stewart meets MacGyver.

When creating your own Halloween costume, the first thing you need to consider is the impression you want your costume to make. If you want to spark conversation and maybe even a little controversy, the one-night stand costume is perfect for you. Don't worry. It's not as naughty as it sounds.

For this costume, you'll need to find a large cardboard box. Make sure it's sturdy and large enough for you to fit comfortably inside. Cut out the entire bottom of the box, and cut a hole in the top of the box just large enough for you to fit through. Next, draw dresser drawers on the front. Now that you've converted the box into a night stand, use a hot-glue gun to add some accessories: a pack of cigarettes and an ashtray, maybe a plastic bottle that resembles a wine bottle, or even a pair of handcuffs.

After you finish accessorizing, it's time to try your costume on. Step through the hole in the top of the box, and lift the box up until it reaches your rib cage. Make sure you can walk comfortably inside the box; you may have to trim the bottom. Next, hold the box in place using suspenders (if you don't own a pair of suspenders, you can find them at most thrift stores for about 50 cents). Before heading out on Halloween, throw a lampshade on your head, and the costume is complete.

Think you're smooth with the ladies? Dress up as a chick magnet. First, glue two tinfoil sheets to a T-shirt -- one on the back and one on the front. For the second and final step, glue several Marshmallow Peeps to the tinfoil. After the glue dries, put on the T-shirt, and that's all it takes to transform into a chick magnet.

Sometimes the most unique costume ideas are inspired by our everyday surroundings. The weather, for example, can provide a couple great ideas. If you're hoping to wreak a little havoc on Halloween, you could dress up as a tornado. For this costume, you need to wear dark colored clothing -- preferably, brown or black. Next, dig out your stash of childhood toys. As you root through the toy box, look for toy versions of things that could be swept up by a tornado. Dollhouses, toy cars and animal figurines will work. Cut various lengths of string, and tie a piece of string around each of the toys. Next, tie the other end of the string around a safety pin. Lastly, use the safety pins to attach the stringed toys to your clothing.

When you make your grand entrance as a tornado, your friends will probably have no clue what you're supposed to be. That's OK because the mystery is what makes this costume fun. Let your friends rack their brains as they try to guess your costume. After a few minutes, relieve them of the suspense. Spin around as fast as you can, and as the toys fly up into the air, tell them you're a tornado.

Another fun weather-related option is the windy day costume. For this, select an outfit that you don't mind getting a little messy. Next, search for items that you'd typically see rolling around a city street on a windy day: crumpled pieces of paper, leaves, paper bags and candy wrappers. Attach the items to your outfit using a hot-glue gun or safety pins. Next, thread a wire hanger through a scarf and wrap it around your neck so that the end of the scarf points upward, as if it's being blown in that direction by the wind. You can also carry around an umbrella that has been turned inside out. Complete the windy day costume with some hairspray. Style your hair so that it sticks up in the same direction as the scarf.

All these costumes can easily be put together the night before your Halloween festivities, but what if your costume has to be literally last-minute? Say you've turned off all the lights and let the dog out to ward off trick-or-treaters, and you're all set to spend Halloween at home in front of your television. All of a sudden, your phone rings. It's your friend inviting you to a Halloween party, and costumes are mandatory. You want to go, but you don't have anything to wear. Stores are closed, and there's no time to cut, tie, pin or glue. The answer? Look no further than your closet.

All you need is a tennis shoe, and you can be the ultimate annoyance: gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe. For this costume, make sure you select a shoe with long laces. Simply place the shoe on top of your head, pull the laces down and tie them under your chin. As for your clothes, wear all pink for the classic bubble gum look. This costume isn't the most interesting, but it's a creative option for someone in a hurry.

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