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Scavenger Costumes

I was thinking about how (in the good old days) we used to scavenge our Halloween costumes from the attic or from the thrift store.  Sure, my mom would sew costumes here and there, but often we used our ingenuity, safety pins and a hot glue gun.

I’ve always sewn fun costumes for my kids, which is very time consuming.  (It can also lead to swearing when I’m sewing on super slick synthetics… yuck!)   I’ve always done my best to buy the fabric on sale or with a coupon, but even still sewing a costume isn’t always cheap.  It has been worth it though, because I knew we would get lots of play value out our costumes as dress ups.

Now that my kids are getting older and less likely to play dress ups, I love the scavenge idea more and more.

Here’s few scavenger costume ideas we’ve used in the past.

Indiana Jones

My son went to an Indian Jones movie party and even though his costume was the result of a frantic scavenger hunt, he took 1st Place in the “look alike” contest.  He was most excited about winning a $50 gift certificate!

What you’ll need:

  • White or cream button down shirt
  • Khaki pants
  • Boots
  • A brown leather belt
  • A fedora- that might just be the most important element
  • A whip-  Check out this awesome tutorial
  • A satchel
  • A revolver- optional, but NOT for school

Rosie the Riveter

Emma dressed like Rosie for Lily’s last year’s Refection photography entry.  This is an easy costume to scavenger!

What you’ll need:

  • A blue (or white- since we make it do) button down shirt
  • A square of red polka dot fabric for a head scarf
  • Jeans- preferably sailor style
  • Bobby pins for a pin curl
  • For shoes- unless you are being judged by a historian… there are lots of options including Oxfords, Penny loafers or Mary Janes… whatever you have I say.
  • Optional might be a tool belt and a few tools or even a WWII airplane to hold
  • Also optional but fun is a sign “We can do it!”

WWII Paratrooper Soldier

Two of my kids dressed up like 101st Airborne Paratroopers for a 4th of July parade a few years ago.  Again scavenger hunt was in order.  The helmets came from a friend, the camo clothes from my son’s wardrobe… he’s fond of camo.

This year for Halloween my son’s 5th grade class does a wax museum and all the student dress up like a notable American.  My son has chosen war hero Major Richard Winters of the 101st Airborne Easy Company.

Here’s what you and Ben will need:

  • An army jacket- We’ve found his grandfather’s old army jacket from the 1950′s in grandpa’s attic
  • Camo pants- I’ll be picking up some new camo pants that will be part of his regular wardrobe the rest of the year
  • Boots- Not sure what I’ll do with this- maybe make faux- boot covers for his shoes- any good soldier will tell you it’s the boots that make the Airborne Paratrooper!
  • A parachute-  Made from a white, round, disposable, plastic tablecloth.  Punch a few holes around and in from the edges and tie with long strings that come together and attach to the jacket.  Better yet, if you can get a vest to attach the parachute to that’s even better.
  • A WWII Army helmet- Plastic ones are readily available on the cheap
  • We’ll be heading down the Army Navy Supply for some real patches for the jacket

After looking through the Chasing Fireflies Catalog that showed up in our mailbox a few weeks ago- here’s my scavenger challenges for my girl’s Halloween costumes this year:

The girls want SCARY costumes!

OOOh this costume will be fun.  I’m thinking I’ll make great use out of old sheets and cheap lace fabric.  We even have an old tutu from a dance performance that will come in handy here.  Yes, I will need my sewing machine a bit… but not like making a costume from scratch.

Here’s the costume I love best.  I think my daughter would have a great time creating a beak from things we have in our art supply… I’ll just need to pick up some black feathers from the craft store.

We already have a wonderful long black tutu and feather boa, from their dance performances, that will be absolutely perfect.

Making the feathered wrist bands would be SO fun….  They LONG black nails are something else.  My daughter loves them, of course, but she may not love them as much when holding a trick or treat bag.

But the costume my daughter hopes for is a vampire and she likes this costume best.  This one would be a little trickier to scavenge.  Long black tutu maybe… some web style lace would need to be bought.  But we’ll see.

Have you started thinking about Halloween costumes?  Will you make? Buy? Or scavenge?

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6 Responses to “Scavenger Costumes”

  • EG:

    My son wants to be Spiderman for Halloween this year, which goes against everything I believe about Halloween costumes. But, he really wants it. So I’m buying him a super-slippery costume. But his brother is going to be a homemade dinosaur, which, joyously, I made 3 years ago so I have NO Halloween sewing to do this year. Yay!

  • One thing I love about getting older (and there isn’t very many things) is no more costumes! No more with picky indecisive kids costumes. It wasn’t all bad. But I’m so over it. Love your ideas.

  • Sandi:

    My seven year old son wants to be a ghost this year – a vintage white-sheet-with-holes-cut-out-for-eyes ghost. I’m beside myself with relief. :D

  • Jen LC:

    4-year-old started out wanting to be Mister Mistoffelees from Cats and that has morphed into being a cat-witch, which I think we’ll pull off with a thrifted black dress and the addition of some sparkly ears and tail. Hopefully, we can scavenge for both in the craft room…felt always works, right?

    She’s also decided that her 18-month-old sister should be a mouse-witch. We have a grey sweatsuit (that I used to make the older’s mummy costume when she was little *sniff*) that I could probably fashion into a mouse…but what’s a mouse-witch? Magic wand? Sparkly fur? Hmmm…

  • Ione:

    My 8yo son wants to be hong kong phooey, so we will dye the top of a karate uniform red and make some floppy dog ears and black mask to help hide his face. My 5 yo son wants to be an army sniper, so we will dig through all the camo we have and one of their toy tactical guns and we will be set, yeah, pretty easy this year. Oops except for the 3rd one on the way due 10/29 could throw a wrench in things.

  • MissMizchief:

    One tip for kids’ costumes, if I may? Use eyeliner, white make-up and dark lip color to draw fangs on the bottom lip. It turns out looking GREAT (if I do say so myself) Now, if only the would remember not to blot their lips! haha! I did this for my niece when she was 7 or 8. She wanted to be a vampire/sorceress. She got a lot of compliments (while I stood back and admired my work.) This works for boys, too, don’t worry. Happy haunting!!

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