Tricks for budget-friendly Halloween costumes

Halloween can be tricky (pun intended) for parents on a budget. When my daughter first told me she wanted to be Jessie the cowgirl of “Toy Story” fame for Halloween, I began bargain hunting for a costume online. Unfortunately, there were no bargains to be had. The cheapest I could find a costume from a reputable seller was around $30.

I’d bought Eve’s first two Halloween costumes — a lion and a monkey – for about $8 each from Once Upon a Child, a gently used children’s clothing store in south Fargo. Last year I splurged. She wanted to be Elmo, and I couldn’t find a second-hand costume anywhere. I broke down and paid $17 for the red, furry cover-up at Target, pairing it with red sweatpants and a red turtleneck already in her closet. I admit, it was worth it.

But this year, rather than break out my checkbook, I decided to break out my craft supplies.

Eve already had a pair of Jessie cowgirl boots, a 3rd birthday present from her cousin. And a friend had found a red cowboy hat at a dollar store. She has jeans, so all we really needed was Jessie’s trademark Western shirt, brown belt and cowhide chaps.

I found a used white blouse in her size for $2.50 and spent about $2 on red puff paint and foam brushes. Using those and yellow acrylic paint already in my craft basket, I painted the shirt, copying pictures of Jessie from books and Eve’s Jessie doll.

I tapped my mom’s sewing skills for the chaps. It took a little looking, but I bought a half-yard of the holstein-print fabric for around $2.75. Mom had the elastic and fringe among her supplies and after I traced a rough pattern, she whipped them up in a matter of minutes. (If I wouldn’t have had access to Mom’s mad sewing skills, I would have simply cut out the chaps, forgone a seam, and safety-pinned them to the jeans.)

Mom also sewed a plastic ring to the back of the hand-painted shirt, mimicking Jessie’s pullstring.

I used my own needle, some scrap white yarn, ribbon and hot glue to adorn the dollar-store hat. I cut down an old belt that must have shurnk in the closet (funny how that happens), and YEE-haw, we have a Jessie.

As far as Little Owen, I thought he could maybe be Bullseye, Jessie’s trusty steed. But while searching for a 0-3 month horse costume, I found the cutest Carter’s brand penguin costume for $3 at the Dakota Boys Ranch. I couldn’t resist. Besides, we can just say he’s “Wheezy,” the singing penguin also featured in “Toy Story 2.”

By using things I had around the house, getting a little crafty and thrifting, I got two kid costumes for around $10. I’d say that’s a pretty good treat for my wallet.

2 thoughts on “Tricks for budget-friendly Halloween costumes

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