The Procrastinator’s Guide to Halloween Costumes

I think most moms have pretty modest aspirations when it comes to Halloween. We just want our kids to sport the most adorable and/or creative costumes ever conceived without spending a lot of time or money. No big deal. And while I can’t exactly promise that level of perfection, I do have some fun ideas for kids – and adults –that can be put together on a modest budget with very little skill. (I’m using my own skill level as the litmus test, and I can’t sew at all, like, not even a hem.) Oh, and let me preface this by saying that for kid costumes, I’ll focus on babies and preschoolers since we all know most “big kids” have their own, very specific, costume ideas.

Charlie Brown CostumeBaby Boys. Baby costumes are a challenge in Florida because our climate doesn’t conform to what you might call traditional Halloween weather. Hence, the proliferation of sweaty babies in fleecy lion costumes found at just about any Halloween event in these parts. That’s why I love Charlie Brown for a baby boy. It’s cute, easy to put together, and allows your baby to wear Florida-appropriate shorts and a t-shirt. You may be able to find a Charlie Brown tee or onesie in a baby size, but even if you can’t, all you need is a plain white onesie, some yellow dye, and a thick black Sharpie or fabric pen. Dye the onesie, let dry, draw zigzag stripe with a pen. Then add some plain black or brown shorts, brown shoes, and dorky socks. This was Owen’s first Halloween costume and thanks to my mother-in-law, we also had a miniature stuffed Snoopy to go with it. (I attached it to a band that he wore that around his wrist.) So easy, and everyone knew exactly what he was. If your little one has too much hair to pull off a Charlie Brown look, try Linus – just don’t forget his trusty blue blanket. Or if your child has curly hair and a darker complexion, go with Franklin. What’s great about the Peanuts characters is they all wear very simple clothes that can be easily copied.

Baby Girls. If your baby girl does a lot of kicking and fist pumping, you can’t go wrong with an 80s aerobic instructor. This is another one that works great for Florida weather and can totally be adjusted on the fly. If it’s a warm day, a leotard alone will suffice. For a chillier occasion, just add tights in a fun, contrasting color underneath. When it comes to the leotard, the tackier, the better, and remember, a one-piece bathing suit or bedazzled onesie would work just as well. Create baby leg warmers by cutting the feet off of kid-sized tube socks. If you’re feeling ambitious, dye them a neon color. Ugly white sneakers would be a great touch, as would a baby-sized sweatband and wristbands, available here and here. And if she’s got hair, no shame in a little teasing action to complete the look.

Tom Cruise-Risky Business CostumeLittle Boys. In our house, we stumbled across an incredibly easy and super adorable costume idea completely by accident when we had Owen try on a new Oxford shirt prior to an upcoming event. As he slid across the wood floor in nothing but a button-down, diaper, and white socks, he was like a miniature, blonde version of Tom Cruise in Risky Business. To pull it off, all you need is an oversized oxford shirt (pink, if you’re going for 100% accuracy) with the top few buttons undone, a pair of tighty whiteys (just throw them over the diaper if necessary), and some white scrunch socks. Hand him a candlestick (preferably non-breakable) as his “microphone” and let him ham it up. Show him the scene on youtube to get him pumped up.

Rosie the Riveter Costume Little Girls. If you ask me, it’s never too early to embrace a little girl power. How cute is a miniature Rosie the Riveter, “We can do it” costume? Start with a chambray shirt, sleeves rolled up. (Bonus: chambray is so stylish right now and this will look adorable with a million other non-Halloween outfits…Chambray shirt tucked into hot pink tulle skirt anyone? With polka dot rain boots? Or topped with a faux fur vest? Okay…sorry for that little detour into Crew Cutsville.) You’ll also need some baggy fitting jeans. Grab some from a consignment store or borrow from a bigger kid, and roll them up. Add red socks or tights under the jeans, a rugged pair of lace-up boots (again, plenty of options for re-wearing here), tie a red polka dot bandana around her head as pictured, and if you can find a vintage metal lunch box, even better. Maybe she can collect her candy in it. Check out my friend Jenny’s adorable daughter Stella rocking this look a few years ago.

Dads. It doesn’t get easier than the door-to-door Mormon missionary look. Pair a short-sleeved button-down shirt with a tie, khakis and a bike helmet. Of course, don’t forget your “Book of Mormon.” If possible, two-wheeled trick ‘r treating or party-hopping is obviously the way to go.

Rosie the Riveter Costume Moms. It may seem like I’m cheating here, but seriously Rosie the Riveter is a great costume. (See pic of my friend Jenny Schroter looking somehow bad ass and adorable at the same time in this costume.) If you have a little girl, matching costumes are super adorable, and matching 80s aerobics instructors would be great too. If all else fails, grab a leotard, throw some glitter in your hair, brush blue shadow on your lids, scowl a lot, and just like that, you’re a Russian gymnast. Boom, done.

Happy Halloween everyone!

What are some of your favorite Halloween costumes past and present?

Beach addict, magazine lover, beer geek, political junkie, runner, design snob, tree hugger, amateur travel agent, and rabid HGTV devotee. A native of Delaware, Erin’s advertising career took her from New York City to Detroit to Charlotte before bringing her to the Jacksonville area in 2006 where she promptly met her husband Shawn. They married in 2009 and their wild and wonderful son Owen was born in 2010. Since then, Erin has continued her advertising career as a self-employed writer and consultant working on a part time basis. Some days, she longs to be a full-time stay-at-home mom; on really hard mom days, she daydreams about being a full-time professional. But most days, she feels fortunate to have a balance of both. Although she’s spent her career in advertising primarily as writer, working with so many talented artists, designers and photographers has led to her keen interest in all things aesthetically pleasing – including great style, which will be her main focus as a Jacksonville Moms Blog contributor.



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