Create trendy costumes for your kids without breaking the bank.
Every year there’s a new batch of movies, TV shows, comic books and other forms of pop culture outlets to stimulate the imagination of our kids’ curious minds. And every year, on Oct. 31, they have the chance to bring characters from these movies, TV shows and comic books to life.
Of course, these character costumes can often come with a slightly elevated price tag. And parents may prefer a more DIY route to save some dollars.
Betsy Alfaro, store manager at Goodwill of Orange County, offers some tips for putting together high-quality pop culture character looks for the kids.
“Start simple,” she said. “Using reference photos of the character as well as other people’s DIY costumes of that character for inspiration is a great place to start. You can begin by first looking for specific colors or patterns found in the character’s costume.”
For example, does your kid love Captain America? You can recreate his look by focusing on the solid red, white and blue colors of his suit.
“From there you can start looking into different styles such as pants, dresses, shorts, etc. to make the outfit fit for you,” said Alfaro. “Finally, accessorize. Adding jewelry, props and/or hats can take what may seem like everyday wear and turn it into a memorable character costume.”
She said magazine cutouts and online photos of the character are a must.
“They are great assets to reference when putting together a DIY costume,” Alfaro said. “You can use reference photos to help in deciding what unique items are necessary to that character’s costume as well as what colors you need to look for in clothing items to match the character’s look and feel.”
Costumes for younger children may require some creativity.
“If items don’t fit your child, you can alter them yourself using clips or belts to help cinch in their costume or by cutting/pinning clothing items that are too long,” she said. “You can also repurpose clothing, such as turning a women’s skirt into a children’s dress or using a men’s suit tie for a belt or hair scarf. The options are endless.”
It’s also helpful to have a few supplies on-hand.
“Sewing kits, scissors and hot glue guns are good tools to have and can assist with altering a costume to fit your child better or embellish their costume to finalize the character,” Alfaro said. “If you would like to get really creative, you can use fabric paints to add patterns onto your child’s costume.”
For example, she said, it may be difficult to find a cow print vest for the “Toy Story” Woody character. Instead, take a white vest and paint it to match.
The process doesn’t have to take hours, but you can turn it into a family project. She recommends putting aside an afternoon or evening for a fun and creative experience.
“It can become a yearly family tradition,” she said. “DIY costumes are fun to create and even more fun when you can do it together. … Involving your kids allows their creativity to shine. It also helps boost confidence by allowing them to create a costume that is uniquely their own.”
Of course, many costumes aren’t complete without some makeup. Certified Makeup Artist Angela Santori recommends Aquacolor.
“Aquacolor face paints are always safe to use on kids,” she said. “Also eyeshadows and lipsticks are safe as well.”
Other brands she suggests are Wolfe for face painting and Ben Nye. She said depending on the palette, makeup can range from $15 to $30, but parents can also check out Ulta Beauty for affordable lipsticks and eyeliners.
“I would stay away from any makeup that is alcohol-based — that is very harsh on their skin,” Santori said. “Do have fun! That is the whole point. And listen to what your child requests.”
She said when it comes to putting makeup on younger kids, be patient.
“Younger children is all about patience and maybe keep it simple, because they tend to have more sensitive skin,” she said. “I would recommend only using a water-based makeup or face paints.”