How to Make Costumes From Brown Paper Bags

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Paper bags can be used to create many different kinds of quick, eco-friendly and inexpensive costumes. A paper bag can be made to look like nearly anything you desire. This can be a roundly waddling penguin for little child who loves reading about the South Pole or a richly colored monster costume to scare the neighbors and local dogs. Grown-ups can use paper bags to make costumes not out of place in any Halloween parade.

Things You'll Need

  • Construction paper
  • Electrical tape
  • Feather
  • Markers
  • Paper bags
  • Scissors
  • Yarn
  • Decide on the design. Simpler is better. Sketch out the design on a piece of paper. Carefully remove any attached paper bag handles with scissors before you begin.

  • Cut out two holes in the front of the paper bag. They should be large enough to let the person see. Then cut out a hole large enough for someone's arms to pull through. Paint the bag. Purple, green and black make great monster colors. Add monster hair with yarn or bits of shredded plastic draped over the sides. Paint on a great big scary monster face. Make large eyes and a scary monster face in a contrasting color. You can also make facial features with cardboard and then glue them to paper bag. Glue large ears to the sides of the costume. Wear a one-color black long sleeved outfit when using the costume. The black will make your features fade into the background.

  • Pull the paper bag over the head of person who will be using the costume to begin making the penguin costume. Draw circles in pencil to note where the person's head and legs come out. Take off the bag and cut out holes. Tape over the sides of the holes with electrical tape so that the bag won't rip.

  • Draw a large "U" on the front of the paper bag. This will serve as the penguin's white front. Color the rest of the paper bag black to make the base of the penguin costume. You can also attach black construction paper with glue or staples instead. Make sure the sides and top are also colored. Paint or color the U-shaped area on the front in white. Attach two small red triangles in front to make the penguin's bowtie. Dress in black when wearing the paper bag costume.

  • Color or paint five paper bags the same color to make a flapper dress costume. White or black is good. Add fringe to each layer by taking a long thin strip of paper and making many equal sized cuts in it. Glue the paper to each paper bag layer. Measure your head. Cut out a piece of paper so that it fits snugly around your head. Glue a feather so that it stands up to the strip of paper. Wrap the feather and piece of paper around your head for an authentic period headdress.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use plain paper bags. These are much easier to work with.

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