Necessity is the mother of invention — and sometimes the best costume ideas are born from excavating your closet 10 minutes before a Halloween party. You can create these quick kid costumes in a matter of minutes, and mostly from things you already have in your home.
Cut a little flair (jagged edges) to a green T-shirt (size up so it works as a dress on little ones) and pair it with some green tights to create a simple poison ivy costume. Wrap an artificial ivy garland around your child's shoulders, pull a few leaves off and secure them with bobby pins in her hair, and finish the look by painting some green leaves on her face and sprinkling with face glitter. Have her carry a bottle of calamine lotion — and she'll have onlookers scratching their skin in no time.
I scraped together everything here from our closets and drawers. Chimney sweepers wear pretty basic clothes. All you need is a red bandana to tie it off, a newsboy cap (we stole ours from little brother's closet), some dirt and grime (with the help of eye makeup) and a broom from the garage.
Anything denim works great to create a car mechanic costume. To pull it together, just add a homemade mechanic name tag, a baseball cap and some grease stains using makeup. To make it even better, have him carry a can of motor oil and include a ride-on car for trick-or-treating.
Little Red Riding Hood
Most kids' closets have a few red things, and whether you use a dress or pair a red shirt and pants together, the thing that pulls this costume together is the cape. You can easily fold this yard of fabric to fit any child and tuck it around her head as a hood (secure with a large safety pin under the chin). No sewing needed. Tie a thin red ribbon at the safety pin to finish it off — and add a cute basket. Watch out for the wolf!
Have a creative little one? She'll love this easy artist costume and will love helping you decorate the apron even more. Most craft stores sell inexpensive aprons for children. Splatter a bit of acrylic paint on it and top off the costume with a wool beret. I easily created the painter's palette by cutting a piece of cardboard into the desired shape and painting some colored circles on it. Add a paintbrush, and there you have it — a masterpiece!
My favorite costume of the bunch, this Fraulein Maria outfit begs for some twirling and heel kicking and a nice round of "I have confidence in sunshine!" Any long skirt will do for this. Just add a cardigan, a wide-brim hat (this one is Mama's and it worked just fine) and a large purse. If you don't have a guitar, ask a guitar-playing friend if you can borrow his case, or any toy guitar will do.
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Diamonds might not be a little girl's best friend, but fake ones sure do look cute with a black dress for this Breakfast at Tiffany's Costume. If your daughter doesn't have a black dress, have no fear. Use a women's tank top, which will look like a chic sleeveless dress on a child. Add costume jewels and wrap some sparkly bling around a little bun for the perfect Audrey look — and then top it off with some big sunglasses and a light blue gift bag. You can skip the cigarette.
The vintage and old-fashioned trends come in handy for this costume. A long skirt, blouse and crochet cardigan quickly become grandma's knitting outfit when you add a pair of reading glasses and a knitting project. The fun part comes, though, when you turn your child's hair gray. Pour a generous amount of baby powder in her hair, massage it through until the hair looks gray, and tidy it all up into a nice granny bun. Then teach her how to pinch cheeks and say, "Sonny, we need to put some meat on those bones!"
Now isn't dressing up fun?