Wednesday, September 19, 2007

When The Kids’ Halloween Costume Cost More Than My First Car, Something Is Seriously Wrong


When I was a kid (what seems like 80 years ago…) there were two ways to get a Halloween costume:

1. Made it the day of Halloween with “stuff” laying around the house, like boxes, old clothes; maybe modify new ones, and then had a simple idea like “a lamp” or “a ghost with a baseball bat.”

2. Went down to the local grocery market and bought one of those “fancy” $3.99 flammable lead costumes that came in a cereal-type box with a view window of a creepy flimsy plastic mask and a plastic jumpsuit (that went over your clothes) with a picture of GI Joe or a Care Bear jumping out of an airplane with a rocket launcher.

Actually there was the 3rd option: not dressing up at all.

A friend at work went out and bought her 5-year old daughter a Cinderella costume during lunch -- Total cost $128.

“What? Is she going to the Prom!?!?” I asked

The costumes these days don’t come with everything. The dress was around $50-60, but then there are the shoes, wand (she didn’t have one in the movie – I checked), gloves, purse (she didn’t have that either, maybe she left it in the coach) and tiara. She didn’t get the wig, because in her opinion “that was going too far.”
Isn't that kind of like eating an entire chocolate cake and then ordering a diet coke? I think ‘too far’ was spending $50 on a dress to get candy for 2 hours.

With my own daughter, I'm hoping on training her to think creatively (and economically) about her costumes rather than going out and buying one. So here are my kid costumes ideas with an emphasis on “cheap”-

Kids Costumes Ideas: Cheap and Simple
1. A giant box. Maybe address it to “My Real Mom and Dad”
2. Roll in the mud and go as a Pig
3. If they have long hair: Roll in the mud and go as “The Predator”
4. Global Warming Melting Glacier. Wear all white and pee in pants. Maybe borrow a toy penguin and put a sad face on it.
5. Wrap in tin foil and go as leftovers

Any more suggestions?

My wife has just informed me that my daughter wants a Sleeping Beauty ("BEEPing Booty" she calls her) dress. I think my wallet just screamed in pain...!
Things were so much easier when we just bought her a pumpkin costume on clearance. I wonder if she'll go for my suggestion of being Cinderella's pumpkin instead...?

48 comments:

Whit said...

Your buddy could have saved money if he had thought to buy just one shoe.


This makes the $25 costume at The Disney Store look pretty good.

JayMonster said...

As much as I hate to admit it, I have been a sucker for this as well, although not going quite as far as your friend.

But $50 or so has been the norm for the past couple of years. Fortunately she gets LOTS of use out of her costumes, as playdates around here (and even other times just for the heck of it) become dress-up parties, with her (and at times friends or her cousin) wearing those dresses until they can't squeeze into them any longer.

And I have to admit as well, she looks adorable in them. They make great photo ops so if I am going to be honest about it, I doubt it will change anytime soon.

Bananas said...

I'm loving Whit's suggestion to only buy ONE shoe. It is afterall, Cinderella. I think a great costume would be to hang salami around your neck, drape lunchmeat over your head, rub some cheese in various places and call yourself a refridgerator.

Jackie said...

Love your ideas! I always love the home made costumes the best. Just wish I was more creative and crafty :-p
My daughter found a $40 cat costume in a catalog that she loves. Daddy made it quite clear that she will not be getting that. I think we'll head out to the thrift store and see what they have to offer!

InterstellarLass said...

I was actually able to reuse a couple of costumes from one year to the next. But I have given my kids a budget of around $20 each. For the whole costume. They've either found something within that range, or they've reused a previous year's costume that may still fit. Fortunately Zed is getting to that age where not dressing up at all is the preferred option.

mama speak said...

On the note of the Princess/Disney stuff your co-worker could've done much better then that. You can get princess dresses for like $10-15 at Botique Target (Tar-jay). And I don't mind paying for those because they're "dress up" clothes too (and get played with every. single. day. I left my oldest wear you Cinderella & Sleeping Beauty (she called her "Shlepping Booty" at the time; I kid not) when we went to Disneyland last year & the pix are priceless. Seriously.

Trust me, when you see your baby beaming while twirling for your approval in HER Shlepping Booty costume your heart will melt just a little too. (Although I have to admit I never understood why Aurora never was wearing her PJs)

The City Gal said...

Hi, first of all, I just discovered you and I like your blog.

I have family in LA and they don't do nothing cheap! So, bad choice of hometown, my friend!

Now, about the costume, I know we have big department stores in Canada that sell Cinderella-type costume (complete with shoes and wand) for 20 bucks.

Go to Target, Marshalls or places like that.

And for god's sake, do not dress your daughter as a box!

creative-type dad said...

The City Gal -- Only $20 Canadian money? That's a deal! In American money I think that's like, $6!

mama speak -- Yeah, I know I'll eventually break down and get something cheaper.
And I'm totally laughing at the name - my daughter calls her "BEEPing Booty"

Jackie -- that's a lot for a cat. Especially one that's not a princess or superhero. What was that company thinking??

Bananas -- Somehow I'm picturing your kid to be chased by wild dogs on Halloween with that costume...

Whit -- $25? I couldn't find that one... are you going to some secret one? Or maybe they're switching prices on me...

Denguy said...

Last year my son went as Elvis--complete with a home-made, fake-sequined jumpsuit. (There's a seamstress in the family.)

Morrisquads said...

I went as angst one year. I didn't get much candy.

I just found your blog. I love it!

The City Gal said...

well :) just today our dollars became equal!

Who knew? huh?

dennis said...

girl.imp wants to be a vampire slayer (I am still a little concerned about sending her running around the neighborhood with a sharpened, wooden stake) or a Princess (fortunately we have a dress already, otherwise I would be out sharpening that stake now)

boy.imp wants to be a ghost of a mummy, sounds complicated but feels cheap!

Jenifer said...

My favorite was a sweatshirt pinned with single serve cereal boxes with steak knives driven through them, I went as a "cereal killer"

Or the time I wore a negligee and photo copied freuds face and made a mask and went as a "Freudian Slip"

Heh.

Chicka said...

For $50 I'd rather just go buy my kids a few bags of candy. At least then they're not stuck with ones they don't like.

BritneyMarie said...

That's crazy to spend that much on a kids costume. I can see doing it for an adult...as long as you plan on wearing the same costume every year afterwards..but for kids. No way!

dredman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dredman said...

I just saw a pretty cool online costume contest with a lot of interesting homemade ideas.

the link is http://www.brickfish.com/music/starcostumes

Jenster said...

That's totally insane. I posted pictures of my kids in their Halloween costumes when they were small last November. You can look at it for some ideas: http://jenstersmusings.blogspot.com/2006/11/halloween-gone-by.html

Those were the good old days...

Pageant Mom said...

On ebay $128 is CHEAP!!! Have you seen the custom Tinkerbells, Piratesses, cinderellas, witches (themed no less), fairies, etc. Some of which go up to $300 plus???

Insanity.

The most I ever paid (and I'm an insane stage mom so I have a good excuse) was $100 for a custom nurses costume for a contest. It was TDF adorable and looked incredibly real LOL (my all time personal favorite.)

This year my 13 year old is going as a vending machine this year. No lie. We're going to string chips etc across a painted box (we figure since he can't boogie very well he will be a hit at the middle school dance somehow!)

Oh I DO miss the plastic mask that smelled weird and the trashbag with a picture on it costumes! I DO! I DO!!

jeneflower said...

How is this one from my son this year, "For Halloween I think I want to dress up like you and Dad from the '70s. Do you have anything to wear from then? Also, I will listen to the BeeGees and stuff on my ipod. Do you have any of those long gold chains?"

Dad Stuff said...

The 'Duct Tape Mummy' and his side-kick 'Paper Towel Bride' aren't too expensive.

Diana said...

oh my god tony my sides hurt from laughing. my daughter is eating right now and keeps giving me the 'what the hell, mom?' face because i'm basically giving her shaken-baby effects as i laugh....i think little man will be leftovers this year!

creative-type dad said...

Diana -- YOu have to post a picture...!

Dad Stuff -- duct tape...ouch!

jeneflower -- That's hilarious! You know, if you have gold chains, then chest hair is absolutely essential.

Pageant Mom -- $300!!! Yikes! Seems like you need a Target.

Jenster -- those are great pictures. I like the idea of taking pictures at the door. I'll have to try that this year.

Jenifer -- cereal killer - that's great!

carrie said...

We have been so lucky, the majority of our Halloween costumes have been hand-me-downs, but I'd hate to think of the cost if this wasn't the case!

It's gone too far. It has. What happened to a litle creativity?

Doh- creativity - Creative-type Dad. Hee, hee.

Mrs. Chicken said...

I'm lucky - my sister is a seamstress and she makes all of The Poo's costumes, high-end stuff, too. This year she's going to be Angelina Ballerina, a white mouse in tutu.

I couldn't agree with you more!

Whirlwind said...

We usually make the kids costumes but I got lazy this year. The other night, we spent $50 on a witch costumes with hat and long black wig - probably bigger than the child and another $12 on a pirate princess costume. Now just to grab a Dorothy costume and we'll be all set.

If you look at Parents.com or familyfun.com the yhave great homemade costume ideas.

The Real Mother Hen said...

This is funny :)
Just cover you daughter in a black garbage bag from top to toe (with two tiny holes for the eyes to see). This way she will be proud to be the most creepy one :)

beta mom said...

This year I'm killing two birds with one stone. I'm taping all the random crap my kids leave around the house to their bodies (the odd sock, the sippy cups, the broken toys, etc) and sending them out as "Lost and Found".

Clean house, cheap costume...and lots of candy for mommy. (I guess that's three dead birds.)

Jeremy said...

Wow, thanks for linking to the photo of my brother and myself wearing that awesome He-Man / Mickey Mouse costume.

creative-type dad said...

beta mom -- That's a great idea!

The Real Mother Hen -- I wonder if I can make her eye's glow too for the full effect?

Mrs. Chicken -- Can she be my sister too?

SusieJ said...

I know EXACTLY what you mean. It's such a sham -- and back then we were lucky to have the rags we had to make a really cool costume. I hate going into those costume stores -- and they're just ugly costumes. Oh, the pressure we're under.

Above Average Joe said...

Cinderella's pumpkin? Doesn't that mean she can't go out until midnight?

L.A. Daddy said...

Whenever the wife says that I need to look at some new Halloween costume because it is soooo cuuuuute! then I know to run in the opposite direction... because it will cost waaaay tooooo muuuuuch.

It's just a fact of life.

crazymumma said...

I dunno. I think you could work aroud the 'beeping booty' idea very nicely.

Ruth Dynamite said...

There's always the old toilet-paper wrapped mummy. (Awww, wouldn't she look cute?)

Sorry, Tony. You won't win this one. Bite the bullet and buy the princess dress. She'll use it in dress up play. (And you can borrow it, too!)

kittenpie said...

Hey, you could cut a window in the pumpkin, stick a doll head out for Cinderella, and sew a couple of white mice on the front! Yeah!

I also like the no-sew tutu for about $5 plus a cheap tiara and a pink T-shirt. Or overalls and a hardat. Things you already have.

Kate said...

Thomas the train rules this household. And if the trains themselves don't make me bankrupt then the Halloween costumes will. But alas, this creative mom made her own train! Yes I am insane! Out of a cardboard box, wrapped in blue construction paper, my husband drew Thomas' face, then we attached suspenders for it to go over my son's shoulders. All topped off with an engineers outfit of overalls, a red bandana and striped cap. Yeah, he was a hit that year.

Thank God this year he said he wanted to be a ghost. Hello? White sheet!

Rebecca said...

I wanna be a Beeping Booty, too!!!

creative-type dad said...

Kate -- Wow! I'm impressed. You need to post a picture of that handywork.

-kittenpie -- That would make a really good pumpkin idea. If I wasn't making colonel sanders again, I would totally do your suggestion.

Ruth Dynamite -- yeah, I know...it's a battle I'm bound to lose. But I can say one thing, she'll be wearing this dress at her real prom!!

-Above Average Joe -- no! she needs to bring me some candy. Isn't that the best part about having a kid? They do all the legwork for you...

aimee / greeblemonkey said...

We're making Lightening McQueen because I refuse to spend the money and all the prefab ones are fugly. I sound so old wishing for the good old days of handmade costumes. But so it goes.

wayabetty said...

You could paint her face blue and she can go as a Smurf, which I did when T was young-er.

I'm there with you about buying/making the cheap costumes. We always wait until 2 days before Haloween to buy the costumes, they might be 2 sizes big but that'll give them breathing room. ;-)

Jackie said...

Kohl's has a Sleeping Beauty costume for $17.49 with only .99 shipping.

K8 the Gr8 said...

Those Disney costumes are getting really tired, you see them EVERYWHERE now. They'll be the standard school uniform soon.

This year, I be mostly stapling photographs to my 3 year old with a Hilti gun and calling her a photo album.

Maureen said...

And remember, whatever you buy, they will only wear it once; even if they can still fit in it the following year....which is highly unlikely anyway. And heaven-forbid if a sibling should be asked to wear it....

Left Coast Sister said...

I too pine for the days of scrounging up some household junk and becoming some thing creative, instead of going to the store and buying a poorly made costume to look like the latest Pixar character. good luck with the home-made ideas now, though! Our time has past, I'm afraid!
Love yer blog, BTW.

Kerrie said...

"Global Warming Melting Glacier. Wear all white and pee in pants."

Now that's some funny stuff!

Shaping Youth said...

Hey, Tony...Happy Halloween. Just linked to your post at Shaping Youth, and thought I'd toss in a few good cheap 'pun' costumes for the last minute entries...

Understand your princess dilemma...thankfully, I dodged that bullet, and now have a preteen, who has opted out of the trashy tartlet scene to use my OLD costume from a Rolling Stones Halloween concert, safety-pinned and tucked here & there, to accompany my counterpart who was hilariously costumed as a 6’3, “devil with a blue dress on.”

I’ve noticed a lot of humor and puns taking over in for fanciful last minute costumes from teens on the fence about whether they’re ‘too old to trick or treat’…

Here are just a few from the Family Fun magazine to promo for your readers for next round:

Rolls of Smarties tart candy taped to jeans? (‘smarty pants’)…A capital P drawn around kids’ eyes (‘black-eyed peas’) a giant cardboard coin taped to sweats (‘quarterback’)…a fake arm extension and a sheriff’s badge? (‘the long arm of the law’)

I also linked to all kinds of DIY costumes and sweats on the fly/good-to-go ideas...

Hope this helps...love your blog. You rock. We need more dads like you! Keep up the great work...

Anonymous said...

This is a great site!!! My wife is nuts over costumes and parties for our 2 year old. She threw a party for 15 children and made all of them wands, headbands, etc - it was crazy, expensive, and we were lucky to be speaking after it.

In my time of refuse I found a site www.itsapartyletswearhats.com that gave her a bunch of free ideas and time savers - as well as cheap (and expensive) costumes. It made her happy because we were tired of spending a ton of cash on junk from the stores.