Read these 33 Costumes & Dress Up Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Kid tips and hundreds of other topics.
Black construction paper
Construction paper the color of poster board
Take colored poster board (your choice) and cut to fit between underarms of child and knees. Should be able to wrap around child with room to wear sweats underneath. Cut oval out of crayon color from construction paper. Glue to center of poster board over tummy. Cut out the letters CRAYOLA from black construction paper and glue to construction paper centered on tummy. Use leftover poster board to construct cone shaped hat. Should use 2" strip at base of hat to form crayon design. Make sure top of hat has flat base. Attach elastic to shoulder area and staple to poster board.
DO NOT make too long as will constrict walking ability. May have to cut out arm indentations for easier fit. Use the same colored clothing underneath to create illusion of all one color. Utilize Halloween reflector to ensure safety of being seen at night.
Make these easy last minute costumes from cardboard boxes.
PLANES, TRAINS, AUTOMOBILES: Remove the top and bottom flaps of a box, then place a box around your child's middle and attach with over-the-shoulder ties. Then, with paint, paper plates, tin cans, some additional cardboard, and imagination, your kid could be the following:
A race car: Paint racing stripes, add cans cups or stickers for front and rear lights. Don't forget the sponsor's names on the side and the personalized license plates (ISCAREU).
Wear worn-in jeans - patch the holes with an old bandana, flannel shirt or overalls with patches, a worn-in hat and gardening gloves. Stick some straw in various places to add to the effect. Use makeup to paint your face yellow and add short lines around your eyes to look like a sewn on patch. Use green make-up to paint an upside down triangle on your nose again adding short lines around it to look like a sewn on patch. Use red for the mouth and (with short lines again). Perhaps adding a small patch of color to your cheek for a repair.
Mesh or lace material for wings
Metal or wire in a "C" shape for wings.
You can use a dress with a flaired skirt for the base. Next, cut your mesh or lace material into the shape of the wire with just a little room to overlap it. Sew the lace or mesh over the wire and you are done.
Preschoolers enjoy playing dressup and many costumes can be made from items around the house. To make a Mail Carriers costume find or make a canvas bag with a short strap so it can be carried on the toddler's shoulder. Be sure to "equip" it with mail. Save old postcards, junk mail, little gift boxes, and a couple of magazines to put in your mail bag. Shoe boxes can be decorated and used for mail boxes, put them around the room or at the doors going down the hallway in your home. Use familiar neighbor, family and friend's names on the boxes so your youngster can deliver the mail to them. Go a step further and decorate an old shirt to be their uniform.
Children enjoy discovering all the flowers that bloom in the summer. The colors are bright and inviting.
To make an inexpensive and colorful blossom mask cut out the center of a paper plate, leaving a hole large enough for the child's face. Help the child cut flower petals from colorful construction or tissue paper. Glue the petals around the rim to make a unique flower. Attach elastic thread to the back of the plate to finish the mask.
All you need is a big white shirt, a beret, black tights or leggings, some paintbrushes and several colors of paint on an artist's tray. Paint different blotches of paint on the white shirt. Cut a circle from the felt a little bigger that your head. Sew a running stitch around the outside of the felt and pull in just a little to make it puff up. It just sits on the head with bobby pins. Put paint brushes in pocket and carry artist's tray with you.
A big box with bottom and top cut out
A clown looking shirt
Take your box, make sure you can fit into it, paint with decorations, as you want. Numbers and Letters look great. You sew, glue, or tape your shirt onto the inside of your box. You could make a hat to match your shirt. You take your aluminum foil and make a crank out of it. Tape the crank onto the side of your box. Make up your face with clown paint. Then bend down in your box and POP!!! Back up.
Cut a vest from a brown paper bag, cut a slit up the front and neck and arm holes. To decorate, either cut out construction paper shape (arrows, sun, designs, etc.) and glue them on.
It's never too late for the Ears/Nose/Tail Solution. Just add a tail and one or two ears (big hunk of Styrofoam cheese optional).
For babies and toddlers who are too small for a full costume, just make your littlest one an adorable bunny, kitty, puppy, or even an elephant. All it takes is ears (construction paper or cardboard attached to a hat or headband) and a nose (a tiny bit of makeup on the nose and cheeks, and the appropriate tail pinned to the back of pajamas or a sweat suit).
Tear some sheets up and wrap them around your body (but never around the neck). Paint your face white instead of wrapping sheet strips for safety. Paint black rings around your eyes for empty eye sockets. Use a white swimming cap or stocking cap over your hair and attach sheet strips to it. If you have some sheet strips dangling from your body, make sure it isn't long enough to trip you.
To make these easy grass skirts, you'll need a roll of green crepe paper, and duct tape.
Cut a piece of duct tape large enough to circle the child's waist plus 4 inches.
Lay it on a flat surface sticky side up.
Now unroll the green crepe paper and lie perpendicular to the tape, lying one end ½ way into the tape.
The length will be determined by the height of the child.
When the tape is full with the crepe paper strips cut another piece of duct tape and lie it sticky side down over the first piece, trapping the crepe paper ends into the "waistband".
Now punch a hole in either end of the duct tape and tie together with a ribbon.
Guys and girls wear grass skirts on the islands! Terrific to dance with.
Preschoolers enjoy playing dress-up and many costumes can be made from items around the house. To make a Sailor costume find a striped shirt and a red bandana, sew the bandana on the collor of the shirt so it can be tied in front as a bow. A pair of blue track pants tops it off! You can turn the brim up on a sun hat so it looks like a Sailor's Hat.
Paint the box bright red with ladders on the sides. Use aluminum pie plates for reflectors. A plastic firefighter's hat is a good addition. Your child will be more than happy to come up with the siren sound!
Brightly colored paints
Leotard & tights
One & half yards of the same colored fabric
Same colored socks
Plain, simple mask
Cut out two sets of the wings from the cardboard. Using a utility knife, cut out designs from the inside of the wings. Paint one side of each wing and fold them in half like a real butterfly. Next, lay the netting between the set and glue in place. Punch four holes through the cardboard to run the ribbon through to give the effect of a backpack.
We now have to make a mask. Separate the petals of the flowers and glue them neatly around the mask from the inside out, carefully making sure that the eyes are not covered. Remove the elastic cord and staple a piece of ribbon (long enough to tie around the head and dangle down) to each side. Double the pipe cleaners and attach to the back of the mask; glue the pompoms to the ends.
Have the child put on the leotard, tights and shoes, covering the shoes with the socks.
Use combinations of reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, purples, and pinks
This could also be used as a fairy with silver and white!
Black pants, white button-down shirt, black shoes, cape (dye a sheet black), plastic teeth, and slick hair back with some gel. Use white make-up for the face and highlight with red blush on the cheeks and red lipstick on the lips. Red lipstick applied carefully with a lip brush down the side of your mouth can look like blood dripping down.
Rectangular cardboard box
Green spray paint
White, black, yellow paint
Styrofoam ball (2-3" diameter)
Green felt (optional)
Velcro points (optional)
Red felt (optional)
The cardboard box should fit over your child's head and shoulders to form a dino head/snout. We did this 2 years in 2 different ways -- one year we just cut out "shoulder rests" for the box to fit on my son's shoulders. The next year the box was longer and too wide, so we just cut armholes in the box. It takes some measuring and adjusting -- putting the box on your child (my kid LOVED this part). So many ways to do it ...basically figure out how to turn a rectangular box into a dino head by cutting away pieces, folding, and taping. Leave a "window" for your child to see out of between the top of the elongated "snout" art of the head and the top of the head (gives the head a 2-level look and avoids the problem of lining up eyes with eyeholes). Spray paint "head" green. Cut Styrofoam ball in half and paint yellow; paint a black pupil in the center of each, and glue on the sides of the head for eyes. Have your child paint red spots on the head.
Cut one leg off the green tights and stuff with poly-fill to form the tail. Close with rubber band and pin to elastic on back of child's sweatpants. If desired, cut paired triangles of felt and glue together, attaching to tail and back of child with Velcro. If desired, cut circles from red felt for spots and attach to child with Velcro.
Can also be used as an crocodile with a few modifications.. For a crocodile, put the eyes sticking up from the top of the head instead of on the sides.
Cat: Black leggings or pants, black shirt, cover stretched-out wire hanger with a black sock or stuff a black sock with material for the tail, black headband with ears made of cardboard and painted black, black mittens or gloves for paws, and black socks and shoes. This idea can be used for any animal by switching colors and the type of ears and tail.
Dog: Add spots with construction paper and tape or washable glue use a barrette to attach long felt ears to the sides of your head.
Pig: Pink or white sweat suit with a pipe cleaner tail.
Cut brown construction paper into strips, fit it around child's head and staple or tape ends together. Cut feathers out of scrap construction paper or use real colored feathers if you have them on hand and glue or staple onto headband.
Past-the-knee dress, wig, handbag, umbrella, nude colored knee-highs that don't stay up and old shoes. Use gray eyeliner to draw light lines from your eyes (crows feet) around your mouth (looks like no teeth). Add vertical lines around the cheek bones for additional wrinkles. Experiment until you reach the desired look. Blend this all lightly so the lines are just shadows in add a layer of white powder, two pink spots of blush and pink lip stick. For a chilly night, add a cardigan sweater buttoned at the top or a long fuzzy overcoat and flowered hat.
Bikini top and bottom, a pair of flimsy pajama bottoms with a hem that you can put a string through to tighten around ankles, matching midriff vest, and to make a hat cut a hole in the middle of a small plastic container for ponytail, cover with fabric and fasten a scarf to each side of the hat so that it hangs loosely in front of your mouth.
This is a great costume for an indoor party, but very cold for trick-or-treating door to door.
Silver or gold pipe cleaners
Your child should wear green slippers and a fluorescent green leotard and tights.
Wrap the headband in foil and attach 2 or more pipe cleaners to the top for the antenna. Have fun painting your face in a variety of psychedelic colors and outer space designs. If you're a girl Martian you can add a sheer fluorescent green ballet skirt. If you can't find a wig, try dyeing your hair with washable hair tints.
If you can't find oversized glasses, try making your own out of cardboard. Cover the cut-out cardboard with foil or decorate with fluorescent markers. Let your imagination go wild and add your own touches to this visitor from another planet.
Cans (green beans, corn, or peas)
Cut holes in box to fit the cans in.
Use wood glue to help keep cans in place (let dry).
Paint box and cans any color (red, yellow, blue, green, etc.)
Fancy dress, jewelry, poster board rolled into cone shape covered with a scarf, and a matching scarf to hang from hat. Use watered down school glue to paint lines down the scarf. Add silver or gold glitter for sparkle. (School glue washes out...but be sure to wash this on it's own as the glitter will cling to other clothes.)
Materials o Roll of brown wrapping paper o Glue o Self-adhesive Velcro fastener o Stapler o Scissors
Cut off two sheets of paper that measure six inches longer than your child's waist size, and lay one sheet on top of the other. Staple them together along the short side (to form the waist) about 1/2 inch from the edge.
For a waistband, use a four-inch-wide paper strip with the same circumference as the skirt waist. Glue the lower half of the waistband to the stapled edge of the skirt front.
Fold over the waistband top, and glue it to the inside of the skirt. For a decorative waistband, twist together two long paper strips and glue them on.
Use scissors to fringe the skirt from the hemline to just below the waistband.
Finally, stick one part of the Velcro fastener to the front of one waistband end and the matching part to the back of the band's opposite end. Wrap the skirt around your child's waist, and fasten.
Black dress or skirt and top, black tights, cape (dye a sheet black), witch's hat, and of course a broom. Use the tips that I provided for the "Old Woman" only make the face green and use a black eye pencil to make darker lines. I piece of oatmeal colored black stuck to the make-up paint on your nose, chin and/or cheek makes a good wart. Pin a stuffed black cat to your shoulder or tie it to your broom and you are ready to fly.
An old thick blanket like a comforter
Large pieces of brown felt and tan felt
Little pieces of red and yellow felt for ketchup and mustard
Some cotton pillow filling
First you cut the comforter so that it fits around your child and ties in the back. Cut a hole in the front for your child's head and arms. Then cut the brown felt in the same shape as the comforter. Sew the felt onto the comforter. Cut the red and yellow felt (in the shape of ketchup and mustard) and glue it on the front of the hot dog. Then get the tan felt and measure it like a jacket. Cut arm holes in the sides. It should look like a bun. Then put your brown pants on, then the hotdog, then the bun and put the face paint on and you are a hot dog!
A Santa Claus costume may only be as far away as your Christmas decorations.
One year I went as a Purple People Eater. I dressed in purple sweats, jelled my hair so it stood up
in a "horn" and drew an "eye" in the middle of my forehead with make-up. I topped it off with a
necklace made of a plastic fork, knife and spoon tied on a shoelace around my neck.
Untucked, solid-color button-down short-sleeved shirt, jeans rolled up to mid-calf, or a poodle skirt, white socks and penny loafers or saddle shoes. Girls wear ponytail and guys slick-back ducktail with gel.