It's become a yearly tradition at KATU for us to help you make Halloween costumes on the cheap. We went to our favorite looks-for-less expert Lisa LeDoux. She's the education program manager at SCRAP in Northeast Portland and gave us these awesome ideas to make professional-looking costumes for less (or for free!).
Retail: $41 (right)
Reuse from home price: $0 (left)
Materials: Bubble wrap, tin foil, silver food packaging wrappers , black or silver spray paint, yarn, mesh produce bag, soda pop tabs, plastic bottle caps, cardboard gift wrap tube.
Tools: Scissors, craft glue, hot glue or duct tape and a sharpie.
Sword: Cut a cardboard wrapping paper tube to the desired length. Then trim one end to a point. Place the opposite end in an empty plastic spool or laundry detergent lid to act as a handle. Secure with hot glue or duct tape. Flatten the tube to transform it into the right shape. Spray paint the entire sword silver. When dry, add medieval designs with a permanent marker.
Chest armor: Cut a piece of cardboard into the shape of a shield or crest. Glue small objects such as bottle caps, Q-tips and yarn to the board in your desired design. When dry cover the board with glue again and wrap with tin foil. Press the foil into any crevices to reveal your design. This will give the look of decorative metal armor. (Optional: Add back paint to the foiled surface with a dry brush to add an aged look.) Add extra pieces of silver food packaging as shoulder shields if desired. Secure the armor with string around the back of the neck.
Chain-mail hood: Cut a rectangle out of a mesh produce bag for a face hole. Spray paint the bag silver. Using yarn or string weave soda pull tabs into the mesh as added decoration. Do a simple border of them across the forehead or, if you’re feeling ambitious, fill in more of the hood.
Boot covers: cut bubble wrap into two rectangular shapes with a half circle flap in the center of one of the long sides. This will wrap around the child’s leg and the flap will cover the top of the shoe. Secure behind the leg with adhesive Velcro or duct tape. Spray paint both covers black.
Retail: $226 (right)
SCRAP price: $8.00 (left)
Materials: A large piece of green felt (approx 2 yds), 2 political-type buttons, plastic leaves or scraps of fabric, yellow packaging envelopes, red and black felt scraps, embroidery hoop (larger than child’s face), head band, Velcro, sheer tan fabric (same size as hoop).
Tools: hot glue and scissors.
Mask: Tightly stretch sheer tan fabric in the embroidery hoop. Cut the mouth and eye shapes out of black felt. Cut a hole within the felt eyes to allow the child to see (they will be able to see through the sheer tan fabric but not the felt). Secure eyes and mouth to the mask with hot glue. Add a bit of red felt for a tongue. On the back side of the mask secure a head band at the top with glue or duct tape. Wear the head band as you normally would on the head and the mask will hang from it.
Stem (body): Cut green felt to a width that will wrap around the child’s body and to a length that will go from the child’s shoulder to their feet. Cut two arm hole slits on each side about two inches from the top. Secure with strips of adhesive Velcro in the back. (Do not secure below the child’s waist as it’s best to leave the felt lose to be able to move in the costume.)
Leaf shoe covers: Use two old political-type pins as the base. Take faux plastic leaves or cut leaf shapes from old plastic bags, cardboard, or paper and glue to the pins. Then attach the pins to the tops of shoes for a temporary transformation that won’t ruin the shoes.
Batgirl and Robin costumes
Retail: $170.00 each (right)
SCRAP Price: $7.00 (left)
Materials: mesh produce bags, fabric ribbon, left over gift wrap ribbon and bows, fabric, and black felt.
Tools: scissors and hot glue or fabric glue
Tutu: start with a piece of fabric ribbon long enough to tie around the waist. Then cut mesh produce bags into strips (trimming off any tags) and tie around the ribbon. Continue until the tutu is full. Add a decorative bow (such as an old holiday or gift wrap bow) to the front if desired.
Hair clip: Remake a plain hair clip you already have by gluing left over gift wrap ribbon and bows to it.
Mask: print a mask template from online or design your own. Trace it onto felt and cut. Add ribbon to each side to secure to face.
Top: Cut a rectangular piece of fabric or felt that is a length and width that will fit around the child. Secure with adhesive Velcro in the back. (Optional: Add a metallic fabric mesh overlay to the fabric for extra sparkle). Glue two pieces of wide ribbon to the inside front of the top about 5 inches apart. These will act as halter straps that tie behind the neck. Next cut your batman or Robin logo out of felt or plastic food packaging and glue to the front of the top. We used an old plastic lid to place the Robin “R” in then attached to the top.