DIY costumes needn't be complex to be great
You've been meaning to get around to it. Honestly. And now here we are breathing down the neck of All Hallows'en and you got nuthin'. Now you're staring dubiously at the dregs of the Halloween costumes at Rite Aid. Sure, you could buy you or your progeny a green wig, a polyester vampire cape and a reduced, but sadly incomplete, set of glue-on scary nails. You could be Dracustein or Frankula. Has anyone done that?
Self-pity is starting to set in. Some parent you are. All the other families will be wearing themed, professional-quality ensembles and you'll be there sulking in the shadows trying to convince yourself that the jaunty bandannas you tied on your children's heads make you look like a family of pirates. Pirates are fun, right? Denial is a river with pirates.
STOP! Just stop. Pull yourself together!
Last minute costumes don't need to be what-Ricky's-couldn't-sell or fodder for some future Sedaris-esque memoir by one of your children. You can make something wonderful (or at least socially acceptable) with as little as a few plastic bags and a snuggie. Here are some of the ideas we came up with:
You’ll need tattered clothes and an old pan for a hat (tape bubble wrap or other soft material into the pan then wear an out-sized soft hat beneath to cushion the pan and make it comfortable to wear. Write the words "SEED" on an old canvas shopping bag and use this for the Halloween goodies.
Choose an appropriately sized recycling bag, cut slits for arms and legs, put the bag on and stuff with bunched up newspapers, plastic bags or other light weight, clean recyclables. Synch the bag loosely around the neckline and secure. Add an artistic newspaper collar if you like. Optional: create a fun hat made out of an old milk jug. Hint: this costume may be recycled.
Bag of Leaves
Follow instructions for the recycling costume above but use an opaque bag and use silk autumnal foliage (on sale at drug stores and the dollar stores now) to create the illusion of leaves spilling out of the top of the bag. Make a hat with the same twisted garlands.
Take an old pair of cloths. Make holes (or use the ones already there) and "paint" the edges with black water-based paint (to make the holes look like decay). Use green makeup for a recently buried complexion (use on hands too). Add grey-green eye shadow all around the eyes and line them with red lip liner (use a new or freshly sharpened pencil for this), to look like a bona fide flesh eater.
Take an old sheet (note: florals don't really work for this, although PSP Founder Susan Fox went trick or treating at 20 with her flowered dorm sheets and it seemed to work just fine). Drape over the intended victim/wearer to trim edges to a manageable length and determine where to cut a hole for the face (If you need to reuse the sheets just safety pin them up). Making a hole for the whole face works better than the classic holes for eyes (or two eyes, less damaged to the sheets you'll need to put back on your bed). It's much easier to see. Paint exposed parts of the face ghostly white. Secure sheet in place with strategically placed safety pins.
Subtle but Scary
Simply wear pale make up, no lipstick and line eye with lip liner. Dress in normal street clothes. Though too understated for trick or treating it's surprisingly creepy and disconcerting close up.
Cult Member - or Local Germophobic Blogger
You will need a Snuggie (not the camo one), a pair of wrap-around sunglasses and rubber gloves. A bottle disinfectant is optional.
The important thing, whatever you choose, is to have fun - even if that means being a pirate.