The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Health & Family

October 26, 2012

Sarah Coyne: Quick, cheap costume ideas

JOPLIN, Mo. — What we want for our kids at Halloween is simple: a sweet or silly costume and one responsibly sized handful of candy.

What we sometimes end up with instead is either an elaborate, expensive get-up, or a last-minute hodgepodge of items that we hope will look festive -- not to mention the gallons of candy we are left with at the end of the night.

Even if we cannot hide from the sugar being thrown at our kids this Halloween, we might at least be able to put together a simple costume. If you find yourself scrambling for quick costume ideas that will neither break your holiday budget nor require magnificent creative skill, here are some quick possibilities.

As for managing the sudden influx of sugary treats, you’re on your own.

Balloons: Fill a clear trash bag with white balloons, and cut leg and arm holes in the bag to make a walking cloud. Fasten blue streamers or ribbons at the bottom for a rain cloud.

Inflate a few dozen purple balloons, and tie them all in a row onto a length of string that’s several feet long. Wind the string of balloons around the child for a bunch of grapes. Add a green hat for a stem.

Pin a variety of multi-colored balloons onto a sweat suit. Wrap the child’s balloon-covered torso in plastic wrap or cellophane, with a sign attached declaring him to be jelly beans.

Boxes: Cut arm and neck holes in a large square box; remove open flaps from the bottom. Using paint or construction paper, cover each side with red, yellow, green and blue. With black tape, partition nine square graphs on each colored side of the box. Your child will be the world’s cutest Rubik’s Cube.

Cover a body-sized box in foil or silver paint, as well as a smaller, head-sized box. Attach buttons, levers, screens and knobs. Cut arm and neck holes in the big box, and fit the small box as a head covering for your robot.

Cushions: On two round brown seat cushions, glue or pin black felt circles. Tie cushions over shoulders and around waist to serve up a giant chocolate chip cookie. A white milk jug is the perfect accessory and candy-collecting receptacle.

On the inner sides of two square white cushions, pin layers of pink, green and brown felt. Tie cushions around your deli sandwich child. Or use crumpled brown paper sacks for peanut butter and draped purple fabric for jelly.

Sheets: A white-sheet ghost can still be fun and spooky. Deeply fringe the bottom and add black-rimmed eye holes to reduce the look of an eleventh hour project.

Cut a circle in the middle of a red and white gingham sheet to fit over your child’s head. Attach plastic tableware with yarn or hot glue, add a covered basket, and you have a walking picnic.

Sarah Coyne lives in Joplin. She writes about life and motherhood at her personal blog, http://thisheavenlylife.

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