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Your Take: Homemade Halloween Costumes Are Awesome, or Cheap?

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There’s been a bit of a row over Target’s advertisement slamming homemade costumes (video after the jump) and it’s no wonder – homemade halloween costumes are awesome. In fact, the homemade Iron Man costume in the advertisement is pretty good relative to some of the things I’ve been able make. Check out the sweet cardboard helmet, light-up chest and flashlight hands… I mean it looks pretty darn good. A lot better than a cheesy plastic thing made in China for $2 (and sold for $25) that doesn’t even light up.

More importantly, why make fun of parents who are trying to do the right thing? Making a costume is a lot more fun and resourceful than buying a piece of junk plastic costume. The fun is in the whole experience, not just running around collecting candy. Also, the costume is unique. A million other kids will be running around with that unimaginative costume, only one kid will be wearing that costume.

What do you think? Are homemade costumes da bomb or just cheap?

{ 31 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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31 Responses to “Your Take: Homemade Halloween Costumes Are Awesome, or Cheap?”

  1. Beth says:

    I have never had a store bought or rented costume. My very talented mother sewed our costumes until we were old enough to make our own.

    Actually, I don’t remember any of my friends or classmates having store bought costumes either. Perhaps the increased availability of cheap goods from overseas has built up the industry?

    • Jim says:

      I never had a store bought costume and I don’t remember my friends doing it either, I think the availability of cheap goods and parents with less time combine to create this industry.

      • That, and the lack of sewing ability. Granted, a costume doesn’t actually have to involve sewing, but that lack of skill does exclude the possibility. There are a LOT of people today that do not know how to sew. My Mom and Grandmother always made all of my Halloween costumes, and I intend to make them for my kid as well. Mostly for the imaginative and resourceful benefits, but yes, homemade ones are usually more economical as well. I just think they are so much more fun than the cheap, plastic pieces of junk.

  2. Shirley says:

    I really enjoy seeing homemade costumes for halloween. We have always made a family affair out of making them and the kids have always been proud of their appearance. Oftentimes we shopped at goodwill or hospice stores for articles we needed and the resulting costumes were definitely unique.

    One year a grandson decided to be a video game console and started with a large cardboard box, plenty of paint, wooden knobs, and some battery operated Christmas lights. He won first prize for originality in our city’s Kids’ Costume Contest and was so proud of himself. Target can’t beat that feeling!

  3. live green says:

    I was listening about this issue on the radio this morning and they brought up some great points. First off, homemade costumes are original and you can almost be assured that nobody is going to have one that is the same. Also, All of the great costumes you see winning costume contests are probably not store bought, but rather were homemade.

  4. billsnider says:

    My favorite costume was a laundry basket. I cut holes in the bottom and stepped in. I then hung laundry from the sides and had detergent bottles and boxes hanging from my shoulders. it was fun making it.

    Bill snider

    • Shirley says:

      Now that is truly a unique idea! :-)
      We’ll toss that suggestion around next year.

    • lostAnnfound says:

      As a go-along with that, my older daughter’s costume a couple years ago was a washing machine! We made it from a large cardboard box, white paper & assorted props.

    • live green says:

      That reminds me of the ghost costume. You get a white sheet and cut two holes for the eyes. Such a classic costume, but almost a crowd favorite.

      • billsnider says:

        Another one I did for my kids was a gumball machine. I put my daughter in a large clear plastic bag. I then blew balloons and put them inside. i wrote gumballs – 5 cents on it with a magic marker. came out really cute.

        I also want to add that most of my homemade costumes were simple and inexpensive to amke and they all have lasting memories. I vote that you should make, not buy.

        Bill Snider

  5. cubiclegeoff says:

    I just don’t like dressing up, but at least people that put effort into it to do something themselves should be appreciated. I put my kid in a shirt with a jack-o-lantern face. That’s the bet I’ll do.

  6. Kim says:

    We are living in a ‘have to have it now world’ and I think it’s great when parents and children can agree that homemade = unique. It’s funny isn’t it how many people seem to want to stand out, but when it comes right down to it, the need to ‘fit in’ trumps creativity. My kids were almost always in handcrafted costumes and I’m hunting for ideas now for our church’s Fall Festival. Have a wonderful Fall season!

  7. Let’s be honest Jim, given a little spare time most of us can do better than a lot of the shop bought costumes. And with our economy in a mess it makes sense to save a little cash!

    On a related note. If anyone is interested, feel free to enter anything homemade for Halloween in this Homemade Halloween Contest There’s a $400 prize fund! And we’ve had some fun entries already.

  8. Homemade costumes are what we hope to see when the doorbell rings in our neighborhood. It shows some thought and effort and creativity went into the event. I remember one year when my son went as a pirate while my daughter as a gypsy/scary-lady – homemade costumes and everyone had fun getting involved. The picture of that Halloween now adorns my mouse pad and I happily relive the moment every time I move the cursor!

  9. Kevin says:

    Homemade costumes are way better. Not to mention cheaper. $50 to be one of many plastic iron mans, no thank you.

  10. Kay says:

    I agree with the above sentiments of “need it. need it now. buy it, quick!” mentalities that have consumed our culture.

    as for not the marketing aspect of people being offended by the target ad… if you want to control all the messaging you see… without ever being offended, there is a simple solution:

    Turn the damn TV off!

  11. Dave says:

    My daugther’s daycare had a halloween party yesterday and she was in a homemade costume. We got more compliments on it than I ever expected – I think busy working mom’s appreciated that my daughter had a homemade costume when their kids had the $25 walmart specials. Like some folks mentioned above – her costume was unique and fun. Oh, BTW, I counted 6 spidermans, 6 ironmans and 2 batmans, all store bought…

  12. freeby50 says:

    Its great if people want to make their own costumes but I have nothing against store bought costumes.

  13. Unfortunately I have to go with cheap. Most, granted not all, of the homemade costumes are an effort not to buy a costume are done with little or no effort.

  14. zapeta says:

    Homemade are the best. They are unique and a good way for kids to pitch in to creating their costume.

  15. Brian says:

    I think homemade is more than acceptable, especially since some creative folks may a lot better costumes than I’ve seen on the store shelves!

  16. Glenn Lasher says:

    Home made costumes are awesome.

    The store-bought costumes for the longest time consisted of a plastic vest of some sort and a thermoformed plastic mask,and, let’s face it, they’re pretty bad.

    On top of that, there has been this sexy costume trend lately. In adult costumes, this isn’t really a problem, but I think that the sexualization of teens and kids is happening at an earlier and earlier age, and, although I am politically liberal, I am left to wonder what good can come of this. Does a “sexy french maid” costume really need to come in a 12-year-old size?

    A home made costume is an opportunity to pour love and creativity into the work. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no reason it has to be cheaper than a store-bought, but it often is because there isn’t property to license in the mix.

    Some of the more memorable ones from my childhood:
    – my best friend and I dressed up one year as a pair of dice
    – another year, a lion and a tiger.
    – the next year, we swapped those two.
    – in my teen years, I went as Robin Hood.
    – One of my friends from down the street dressed up as Boy George (this was the 80′s after all)
    – This same friend dressed up as her father another year . . . someone everyone in the neighbourhood knew.

    …and then there was one I used just a few years ago. My sister threw a Halloween party, and, given that most of the attendees were high-tech geeks, I figured the scariest costume possible was . . . Ted Kaczynski. Shades, hoodie, and carrying a small box with bits of wire coming out of it and a red tube on top.

    Lots more fun than just grabbing something on a shelf and looking cheap.

  17. Joe says:

    I think home-made costumes can be way better than store-bought IF (and that’s a big if) you and your parents have the skill and time to really create something cool instead of just winging it with cardboard and duct tape.

  18. Martha says:

    My absolute favorite costume was a boat, I made it myself when I was 7 out of cardboard. Only problem was that I made the bow but no stern, so when it was all said and done I looked more like a toilet than a boat!! People loved it, but really just because they thought I was a boat. I wish I had pictures of that costume all these years later!

  19. Lynn says:

    Ya Know……….. I can remember every home made costume I wore, Can’t remember any of the store bought ones though.

  20. Vince says:

    Homemade costumes require some imagination and effort. I value my time more than money and enjoy the process of making our costumes.

  21. kalie says:

    I vote for homemade. There was a time when homemaders looked down their real or enhanced noses at storeboughters. (But I don’t have a small child who’s hammered by merchandising ads for all his favorite TV characters, a practice I’d like to see largely stopped.)

  22. ziglet19 says:

    Homemade for sure. I love seeing them, and there are so many that can be made that don’t require a whole lot of time or great sewing skills. I saw a Rubix cube last year at the front door, just a cardboard box and some paint, but it was so cute. That wouldn’t require too much of a time investment, hardly any money, and not too much talent. Still fun though!

  23. MB says:

    Awesome. Making your own is greener, cheaper, and more creative. I will say that my Mom bought us one set of masks that we used until we grew out of them physically. Then we had to create our own costumes. As an adult, in the years that I dress up, I make my own costume. It lets me avoid “sexy,” trash costumes (the only kind made for women now) and it lets me avoid the chemical-smelling stores that sell that garbage.

  24. jsbrendog says:

    screw target. making them at home is a great idea not only to save money but to involve parents in activites with their kids or to teach kids about work and responsibility especiaslly since the motivation culminates in a payoff that benefits them


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