After 18+ years of creating prize-winning costumes, I felt like sharing some of the best ones.
Who knows, you might get some inspiration.
Feel free to copy and use any of the ideas you see here, and please let me know if I can be of any help. For those readers who know our children, hope you enjoy seeing them in all their costumes over the years, especially when they were little!
Adam's favorite show was Thomas the Tank Engine at that time in his life.. This was a very easy costume to create, as you can see, and the cost was about $10 for the hat and overalls.
The Cat in the Hat
Another easy one, just invested about $6 for the hat and $1 for a big red Christmas bow. He dressed in all black and we made a cat face with eye liner. Everyone knows this popular character so it is a hit for any age and so adorable, especially on little ones.
I loved this costume so much, and made it for about $5! Bought the green shirt and pants in a Goodwill store, cut them jaggedly on the bottom of each, bought some green felt and a red feather and sewed a hat, got a plastic knife and that's it.
Always an easy and fun one, since the character continues to be on our radar year after year. Just put a Hogwarts patch on a black robe, use a stretch elastic clip to hold the robe together, put round black framed glasses on, carry a wand, and draw a red Z on the forehead and you're good to go! Total cost was about $8.
A huge favorite in our family. A bowler hat and bamboo cane is all you'll need to invest in for a few dollars each in Party City or a costume store. You probably have a pair of black pants, white shirt, vest, black tie, and black shoes. Adam borrowed the vest and shoes from his Dad, which made it even cuter! This was a huge success (and prize winning costume) and very original, never saw anyone dressed as Charlie before or since then. The whole thing was only about $10.
Nothing more adorable than little ones dressed up as the King!
This was a big prize winner, but not just because of the costume, Adam really became Elvis for this 'gig'! The only thing we bought in the costume store were the glasses for about $6, which makes the costume...the rest we put together with stuff we had already or bought at the Goodwill, like a white ruffled shirt, white pants, big gold chains for the belt and neck, and I had a red scarf. We owned this mini guitar already, but you could use a blow up one just as well or make one from a piece of cardboard.
Okay, this was one of my bes. Adam wanted to be a Beatle for Halloween that year but we realized that it would be a real challenge to recognize which one he'd be dressed as since they looked so much alike, so we made him Paul and included them all!
I found black and white images of their faces on line, printed them out and glued them to cardboard, and glued each head to a black piece of cardboard which became a 'shelf' on his shoulders, by cutting a hole out for his head...you can see he's wearing a black wig (I had one from years back, and have used it for so many different costumes over the years) and I printed out Paul's bass guitar and glued it to cardboard...and he just wore black pants, black jacket, white shirt and skinny black tie, and black shoes. He wowed everyone and won 1st prize again!
Another 1st prize winning costume, and all I purchased at the costume store was the pipe and hat for less than $10. It was very fun to create this one and I got help and ideas from the internet. The outfit he's wearing is made up of: blue pants with a yellow bandana as a belt, a long sleeved white shirt (with stuffing in the forearms for the muscles) with anchor cutouts that I made with sticky-felt, a black short sleeved T shirt over it with 3 yellow felt buttons sewn on, and a big red collar made from a piece of fabric. The thing hanging around his neck is a real can with string, which we covered with green construction paper and then a strip of white, with SPINACH written on it, with strips of green paper sticking out to look like spinach.
Last year Adam & I made this amazing and award-winning costume for about $12 and had the best time creating it. Black pants, black shoes, long sleeved black shirt, black vest with zippers, covered with lots of silver chains safety pinned to the vest and pants, thick black belt, black wig hair teased and sprayed to have the hairs standing up, white makeup and black eye liner. The hands made the costume - black gloves, with cardboard scissor and knife cutouts sprayed with silver paint and taped to the fingers with silver tape. We also used 2 real butter knives on each hand so he could click and make the clinking sounds. He was an absolute star, and noone had ever seen anything like it!
He really 'became' Edward Scissorhands.
Snow White & Cinderella
My mom made this costume for Annette & Bettina from a pattern, and did an incredible job - they loved being these Disney characters so much, and stayed comfortable by wearing flat slippers on their feet, red ones and white ones.
All you need to create this costume is a grass skirts (you can buy or make it) and a bouquet of plastic flowers which you can take apart, tape to a wire (using green flower tape) for around the head, and make a long Hawaiin lei necklace for around the neck. Very colorful, festive and easy. I believe the cost was about $5 in total.
Once again my dear Mom sewed for my girls and made beautiful mermaid skirts for them - this time I collaborated though and made the tops for them by sewing many shells (found the ones with holes) all over their short tanks tops, plus I glued shells to color matching hair bands,
and painted shells on their cheeks.
On their feet they wore turquoise and pink flip flops.
Thing 1 and Thing 2
Pretty easy to create, just purchase turquoise blue wigs, a red leotard - one or two piece, red gloves, red slippers, and make the Thing 1 and Thing 2 white round signs from felt and sew them on to the costume.
Not expensive, we probable spent about $15 for each.
This was very memorable, because as soon as they were in costume they became mimes and did not speak for hours and hours. Wherever they went, they followed and imitated people and had such a great time in character. Black leotards, white slippers, white gloves, a big white collar, very easy to make, cotton balls sewn on as buttons, white face makeup, and black caps. I crocheted them since I love to crochet, but you can buy them inexpensively. Each costume cost about $15 and they won 1st prize!
This was such a cool costume and another prize winner. We invested in 2 oriental looking short robes, and they wore them over black tanks with loose black pants and flip flops, and we sewed velcro on the side of each robe and stuck them together! The long hair piled on top of their heads with chop sticks created a more oriental look, along with the make up. The cost for each was about $12.
Double your pleasure, double your fun! What could be more perfect for a set of young twin girls with long hair? Was great fun for Annette & Bettina to to be the Doublemint Twins. We found these green sleeveless jackets for about $10 each, and they wore white short sleeved shirts and white tennis type skirts, shirt white socks and sneakers (green keds if I recall) and green bandannas in their hair, plus 2 big packs of gum!. I believe we spent about $20 in total on each costume.
Yin & Yang
This was made on short notice and was very successful and fun. We already had black and white tank dresses, black and white hats, black and white gloves and black and white short sweaters. The black and white felt was cut in the yin and yang shapes and sewed onto the dresses temporarily. We also made necklaces with Yin & Yang charms. The girls loved wearing this outfit and it only cost us about $6.00 in total!
For this look we invested in 2 packages with hats, glasses (which come with the side burns!) harmonicas and black ties for about $10 each, and they wore black pants, jackets, and white shirts. Was another great and fun twin outfit, very original, and surprisingly haven't seen others in this costume.
Dr. Seuss x 2
Just a fun easy costume made from 2 tall Dr. Seuss like hats given to us, perfect for twins. To keep the hats standing up we stuffed them with tissue paper, and put a strechy hairband at the base so they stayed on well. Annette & Bettina wore matching scarves and tops with black pants and slippers. Total investment was about $5.
Michael Jackson and Indiana Jones
To create these 2 characters we just used hats and accessories we already had at home. Very simple for costumes in a pinch!
One of the easiest and most affordable costumes to create, using things we all have in the closet like scarves, and anything with fringes like vests and ponchos. We made 'peace' earrings and necklaces from pipe cleaners, and bought rose and blue colored shades to add some coolness to the costume. Invested only about $4 in total!
I bought the red tube top for $6 and decorated the blue shimmery shorts I had with gold stars for about $2. I made a belt out of gold fabric and a head piece by gluing the gold fabric to cardboard and gluing a red star from felt on it. I wore a gold chain as a belt, and made wrist cuffs from the gold fabric as well. You don't see the whole bottom part (although you can see baby Adam!), but I am wearing black boots covered with red knee socks, instead of investing in a pair of red boots! Total investment was about $10.
I was lucky enough to have had this dress, a gift from a friend years before and never had an opportunity to wear it until then.
I borrowed the cool silver and black head piece from another friend and made arm jewelry from elastic and beads. Lucky medidn't have to invest any money this time for my costume.
Was easy, since I had the black wig, the shear leopard blouse, leopard shoes, and leopard scarf! And I used my handy black eye liner to make the cat face. I also had the black lace gloves and black bikini top and black stretchy pants, once again, a no/low cost costume.
I was lucky enough to have found this beautiful pink silk-looking (polyester!) kimono to be a Geisha that year. I paid about $5 at the Goodwill store. It came without a belt, but was very long so I shortened it and made a belt with the fabric I cut off, and bought a pink fan in the $1 store, wore platform flip flops that I had, put my hair up with chopsticks and stuck a pink plastic flower, and wore pink beaded dangling earrings and viola! About $8 in all.
This was such a fun and easy costume, and believe it or not the entire investment was $3 for the wings and $2 for the thin plastic green tablecloth that I cut up and made the entire costume with. I already had the blond wig. Underneath I'm wearing a lace white skirt and made a wand from a star cookie cutter attached to a stick that I covered with some of the green tablecloth fabric. I also wore green cuffs on my ankles. Such a fun costume which I also won a prize for!
Think Mike Myers, The Spy Who Shagged Me. This was a hug hit, everyone loved it, and was very easy to create for Benny. I sprayed my black wig with light brown hair color, bought the glasses at the $1 store, and the ruffled shirt and blue jacket at a thrift store for about $6 in total, and made the gold pin he wore from gold paper glued on cardboard. Total was about $7.
This costume was super easy and free. Since Benny already had the long hair, long tongue and attitude, most of it was the great make up job (thank you very much!) that I copied from a photo, He wore black stretchy shorts, a leather-like black vest we had, my silver chain belt around his neck and held a blow-up guitar (had one from a party).
This was a last minute costume but worked none-the-less. Just had to create the face makeup, Benny had the rest of the look already!
This costume is pretty low cost and easy to make, as long as you have a few important essentials, like a ruffled shirt, eye patch, vest, hand hook, long knife or sword and red scarf. The only thing I bought was the eye patch at CVS for a few bucks, we had everything else. Having long hair helps!
Country Bumpkins !
Flannel shirts and jeans, pants, skirt or shorts and a big straw hat. You may want to add a bandanna and blacken out a tooth as well. Shouldn't cost more than about $6.
Howard Stern and Marilyn Monroe
We made quite a splash that Halloween. Benny hardly had to work at this costume, just invested in a pair of round glasses in the $1 store, wore jeans, a white T-shirt and a jean shirt open on top. I borrowed the blond wig and white boa from a friend, and purchased a white halter dress for $20 and wore white high heel sandals. Was so much fun to be Marilyn!
Borat and Pamela Anderson
A first prize award winning costume and so much fun to create and be.
I pinned Benny's hair up and painted the mustache with eyeliner. We bought the jacket for about $5 at the Salvation Army, had the pants, shirt and tie, plus the flag and the case he's holding ( holds an accordian, you can use a suitcase.) I'm wearing a red 2 piece bathing suit (with a push up bra underneath to make me look more voluptuous), borrowed a blond wig from my friend Gina, and bought a pair of red sunglasses at the $1 store, plus printed out the 'Babe Watch' patch from the internet. Total for me - $11, for Benny $7!
Inspector Clouseau and the Pink Panther
A very fun couple costume, easy and inexpensive. Bought a trenchcoat for Benny at a thrift store for $12 and the hat at Burlington Coat factory for $10, he wore a white shirt underneath and a nice tie to match, and we had the big magnifying glass already, which was the best accessory. He was so in character, 'inspecting' everyone and everything and speaking with the crazy French accent!
My costume was fun to wear, sexy and very comfortable. I invested about $3 in the pink leotard, $7 for pink fishnet stockings and $4 for the pink lace gloves. I bought a large piece of pink felt-like fabric and made a very long tail by sewing and stuffing it, plus ears which I sewed on to a pink hair-band, and a choker which I attached a shiny diamond-looking broach to. All together about $22 for his, $17 for mine. (And we won $500 at a costume party so we got a great return on our investment!)
Enjoy your Holiday!