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When I was a child my mother hand made every single one of our Halloween costumes – and there were four of us. The costumes were intricate and gorgeous. I still have a few saved for my daughter – I’m holding out hope that maybe she’ll actually want to wear one someday.
I remember painstakingly long trips to So-Fro Fabrics – choosing patterns, fabrics and embellishments. I’m not really sure when my mom did all the work. But every Halloween we looked amazing. And so did our Cabbage Patch Kids. Did I mention that she always made a matching costume for our favorite dolls.
Anyway, my kids have much lower expectations. I did not inherit my mom’s artistic and crafty genes. Or her patience. I’m the kind of mom who says “Pick a costume from Amazon or Target”. But, deep down I feel guilty and wish my kids weren’t so “off the rack” in cheap costumes. The compromise I have come up with is my “semi-homemade Halloween”.
What is a semi-homemade Halloween?
Semi Homemade Halloween uses store bought costumes and then adds just a little bit extra to make the costume special. Think of it like jazzing up box brownies or cake mix. I like to start with a basic costume and embellish it to make it a little more unique.
Improve a Store Bought Costume
For example, this year my daughter chose a pink mermaid costume from Amazon. She loves it and I think it is adorable – except for the plain elastic straps. Even though they will probably be covered by a coat on Halloween night I thought it would be easy to jazz them up. I bought fuschia sequin ribbon from my local craft store and simply used my glue gun to attach it to the straps. This particular ribbon works well because it is elastic and will stretch with the underlying plain elastic straps. I love how this turned out and a cute costume became a little cuter!
Make a Homemade Accessory
My boys want to be Pokemon this year for Halloween – the obsession is real, people. They sit at the dinner table discussing which Pokemon they want to be and the elaborate dragon heads and other assorted craziness involved. I had to disappoint them and remind them that they need to choose a Pokemon that Amazon and Target have deemed worthy of a costume. It was slim pickings and I do feel bad that they aren’t their “favorite” Pokemon. So, I decided to surprise them with homemade Poke-ball trick-or-treat buckets.
Poke Ball Trick or Treat Buckets
This project was way more time consuming than the mermaid straps but still very easy. And totally worth it by the looks on their faces. My inspiration for this project came from Lisa at Wine and Glue. You can find her fantastic and detailed instructions to make Poke Ball buckets here.
I took a trip to Walmart and bought three cheap pumpkins, some spray paint, clear coat and black and white contact paper. Then the fun began!
First, I enlisted my husbands help. He is much better at spray painting than I am. And for such an important project you should always call an expert! Plus once he starts helping with one of these little projects he gets kind of into it. And I love having something that we can do together. We started by taping a line of masking tape around the middle of the pumpkin – being careful to press the tape deeply into all the little lines and crevices.
Then we covered the top half of the pumpkin with a bag taped around it to prevent any drips. We took the pumpkins to the garage and spray painted the bottom halves white. It took 3 coats of a glossy white spray paint (with primer) – each coat about an hour apart.
We let the pumpkins dry until the next day when we reversed the process and painted the tops red. My husband had the smart idea to cover the handles with tape as well to keep them black.
A day later we removed the tape. Our Poke Balls were red on top, white on the bottom with a strip of orange through the middle. To minimize chipping we sprayed the pumpkins with clear coat and let them cure for a couple more days.
That was it for paint. The rest of the Poke Ball was constructed using contact paper. We simply cut long strips for the band around the middle of the pokeball and black and white circles. This really was a simple project – just time consuming since we applied multiple coats of paint over several days.
My boys were slightly disappointed with their costumes this year because they wanted to be some crazy mega GX Pokemon characters. But they were limited to what I could find on Amazon. We had to settle for Charizard and Psyduck. Their Poke Ball treat buckets definitely made up for their initial disappointment.
These Pokeball trick or treat buckets were a big hit at the town Halloween parade today – everyone kept asking where I bought them. And they were super impressed when I told them they were homemade. They did chip a bit but they only have to make it through one more round of trick-or treat on Halloween Night!