Frugal Costumes!

Halloween is coming, are you ready? If your family is like our family, there are times throughout the year when you need a costume. Prior to being mommy and Mrs. Bear, full time, I owned a costuming company, specializing in medieval and renaissance costumes, but I made all kinds of stuff, including a few wedding dresses (never again!), costumes for exotic dancers (helped me learn how to sew velcro in really well!), and pieces for local theatres.

Here are some tips on putting together inexpensive (and awesome) costumes:

1- Plan each costume.  Start with a sketch.  You don’t have to be Bob Mackie, it can be as simple as a stick figure wearing the costume you want or a collage of photos from magazines or the internet.

2- Make a list of everything you need, including accessories (shoes, hats, jewelry), and makeup.

3-Check your closets before you shop.  You might be surprised at what you alredy have and how it can be re-purposed.

4-Ask friends if they have anything you can borrow.  We were able to borrow a lab coat for one of Hubs Comic Con costumes last year and that saved us about $20!

5-Start at your local thrift stores.  Most thrift stores have a great selection of clothing, shoes, accessories, and even fabric!

6- If you find piece(s) that fit, but require minor alterations (hemming, shortening sleeves) and you have the skills, consider buying the piece(s).

7-Give yourself time to plan, sew, and shop. It may take a few trips to various shops to find what you need.

8-Set a budget and stick to it. If you are making an expensive costume, make sure that you will wear it multiple times.  You want to get your moneys worth!

9-Know your limits. If you can’t sew, don’t plan an ambitious costume without assistance!

10-Check estate sales, yard sales, garage sales and Craigslist.

11-If you are planing children’s costumes, check with your mommy friends to see if someone has a costume you can borrow. One of my local mommy groups does a costume swap each August. It’s a great way to score new to you costumes without breaking the bank!

12- If you are going to be sewing your costume, pre-wash the fabric, and follow the pattern directions!

Here is Mr. C. in his Dr. Jonas Venture Sr. Costume (thanks to the Frame Guy for the Pic):

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 9.13.13 PM

If you are looking for some books about easy costuming (and no sew costumes) here are a few titles that are in our collection: