My kids’ Halloween costumes from years past

I try not to have to sew Halloween costumes. I already have so many things on my to-sew list that the possibility of putting time and effort into something that might only get worn once or twice puts me off costume sewing, though there have been a handful of exceptions. It’s not that I don’t understand the appeal of making Halloween costumes, and sometimes I really enjoy it, it’s just that I usually try to get away with as little effort as possible. This year, as I attempt once again to cajole my children into wearing last year’s costume, a hand-me-down costume, or come up with a relatively easy idea, I thought I’d take a walk down memory lane and show you photos from Halloween in past years, starting with last year, 2015:


Elliot was a mad scientist, Clementine was Elsa, and Hugo was a cow. Elliot’s costume was SO easy; we ordered the kid-sized lab coat and goggles online and bought kitchen gloves and hair gel from the pharmacy. Yes, that is his real hair.


Clementine’s Elsa dress was nearly a year old; I had made it for her for Christmas 2013 (blogged here), and I think we’ve gotten more mileage out of that costume than any other costume I’ve made. The cow costume you will see again, keep reading…


Halloween 2014: Lobster, Tinkerbell, and Green Video Game Character I can’t remember the name of. Zoltan? Does that sound right? I didn’t manage to get all of them in costume in one photo at the same time that year.


The two things that were handmade in 2014 were Elliot’s head-gear and Clementine’s tights, both from the same bright green knit fabric. So that was convenient.

Halloween 2013: Harry Potter and Princess.

Halloween 2013

I was pregnant with Hugo in 2013 so I remember putting even less than the usual amount of effort into Halloween. I think that was the year Elliot wanted to be an Ent, so I purchased a ridiculous amount of brown and green felt only to give up and let my mother in law pull Elliot’s costume together at the last minute. The princess dress was ordered online. That costume has held up really well, by the way, if you’re looking for quality princess-wear.

Halloween 2012: Rainbow Cloud and Sonic (blogged here)
rainbow cloud and sonic

That rainbow represents many hours of loving toil, and then she almost didn’t wear it. I’d rather not talk about it. Much love to my dear friend Karen who came through with the handmade (and decade-old) Sonic costume for E. He loved it.

Halloween 2011: Spiderman and Cow (Clementine’s cow costume blogged here, and here.)
Halloween 2011

Halloween 2010: Spiderman and Cow (That’s right, two years in a row, same costumes. *High fives the sky*)
Halloween 2010

Halloween 2009: Fish costume and Fireman. And me as lobster. That is an odd theme (Firefighting Under the Sea?).

The fireman costume was convenient because it was his raincoat that year. So had only to cajole him into putting on the hat and his yellow rainboots (not pictured). This was Clementine’s first Halloween. Don’t worry, you’ll see the Fish Costume again.

Halloween 2008: Toad (and Mario and Luigi)


I made Mario and Luigi outfits for myself and Mr Rae, and a little mushroom hat and white pants so Elliot could be Toad for a Halloween party. This was before Elliot could comprehend Trick-or-Treating. No Clementine this year. That may perhaps explain the lack of alcohol in our hands.


Halloween Toad 2008

Halloween 2007: Fish.

Elliot is a fish

2007 Halloween

Halloween 2007

And just for kicks, here’s Hugo wearing the fish costume, too. Sadly, he didn’t fit into at Halloween, so we mailed it to his cousin Penelopeanut instead.

not Halloween 2014

Did you enjoy that walk down (Halloween) Memory Lane? I certainly did. So tell me, what do you have planned for Halloween costumes this year? I always like getting good costume ideas. Do you like to make costumes for Halloween or do you prefer to buy them instead?

24 thoughts on “My kids’ Halloween costumes from years past

  1. 100% on your side.
    Not working with tricky materials for 1 day wear. That the kid refuses to put on Halloween, because last minute, she rather wants to be batman than Elsa.

    I actually love to go to the thrift store in September to buy thrifted costumes.

  2. My kids’ costumes worked out great this year. The older one (7) asked to be the Grim-Reaper, and I managed to find a cool cloak and scythe at a second-hand store for about $3 each! My younger kid (5) wants to be a zombie, and I was stuck for a while, not having any old clothes I could semi-destroy for his costume. But my mom found a second-hand ninja costume, and now my son is proudly telling everyone he’s dressing up as a zombie-ninja!

  3. I admit I’m the opposite: costumes are my favorite to sew! But then we’re all about the drama over here and most of it has seen plenty of (near daily) dress up action. The one failure? The store bought Darth Vader costume. Let’s see…
    2006: store bought cat (he was 2 weeks old)
    2007: Lion
    2008: dinosaur
    2009: Old Fashioned golfer (#2 was a week old…)
    2010: Batman and a bat
    2011: Knight and a dinosaur
    2012: Darth Vader & Little red riding hood
    2013: Ninja turtle & Tinkerbell
    2014: Minecraft Steve & Amelia Earhart
    2015: Glinda and Han Solo
    2016: Harry & Hermione (I’m making capes)

  4. I don’t miss figuring out costumes but I do miss going door to door with my kids when they were little. Such a nice way to reconnect with neighbors. My kids are all grown up so no more costumes but many years ago I sewed a pink cotton long sleeved dress for my daughter to be a princess costume when she was 3. I made an overlaying skirt of pink netting and then embellished the bodice with assorted buttons of her choosing. It then got worn as a dress up dress for a long time after that. So worth the effort. I enjoyed sewing it because it was more complicated than any garment I had made and since it was just a costume I was less worried about it being perfect. She still remembers it and she is 26. I just used a regular pattern not something designed as a costume.

  5. I haaaaaate sewing Halloween costumes. Like you said, all that work for something that might get worn once. I don’t get enough time to sew things I like, plus with the holidays coming up there are other things on my want-to-make list.

    This year my 10yo wants to be Spock, so I’m going to make him a blue flashback tee with the modified collar to look like the costume in the movie, order him a wig and comm pin and call it good. He can always wear it as a PJ shirt once Halloween is over with. My 8yo wants to be the Statue of Liberty so we’ll be draping a big piece of green fabric over her shoulders and buying the head piece. The green fabric we found is cheap flannel from Joann, so at least it can become PJ pants later if I deem it worth the effort!

    This will be so much better than last year when I had to hand stitch a bunch of dragon spikes on a sweatshirt and make a Minecraft creeper costume out of bright green fleece, cube legs and everything. Fleece is awful.

  6. Both kids are going as crazy cat people. One will wear an existing pair of cat print pajamas with rollers for her hair and Halloween spray-on dye and the other has a bathrobe and a shopping cart that both came form consignment shops. Plus a boat load of plush cats to pin onto their clothes and load up in the cart.

    I would like to make one of those bioluminescent jelly fish that I have seen on Pinterest. Looks great and sounds fairly straight forward. I’ll let that one in mind for next year…

  7. I like sewing/making my daughter’s costume- if it’s simple. Last year (age 2) I made her an owl costume. A circle cloak out of a brown herringbone woven, lined with flannel shirting, two large wings sewn onto the cloak with a sort of stitched feather pattern, and the hood had eyes and a beak. Kept her warm in the cool Washington weather and she just wore regular clothes underneath. We got use out of it at church events, preschool dress up day, and Halloween itself. And then it became a favorite dress up costume! This year she wants to be a peacock so I’ve hunted down some peacock feather fabric and going the simple cape route, round 2. Hoping we will get just as much wear out of this one! If things get too complex though, I have no problem phoning in her costume needs to Amazon or Target. 🙂

  8. Yeah, I have to admit I love making Halloween costumes and we go all out. I look at it as a chance to play with fabrics and techniques I haven’t worked with before. If it’s a total fail, then oh, well, Halloween costumes are not usually well-made and are expected to look “home-made”. I’ve discovered things that I continue to use afterwards and make my sewing better than ever.

  9. Many years ago when money was very tight, our oldest son went as a Dalmatian. I bought a white polo at Goodwill and made him a pair of white sweatpants then used the black shoe polish dauber to make the spots! Worked and looked great! For our youngest son years later I sewed an elaborate( I swear 54 pattern pieces) costume of Buzz Lightyear complete with skullcap and removable backpack. All out of felt. Took forever but boy did he look stinking cute in that!!

    • That’s a great idea!!! And wow, color me impressed about that Buzz Lightyear costume. Way to go above and beyond (no pun intended har har)!!!

  10. I don’t mind a little costume… I have one kid going as a Viking and that’s fun! Actually pretty simple tunic, faux fur cape, etc. Oh and he covered an old construction had with the brim cut off with duct tape for his helmet! 🙂

  11. I detest sewing Halloween costumes, and of course, the irony is that everyone who knows I sew assumes I must loooove making their costumes. No way! A kid’s costume is usually the best $30-40 I spend each year. That being said, due to a combo of poor planning and changing minds this year, I am deep in the sewing of Halloween costumes. My kids have a Halloween event tomorrow night, and yikes, this mama thought it was planned for next weekend. One thing I hate more than sewing costumes, is paying for express shipping — so I’m at the machine dutifully making Halloween dreams come true. My daughter’s fox costume is done, and I’m 75% of the way on my son’s Ash Ketchum costume. I definitely don’t invest the same level of finickyness on costumes as other sewing — my motto is along the lines of “it doesn’t need to be perfect, just recognizable.” 🙂 As much as I’m not a fan of this kind of sewing, the “return” on these creations (in the form of their pure joy and constant wearing of them) vs. the many everyday clothes I make them, probably makes them the best use of my sewing time — I’d be bummed about that if it weren’t for excitement. Ah, the things we do for our kids…

  12. I’ve had a pretty good time with Hallowe’en costumes so far with my daughter:
    1st – tiger costume borrowed from a fried.
    2nd – white mage (from Final Fantasy) robe
    3rd – ditto (still fits!)
    4th – planning to make a play cape (she picked purple) for something fun that will go over her winter coat easily and provide plenty of play later. Her dad brought her back a light-up flower crown from Cirque du Soleil from a recent work trip that will complete the look (and keep her visible).

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