Get Creative With Halloween Costumes

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Instead of digging through the flimsy contraptions called costumes at the stores, encourage your children to put on their thinking caps and come up with a costume idea that is their very own. Adults can get in on the act too.

Let your alter ego shine through. Pay a visit to area thrift stores for inspiration, become your favorite character from a book, television show or movie.

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Will and Lisa Dunman, teachers for Payson Public Schools, know the fun of making costumes for upcoming Halloween festivities. Last year they dressed as "Thing 1" and "Thing 2."

The following ideas will help get you started. All are cheap, easy, and imaginative.

Costumes from the closet or second-hand store:

The old stand-by ghost: Grab an old white sheet, and cut out the eyes. Be sure it's short enough not to trip on. Take scrap pieces of sheet, and sew a simple treat bag.

Or how about a ghost going out for a night on the town? Get dressed up a little. Use the same old white sheet, cut out holes for the eyes, and a small slit for the mouth. Then get fancy. Put eye shadow and lashes around the eyes, lipstick for the mouth. Apply a little color on the cheeks. How about earrings and a necklace? You could also color in a beard or mustache. Use something besides just a white sheet to be a little more creative.

Clown: Wear street clothes that are too large. Decorate by using fabric paint or markers. For those who dare -- try tie-die. Tack on some large pom-poms, add a cheap wig, hat, and makeup. You could also stuff the extra space in clothing with tissue. This could be messy, however, if you need to make a "pit-stop."

Scarecrow: Over-sized flannel shirt, faded blue jeans with patches, and a rope for a belt. Tie at the cuffs of jeans and sleeves, stuff the shirt and jeans with plastic or paper, and hang a little bit of straw out of the jeans and shirt. Top it off with makeup.

The American Tourist: Use a guy's loud Hawaiian shirt, shorts (if weather permits), and large straw hat. Or try a gal's bright, tacky dress, flat shoes, big sun hat, and straw bag. Don't forget to hang a camera around your neck, and carry unfolded maps. For an added touch, look lost. To store treats, guys can use vinyl tourist bags, the kind you get from travel agents, and gals can tote straw bags.

This could be your chance to be a real nerd: Slick your hair back; grab some high-water pants; a short-sleeved, button-up dress shirt with a front pocket; white socks; penny loafers or lace-up oxfords; a pocket protector with lots of pens; dark-rimmed glasses -- don't forget to tape the corner, or at least paper clip it; and a briefcase or backpack for treat bag.

Chinese Doll: Paint the face white, add red rosy cheeks shaped in circles, put hair in bun, wear flip-flops with white socks, and a kimono.

Beauty Queen: Use an old bridesmaid dress or prom formal, add a pair of gloves, a tiara, oversized jewelry, and high heels. For the banner, a piece of wide ribbon, and write: "Miss (your choice)" in glitter.

Static Cling: Wear any solid color outfit. With safety pins, pin other clothing to yourself, such as socks, underwear, dryer sheets, etc. You can also spray your hair straight up.

Mummy: Wrap yourself in white bandages using rolls of gauze. Apply splotches of green paint for mold. Use white makeup on face with "age lines" drawn on. The stiff-legged gait works perfectly.

Crash Test Dummy -- After!There is a commercial costume for this, but a good one can be made with sweats and tape to make the markings resemble the crash test dummies. Use bandages and fake blood to decorate.

Costumes using tights, leotards or sweats:

Skunk: Black with white strip down the back.

Bunny: Pink, brown, or white, add a powder puff or large pom-pom to the backside, a plastic headband, and a set of ears made from construction paper.

Make Your Own Makeup

You will need:

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon water

1/2 teaspoon cold cream

Food coloring

Stir together starch and cold cream until well blended. Add water and stir, then add food coloring.

Wash face and any area to which you will be applying the makeup. Dry

thoroughly. Use fingertips to spread on large areas. Use a small paint brush to paint designs on face. Remove with soap and water. Store in airtight container.

Homemade Bruises

You will need:

Deep-blue powder eye shadow

Charcoal or smoke gray powder eye shadow

Shimmery green powder eye shadow

Makeup brush

Apply a blot of deep-blue eye shadow with a wet makeup brush. Use your fingertips to add blots of gray and blue shadows. Touch up the edges with a shimmery olive green. Smudge the bruise to complete.

Homemade Blood

You will need:

1/2 bottle of light corn syrup

Very hot water

Squirt of liquid soap

Red food coloring

Blue or green food coloring (optional)

Pour light corn syrup into a bowl and add hot water sparingly, stirring until you have the right consistency. Add a squirt of liquid soap to make the blood easy to clean off later. Tint with red food coloring. You may add a drop of blue or green if you want to make the blood a darker color. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Smear on as needed.

Trick or Treating for Charity

This year, get a head start on collecting the gift items needed for the Christmas Box campaign for Operation Christmas Child.

Luann Barker is coordinating the campaign again this year.

"We will be delivering the boxes to Flagstaff on Nov. 22," she said. Contributions can made to the program until Nov. 21.

Suggested gift items -- things that trick-or-treaters can collect from participating homes -- include:

  • New toys
  • School supplies
  • Hygiene items

If you are interested in participating by letting youngsters collect these items from your home on their trick-or-treat visit, put a Christmas bow under your porch light.

For more information, call (928) 474-9761.

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