Making magic: Creating your own Halloween costume

In my grocery store I have started to see bags of chocolate kisses wrapped in orange, brown, and gold foil. That means only one thing: Halloween is right around the corner. Must be time to find a costume for my four-year-old daughter.

So I start paying attention to all those catalogs that come in the mail. They have lots of really cute costumes ... look, a ladybug. How sweet! How much is that one? $34.98!!! Okay, lets try to find something simpler. How about a cowgirl? That's simple. Just a vest, a bandanna, and a hat. Oh, it has a skirt, too. How nice. $39.98! And so it went. I realize that if I buy from a catalog like this, or go to the stories, I'll pay a fortune for a "licensed character," or I'll pay $15 and get a piece of nylon that won't last through the night.

I suppose if I were some sort of domestic goddess, I'd pull out my 100-function sewing machine and whip up Winnie the Pooh in an afternoon. Well -- it's been a while since anyone called me any kind of goddess.

So what do you do? Actually, if you are the least bit creative, you can do a lot. And your kids will have a one-of-a-kind costume that will really stand out.

The simple sweat suit solution

The answer to all your costume woes is a simple sweat suit. Pick a gray one for a mouse, then pin on a rope tail and add pink gloves for the paws. Use a black one for a cat, get a 1/4 yard of white fake fur at the fabric store and cover the tummy, add white gloves and shoes, a rope tail. Orange makes for a good tiger -- use fabric paints for black stripes. Trim a tan sweat suit with fake fur for a luscious lion. A red sweat suit with big black felt dots makes an admirable ladybug.

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