The Last-Minute Halloween Panic: Homemade or Store-bought?

By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

Panic! Halloween is only four days away, and if you are anything like me, you are still finishing up those costumes. Yesterday afternoon found me frantically bending a coat hanger to make glasses for my little Harry Potter. A friend had invited my son at the last minute to a Halloween party, and so I had to get those glasses done before he got home in 30 minutes. But you know what doesn't bend easily? Coat hangers. There were tears (mine), blood (also mine) and wails of "Why can't you just buy them like everyone else?" (his, not mine). We got the glasses done in the nick of time, but it made me wonder if I should re-think my Halloween costume philosophy.

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When I was a kid we were left alone to come up with our own costumes. We could rifle through whatever my mom had, but there is a reason I went as an onion one year. With a bed sheet stuffed with tissue paper and gathered around my neck and a nylon stocking pulled over my face, I was totally set to either make people cry or rob a bank.

So when my own kids came along, I adopted a similar laissez-faire attitude. When they were too tiny to dress themselves, I crocheted an adorable little frog hat and put them in a green sleeper... all four of them. Yes, it makes for a confusing scrapbook. But once they're old enough to dress themselves, they're on their own. I like to say it encourages creativity, but I should also admit I'm cheap and dropping $40 on a kiddie costume makes me wince. On the other hand, most homemade costumes aren't cheap these days either once you've paid for the supplies. This year we hit the middle ground and went the thrift-store route. Except for the glasses, I think it went pretty well. At the very least, no one's an onion.

But store or storage room-maybe it doesn't really matter. Amy McCready, author of Positive Parenting Solutions, says in an interview with Today that in the end, kids don't care where their costumes come from and that spending time with them is "the most important thing you can do as a mom. So please, don't feel guilty."

Do you make your kids' Halloween costumes or buy them? Are you a last-minute mom or have you had your kids' costumes planned out for months?

Read more of Charlotte on Redbook's The Motherboard blog.

Charlotte Hilton Andersen is a mom of 5 and the author of the book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything and the blog of the same name.

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