Planning for Halloween

I heard a nice story a few days back about a doctor turned entrepreneur in the North East of Brazil. This region is known for coconuts, great beaches, relaxed/lazy people and a lot of poverty. The doctor bought a small handicraft company with a social focus. The people who made the handicraft did so at home and got a decent salary for a day of work. They were making R$50, – a day, which is R$1000, – a month (500 USD). Minimum wage is R$ 400,- , which is by any standard a shitty salary. So, the money that the women at this company were making was not so bad, but no luxury either. If they would be the only breadwinners in their households they would need to turn around every cent to get kids to school and food on the table. It’s not a salary that sustains a “western” lifestyle.

The doctor looked at the business model and was able to gain more from his clients, cut logistical costs and found a way to start paying his employees DOUBLE.

Want to know what happened?

Most employees started working part-time. People didn’t want to earn more so desperately, they had all the money they needed and decided to kick back and enjoy the beach, family and friends more. Yes, the North-East is a poor part of the country in terms of income, and there are definitely people who want and need more money to live decently, but I sure feel like I can learn something from these people.

I think spirituality is very important for me and have thought so for years. Slowly I’m doing more things to elevate my consciousness, have love and understanding for me and my surroundings. But I keep pushing myself every day to perform, to get more (more money AND consciousness), to be “better” and so I offer myself and the world little chance to just be. I rarely just sit back and enjoy all that is, that has been created and is there to enjoy. This celebration of life, be it in quietness or at a BBQ with the ones you love, is worth so much. It’s in fact the thing that I am after.

Since discontinuing the work I was doing for SimplePayday I have to remember to take care of myself, breathe and take it all in. After working my socks off for the same company for over 5-years I deserve it!

But we are programmed to perform, whatever our goal; now isn’t ever good enough. The truth is our minds have no idea that the now is, it can’t lead us there as it’s beyond its reach. We have to forget all rationalization, ideas, goals and plans and just jump into the sea!

I buy my son’s Halloween costume each year (one of those costs of raising children that I choose to pay). In fact, we just found a £20 costume for him on eBay. However, I know it’s possible to create your own costumes on the cheap. In fact, my mom still has the costume box that contains all sorts of elements that can be used for creating great Halloween costumes. When you have a large family, like we did growing up, it can help to have a box that has all you need for putting together costumes.

You might be surprised at the way you can put together creative and fun Halloween costumes.

The All-Purpose Black Hooded Cloak

You can purchase (or make if you’re crafty) a black hooded cloak. I love this basic Halloween costume ingredient because it’s so versatile. You can use this cloak year after year, and it can be a major part of Halloween costumes that include:

  • Classic, non-sparkly vampire
  • Dementor (from Harry Potter)
  • Grim Reaper (I’ve done this several times)
  • Harry Potter wizard characters
  • Darth Maul (my mom did an awesome job with inexpensive makeup on my brother’s face one year).
  • Scary ghost-thing from Scream
  • Witch

The great thing about the hooded cloak is that it can be used for costumes that require a hidden face, your you can leave the hood down for costumers that require your face to be visible. It’s fairly inexpensive, and you can do all sorts of things with a cloak.

Other Inexpensive Costume Ideas

You can also create inexpensive costumes by looking around at your old clothes, and other old items around the house. An old white sheet can be torn into strips to create a mummy. Or, you can use the sheet to help you go as a ghost, a la Charlie Brown.

Use a white button-down shirt and old black or dark grey slacks or jeans to help create a Harry Potter costume. Use your black cloak as the robes and get an old tie to help. You can get an old red tie and use fabric paint to add gold stripes (or use an old gold/yellow tie and apply red fabric paint). You can make your own wand, or you can buy one

Visit the thrift store to look for inexpensive props, clothes and other items that can be used in your frugal Halloween costume. If your child plans to be a zombie princess (or even a “pretty” princess), or a dead prom queen, you can usually find inexpensive formals at the local thrift store, or you can use one of your old dresses. Cheap tiaras are easy to find — or even make on your own if you have a headband and some fake jewels to stick on.

Before you spend money on a ready-made costume, you might consider making your own. If you have some time, imagination, and creativity, it’s really not too hard to assemble a good costume that is fun. Kids love dressing up, and if you get them involved in putting together a costume, they will love it even more.

Don’t forget the toddlers

Manufacturers cater to parents who want to indulge their children (and themselves) with toddler costumes that run £40 to £60, typically, but there is no reason to spend that much money. Instead, create your own adorable costume, and you won’t have to worry about your child getting it dirty or playing in it too roughly. Here are some ideas:

Grapes

Supplies: Purple or green balloons, purple or green leggings and top (or sweatsuit depending on the weather), safety pins, green hat.

Directions: Simply blow up several balloons and safety pin the ends all over the costume. Make sure to avoid the bottom area so your child can sit down comfortably. Also, this idea works best for kids over four so they aren’t tempted to put any balloons in their mouth. Have the child wear a knit hat for the stem of the grape. (Think the Fruit of the Loom grape man for this costume.)

Smarty Pants

Supplies: Smarties candies, hot glue gun

Directions: Simply hot glue Smarties candies all over your toddlers pants, leaving the seat empty so the child can sit. I love this simple costume that is easy and clever. To really show off the Smarties, you may want to choose dark, solid color pants.

Wrapped Present

Supplies: A box big enough for your child to fit in, wrapping paper, ribbon, and tape

Directions: Cut out the bottom of the box for your child’s legs and make a hole large enough for his head and one on each side for his arms. Wrap the box. Have the child wear the box and wear solid clothes underneath. Put a ribbon or a bow in his hair to finish the look.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Supplies: Red sweatsuit, red baseball cap, black pom pom balls, white or yellow yarn or two mop heads, colander, hot glue gun

Directions: Glue the yarn or mop head to the baseball cap so that the cap is mostly hidden by the hanging “noodles.” Put the colander on top; if necessary, Velcro it to the mop head or yarn. Glue a few pieces of yarn or a few strands of the remaining mop head at random all over the top and pants. Glue one pom pom ball to each section of “spaghetti”.

Mummy

Supplies: White top and pants, rolls of gauze or old white sheets ripped in strips, masking tape

Directions: Once child is in the white clothes, loosely wrap gauze around his chest, arms and legs. Let some pieces hang loose so the costume has a disheveled look to it. For easy exit of the costume, wrap in several smaller strips rather than one big pieces that takes a while to unwrap.  Use masking tape to secure the strips and to give the mummy an old look. Make sure to wrap gauze around the top of the child’s head and secure with masking tape.

One more idea—toddlers often have matching rain coats and boots which can easily double as Halloween costumes. Twice my son went as a fireman, once at 2 and again at 6, because he had an adorable fireman jacket and matching boots. All we had to add was a fireman hat, and he received that for free when he visited the fire station.