Dressing up in costumes plays a big part in family life with kids. School plays, Halloween trick or treating, theme parties and just having fun at home are only some of the occasions when parents may need to arrange costumes for their kids.
Homemade costumes are a popular family choice.
These days there are plenty of excellent quality and cleverly designed costumes for children available to buy, both in retail shops and online.
The selection is huge, and includes characters from books, movies, TV and cartoons that will delight their enthusiastic young fans.
With low international manufacturing costs, the price of store bought costumes has also come down to more affordable levels. The time saving of buying a ready-made costume is a further attraction for busy working parents.
Costume hire is another option, including from local theatrical costume suppliers.
However, many families still prefer homemade costumes. There are several very good reasons. Homemade costumes are usually low cost costumes, and a way to save money if you have the time available to make them.
Getting exactly the costume you want is sometimes an important consideration, such as for playing a part in a performance.
Convenience also counts, as a homemade costume can be quick and easy to prepare. Another good reason to make a costume at home is to encourage kids to get involved in being creative, and to develop their sewing, dressmaking, and craft and design skills.
Parents with good dressmaking skills often like to make their homemade costumes from scratch, using bought patterns or their own designs.
With their kids getting involved in the choice, design and making, this becomes a family affair. The results are usually something unique and very special that kids can wear with pride as a costume that they helped to make themselves.
Many families put aside a collection of old clothes and accessories for kids to use to dress up in costume as a regular part of play. This is often a great resource to start with when making a homemade costume.
Instead of having to begin with only a pattern and uncut cloth, using old clothes saves time and gives more flexibility to choose different combinations and mix styles and accessories in a creative way.
Accessories play a large part in a successful homemade costume. Even something as simple as a white lab coat can be used to create the look of a mad scientist, a computer geek, a doctor, a nurse, a chef, a parking warden and more just by adding an appropriate hat or wig and some tools of the trade.
Add an Einstein wig and lots of pens and you have a scientist. Add a stethoscope and examination gloves, and an old x-ray picture to carry, and you have a doctor.
Period clothes and old professional, police and military uniforms collected from family and friends, or from thrift shops, are another excellent starting point for a homemade costume.