Easy Kids’ Halloween Costumes

Quick and Easy Ideas For Last-Minute Children’s Costumes

Some kids and their parents have their Halloween Costume ideas well planned and mapped in advance. Others don’t decide to go trick-or-treating until the last minute. If you are scrambling around the night before or the day of to find a Halloween costume that is easy and fun, give these options a try:

Each of these costumes can be put together fairly quickly and easily with items you will already have around the house, and some things that you can pick up at the local hardware store.

Statue of Liberty

While this costume idea might sound quaint, it is actually a visually interesting costume that can be put together with a minimum amount of work.

Materials

  • 1 piece of poster board
  • Yellow and Red construction paper or tissue paper
  • 1 old bed sheet
  • 1 can silver spray paint
  • Tape
  • A large book
  • A piece of butcher paper
  • A flashlight

Instructions

  1. Wrap the large book in the white butcher paper. This is Lady Liberty’s tablet.
  2. Cut the tissue paper or construction paper into a strip with jagged edges. Tape the two colors around the top of the flashlight. This is the torch.
  3. Measure your child’s head just above the ears, and cut the poster board into the crown—at least three inches of overlap works well. Leave the bottom edge smooth, cut the top edge into triangles.
  4. Spray paint the crown silver. Let it dry and then staple or tape it together so that it fits your child’s head.
  5. Spray paint the sheet silver and let it dry.
  6. When it is time to get dressed, Drape the sheet over one shoulder, place the crown on the child’s head and hand her the flashlight and tablet. It works well to wear a gray t-shirt and gray sweatpants under the sheet.

Stoplight

This is potentially the easiest Halloween Costume to throw together quickly. For the foundation, you need either black or yellow pants and a top. Then, cut three circles of about palm size of Red, Green and Yellow construction paper. (If you have more time, you can make fabric circles, but you will need to hem the edges because otherwise they will unravel.) Tape or sew the circles to the shirt. The red circle goes on top, the yellow in the middle and the green on the bottom. (How many of you could remember that before I told you?!?)

At this point, you are finished. If you have an enterprising youngster like myself, you might want to take a dowel and attach it to a hat and hang signs from it like “Wait, Delayed Signal” or “No Turn on Red.”

Scarecrow

You can be elaborate or simple when creating a scarecrow. For last-minute costumes, simple is probably better. All you need to make a simple scarecrow costume are a pair of blue jeans, an oversized, old plaid flannel shirt, a straw hat and a stick. It is a nice touch if you have some long grass or straw, too, but it is not necessary. This is one costume that requires no assembly ahead.

Have your child get dressed. Then, if you have some, tuck some straw around the cuffs of the shirt. You can also sew this on so that it does not fall out. Then show the child how to drape their arms over the stick, like a scarecrow. Put the hat on and Voila! A scarecrow. For makeup, you can use lipstick, eye shadow, and eye liner to draw on their faces.

There is no need to panic if your Halloween plans were not made well in advance. These three easy costume ideas will save the Halloween Holiday at the last minute.

Witches Brew on a Broomstick

“Hubble, bubble, a dead man’s stubble, …
A poisoned well became my task,
A fog crowned night in stealth I crept
And in the vacant mouth I poured
A leprous flask of blasted sin.”

William Shakespeare, Macbeth

You will love serving this delightfully cheesy brew instead of the same old Mexican cheese dip. And the crunchy breadsticks for dipping allow your guests to stir at the cauldron and pick up the pieces of flesh and bone in this warm, rich concoction with the distinct flavor of autumn. Serve this in a hallowed out pumpkin for a stunning presentation!

Ingredients to gather for your brew

    • 1 package of chipped beef, chopped
    • 1 can of condensed mushroom soup
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 chopped green pepper
  • 1 chopped large onion
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of ketchup
  • 1/4 pound of shredded cheddar cheese

To make the brew

Sauté the chopped onion and pepper in the melted butter. Add the condensed soup, Worcestershire sauce, chopped chipped beef, and grated cheese. Heat until the cheese is melted and the ingredients are thoroughly combined, stirring constantly.

Pour into a heated dip server, or serve in a hallowed out pumpkin. Serve with crunchy breadsticks or tortilla chips. Yummy!

  

Decorations at a Moment’s Notice (or D.A.M.N.)

 

Halloween  mail  Postcard
Halloween mail Postcard

Some people in this world can make a gorgeous Halloween decoration for any occasion out of a bowl of grits and twist tie. Well, ok, not grits, but you get the point. Me? Nope, I’m not one of them. Notice the title of this section? I have to think about what I want to do and plan well in advance . . . unlessssssss I decide to throw together a last minute gig!

I hope to make a few suggestions about how you can plan decorations and what to grab if you need to throw something together at the last minute. That is where D.A.M.N. comes in! How to come up with decorations at a moment’s notice (D.A.M.N.)

Getting Your Halloween Party Set Up . . . Quickly!

Decide if you are going to use a porch, family room, or a basement and then do two things:

1. Decide how you’re going to make the area dark
Just tape black table cloths over the windows in only a few minutes. I can’t tell you how many Halloween parties I’ve gone to where the hosts keep the lights on! Nay! This is a party filled with make up, mystery, and costumes.

2.Turn off the lights and do some eerie lighting
Take all the lamps you normally have in the room out and put either low wattage or colored bulbs in them. Place them on the floor in each of the corners of the room.

You’d be surprised how just doing those two things will change the atmosphere of your room for little or nothing. And let me tell you, having all your lights pointing up is a great eerie effect and will make great shadows for your party. Oh, and for the guest that keeps saying, “Oh it’s too dark in here.” Send him or her to the store for more chips. DO NOT TURN ON THE LIGHTS!

Now What?

Oh, many other D.A.M.N. decorations exist that you can pull out what you might not even have thought about. For instance, look up. The ceiling is a perfectly blank canvas for your decorating skills because it’s the perfect showcase for a huge decoration. What, you say? Yes, get one of your large and light yard ghouls that’s just a head and arms and with a long gown or cape and get ready to wow your guests.

Get four 3M temporary hooks and some fishing line that will blend in with the color of your ceiling. Put your ghoul in the center of the room where everyone has to walk under it. Securely tie the arms and body to the hooks.

Add a fifth hook over in a hidden corner and run a separate line from the head of the dummy back to that corner. The head should be bent so it looks like it is peering down at your guests. If it looks too saggy, very slightly raise it. Finally, tie the end of the fishing line off on a table leg or some other heavy item so it can’t fall.

Now to play a trick on your guests. Stand in the corner of the room during the party and wait until everyone is used to seeing the ghoul there. When no one is looking, suddenly pull the string, raising it’s head (or hands if you so desire) and giving your guests quite a scare!

A Murder of Crows

Don’t you just love that group name? Well, it works for this occasion because if you need fast, effective and relatively inexpensive decorations, get a bunch of crows. Put white sheets all over your party room and attach those little birds in groups of three to five everywhere. You can’t go wrong with black and white, no matter what you do, and it’s easy to add to your collection at the end of the season. I’ve purchased them at four for a dollar, so every year I add to my birds. Now I can do a whole house in the style of the movie The Birds if I want.

Collections of Webs and Spiders

Another D.A.M.N. fast decoration is cheep webs and tons of plastic spiders! I bet you have loads of them in your Halloween items already or can make a trip down to your local dollar store to stock up on the little buggers and packages of webs. Get white or green webs because it really doesn’t matter about color, especially if you have a nice sized black light to add to the room.

Pull the webs into really thin, long sections and stretch them as far as you can so that they look real. Then put the spiders, hundreds of them, all over your party room, kitchen, and bathroom so that it looks like your house is working alive with the little devils. Add a black light and watch the webs glow like crazy, and your room will look spookily inviting to any guest in a short amount of time

Sophisticated Party Room

Not every Halloween party room has to be scary, because some really like the more sophisticated look like that of a Martha Stewart display. Great! Get enough inexpensive black material to replace your current drapes and add two or three crows to the ends of your curtain rods for a touch of whimsy. Cover lamp shades in scrap booking paper and tape in place for a temporary Halloween lampshade and use Halloween material to make fast runners for your tables. Add baskets of pumpkins, fall corn, and gourds around the room with branches of multi-colored fall leaves. Place your good Halloween collectables on your book shelves and on many of the surfaces around the room.

But be sure to leave room for drinks and hors ‘d vours your guests will need to set down during your soiree. Add any textile decorations where your normal art goes on the walls and lay past and present Halloween issues of your favorite magazines around your room. Go to you local Farmers’ Market and buy some carved apple dolls or walnut-headed dolls that are commonly made around this time of the year. Those dolls will add a homespun air to add to your room.

These styles of decorations just goes to show you that you don’t have to spend much money or look beyond your own stash for great Decorations At a Moment’s Notice. All you ever need to do is to look at what you have or have access to, and you can make your party and party space something special in just a few short hours. Enjoy your party!

One-of-a-Kind Halloween Pumpkins – Exciting Themes to Carve Your Pumpkin

You’ve picked the biggest, roundest, most orange pumpkin in the patch. The table is covered with protective newspaper. Armed with an array of cutting implements, you stand over your victim, prepared to create . . .yet another snaggletoothed face.

Isn’t there another way?

Traditionally decorated pumpkins – usually consisting of two round or triangular eyes, a nose and a mouth with just a few teeth – are a fun and familiar pick. But there’s more than one way to dress a naked pumpkin. Try something brand-new this year for a look that’ll make your house the best Halloween pick in the neighborhood!

For the Birds

You Will Need:

  • One small or medium-size pumpkin
  • Decorative black-feathered birds
  • Decorative pumpkin tendrils
  • Black spray paint
  • Glue gun (with one stick glue) or instant-bond glue
  • Cutting or digging tool
  • Paint or glitter if desired

This idea is eerie, yet deceptively simple. You will need a small- to medium-size pumpkin (pie pumpkins work great!) A pumpkin with a slightly flattish bottom is ideal; the fruit should be able to stand upright without being propped up. Purchase decorative blackbirds, ravens or crows and decorative pumpkin tendrils (curled strips) from your local crafts store or flower shop. Buy a small can of black spray paint from any retail store.

Spray paint the tendrils black; allow to dry. Glue the crows to the outside of the pumpkin, arranging them so that a few are “pecking” at the pumpkin’s skin. Attach the tendrils to the stem of the pumpkin with glue. Decorate the rest of your pumpkin in paint or glitter with a catchy saying if desired.

Slithering Snakes

You Will Need:

  • One medium or large pumpkin
  • Novelty rubber or plastic snakes
  • Carving tool
  • Scooping tool
  • Battery-powered pumpkin light

Turn your pumpkin over and carve a circle into its bottom, slightly smaller than the circumference; remove. (Alternatively, you can cut a top out of your pumpkin; however, cutting the bottom creates a seamless look and prevents the pumpkin top from falling in as it shrinks over time.)

Scoop out seeds and pulp and scrape carefully.

Turn the pumpkin right-side up and carve eyes, nose and a gaping mouth. Try for a frightened or disgusted expression on your pumpkin’s “face”. Place your light source securely in the pumpkin’s bottom. Because any added materials can pose a potential fire hazard, we recommend a battery-powered or electric plug-in light rather than a burnable wick candle.

Place the carved top over the cut bottom, then situate the novelty snakes so that they are slithering out of the eye sockets, nose and mouth. Sit back and enjoy the reactions!

Eerie Black-and-Orange Pumpkin

You Will Need:

  • One pumpkin (any size)
  • Carving tool
  • Scooping tool
  • Black spray paint
  • Halloween stencil, if desired

Spray paint your pumpkin black; allow to dry completely. Carve the pumpkin, using tips shown above (see “Slithering Snakes”). Be careful not to nick the spray-painted skin; if you do, just cut a bit farther outward, or touch-up carefully with more paint or a black magic marker.

Your best look for this ghoulish gourd is a traditionally scary carving; try a frightened black cat, sinister tombstone or a witch flying past a crescent moon. Carve freehand, or use a Halloween stencil. When lit, the black will contrast spookily with the pumpkin’s orange insides.

Black Widow Web

pumpkin-spiders

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Will Need:

  • One pumpkin (any size)
  • Carving tool
  • Scooping tool
  • Black paint or black permanent magic marker
  • Novelty toy spider
  • Crafts glue

Because you won’t be carving or cutting into this pumpkin, it should last quite a while if kept outdoors in cool to cold weather. Draw or paint a spider’s web on the outside of the pumpkin; using the stem as your point of reference, paint lines out, down and back up again at intervals from the stem center. Now paint lines vertically at intervals, connecting the web.

Use your crafts glue to attach the spider to the web. You’ll be sure to startle (and delight!) any trick-or-treaters that come to your door.

Graveyard Surprise Cake

The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out! I dare you to enter this dark, spooky graveyard and dig in the dirt. When you do, you will discover worms and the slimy (but yummy!) layers beneath the dirt.

This gelatin concoction is great for kids’ parties. It is fun and simple for kids to make. The result is a festive, colorful presentation and a combination of flavors and textures that is completely delectable. It looks gross, but isn’t that the point?

Ingredients

  • 1 package orange flavored gelatin
  • 1 small package of whipped topping
  • 1 package of chocolate pudding
  • 1 package of thin chocolate cookies
  • 1 package of rectangle shaped vanilla or shortbread cookies
  • 1 package of gummy worms
  • Tubes of decorator frosting (the kind you write with)- optional
  • 1 glass 13×9 in baking dish

Prepare gelatin according to package instructions (if you are impatient, use the quick set instructions). Pour into the bottom of the glass baking dish. Add some gummy worms and refrigerate until completely congealed.

While waiting for gelatin, crush the chocolate cookies between pieces of wax paper or rind them in the blender or food processor (this will be your dirt). Set aside.

Prepare the pudding according to the package directions and cool in the refrigerator.

Take the rectangle cookies and use the decorator frosting to write graveyard sayings on the top half of the cookie (the short sides being the top and bottom) such as “RIP” and “Here Lies Crazy Joe”. Decorate 12 cookies. Set on cookie sheets to allow the frosting to dry.

Once the gelatin is completely ready, remove from the refrigerator. Add a layer of shipped topping on top of the gelatin neatly scraping the excess of the sides of the pan to create a layer equal in thickness to the gelatin and as even as possible on top. Then add a layer of chocolate pudding the same way.

You should now have 3 layers that look even through the sides of the glass pan. On top of the pudding, sprinkle the crushed cookies to make a layer about 1/4 inch in thickness. Decorate by sticking the gravestones (the cookies you decorated) into the top so that the decorated part sticks out. Starting on the short end of the baking dish, make 4 rows of 3 gravestones, so that when you cut it, each person gets a gravestone on his piece. Sprinkle the top with the remaining gummy worms. If you wish, you may also add other gross candy (like eyeballs) that you find in a novelty or Halloween store.

Serve chilled by cutting into equal squares. Serves 12.

How to Host a Spooktacular Halloween Movie-Themed Party

FrankensteinEveryone loves a scary movie, and Hollywood has brought us plenty of them. From the Wolfman to demonic possession to creatures that creep in the deep or come from outer space, suspenseful, creative Hollywood movies have helped shape what we think of as horror.

Hosting a Halloween movie-themed party celebrates the monsters that keep us on the edge of our seats, year after year. So grab your cape and walk this way to get started on creating what’s sure to be the best party of the season.

Dressed to Kill

One way to get your guests involved in (and excited about!) your party is to invite them to dress as their favorite horror movie characters.

Guests can dress as individual monsters (like vampires or werewolves), horror film good guys (such as one of the two priests in The Exorcist or Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s character in Predator), or even come in groups dressed as entire scenes.

Encourage your invitees to get their creative juices flowing. The results are sure to thrill, chill…and possibly even make you chuckle.

Be sure to buy or make trophies for “Scariest Costume,” “Most Original Costume Idea” and any other category you’d like to see at your party. (Give your guests a heads-up that there will be awards by having the information printed on their invitations.) In addition to a small trophy, you can hand out movie theater tickets, horror DVD or other goodies as awards.

Need some killer ideas? Here are some great horror movie characters and creatures:

  • The aliens from Cloverfield
  • The shark from Jaws
  • Regan, the possessed child from The Exorcist
  • Father Karras or Father Merrin from The Exorcist
  • Freddie Krueger
  • Jason
  • Jason’s mom – wear the mask off your face, dangling on one shoulder
  • Any horror movie victim; these will often be scantily clad girls covered in blood, or football jocks or dorks covered in blood
  • Dr. Loomis or Laurie from Halloween (trench coat for the former; terrible 70s attire and blonde wig for the latter)
  • The Wolfman
  • The Fly
  • Sam from Trick ‘R Treat
  • A bloodied Carrie from the movie Carrie
  • Any vampire, from any vampire movie…ever…you can’t go wrong with this idea!
  • King Kong
  • Kaiju (i.e. Pacific Rim or Godzilla)
  • Alien (from the Alien franchise)
  • Predator
  • The Mummy – male or female; any (wait for it) incarnation
  • Stephen King’s It
  • The “pet” set upon Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
  • The Creature From the Black Lagoon
  • Disney creatures, such as Ursula the Sea Witch
  • Fun monsters, such as Sully from Real Monsters

Home Theater

Decorate the party area to imitate an old-fashioned movie or stage theater. Age some movie posters (easy and often very cheap to find; try online auctions or poster companies) by crinkling and then unfolding them, then arrange them on the walls of the party area.

For an added movie theater-like effect, have spotlights across or near your movie posters. These are simple to make; simply cover flashlights with cardboard tubes painted black (leaving the lighted ends exposed). Place colored bulbs in the flashlights and set them up so that the lights cross one another.

A great place to set up your spotlights is near your haunt’s entrance, so that your guests are “in the spotlight” as they enter. Or have them point upward to illuminate your movie posters. Hang artificial spider webs in the corners of your posters and between them for additional spookiness.

Mood Music

Music immediately sets the mood when guests are arriving, so be sure to choose tunes that are all about movies, monsters and magic spells.

Look for background music or musical artists that fit in with your party theme. “Werewolves of London “(Warren Zevon), “Spooky” (The Zombies), “Ghost Busters (Ray Parker, Jr.),“ “Weird Science (Oingo Boingo),” “Witchy Woman“ (The Eagles), “The Time Warp” (from the Rocky Horror Picture Show) and the immediately recognizable themes from Halloween and The Exorcist are all great choices.

Another idea is to have favorite horror movies running in your DVD player as a background mood-setter; keep the sound somewhat down, as movie voices and action tend to be more distracting than music.

Freaky Foods

For monster-and movie-related snacks, try a few creative ideas:

  • Wrap croissant dough strips crosswise over mini cocktail franks for “mummies in a blanket” (The Mummy, 1932, 1959 and 1999).
  • Lady “fingers” with “fingernails” made of slivered almonds are both tasty and creepy; use any cookie dough rolled and elongated to look like a finger (The Silence of the Lambs, 1991).
  • And of course, you’ll want some “blood punch”, made with any red-colored juice, at the center of your table; buy a novelty hospital blood bag online or at a Halloween store and have the “catheter” leading to the bowl (Dracula, 1931 and 1958 and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 1992).

You can also continue the movie theme with orange colored movie popcorn–add three drops of yellow food coloring and one drop of red food coloring to some oil or butter and toss well, then place in movie theater-style bags.

If you’d rather, just serve regular popcorn, but place it in striped boxes.

Your horror movie theme decorations, treats and background sounds are limited only by your own creativity. Watch a few horror favorites in advance of your party for more ideas, or ask a few friends. They’ll be thrilled to get in on the action – and to receive the credit for their own ideas at your very special Halloween bash.

Haunted Ghost Cake (with real flaming eyes!)

Boo! What is a Halloween party without a little haunting and some magic? This ghost will surprise and delight guests of any age when you turn off the lights and let the flaming eyes dance and dazzle. It will be spooky!

Not only is this cake simple and fun to make but you will find yourself using this very easy chocolate dump cake for all of your recipes. It is almost as simple as a mix, yet it turns out a moist, rich chocolate cake that will have everyone asking for more!

Ingredients

For the Halloween cake

  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1/2 cup softened butter (cut into pieces)
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda dissolved in 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For marshmallow frosting

  • 2 egg whites (reserve shells)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup of light corn syrup

Utensils

  • Pastry brush
  • 1 13x9x2 inch baking pan
  • Large mixer bowl
  • Electric mixer
  • Rubber scraper
  • Toothpicks
  • Wire cooling rack
  • 16×12 inch serving tray or breadboard covered with aluminum foil
  • Ruler
  • Wax paper
  • 2 sugar cubes
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • Sharp knife
  • Spatula
  • 1 string of black licorice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Prepare baking pan

Rip off a piece of wax paper a few inches greater than the size of the pan. Use a knife or half of your kitchen shears to trace around the bottom of the pan. Cut the wax paper along the traced out line.

Grease the sides and bottom of the pan with shortening. Lay the wax paper on the bottom of the pan.
Grease the wax paper. Sprinkle some cocoa (not what you have measured for the recipe) in the pan and shake the pan until the cocoa covers the bottom and the sides (you may also use flour, but the cocoa is better for chocolate cakes).

Into a mixing bowl, dump boiling water, butter pieces, cocoa, sugar, flour, eggs, salt, baking soda and milk mixture, and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer for 3 minutes. Pour into greased baking pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a knife comes clean and cake pulls away from the sides of the pan.

Allow cake to cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then completely on the wire rack before frosting.

To make the marshmallow frosting

Beat egg whites and salt with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add sugar, about 1 teaspoon at a time beating until smooth and glossy. Continue beating and add corn syrup a little at a time, beating after each addition until the frosting peaks. Fold in vanilla. This recipe makes enough to cover a large cake.

Assembly

After the cake is cool, measure across one short edge and mark the center with a wooden toothpick. Measure 4 inches down each long edge and mark with picks.

Cut the cake between the center wooden picks in a curve to make a rounded top for the ghost’s head. Slide the cut corners down the sides to about the center of the cake. Turn the corners so the cut sides are up, to make arms that look as if they are reaching out to you. Attach the arms to the sides of the cake using some of the frosting (or royal icing if you have it handy). Frost the cake with the spatula. Use the round end of the spatula to make peaks in the frosting to give the ghost a spookier look.

Place the 2 egg shell halves you reserved round sides down on the cake for the eyes. Place one sugar cube in each shell half. Make a mouth out of licorice string.

Just before serving, pour ½ teaspoon of lemon extract over each sugar cube. Light the eyes.

Remember to turn off the lights- it will be spooky!

Pumpkin Brains (aka Spaghetti in a Pumpkin)

pumpkin spaghettiOne of my favorite family Halloween traditions is eating spaghetti in a pumpkin on Halloween night. Every year, without fail, my dad would hollow out a pumpkin while my mom cooked the spaghetti, and we would feast at the table. It is a bit messy and time consuming if you are not having a party.

However, if you are having a party, or having the neighbors and their kids over for dinner before or after trick-or-treating, it is a pretty spectacular sight! I have never met anyone else who makes this delightful dish for Halloween. It is a true original.

We never called it anything except for spaghetti in a pumpkin; however, Halloween is so fun and dramatic, that I think it deserves another name. If you etch a face into the side of the pumpkin, this dish can definitely be called “Pumpkin Brains.” That is much grosser and Halloween-ish!

Ingredients

  • 1 Large pumpkin (small enough to fit in your oven)
  • 1 lb of spaghetti
  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce

Instructions

Hollow out the pumpkin. Cut a large opening in the top—larger than you usually would cut for jack-o-lanterns. Save the seeds to roast. Use a knife to etch a face into the side of the pumpkin, but do not cut all of the way through, as the spaghetti will fall out!

Cook the spaghetti, drain and stir in the sauce. Pour the spaghetti mixture into the pumpkin, and cook the pumpkin on a cookie sheet with sides in the oven for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees. (The pumpkin will get a little bit juicy as it cooks.) Serve with garlic bread carved into the shape of hands!

Save the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin. Clean them as well as you can. Then toss in olive oil and salt and spread on a cooking sheet. Roast at 400 degrees for ten minutes or so until brown. They will be VERY HOT when they come out of the oven, so you will want to wait a bit before eating. You can serve these as “Pumpkin Teeth!”

Halloween Costume Classics: Wizards Throughout the Ages

Whip up an enchanting costume this HalloweenGandalf costume

Halloween is a time of magic, making a sorcerer’s costume the perfect pick. But there’s more than one way to wave a wand. Famous wizards have their own distinctive looks, giving you plenty of options. Try a classic or contemporary enchanter outfit and express your personality behind your beard this Halloween.

The Basics of the Wizard’s Costume

The standard “wizard” look is well known and easy to identify. Wizards in classic fiction – including books, movies and oral tradition – nearly always sport a long, white beard, a robe (often with stars or other decorations) and some sort of cap, typically of the pointy persuasion. We’ll get into modifications in a moment, but for now, let’s concentrate on the basics of the typical wizard costume. From there, you can go in the direction you want to create the perfect wizard costume for you.

The best wizard costumes start with a beard. Technically, a beard isn’t absolutely necessary, but if you don’t mind the feel of it around your face, this addition is one of the gold standards for the sorcerer look. Costume beards come in either glue-on, tie or elastic versions. Glued artificial hair is the most realistic, but it’s time-consuming, so be sure you have the patience before committing to this costume embellishment.

You will want to test the glue on an inconspicuous part of your body (for example, the inner arm) 48 hours before applying the adhesive to your facial skin; if you have any reaction at all, including redness, itchiness or pain, buy an elastic banded beard instead. Important: Never use any type of glue except one that states specifically that it is for use on skin and is hypoallergenic.

Hats are another standard feature of the wizard legend. Pointed sorcerer hats can be found at any costume shop around Halloween time, and are often inexpensive to buy. However, if you prefer, you can make your own. Measure your head for the hat’s size, then staple two pieces of flexible cardboard or oak tag together and roll into a cone shape the same number of inches as your head measurement; staple closed. Cut a hole the size of the cone’s opening into another piece of cardboard and cut circularly around it. Tape the cone and cap brim together firmly. Now coat the entire outside of the hat with a strong glue and cover the hat with a satiny material. Cut off excess material and glue flat, making the seam as invisible as possible.

The cloak or tunic will probably be the most expensive part of your costume, but it needn’t break your bank. Consider buying a plain tunic in a light color (for example, the basis of an angel or monk costume) and dyeing it a deep and mysterious color. Purple and midnight blue are two favorites for wizard costumes. If your tunic has a base color (such as beige, light blue, red or yellow), be sure that it will combine with your dye to create the end result you want. Try dying a brilliant gold over pale yellow or covering tan completely with deepest royal purple. Black dye works over any base color. Consult an online color chart if you’re not sure what dye color to purchase.

Which Wizard are You?

Now it’s time to pick your wizard (or to use some combination of these to create your very own look). A few of Hollywood and literature’s favorite wizards include:

  • The Classic Wizard. He (or she!) stands with a crystal ball in one hand and a short wand in the other, ready to make merry or mischief at a moment’s notice. Try a sky-blue, rope-belted cloak decorated with glue-on stars, a gold colored hat and a silver wand. For your scrying ball, look for something plastic; it’s easier to carry, and safer, than glass.
  • Merlin. Arthur’s confidante and the sage of ancient Britain, Merlin lives in our hearts as the wisest magician of them all. As Merlin, you’ll be regal in a long white cloak and a garland of oak leaves or mistletoe; also carry a staff (decorate a cheap dowel from the hardware store and attach a “crystal” or stone to the top with glue or a thin strip of leather).
  • Gandalf. The children’s – and adults’ – classic Lord of the Rings trilogy is full of characters we all love, and Gandalf tops many a devotee’s list. Gandalf wears a gray tunic and sometimes a cloak; both are tied with strips of fabric. His hat is often depicted comically tilted downward at the tip, showing that this book and movie magician is ever the rebel. Like Merlin, Gandalf carries a staff, usually at least his own height. For safety’s sake, you can go a bit shorter if you prefer. For Gandalf, the hanging gray beard is an absolute essential–yes, even if you‘re a woman.
  • Harry Potter. Harry Potter burst onto the book scene in 1997 and stole our hearts immediately. Luckily for Rowling fans, his character is easy to recreate. Harry wears a long black robe, a white collared shirt, a striped tie and round “owl” glasses. This fabled character is so well known that not only children but grown men – and women as well – can be seen on Halloween dressed as the student sorcerer!

Other less traditional but definitively magical enchanters include Star Wars’ Obi Wan Kenobi, who mentored both Anakin Skywalker and his son Luke; the corrupt Saruman of Lord of the Rings; and Count Duku, also of Star Wars fame. All can be fun choices depending upon your personality type. One thing’s for sure: with a few simple costume pieces and a modification or two, this year you’ll have a costume that’s sure to enchant others on Halloween.