Thursday, September 19, 2013

DIY Halloween Tips: Easy Costumes for Kids!

Let Kids Get Creative
It’s time to shake things up this Halloween!  Forget driving to the mall and buying pricey Halloween costumes again this year.  You should turn right back around and start rummaging through your own house instead. 

Why?  Decades ago it was standard for kids to make their own Halloween costumes.  Let’s start a new trend and bring it back!

Halloween is the perfect time for your kids to discover their DIY skills and create their dream costumes.  Not only are you saving money in the process, it is also a fantastic opportunity to carve out some quality time with your kids as well. 


What’s in Your Closets?

Rummage through the closets or drawers and find possible clothing items to be used like plaid flannel shirts, overalls, themed tee shirts, any type of hat, old housecoats, and old bed sheets.  You get the idea. 

Do you have a large cardboard box?  Help a young boy draw a car on both sides of the box, attach small ropes to either end of the box so they rest on his shoulders and he looks like he is driving his own little car.  Dress him up with a small cap and he is on his way.
Quick and Easy Princess Leia Costume

Cardboard Fire Truck
Old sheets can be used to make superman or bull fighter capes. Or, use large pieces of brown roll paper to make a grass skirt for a little hula dancer. Do you have a tiny dancer in your house? Let her wear her tights and ballet slippers or perhaps a dance costume from an older sibling. Recycle and reuse these items for fun and imaginative costumes. Cut out black circles and past on red shirt and tights to make a little lady bug, finish with cute make up.

Old McDonald Was a Zombie

For the older children who want to be scary, the zombie comeback is great for DIY Halloween costumes!  If you have any old overalls, plaid shirts, straw hats, and kid-sized boots laying around the house, your kids could whip up their very own zombie farmer costumes.  All you have to do is supply their zombie transformation!  

You can turn anyone into a zombie, whether it’s a cheerleader, doctor, bride, or a pilot.  For a true zombie look you may want to stop by any local craft or drugs store and pick up some basic Halloween makeup kits.  Before they create their zombie faces, surf the web with your kids for zombie makeup tutorials they can do themselves.

Make Your Own Halloween Masks

Decades ago it was standard for kids to make their own Halloween masks.  Let’s start a new trend and bring it back!

If you browse through pictures of vintage Halloween costumes from the turn of the century, you’ll notice a lot of handmade masks.  There is a variety of different ways to make masks, but paper mache has to be one of the coolest techniques for making spooky or funny Halloween masks for kids. 

There are different recipes out there for paper mache.  But one of the most tried and true requires you to dunk newspaper strips into a paste made from cooked flour and water.  Parents should definitely be in charge of the whole paper mache process, and again there are great videos on line with instructions. 

A safe way to do this is blow up a balloon to the approximate size of the child’s head.  Lay the paper mache strips on the balloon to the desired shape and thickness.  Once dried, pop the balloon and your kids can go to town with decorating!  Not only can they paint their masks with crazy colors and expressions, but they can glue on horns, scary eyes, faux fur, and even fake reptilian scale!
Make a Paper Mache Mask

Whatever costumes you choose for your children this year, please be sure to keep them safe.  Applying glow in the dark tape on backs of costumes or shoes will help ensure your children are seen.  Supply each child with a flashlight and make sure they can properly see if wearing a mask.  But, most importantly, if your children are going trick or treating in a neighborhood, go with them.  Let’s keep our children safe and have a wonderful time!

 At Just Boys Bedding we realize many young families are on a tight budget.  We hope some of these easy, cost saving ideas will help you and all your children enjoy Halloween together.

Trick or Treat!

This post is part of the Sharing is Caring Halloween Blog Hop hosted by Life With Lovebugs, Pam’s Party & Practical Tips, and A Spectacled Owl!

All of the blogs listed below are sharing Halloween themed posts as part of this event, so click on one or all of the links below to find some great recipes, tutorials, crafts and more!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Backyard Camping - Making Memories for Boys

Art by Russ Cox

Fathers and sons will always share a very unique bond, often sharing a similar interest in sports, fast cars, and action movies.  New fathers are known to begin planning from the day of their son’s birth for the many types of excursions that will be shared together in the years that lie ahead.  Teaching their sons to play baseball, taking their sons on nature hikes and fishing trips, or perhaps going along with their sons to buy his very first car.  One of the most common forms of male bonding activities is that very first camping trip shared only between father and son.

The attraction to camping usually begins at a very young age, where little boys use blankets and sheets to build fortresses in the living room, draped over chairs and tables to create their own secret place that is hidden from the view of grown-ups.  The joy of watching your little ones being creative and constructing interesting dwellings that only a child’s mind can imagine can be infectious and awe-inspiring.  It is only natural for the father to watch their little boys playing and to imagine when the day will come that they can take their son on an outdoor excursion, away from the other members of the family, just the two of them.

As early as the age of 8 or 10, the father or the son has an idea.  How much fun would it be to take those blankets and chairs out to the backyard, build their own tent, and live outdoors like real men do, even if just for one night?  If they get really creative, dad might provide one of his big tarps from the garage, draping it over a clothesline and securing it on either side to create a massive campsite fit for two.  They immediately get to work, building the perfect campsite together.  Mom is inside, packing a huge basket of sandwiches, snacks, and sodas for the big night that lies ahead.

The tent is built.  The food is packed.  And now it is time for Junior to go upstairs and get his sleeping bag to head off into the backyard wilderness.  Dad also makes sure to pack some of the fun time extras, like a flashlight, pocket knife, and deck of playing cards.  The goal is always to enjoy each other’s company, to have fun, and to instill a sense of adventure into the life of a young boy.

The flashlight can serve a couple of different purposes.  It might provide a little extra security when little boys hear strange rustlings and noises that so often accompany a night in the darkness of the outdoors.  But flashlights also make great visual effects for the telling of terrifying tales and sharing of creepy ghost stories.

But this usually comes after the main course of building a fire, roasting hot dogs, and eating s’mores for dessert.  This is where dad teaches his son how to safely build a fire, something that little boys should learn how to do.  The hot dogs and s'mores are simply a reward for a job well done.  After their man-made dinner, dad takes out his pocket knife, grabbing a massive tree branch as well.  This is when the young “man-in-training” begins to learn how to safely whittle wood, creating “weapons of warfare” like pointy arrow-headed sticks and long, sharp spears. 

As the night goes on, the boy begins to tire, his small, bright eyes fighting to stay open.  He doesn’t want to miss a single minute of this night in the wilderness with dad.  Within a few minutes, the son is asleep lying next to his father in the tent made of blankets and snuggled under his favorite comforter he brought from his bed.   Even though this may have been a great deal of fun for the little boy, this is the moment that dad will remember for the rest of his life.

At Just Boys Bedding, we understand how important these special times are for boys.  Times like these will last a lifetime for both a boy and his father.  

Special thanks to MR of Oscar the Dog for this blog post