Halloween is right around the corner, and we know too well how expensive this holiday can get. 

Avoid the stress of finding your child the perfect costume by making your own. Not only will you get to spend some much needed time together as a family, but you'll also teach your kids some important life lessons along the way.

Before you start your project, make sure you set a budget and let your children know what that budget is. You should also decide how much time and energy you are willing to invest. After all, you don't want this to turn into something more stressful than shopping for a pre-made costume.

Make sure your kids understand the time and energy constraints as well. This will teach them time management because they'll need to learn to set aside time each day to complete the project. Doing so will eliminate the stress of last-minute preparation.

Be sure to visit websites such as Pinterest or Google for great do-it-yourself ideas and directions for costumes. When you all make a final costume decision, let your child do as much of the work as possible. This will give them something to be proud of when it's complete.

Next, put together a list of things you need for the costume. Before you head to the store, look around your house for items first. For example, if your child has clothing or items that are ready to be handed down or taken to Goodwill, why not use them in the costume if you can? That leftover felt material could make the perfect Frankenstein hat to complete your child's look, and that blue dress they no longer wear could make for a beautiful ice princess costume. 

If you don't find enough items to make the costume, head to one of the various thrift stores around the area. Be sure to remind your child that this is possibly a one-time outfit and that new items are not necessary. If you can’t find the items you need at a thrift store, then it's time to consider purchasing new items for it. Remember — anything that can be salvaged from the costume can be packed up for next year.

Make sure you keep your child's safety in mind when making the costume. Use flame-resistant materials, and be sure to make the costume slightly big so warm clothing can be worn underneath. You never know what kind of weather you're going to have here in the Midwest come late October. A few other safety tips: Avoid costumes with capes, which could get caught on things or become a tripping hazard, and masks, which may block your child from seeing an approaching vehicle. 

So instead of buying an expensive Halloween costume this year, use this opportunity to create your own costume — together. Not only will you get to spend time in each other's company, but you'll also get to teach them life skills. Doing so might be just the treat you were wanting this Halloween.


Angee (Henry) Nott is a former University of Nebraska track athlete who was a three-time Big 12 champion and a 10-time All-American. She was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. She has coached track and cross country at Boys Town High School since 2004, where she is also an English teacher. She continues to empower her students to reach their potential on the track and in the classroom.

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