During this time of year, everyone is thinking about costumes. Stores are well stocked with plenty of options and children are looking forward to dressing up as a favorite character. But what about all those other costume days? You know, the ones that come up at school throughout the year? Those days can leave parents feeling less prepared and even somewhat frenzied. But, don’t panic! With a little creativity and some items you probably already have on hand, you can survive any school costume day.
Here are 10 ideas you can create with little more than a simple t-shirt, some permanent makers, felt, and a few closet staples:
1. Johnny Appleseed Day: Take a white t-shirt, cut off the sleeves, and add a flannel, jeans or overalls. Add some DIY apple seed packets or a burlap bag and you are done!
2. Superhero Day: To make a cape, choose the t-shirt color of your choice, cut the front and sleeves off, leaving the neck band in place, and add a shield to the back using fabric glue or an iron transfer.
3. Book Character Day: Need a costume in a hurry? No problem. Take a white t-shirt and some multicolored permanent markers and you have a costume for “The Book With No Pictures.”
4. Holidays: A t-shirt and some craft supplies can get you through all the holidays. For Thanksgiving, take a white t-shirt and tea stain it. Add some feathers and you have an adorable turkey costume. For Valentine’s Day, add felt hearts to a t-shirt. For St. Patrick’s Day, add felt clover. Adapt for any additional holidays as needed.
For a fun and easy “tacky Christmas sweater,” take a long-sleeved t-shirt and add any festive items you find around the house using fabric glue or hot glue. You can add a dollar store stocking, garland, Christmas necklaces (bonus if they light up!), a gift bag, candy canes, or any other festive items you already have on hand.
For a Grinch theme, take a green t-shirt and draw a Grinch face with permanent marker.
For a reindeer theme, have your child wear a brown t-shirt and add some antlers and a red nose.
5. 100th Day of School: Using the same method as the “tacky sweater,” add 100 of any item to a plain t-shirt. You can also use permanent markers to draw on to the shirt. (Bonus: You can also draw or attach cow spots onto a plain white shirt for Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A!)
6. Fifties Day: For a boy, take a white t-shirt, tuck it into some rolled up jeans, add some converse or loafers, slicked back hair, and sunglasses. You can add a DIY letterman jacket by creating a letter out of felt and loosely stitching it onto a cardigan or jacket already on hand. (Or you can draw a letter with your permanent markers!)
For a girl, pair a white t-shirt, turtleneck, or collared shirt with jeans or black leggings. Add a belt to the shirt, add some sunglasses and a bow, and pair with white sneakers or oxfords. If you have a little extra time, you can make a low-cost DIY poodle skirt from felt.
7. Eighties Day: For a girl, cut the neck of a brightly colored t-shirt so it’s slouchy. Add leggings, a loose belt, and some jewelry. Add some big hair and you are all set. For a boy, pop the collar on a polo shirt and add some jeans and tennis shoes. Add some gel to their hair and call it a day.
8. Fairytale Day: For a knight costume, take a gray t-shirt and cut down the sides, leaving the neck in place. (This can also be done with felt.) Using permanent marker or cut out felt, add a fleur-de-lis or other symbol for a crest. Pick up a helmet at the dollar store or use something you have on hand. For a princess costume, raid the dress up bin. If you don’t have a princess dress on hand, after-Halloween sales are a great time to grab one.
9. Pirate Day: For an easy pirate costume, cut the sleeves and bottom of a white t-shirt. Add a scarf for a belt and tie another scarf around your child’s head. Pair with leggings, striped pajama pants or solid pants (short baseball pants would also work.) Add some accessories like jewelry or a hook and you are done.
10. Career Day: Cut an oversized white t-shirt down the front. Add a name tag and stethoscope and you have an easy doctor costume.