Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

Have you been in the store lately to see the Halloween costumes? The costumes are great – it’s the prices that are frightening. It’s a good thing my kids are past the trick-or-treating stage because they would not be getting $40-60+ costumes that they would wear once. I’m not the most creative person in the world, but even I can throw together a pretty fantastic costume using mostly stuff we have in the house. Here are some of our best ideas over the years:


We were broke. Kira had an old white lace dress she was on the verge of outgrowing. I spray painted half of it red, and voila! With a cheap angel headband and a red headband from her hair accessories, we fashioned her into a very cool looking angel/devil.

Pretty Princess

What little girl doesn’t want to be a princess at some point in their young lives? Both Kira and Anika had opportunities to be princesses, using dresses they already had. Anika had received a beautiful hand-me-down dress from her cousin. We had the purple hair band and got the $2 wings from Savers. To this day, it’s my favorite costume she ever wore.

Kira was equally precious in her princess costume.

Cowboy or Cowgirl

While this wasn’t for Halloween, it would have worked quite well for trick-or-treating. Both Kira and Anika at some point were required to dress in western wear for a school event. A plaid shirt, jeans, some boots, and a hat – all found in the closet or borrowed from cousins – made these some of the easiest outfits to throw together.


A quick trip to the thrift store netted this awesome shirt, which together with a $5 wig/glasses set from the discount store made this into an awesome costume.

Sports Uniforms 

While it may not be their favorite idea, if all else fails, your kids can dress in their sports uniforms. Kira was a cheerleader, Anika was in dance, and Derek was in basketball. Talk about a built-in, easy costume!


Have an extra white bed sheet? Then you also have yourself a free ghost costume! Simply drape the extra white bed sheet over your child. Cut holes where their eyes are and make a black mouth at an appropriate place on the sheet below the eyes. This can be done with either a permanent marker or paint. This is a perfect costume for colder Halloweens because your child can wear a winter coat underneath.


And just so my kids don’t feel like I’m only humiliating them by dragging out the old photos, here’s one of Dave and I headed to a costume party. Dave was dressed in his typical KISS garb, but I decided in my youth and stupidity to try Lady Godiva – one of my most regrettable costumes ever.