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10 Recycled Halloween Costumes


Today's Snack: Frankenstein Fingers! This will feed six. You will need one 11-ounce can of refrigerated breadstick dough, mustard (optional), 12 slices of thin deli ham cut in -inch strips, 4 slices of Monterey Jack cheese, one egg yolk (separate out the white; have a parent show you how) and some food coloring. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place six breadsticks on an ungreased baking sheet. Spread with mustard if you wish. Place ham strips and cheese on breadstick base. Top with remaining six breadsticks. Press the dough together to seal the ham and cheese inside. Let the top part of the dough hang out over the front of each "finger" and round it off to look like a "fingernail." Now use a sharp knife to "score," or lightly cut, a "fingernail" oval at the end of each "finger," plus lines for "knuckles." Don't let the knife go all the way through the dough, though. Now beat the egg yolk in a small bowl. If you want one color, mix food coloring in that bowl and paint it on with a basting brush. If you want more than one color, beat more than one egg yolk and make a second or third color. You can make the fingers yellow or blue, and the fingernails green or some other contrasting color. Bake on the lower rack of the oven for 12 to 13 minutes, or just until light golden. Serve warm or chilled.






Items recommended for the various costumes


If you like to be unique, and it's against your personality to use a store-bought, ready-made costume, here are some wacky and cheap ones you can make with items you can mostly find around your house, and a little advance planning. Be sure to check with a parent to make sure it's OK before you take anything, and especially cut anything! But have fun being delightfully different:





1. Laundry Tub.


Take a large, old laundry tub that your family doesn't need any more, and cut a hole in the bottom large enough for you to pull over your head and settle around your waist like a plastic tutu. Fill with fun, colorful and interesting laundry. Clean, we strongly suggest! You might need to safety-pin the items to each other or the laundry basket so that they don't fall out.



2. Backwards Guy or Gal.


Buy some crazy clothes in the used-clothes store, and wear them backwards. If you have some old tennies you can spare, or can buy used shoes cheap, cut off the heel and pin or hot-glue them to your backwards slacks so that the toes point backwards, too. Then wear black socks or black pantyhose to disguise your real feet, which, unless you really party a lot, will still be pointing forwards all evening.



3. The Sock Monster.


Finally, we can all know the secret destination of all those socks that disappear in the dryer: your costume! You can be an Abominable Snow Man out of socks! Safety-pin every sock you own in the house onto a sweatsuit. Call yourself "The Sock Monster."



4. Plastic Mummy.


Save the plastic sleeves that the newspaper comes in for a month or more. Have someone help you tape them all around yourself to be a plastic "mummy." Word to the wise: do not drink any liquids for a couple of hours before you do this, and be sure to "go" before you tape on all that plastic!



5. Pilot's Cockpit.


For this costume, try to find a small blue uniform top from a used clothing store, or buy or dye a T-shirt navy blue. Make "wings" and a nametag out of cardboard and foil, taping a safety pin on the back to pin onto your "uniform." Wear aviator sunglasses (borrow from a parent or friend?) and if you can get a jaunty Air Force cap, so much the better. For your "cockpit," get a large cardboard box from the grocery store or an appliance store. In advance, you should have been saving plastic lids from milk jugs, food jars, laundry bottles, and everything else, for as long as you can. Have grandparents, neighbors and others save lids, too, so that you end up with a bunch. Have an adult help you if necessary, and make the cardboard box into an airplane cockpit. Hot-glue lids in place to represent the dials and levers you'd see in a plane. You can make "suspenders" out of belts or rope, poke holes in the cardboard, and suspend the "cockpit" in front of you as if you're really in the plane. Make a steering wheel out of a plastic or foam plate (have a parent help you with a utility knife to cut out the grips and staple it into the cardboard) and/or a joystick out of a Tootsie Pop (have a parent cut a slit into the cardboard into which the Tootsie Pop can stick). Off you go, into the wild blue yonder!



6. Refrigerator.


Call ahead to an appliance store and ask if they have any refrigerator or stove boxes they don't need. Go in a car large enough to pick one up. Spray-paint the outside white, or tape white butcher paper all around it. With a utility knife (have a parent help you), slit a big "H" in the front and "score" (drag the utility knife down them and bend them in and out 'til they are flexible, but don't cut through) the two outside "hinge" lines. You should end up with two "doors" that will open up. Squash some foil into the shape of two long handles, cover with duct tape for sturdiness, and staple the ends, or duct-tape them, onto the "doors." Also, with the utility knife, make two slits in the sides for you to put your hands in to carry the box from place to place. You should have been saving empty food containers, sacks and packages for several weeks in advance; make sure they are empty, clean and dry. Now staple, duct-tape, or hot-glue them on the insides of your "fridge." For example, put empty frozen waffles boxes, empty ice cream cartons, and empty frozen vegetable sacks on the "freezer" side, and empty milk cartons, pop cans, sour cream containers, and so forth, on the "refrigerator" side. You can staple your treat bag to the back of the door so that when you come to a house, you can swing open the door and the person can put the treat right in the bag. You can wear plain clothes but it would be funny if you taped all kinds of clean empty food containers to yourself, or even tied a few pieces of fresh fruits and vegetables into a necklace or belt.



7. Astronaut.


If you have an old pair of overalls or coveralls, or can purchase one at a used clothing store, you can hot-glue foil all over it to resemble an astronaut's uniform. You can buy extra-sturdy foil for grilling that will hold up better than regular-strength foil. If you're going to be sitting down, make sure to put several loose layers on the seat, because no doubt it will rip if it's too tight. Make patches with a cool looking insignia like NASA's logo with colored markers and cardboard, and tape or glue a safety pin to the back so that you can pin it to your uniform. For the helmet, borrow a football helmet and cover it with foil. You might put black or brown cellophane over the face area to resemble a sun shield, but make sure you can see. Cover a pair of shoes with foil, too.



8. Skunk.


Buy or borrow a plain black hoodie with to wear with black sweat pants or jeans, and black shoes. Go to the fabric store and buy a 10-foot length of a white feather boa, and a yard or two of black fabric. Get a bunch of safety pins together. Fold and wrap the black fabric together so that it's in the shape of a long tail. Stuff with crunched-up newspaper or plastic sacks. Safety-pin or hot-glue closed. Pin to the back of the waistband of your pants. The tail should drag on the floor behind you like a bride's train - only it's a skunk's tail! Now put the hood up on your hoodie, and have someone help by pinning the feather boa from just above your forehead all the way down your back and down to the tip of the tail. Put a black or brown dot of face paint or mascara on your nose, and paint on some whiskers. Finally, last but not least, the piece de resistance: bring along a spray can of room freshener, and every once in a while, make sure no one's close enough to get hurt when you spray, but lift up your tail and pretend to "skunk" someone!



9. Hillbilly or Bum.


For a boy or girl, you can buy an old pair of overalls at a used clothing store and a plaid shirt of some kind. Get a boy a really hideous old felt hat. Roll up one leg in a cuff but leave the other down. Tie a red bandana around the neck. Boys love a beard and moustache, and girls with long enough hair will love to have a piece of stiff wire braided inside two pigtails, and then when the pigtails are done, you can bend them in crazy directions! You might use a black permanent marker to blacken one or more teeth, though they'll stay that way for a while, so beware, if Picture Day is coming up. You can also paint on freckles with brown face paint or mascara. You can put stuff inside another red bandana and tie it to a walking stick to hold over your shoulder. If you'd rather be a bum than a hillbilly, "dirty" up your face with face paint or a piece of charcoal, and it's fun to ask a neighbor or relative who smokes cigars (yes, they're still out there!) to save one for you, a stub, to carry around. Or there are fake cigars for sale in costume stores if you might get in trouble at school for carrying tobacco, even if it's an old, grimey butt of a cigar. You can easily make one by cutting up a plain brown grocery sack, stuffing it with cotton in a cigar shape, and wetting the ends and twisting them tight, then letting them dry.



10. Money.


Since everybody's very interested in the economy, if you're a good artist, you can go to the art supply store and have two gigantic pieces of white foam-core board cut in the dimensions of a dollar bill. Use green and black paint or markers to decorate the front and the back of a dollar bill on the two pieces. You can cut out a face hole for yourself on the front instead of drawing George Washington. Then hot-glue three of the four edges together, leaving the bottom open, for you to crawl inside and position your face. Wear green sweatpants or tights. If you really want to be funny, you can buy extra foam-core board and cut out two wings; attach to the dollar bill as if it is flying away!



By Susan Darst Williams Holidays and Seasons 23 2008





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