Quick and Easy Mickey and the Roadster Racers Birthday Party

My son just turned six and he’s slightly obsessed with Mickey Mouse. He has dressed like Mickey for three of five Halloween costumes. And we’ve had several birthday parties in a Mickey theme (including a Sorcerer’s Apprentice party). So of course this year he was set on a Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party. I was ready to make that happen – on a budget, of course! And with four kids, I just don’t have it in me for anything over-the-top, so these are very quick and easy ideas. I’ve even included my FREE PRINTABLES so you can host your own Mickey and the Roadster Racers party!

Please note that I include affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Roadster Racers Birthday Party on a Budget

The Roadster Racers has a simple color scheme of red, black, yellow. You could add in black and white checked accents too! I went with plain red tablecloths with black plates and napkins. No expensive character-laden designs needed. Consider using the color scheme on balloons or crepe paper streamers. Or use black and white checked scrapbook paper to create pennant flags.

I had a “Kitchen Sink” bowl from Disneyland that made a perfect snack container! See what you have in the color schemes to use before making purchases.


Roadster Racers Outfit

My birthday boy wore the Mickey Mouse costume I’d made him for Halloween during his play date party. Here is my costume tutorial if you’d like to make one for your racer! If you don’t have a costume, consider having your child dress in an outfit or t-shirt that fits the theme.

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

My Roadster Racer and his Zebra sister on Halloween. The costume doubled as his birthday party outfit.


Roadster Racers Themed Food

This was a fun and quirky way to incorporate the theme of the party, with snacks inspired by the show. We had a play date at the park after lunch so we just served simple goodies like mini doughnuts (“spare tires”) and cupcakes (“traffic light treats”). I’ve included the FREE PRINTABLE for each of these so you can print at home and use for your own party!

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Traffic Light Treats

I made easy cupcakes at home. On the chocolate frosted cupcakes, I split mini Oreo cookies in half and placed them in the frosting to resemble Mouse ears. On the vanilla frosted cupcakes we used plain M&M candies in yellow, red and green to look like a street light (you might see an orange M&M…we ran out of yellow – Guess what, nobody cared!)

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Nuts & Bolts and Dip Sticks

Store-bought Trail mix is a quick Nuts & Bolts treat. My friend Leslie of Trips with Tykes has a great Mickey Mouse Trail Mix so make it your own!

Pretzel sticks or rods are perfect Dip Sticks. You could also use baby carrots and Ranch dressing!

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Spare Tires

Mini chocolate doughnuts make tasty Spare Tires. We didn’t have any extras of these laying around after the party!

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Coolants

Our drink section was labeled Coolants, to chill down our active party guests! You could also put this label on an actual cooler.

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Links to Free Roadster Racers Party Printables

Roadster Racers Gifts

I purchased this small Mickey race car toy to use as a “cupcake topper” to set the theme for our party. It doubled as decoration and a toy to play with later as a memento for my son’s birthday.

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

What to get your Roadster Racer fan for their birthday? Check out these appropriate gifts and videos!


More Printable Party Decorations

I found all these great, free printables on the Disney Junior website that are perfect for your Roadster Racers party.

Birthday Party on a Budget

Looking for more birthday party ideas? Check out my post Birthday Party On a Budget!

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Mickey Mouse Costumes to Make at Home on a Budget

In five years of trick-or-treating, my son has been Mickey Mouse three times! The first year was the classic Mickey (which he calls, “Happy Mickey”). Then Sorcerer Mickey. And this year, it’s Mickey in his Roadster Racers costume. As a big Disney fan, I love that my son wants to dress as his favorite character so often! And fortunately Mickey has plenty of incarnations to choose from! Here’s how you can make each of these three Mickey Mouse costumes on a budget at home.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Classic Mickey Mouse Costume

This sweet Mickey Mouse costume is the easiest of the bunch! Several of these pieces can be inexpensively store-bought and the rest go together quickly. Instructions for making your own Classic Mickey costume HERE.

WHAT YOU NEED TO BUY

  • Black t-shirt
  • Black leggings (optional in warm weather)
  • Red shorts
  • Two large white buttons
  • Yellow shoes (but we settled for white!)
  • To sew the hood, you’ll need stretchy black fabric and polyfil

Three budget-friendly Mickey Mouse costume ideas for Halloween

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey Mouse Costume

With the wave of your wand (and a few stitches on your sewing machine) you’ll be able to sew up the Sorcerer’s hat that is the centerpiece of this darling costume. The instructions for putting together the Sorcerer’s Hat HERE.

WHAT YOU NEED TO BUY

  • Red tunic or over-sized t-shirt
  • Brown belt or rope to tie around the waist
  • Leggings or pants in a dark color
  • Blue and white cotton for the hat
  • Black felt for the Mouse ears

Three budget-friendly Mickey Mouse costume ideas for Halloween

Mickey and the Roadster Racers Costume

This is a completely handcrafted costume so it may take a little longer than the other two. But not more expensive, it just requires a few more creative touches. I made the jumpsuit and hood by following this McCall’s Costume Pattern. However I’ve made creative adjustments to add the color blocking.

If you’re not up for sewing something elaborate, this outfit could easily be put together by making it with a few store-bought pieces. By adding yellow felt designs to a sweatshirt and pants and then applying hand-painted patches you’ll have an inexpensive and unique Mickey Mouse costume!

WHAT YOU NEED TO BUY

When creating the patches I used the same technique as in this Finding Dory t-shirt. I fuse white cotton patches onto the fabric, stitch carefully around the outside and then paint my design onto the cotton. (The photo of my son when wearing this costume was before I finished with the patches).

SeaWorld San Diego Halloween Spooktacular offers family fun including trick or treating and Halloween activities!

I have a LOT more Halloween costume ideas HERE.


For more on the Halloween costume ideas,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Three budget-friendly Mickey Mouse costume ideas for Halloween

Birthday Party on a Budget – Make it Totally Fabulous on the Cheap!

I love to host birthday parties! The cake, the balloons, the coordinating table settings, the treat bags…I love planning it all. What I don’t like is spending a ton of money on a few hour celebration! I have dozens of ideas on how to host a fantastic birthday party on a budget. When planning a birthday party this is my intent:

  • I want the focus to be on the birthday celebrant.
  • I want my party guests to have a memorably good time.
  • I want to show my creative side with tasteful decor and thoughtful party favors.
  • But ultimately, I want it to be cheap!

I’ve included ideas depending upon how much you’d like to spend, how much time you have and how creative you’d like to get. Keep in mind, the more time you invest and the more creative you are, the less money you’ll have to spend! Keep reading for how to host a birthday party on a budget!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through will help me in a small financial way, thank you!

TONS of birthday party on a budget ideas! Dozens of create theme, decorations and food ideas for all types of parties.

10 Things to Consider When Planning a Birthday Party on a Budget

    1. Party Location
    2. Choosing a Theme
    3. Guest List
    4. Invitations
    5. Cake
    6. Party Favors
    7. Decor
    8. Table settings
    9. Food
    10. Games and Entertainment


1. Choosing the Best Party Location 

Choosing the party location first will determine the rest of your party, in relation to party size, decorations and budget. If you are planning a birthday party on a budget this is obviously not the time to book an ice skating rink or take your child’s entire class to the movies!

  • The best place to look first is hosting at your own home, backyard or clubhouse.
  • If you don’t have a location and booking a venue is a must, ask friends and family first if you can “borrow” their home or yard.
  • Local parks are free to host a party and if the weather is good, that can be your best bet. Some parks will have a clubhouse or gazebo at an additional cost.
  • If hosting outside, have an alternate location or risk having to cancel. Our kid’s birthdays are in November, December and March. We often get rained out and require an alternate inside location in case of rain (like Grandma’s house!).
TONS of birthday party on a budget ideas! Dozens of create theme, decorations and food ideas for all types of parties.

We got rained out and had to move the party inside for her 8th birthday.

Making a birthday party more like a play date can really take some pressure off the budget too. I hosted a Disney Preschool Playdate and offering a few snacks, cupcakes and juice was just perfect for these little ones.


2. Choosing a Theme for Your Party

Having a theme allows you to pinpoint the feel of the party. A theme is also a cheap way to get more bang for your buck! Requesting that party guests wear a costume or dress in the theme allows them to be more invested in the party. Here are a few fun theme ideas that translate into budget-friendly parties!

  • Doughnut theme- Invite party guests to wear their pajamas for a morning brunch-time party. Serve doughnuts, chocolate milk and juice.
  • Water theme – Bring your bathing suit and towel. Either go swimming, play in the sprinklers or (if there is no water!) have a beach theme inside with inflatable beach balls to toss around.
  • Craft theme – Request that party guests bring clean recycled items, like cardboard boxes and metal cans. Check out Pinterest for inexpensive ideas on making cool crafts with the addition of wrapping paper, glue, and scrap ribbons.
  • Movie Night theme – Is there a popular movie being released on Netflix or BluRay? Have guests bring a pillow and blanket, then host a movie night with popcorn and the feature film.
TONS of birthday party on a budget ideas! Dozens of create theme, decorations and food ideas for all types of parties.

A Sesame Street themed party required Cookie Monster cupcakes!

My kids love coming up with cool themes. In the last few years, I’ve created simple budget-friendly themes like Mickey in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Nautical and Basketball.

Ask your child for input on the theme and then work with them to find perfect details that can be recreated for the party. My son was really into the Seven Dwarves Mine Train at Magic Kingdom so I created a very simple theme around that Disney attraction. Kids can really be the catalysis for some fun and creative ideas! Check out his Mine Train party ideas.

See more details on creating a Sorcerer’s Apprentice party!

TONS of birthday party on a budget ideas! Dozens of create theme, decorations and food ideas for all types of parties.

3. Invitations & Guests

The invitation really sets the theme in my book. Once you’ve chosen the theme, picking the invite is a fun way to bring that theme to life!

  • Make your invites with scrapbook paper and stickers.
  • Create your own invitations in Canva and then print them at home on my HP printer (love HP Instant Ink and HP Card & Invitation Kit!)
  • I love the invites from Tiny Prints with the photos on them and if you buy in quantity they are only about a dollar each.
  • Save a stamp and buy invitations that can be emailed, like te beautiful ones from Paperless Post. I love the freebie options too, including these adorable Disney-themed invites. There is a way you can track RSVPs as well, which is handy if you are too busy to call and follow up with your guests.


Tips for Creating a Guest List

Narrowing down the guest list can be a challenge. Every child wants to invite all the kids in class to their parties but with budget and space restrictions, this isn’t always possible. If you’d like to have a more elaborate party, keep the guest list to under 5. If you want to invite the whole group, keep the celebration simple with cake and punch.

For my son’s Mickey and the Roadster Racers we hosted after school at the park. It was low key with just a few friends. And it was exactly what my son wanted – just to play at the park with his friends! Click for more Mickey and the Roadster Racers party ideas, including free printables.

TONS of birthday party on a budget ideas! Dozens of create theme, decorations and food ideas for all types of parties.

4. Birthday Cake or Cupcakes

Cake is a birthday party must-have! Checking out the cake at a birthday party is my preschooler’s favorite. Putting a good amount of budget towards a special birthday cake can be worth it. Here are a few ways to save on the expense.

Make It Yourself From Scratch or a Boxed Mix

I have made many-a-boxed-cake in my party days and believe me, nobody turns them down! I recommend following Tidy Mom’s tip on doctoring up a boxed mix. You could get canned frosting or whip up your own quite cheaply with a bag of powdered sugar. I usually go for plain vanilla or a cream cheese frosting and add gel food coloring to decorate with.

Happy Birthday to Me! - Budget ideas for Birthday Parties on the Cheap (sure to make you smile!)

Happy Birthday to you! A simply sweet smiley face.

No need to get fancy – For the pink and green cupcakes below I just divided a tub of white store-bought frosting and colored it with gel food coloring. Simple but bright and colorful!

TONS of birthday party on a budget ideas! Dozens of create theme, decorations and food ideas for all types of parties.


Buy Cake Premade from the Store

Sometimes you simply don’t have the time to be baking and store-bought is the way to go. I bought these cupcakes from the grocery store for less than 70 cents each and they were delicious. You could certainly dress these up with some store-bought sprinkles, fondant toppers or royal icing flowers but I kept it simple for an adult party.

Tips for hosting a party on a budget

Add Unique Details

I took a boxed white cake mix and designed this amazing rainbow cake for my baby’s first birthday, which had an It’s a Small World theme. I was as easy as dividing the batter into separate bowls, adding gel food coloring in a variety of colors and then plopping a cupful of batter one color at a time on top of each other into the cake pans. Ultimate impact for no extra cost!

DIY rainbow cake from a boxed mix!

For my stepdaughter’s 6th birthday, she loved Tinkerbell. I simply baked her cake in a Pyrex bowl to create a little “grassy” hilltop and then added plastic play figures to the top. See what toys you have that you could clean up to use for decoration.

Tips on planning a birthday on a budget!

My son made the request for this birthday cake: Lego Indiana Jones and Lego Darth Vader playing soccer. Okaaayy…here it is! I added the Lego Stormtrooper at goalie for good measure. He was thrilled to see his idea come to life!

Darth Vader playing soccer with Indiana Jones (and a Stormtrooper goalie!). Click through for budget birthday ideas.

5. Party Favors for Guests

I’m not big on party favors but kids LOVE them. I like to choose favors that fit my party theme. However they also should be fun, practical items that won’t end up at the bottom of the toy box (ie: trash). Aim for quality over quantity. Shop early and with your theme in mind to find the best bargains. Here are a few creative party favor ideas:

Home-baked Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

This one is not going to cost you too much but these cookies are definitely time consuming. I pace myself over several days when I make these, baking the cookies one day, icing another day and adding details on a third. I follow the recipes and techniques from Sweet Sugar Belle. Practice makes perfect & my decorating skills have improved over the years!

Birthdays on a Budget - Tons of easy DIY tips!

For an Alice in Wonderland themed 7th birthday I made little pastel flowers and mushroom shaped cookies. My baby son’s It’s a Small World party I used the same cookie cutter but added colored candies to accent the center of each whimsical flower.

For my son’s second birthday we had an Elmo theme and I made “Elmo-breadmen” out of Sweet Sugar Belle’s gingerbread recipe. To save time I only frosted the faces and added small details. They came out so cute (and the gingerbread was yummy!).

Elmo-breadmen!


Hand-painted Wooden Dolls

I found these little unpainted wooden peg dolls on Etsy (cost about $1.25 each). For my baby’s It’s a Small World party I painted the dolls in Disney characters from around the globe.

It's a Small World Birthday Party - Budget party tips!

We had Lilo representing Hawaii, Merida from Scotland, Aladdin from India and Woody from the USA among others. I painted two dolls a night leading up to the party to pace myself, using acrylic paint and a small brush. I used the dolls as part of the party decor around the dessert table and then told the kids to choose one to take home. By far, the most popular favors I’ve ever given out!

It's a Small World birthday party. For more budget party ideas, click through!

Worst pictures ever! Sorry for the blur…


Treat Bags with Goodies

  • Figuring out your theme early helps if you’re making up goodie bags.
  • Keep an eye on the dollar bins or sale sections for items to include in treat bags that work for the age group.
  • Save coupons for the craft store and use those 40% off offers to buy favors.
  • I aim for about 3 items inside a treat bag, usually with something edible (like a sugar cookie) being one of them.
  • Stickers are easy and inexpensive.
  • Costume jewelry, a tube of lip balm and hair accessories are perfect for girls.
  • If you have a large enough treat bag, a coloring book from the dollar store in the party theme is perfect!

At my daughter’s 6th birthday party we had boy and girl themed bags (boys got race cars, girls received bracelets). For my son’s second birthday I only handed out treat bags (filled with a package of crayons & Sesame Street stickers) to the littlest of party goers.

Birthdays on a budget. Tons of ideas!

6. Budget-Friendly Party Decor

The decor sets the theme and it can be done simply for greatest impact. Decide on a color-scheme of two or three colors to keep the look bright and lively. I’ve included a few tips and some ideas on decorations for a tight budget.

  • Choose large decorations instead of tiny ones and you’ll only need a few around the room.
  • Instead of decking out your tables with every piece from a themed line, pick one item whether it be the dessert plates, the table cloth or the napkins. Complete the look by choosing complimentary colors or designs to the themed item.
  • Use toys or decorative items that you already have around the house to complete the theme.
  • Balloons, paper streamers and oversized tissue paper flowers add a lot of color without a big price.

Papercrafting

I crafted simple paper pinwheels out of leftover scrapbook paper and hung them with twine. In the center of one pinwheel I taped a color print of a vintage It’s a Small World poster.

Punch out simple circles from scrap book paper. Easily sew them up on the sewing machine to make a paper streamer.

DIY birthday decorations on a budget.


7. Themed Table Settings

Creating an exciting table setting as a focal point for your birthday party can be done in even the smallest spaces. Include a collection of foods or treats, colorful paper ware and maybe even a themed-toy.

  • Solid colored plastic tablecloths are cheaper than themed ones. Dress them up with a strip of wrapping paper as a colorful runner.
  • Choose sturdy paper ware and utensils. Better to pay a bit more for durable versions than have to double up flimsy plates or replace plastic forks that break tines.
  • Create interesting heights by using cakes stands. Or wrap cardboard boxes in coordinating wrapping paper to use for stacking items on the table.

For my son’s Elmo party, I used red as the main color for the plates and napkins and white on the tablecloths. Then I cut a strip of Dollar Store rainbow wrapping paper to use as the table runner. A Tickle Me Elmo toy set the theme and we didn’t require any expensive themed paper products from the party supply store!

Sesame Street Elmo party on a budget. Tons of party ideas!

Wrapping paper came in handy again at my adult birthday party. I used a roll of black wrapping paper and layered it over a gold tablecloth. Writing with an inexpensive white Sharpie pen on the black paper looks like chalk and created a sophisticated element to the tables, for $3.50 total.

Use black wrapping paper and a white sharpie for a chalkboard effect.

8. Feeding Your Guests

Food can easily be the most expensive part of party hosting. Depending on what you purchase you might be spending several hundred dollars feeding your guests. If you are budgeting, choose foods that are filling but inexpensive.

  • For parties during cold weather, consider soup. I like to make a big pot of turkey-bean chili and pans of homemade cornbread.
  • In warmer weather purchase sandwich fixings and include several loaves of bread or rolls, deli meat and a few cheese selections.
  • Even pizza can get expensive, especially if you add additional toppings. Find a location with a great coupon and save!
  • Steer away from prepackaged party platters because they also tend to be pricier.
  • If you want to serve veggies and fruit, buy them whole and cut them yourself. This is always going to be cheaper than buying pre-cut.

Birthday party on a budget, tons of helpful ideas.

Consider a salad bar! For this party, I chopped a few romaine heads and tossed in a box of spring mix. A little lettuce went a long way! Each one of the toppings cost an average of $1.50 each and I placed them in glass dishes, each with their own spoon. The most expensive item was the chicken, which my husband  seasoned & grilled. I was able to feed 25 for about $50 and we had quite a few leftovers.

Black paper and white sharpie create a chalkboard effect at this party.

  • If the budget is very tight, consider hosting your party at an odd hour (like 2 pm) and don’t offer food other than cake with drinks. Make sure you note on the invite that guests are joining you for dessert so they don’t expect to be served a meal.

9. Games & Activities for Party Guests

Parents often over think this and tend to plan too many activities during a party.  Kids are more easily entertained than you think. If you host the party at a park, let the playground be the entertainment. The most simple things are the best:

  • Pinatas are cheap enough but then you have to fill it and that can get really expensive. Use leftover Halloween or Easter candy!
  • Pipe cleaners from the dollar store are fun to bend into headbands or silly glasses.
  • If you have an outdoor space, Play-doh is always fun for little guys.
  • Search Minute to Win It games on Pinterest and find a wealth of things you can do using things from around the house.
  • Jot up a scavenger hunt list and have kids search either inside or out.
  • An art project with inexpensive watercolors and paper or thin canvas boards and acrylics.
  • Turn on the music and dim the lights to host a dance party.
  • Gather fun accessories from around the house or costume box for a photo booth. Take pictures of the guests being silly. The photo can be printed and sent out with thank you cards!

Happy Birthday! Tips for throwing a party on a budget.

10. Party Entertainment

Booking entertainment for birthday parties is usually very low on my checklist. I’m of the opinion that kids enjoy each other’s company enough that playing together is often fun enough!

  • Characters, princesses and party clowns are popular for parties. But sorry, Elsa & Anna from Frozen probably won’t be greeting guests at your party if you’re budgeting! That is unless you can convince a cool family member to dress up and act out the part.
  • Check your local Groupon website first if you’d like to get a bounce house or hire entertainment; they often have specials for 50-70% off.
  • Want to include face painting but don’t want to hire out? Buy your own kit and offer simple face painting designs yourself (or ask an artistic family member or friend for their assistance).

Parties put a smile on my face! Tons of tips on hosting a party on a budget!

Hosting the Best Birthday Party (Budget or Not)

The bottom line is to focus on the birthday kid and not get too wrapped up running around that you actually miss the special moments. It’s all about making memories and not the hoop-la, after all. Take lots of pictures and have fun!

Happy Birthday to you!

 

TONS of birthday party on a budget ideas! Dozens of creative themes, decorations and food ideas for all types of parties. #BirthdayParty

Halloween on a Budget – Make Your Own Adorable Costumes (and Save a Ton!!)

Make Your Own Halloween Costumes

I’m a crafty girl so of course, I always make my kid’s Halloween costumes. But even if you don’t have a crafty bone in your body, I know you can make a costume this year (or at least vow not to spend an ungodly amount of money on a crummy costume at the store, okay?). Want to make your own Halloween costumes? I’ll show you my 100+ tips, tricks and ideas to make your own Halloween costumes.

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps in a small financial way, thank you!

Tons of tips for making your own Halloween costumes, all on a budget!

Make a Halloween Costume Plan Early

A few months before Halloween I ask the kids to start thinking about what costume they want. Sometimes it takes them a few weeks to decide but this year they’ve been firm and have stuck with their original ideas. Two of the three have a Disney-theme, go figure! *wink*

I’m starting the Halloween planning a full 60 days in advance, which will give me plenty of time to make three kid’s costumes. I highly suggest starting early so you have plenty of time for planning and crafting and avoiding the night-before cram session (been there, done that!).

Some kids have a hard time deciding on a final theme so allow about a week of waffling before you tell them they have to nail it down. Once the planning process starts there is no changing of minds!

Dozen of Halloween Costume Ideas with Tips & Tricks on How to Make Your Own Costumes on a Budget

Draw Out a Basic Design

I draw a quick and simple design of the costume idea and present it to each child for approval. Make your drawing very simple and direct (don’t forget to show both front and back). Allow input from the kids about the design as they often come up with the most creative ideas!

I stress this…do not make them a costume as a surprise! This quite often will backfire. Kids want and need to approve what they wear. I believe that they should be involved in choosing their own theme. After all it’s the child that will be bringing the character to life! You want them to be happy and comfortable with what they are wearing (and not refusing to put it on!).

Dozen of Halloween Costume Ideas with Tips & Tricks on How to Make Your Own Costumes on a Budget

One of my favorite years was when my kids decided together that they wanted to be pirates. My son had a pair of glow-in-the-dark skeleton pajamas that became the base of the design. One child chose black and the other red as their main color scheme. I used the same skull and cross-bones design on the backs of their vests (drew out a image, traced it onto white fabric, cut it out and sewed it on).


The costumes had a similar look but each one unique with the choice of accessories. My son had a simple sash tied at his waist and a loose vest. For my daughter I made a tighter top (that laced on the sides) and a sash that laced with ribbon in front. I accented her outfit with inexpensive gold braid trim. These costumes look fantastic and I truly only spent about $15 total on the striped and black fabrics.

Argh! Brother and sister pirate Halloween costumes {Saving Up for Disney}

Know What You Have & Buy Only What You Need

As a seamstress, I have more than enough fabric and notions in my bins to costume a Broadway production! For this year’s costumes, I don’t think I’m going to have to purchase much of anything. But perhaps you’re starting from scratch? Save those fabric and craft store coupons now.

Figure out what fabrics you’d like to use for the costume (be practical about what will be easiest to work with and what washes up the best) and watch for sales. Dig through your odds and ends including buttons, ribbons and leftovers from previous craft projects. You might just find a diamond in the rough that will be the inspiration of your design!


Take a look at your closets and see what can be tweaked or reworked for a costume. In many cases I only have to make one main piece or an accessory to complete the look. The rest is straight from their everyday wear. I recommend Fabric.com online if you do need to purchase fabrics or supplies.

Like this adorable gnome. My son already had the corduroy pants so I just made a basic tunic (trimmed with white bias tape). Felt is so cheap and it was appropriately stiff so the hat stood up all on its own. I attached an elastic chin-strap and a strip of fur for the beard. This costume cost less than $10. It took only a few hours to create and he looked absolutely precious!

Dozen of Halloween Costume Ideas with Tips & Tricks on How to Make Your Own Costumes on a Budget

Keep An Open Mind & Creativity Flowing

I haven’t purchased a new pattern since 2007 because I use and reuse the classic styles that I already own. Don’t get hung up with needing a specific “princess” costume pattern. And you don’t have to exactly match the design on the cover.

Don’t let yourself get distracted by a dull or outdated design on the packaging. Simply changing up the fabrics and adding trims can make that style a true gem.

Scour the sale pattern bins and look for classics that can be manipulated for your design. A basic tunic pattern and elastic waist pants and skirts are the basis for countless costume designs.

Halloween spider costume on the cheap {Saving Up for Disney}

What do you have around the house that can be recycled for a costume? My son came up with the idea of “Hollywood Super Star Spider” when he was five. He knew he wanted a cane and a top hat. My dad made the cane with leftover PVC piping. I made the top hat from the thin cardboard of a cereal box, hot glue and leftover fabric strips.

I spent very little on the actual fabric for the costume and batting to fill in the spider arms. Mono-filament (fishing line) strung the arms together. He wore his own black pants with the tunic. My son was over the moon when his design and character came to life!


Tons of tips for making your own Halloween costumes, all on a budget!

A homemade cupcake, Sorcerer Mickey and a Marine

Less is More (Thinking Cheap)

Specialty fabrics can be very expensive so try to use them minimally instead of in excess. They generally have a greater impact when used strategically, like in the bodice of a dress instead of in the entire skirt.

For my son’s spider costume I used only a small amount of the priciest fabric (the sheer, sparkly red spiderweb design), choosing to place it only on the front of the tunic. Same goes for fancy trims: Instead of edging the entire hem of a skirt, use a pricey trim only around the neckline or sleeves.


When I want to create drama without the expense on a costume, I pull out my fabric paints. A little glittery fabric paint can go a long way to making your look more professional! When my nephew got a hold of this Spiderman costume it had already been through two previous Halloweens over the course of 8 years but the paint pen marker that I’d used to draw the web was still holding up!

Spiderman costume on the cheap {Saving Up for Disney}

For the cost of a few plastic buttons and some stretchy knit fabric, you can have your own Mickey in the house! Check out my DIY Mickey Mouse costume tutorial.

mickeycostume

Face Paint Can Be a Costume

Keep your outfit simple and go with dramatic face paint. This is an awesome way to dress up as a wild animal.


Turn That “OOPS” Into “I MEANT TO DO THAT!”

See my daughter twirling in her lovely fairy butterfly dress? When I tried it on her for the first time it completely fell off her shoulders! I needed a fix and I needed one fast! I improvised by sewing strips on the dress inside the neckline. This created a unique bejeweled collar that became the signature look of the design. When something doesn’t work it’s time to pull out all the creative stops and look at it a different way.

Halloween butterfly fairy costume {Saving Up for Disney}

Outside the Box

My son is nothing if not imaginative. He came to me with the idea of being a bush for Halloween when he was 6 years old. His idea was that he wanted to hide in corners and then jump out and scare people who thought he was just part of the landscaping!

After pricing the cost of fake leaves we had a discussion and I convinced him to be a tree. The cost of completely covering his entire body with leaves was going to be prohibitive. But one strand of fake greenery was acceptable. He could still be in disguise and if he squatted down, he’d still look like a bush. He went for it!

We used an old shirt and I hot glued on the leaves. A bucket hat received an overlay of green fabric, more leaves and even a tiny nest and bird that we had in our craft box! He wore brown pants for the “trunk” and everyone loved his creative costume. And he got the biggest kick out of jumping out at people along the trick-or-treating trail.

Halloween costume - A tree with a bird's nest {Saving Up for Disney}

Give Yourself Enough Time (and Know Where to Cut Corners)

This zebra jacket took more time than you’d ever know! Seriously, I worked for hours and hours cutting out strips and sewing them in place. I made the headpiece with a firm piece of latch-hook plastic. I looped the black and white yarn through it and then sewed the plastic in place onto the hood.

But by the time I got to the bottoms I’d run out of time! I’d planned on making black pants and adding the stripes but instead had to resort to tweaking an old pair of soccer shorts with a few stripes sewn on and having him wear a pair of his sister’s black leggings. It all worked out in the end, he loved the costume and he still wears this jacket!

Zebra costume made from a hoodie {Saving Up for Disney}

My point is to judge how long you’re taking on a particular project and know whether it’s worth your time to keep going or to amend the project to suit your time and needs. In the case of my daughter’s fairy butterfly dress, the skirt fabric was two silky layers and I didn’t have the time to hem it in the traditional way.  I serged the edge in a contrasting thread so it was still finished off. The pretty threads added a colorful charm to the design.

Very Hungry Caterpillar baby costume {Saving Up for Disney}

For the baby’s first Halloween, I knew he’d been spending the night in his stroller, probably asleep. I didn’t need to make him anything fancy, instead opting for fabrics I already had in a theme he loved from his favorite book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. A simple elastic tube of green fabric trimmed with colorful ribbons up the spine and a quickly appliqued knit cap was enough for his first Halloween.

Costume From the Closet

Rather than full out costume, see what you can use from your own closet to create. I made a DIY Vanellope Von Schweetz for my daughter using items that were from her closet or easily purchased and that could be re-worn as clothing. Hooded sweatshirts are so easily manipulated into a costume with a few inexpensive trims.

 

If you really don’t want to spend much (or any) money, take a look at what you already own that can be finagled into a costume. My little guy loved the Wizard of Oz a few years ago (and his sister was already dressing as Dorothy) so I easily put together his scarecrow costume with a plaid shirt, overalls, a bucket hat and some raffia. Adorable…and free!

Baby scarecrow costume with items in the closet - totally free! {Saving Up for Disney}

Alright, Okay…So, You’re Going With Store Bought

Remember when I said I always make my kids own costumes. I lied. One year I bought my son a Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Caribbean costume. In all honesty, I had been listing a hand painted pirate costume in my Etsy shop that year and I’d made a half-dozen of them and just didn’t have enough time for my own kid’s costume!


So we splurged and went with store-bought. It was a nice quality Disney store costume and he “made it his own” by pairing it with my brother’s vintage pirate hat. It was a nice enough costume that it was handed down to my nephew the following year and then I sold it the next year on Ebay!

Halloween costumes on the cheap {Saving Up for Disney}

My Hollywood SuperStar Spider and his cousin, wearing the store bought Jack Sparrow costume the second year.


If you do go with store bought, keep a few things in mind:

Quality vs. Price.

  • Is the fabric so cheaply transparent that kids will have to wear a second layer underneath for modesty?
  • How many times after Halloween night will the costume be wearable?
  • Could it be resold either on Ebay or to a friend afterwards? There are some really precious costumes out there. But is it really worth it to you to spend $80 for a one-day outfit?

Dozen of Halloween Costume Ideas with Tips & Tricks on How to Make Your Own Costumes on a Budget

Shop the Thrift or Resale Shops First

It’s what everyone did with last year’s costumes: They donated them and they are yours for the picking! I found my daughter’s Wizard of Oz Dorothy costume at the thrift store last year for a whopping $4! The ruby slippers were $10 and she wore them for every Christmas event and school dance that year so I say that is one bargain Halloween costume!


Start with Accessories Before Buying the Head-to-Toe Costume

Can you get away with buying a store-bought accessory and using items from your closet for the rest? I present to you, Indiana Jones! An accessories set included the Indiana Jones Child’s Hat and Whip Set and Indiana Jones Satchel (which was of course, his trick-or-treat bag).

It cost me about $15 total and I pulled a khaki shirt and brown pants from his closet to complete the look. He added the smolder on his own!

Dozen of Halloween Costume Ideas with Tips & Tricks on How to Make Your Own Costumes on a Budget

Is it Comfortable?

  • Itchy fabric? Too tight elastic? So many store-bought costumes are sealed up inside their packages and can’t be tried on first.
  • Some of the retailers have very strict return policies in regards to Halloween costumes so make sure that you are able to try it on completely before making the purchase.
  • If your child isn’t comfortable wearing the costume in the store, they will be miserable trick-or-treating and who wants those kind of memories?

Dozen of Halloween Costume Ideas with Tips & Tricks on How to Make Your Own Costumes on a Budget

Will This Costume Ever Be Worn Again?

Will your kids wear their costumes to play dress-up through out the year? Invest in nice quality pieces that won’t fall apart in the dress-up bin. The hours of entertainment they provide are worth it. Every item that I’ve made has either been handed down to another child or has been worn again for dress-up and pretend play. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey hat that I made for Halloween became the theme of my son’s birthday so he wore the hat for the party too!

Tons of tips for making your own Halloween costumes, all on a budget!

On a final note, I think Halloween costumes are a wonderful way of expressing creativity and style. Not only just for the person making the costume. The child who chooses the theme and helps design makes the costume come to life with their own personality.

This final shot of my nephew and son, rocking their individual looks perfectly reflects that. Choose a costume that transforms you and makes your character come to life!