If you have been to the Halloween section of Target or Walmart lately, I think that you can agree with me that costumes have become pretty cheap and commercial since we were kids. Yes, I remember the flimsy face masks back in the 80’s, but at least it came with a mask. Now they just sew some eyes on the top of a hood. And most of them are constructed out of cheap nylon material that runs and snags before you can even get it out of the package. If you want a higher quality costume then head over to Pottery Barn or seek out a Tom Arma; but be prepared to shell out $70-100+, even for infant sizes. And don’t try to fool yourself into thinking that you will get more use out of it in subsequent years. You won’t. I did this for the first few years with my oldest son. I would spend too much on his costume thinking that my younger sons would wear it the next year. But they never want to wear that ‘old’ costume. You can suck it up and move on, or you can become that mom who takes all of the fun out of the holiday and forces your kids to dress up as something they don’t want to be. So back to my original dilemma, what is a mom to do? Is it possible to get high quality costumes at a decent price? Absolutely! It just takes a little ingenuity and rummaging. Here is a look at my family’s DIY Halloween costumes this year.

Mario and Luigi

Call me cheesy, but I love doing family themes. This year my boys have opted for a Super Mario Bros. theme. My 4-year-old and 6-year-old will be Mario and Luigi, respectively. We already have the overalls, long sleeve shirts and work boots. I just have to make some oversized yellow felt button covers for the overalls. I bought some great mustaches, hats and gloves from Amazon.com. I think that we may even complete the look with plungers, new plungers. I have been toying with the idea of putting my tummy Spanx on Mario and stuffing it to give him a belly, but I have a feeling that it would just lead to a lot of uncomfortable whining.

Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong

My one-year-old is going as Diddy Kong (DK’s little side kick). We bought him a brown sweat suit, a little red tee to go over it, and a red baseball cap. I am going to attach little monkey ears to the cap and a tail to his pants. Then I just need to cut a few emblems out yellow felt and glue them to the appropriate places. My hubby will be the original Donkey Kong. I got him an ape mask that is a good double for DK. He will wear matching brown shirt and pants and a coffee dyed wife beater over his shirt. I am going to use the yellow felt to cut out a ‘DK’ and glue it to an old red tie. We will throw in a few bananas for good measure and ta-da! I am still working on getting him to wear gorilla hands that I found at the Halloween store. He’s not that into it.

Princess Peach

My boys are so excited for me to dress up as Peach. Because I have short brunette hair, I bought a wig of long curly golden blond locks. I found an old 80’s poofy pink prom dress on Ebay along with some pink mary jane crocs–because there is no way I am wearing heels all night. I bought a tiara and long white gloves at the Dollar Store and an aqua oval stone from the craft store for her signature broach. I am considering adding some false lashes and my boys insist that I need an umbrella (she uses her umbrella to fight with in Mario Smash Bros!).

After all is said and done, our costumes will cost about what we would have spent on the cheapy ones at the party store. But I think (and hope) that they will look more realistic and original.