Award-Winning Halloween Costumes

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I wanted to give you moms who still have little ones an opportunity to whip up an award-winning Halloween costume for your neighborhood or community contest. You still have plenty of time.

Adult award-winner is at bottom of the post but let’s focus on the kids first.

I believe it should fall to the grandmas of the world to make the costumes. Such a loving act to your grandkids and such a relief to moms like me who become stressed when I have to sew on a button.

Yes, my mother can sew.

Yes, I took Home Economics back in the late 70’s in preparation to become the domestic goddess that I am today.

It’s just that the sewing bug never really stuck after I made that beautiful quilted vest I had to wear when I was a freshman.

Oh yes I did, because part of the grade was that you had to wear what you made to school.

What mean teacher thought of that? I still got an “A” in spite of that vest.

Somehow, I guilted my mother, a non-crafter to begin making costumes for my precious children because even though I can’t sew, I have a serious aversion to the store-bought variety.

I now give you the Killer Bees of 1992…


Poor Wizzy couldn’t even walk so we had to pull her in a wagon.

In 1993 we had a litter of darling dalmatians…


They were like little doggy snowsuits. Grandma was thinking of the wintery Halloweens of Northern Illinois. Lucky for us, it was actually cold that year and our puppies stayed warm in Georgia.

Sticking with the animal theme in 1994…


A lion and two cheetos. At least that’s what the girls told everyone when they asked what they were. “We two cheetos.” Wasn’t that obvious?

The problem with being a fourth child? Well, there’s a list but trying to stay focused on the topic of today – poor Scary Baby has had to wear every single costume her siblings had already worn.


But if we didn’t have family albums by the year and I hadn’t noticed her creative personal touch of adding of my bear feet slippers, I’m not sure we would know that it is Everina and not Everett.

Mom tip #1: If you pick a theme like animals, they are really timeless. The Barney costume and Mutant Turtle things of the 90’s – not so timeless.

After three years of awesome costumes, Grandma lost her momentum and I conceded that I could handle it in 1995 trying to remain grateful for the previous years.

Part of our early Halloween traditions include going over to the local supermarket where they have cookie decorating, games and ample candy all in the quiet convenience of our favorite grocery. Then we head to a Fall Festival at our church where there are more games, pony rides and of course, more candy!

Mom tip #2: I always told them in a very excited voice what they were going to be for Halloween. Because asking a kid what they want to be for Halloween is like taking a 2 year-old to Toys R Us and saying “pick a toy!”
It is over-stimulation and I say…start early…don’t do it!

Of course, I am aware that I have stifled their creativity and any behavior problems I now have (and I have plenty) can all be traced back to their childhood scars of never getting to pick their Halloween costume.


What is quietly amusing about our themed costumes is that when Grandma stopped making them, the kids started winning costume contests at the grocery store.

Mom tip #3: Matching costumes helped me manage them in public just like coordinating clothes did. Again, I plead guilty to squelching their individuality. My mom motto? Do what works…for you.

Alright, back to the winning costumes because that is what you really want to see, right?

I present the Humphreys robots of 1995…



Forget sewing but give me a glue gun and a can of spray paint and I go crazy.

I wish I could tell you where I got this idea because I’m sure you already figured out I did not think of it on my own. I’m pretty sure it was a magazine. Or TV. Or a book.

Supply list: Dryer duct, reflectors, outlet covers, stickers and even those little battery-powered Christmas tree light packs for miniature trees all work well for this project.

Add a variety of foil baking pans and a colander from the kitchen section.

Then set everything up at a big table and let the kids decorate their own costumes. See, I didn’t stifle their creativity entirely.

Final touches: Grey sweat suits and spray paint old shoes and milk jugs with silver paint and you are looking at first place winners at Publix!


Notice Wizzy couldn’t wait until after the picture to start eating her candy. They won the big pumpkin and a cake from the bakery. Because we would need a sweet dessert after trick or treating?!

First place came with some pressure.

What would they be the next year?

Sometimes, the old classic standbys are the easiest and best…


Two clowns and a magician worked. Yes, I did succumb to the store-bought clown suits and wigs.

In fact, the clowns took 2nd place at Publix.


I think it was mom’s custom face painting that won them a big basket of candy and toys.

Whew, that’s five years of ideas and I’m spent. Hope it gives you an idea or two.

I also loved that they are all unisex and not pink or blue. I spent a lot of years with a boy and two girls fighting those stereotypes.

Then I had Scary Baby. And pretty much gave up. But that’s a whole different subject.

Oh, I almost forgot, I told you at the beginning I did have one
adult award-winning costume idea to share.

I know three unnamed young women who hoped to win $100 in a contest in the 80’s for this delightful group costume…


One of them didn’t even drink. They all knew PBR wasn’t a very popular beverage. But it was the easiest can to draw on giant poster board. Go figure.

These women went as a six-pack and carried an empty can next to them in hopes they’d find a dream date for the evening.

They won the $100 but had no luck with the dates.

Adapt this idea accordingly. Giant poster board, metallic silver poster board, markers, wire coat hanger and foil for the beautiful pop tops and you’re good to go.

And if you are planning to have children and don’t want a picture of you in your reckless youth to be discovered, I think you should be a six-pack of Sprite. Just a suggestion.

The kids’ animal costumes have been lovingly cared for and worn by neighbors and friends through the years. I’m all about recycling so if you have a little one and need a bee, dalmatian, lion or cheeto costume, just email me and I still have time to loan you a costume or two or three!


One year ago..

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  1. 1
    Karen says:

    Couldn’t help but laugh at this one! My mother-in-law saved me at Halloween and we had similar animal costumes for my boys–and she did it long distance with measurements and then sent in a big box. They too were recycled among many friends/neighbors. One year we had a dinosaur with a humongous tail! Didn’t make it very far walking the street and through the church party, but was quite the crowd pleaser! Sherra–I’m with you. Did the sewing thing in Home Ec. but couldn’t sew much of anything today if I wanted to. Thanks for taking us down your Halloween Memory Lane and making me smile today!
    Oh and those beer cans brought back a college memory. We were playing cards–VERY easy to draw!

  2. 2
    Teri says:

    Okay…we were honestly destined to become friends. One of two “C”‘s TOTAL in my high school years was during a sewing unit in Home Ec. I STILL have nightmares when thinking about the paneled dress that I sewed, ( okay, so perhaps the teacher DID have to help just a smidge…or 20!) ;0/ and then ended up ripping over HALF of it out! At that point, I wanted to BURN it, but, hey it was “cool”, “popular” etc. I haven’t sewn a THING since! I could possibly still whip up a barbeque apron with the casing if needed, since you had to always “start” with that baby no matter how many classes you’d taken…it was like the rite of passage or something! The Halloween costumes were fantastic…one of my favorite holidays hands down, and thanks for the memories! We were so “into it” that the year Paul and I married, my brother actually had the nerve to suggest that he would use my wedding dress that fall for his costume! YEAH, RIGHT! ;0/

  3. 3
    julieann says:

    Just too cute! Seeing the children so young and sweet really makes one feel old. Any word on their costumes this year? As for easy adult costumes I remember one year dressing in a large black trash bag stuffed with newspaper, wearing white gloves, tights, and high-top Converse—the old California Raisin! I think that one has probably passed its time (don’t believe they use the commercials anymore), but if you found it useful just tell ‘um you heard it through the grapevine (groan).

  4. 4
    Tammy says:

    Halloween is fun at our house because it is my youngest daughter’s birthday. I have so many pictures of her. My favorite is when she was 2 and was Cinderella. We had her birthday pictures made in her costume and she is actually sitting on an overturned column holding her wand. It looks like Cinderella trashed the ball. Anyone that knew her at that age loved that is fit her to a tee!

    My oldest daughter says I scarred her for life by forcing her to wear a shirt under her Megara costume because it totally ruined the look. She claims she will never force her kids to wear things under or over their costumes regardless of the weather. I can’t wait to see how that works out for her! You would think that 12 years later she should be over it but, alas, she is not!

    Thanks for the laughs as always!

  5. 5
    Sherra says:

    Karen » Glad to know other Home Ec dropouts who have still succeeded in motherhood!

    Teri » I didn’t mention the flannel nightgown I made next. Strategic planning because the teacher would have NEVER made me wear my nightgown to school. Several girls were a little cranky that I figured a way to beat the system. And the nightgown was actually lovely compared to that quilted vest!

    julieann » I don’t even ask the teens about costumes anymore. I’m the Stupid Mom and all I know is that there is a Halloween party here next week which “they do not need any help with.” I think I’ll just lock myself in my bedroom.

    Tammy » I don’t know who Megara is or was? But come on Mom – geez, you know that being “cool” is much more important than being “warm.” Therefore I recommend animal snowsuits to all who still have time to sew a grand costume! LOL


  1. […] while we’re in the mountains. I’m not a typical crafty mom even though I am proud of the robot costume creations. This year though, I am packing a glue gun, paint and some wiggly […]

  2. […] They won first prize. So glad they are carrying on the family tradition of award-winning Halloween costumes! […]