Ah, Halloween… the season of frights and giggles, princesses and pirates, candy and costumes. The trees change (or they don’t, depending on where you’re stationed), you snuggle up to watch the Peanuts Gang look for the Great Pumpkin, and you grapple with a perennial problem: what the kids are going to wear for Halloween.
Costumes can be tough– they are often costly and can be hard to find if you’re in the middle of nowhere and it’s just a few days before Halloween. (Hello, empty racks and expensive pricing for cheap material!)
Instead, take a look around your home, garage, and basement. Chances are, you’ve got a few moving boxes broken down, lurking in the corners like monsters ready to pounce the next time you PCS. Grab some paint, tape, and your imagination, because we’re going to turn those space-eating boxes into costumes!
Tetris Group Costume
Group costumes are always a fun twist on Halloween! Use moving boxes to create individual Tetris pieces that also fit together with the other costumes in your group. Want to be even spookier? Use dark Halloween colors like orange, black, yellow, purple, and green for pieces.
To get a snug fit when stacking boxes, cut the box lids opposite of each other as you piece them together and use packing tape to increase stability. After your shapes are created, use spray adhesive to stick colored paper to the boxes (you could also spray them if you have a space to do so), and then use black tape to divide sections to create a Tetris look.
Minecraft is a huge hit in schools and homes across America. Many chain stores offer Minecraft costumes and props that you can easily recreate with a box and some paint, construction paper, or colored tape. This is the perfect opportunity to get kids involved in planning, designing, and creating their own Minecraft head. Add a Minecraft sword or other accessory and watch your kids become literal blockheads.
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Very yellow, very lovable SpongeBob can be one of your trick-or-treaters this fall with some paint, a few props, and a sturdy box. This costume is just begging to be part of a group: add a Sandy, Mr. Crabs, and/or Patrick for children or friends who are just about the same age. Trick-or-treating with a baby? I think you mean, you’re trick-or-treating with a perfectly sized Plankton!
Legos and Rubik’s Cubes are fantastic ways to repurpose big boxes… and they also are another great option for group costumes. To make life-sized Legos, cut off the bottoms of Solo cups and then attach with a glue gun to make the signature pattern of circles. Spray paint the costume all one color. For a Rubik’s Cube, help your child measure and divide the box into uniform squares, then let them go crazy with paint in the Rubik’s colors.
Paint a box to look like the outer packaging of a doll or toy. Then, the costume-wearer dresses up like that particular toy. GI Joes, Monster High dolls, Barbies, American Girls, and Cabbage Patch Kids are all fantastic options for this particular costume. Once dressed, fasten the box around them. Want to up the creep factor? Have your packaged toy act like a toy… until the perfect moment, when they can suddenly open their eyes, turn their head, or do something equally scary. Living dolls are always a of a really good (and often cheesy) horror movie.
Submarines, Tanks, Jeeps, and Planes
You’ll have to deconstruct some of the boxes for these costumes, but they’ll be worth the work– especially when trick-or-treating on base. Your little sailor, soldier, or airman can help to design a cardboard copy of their favorite military vehicle.
Who doesn’t love a good robot? Grab a box, and some aluminum foil or metallic spray paint and go to town!
There are so many more ideas that can use up your bundles of cardboard boxes and packing material. In the world of Pinterest and Instagram, a few searches for the costumes your family wants to wear can yield results and a wealth of information. It might take a little extra time, but it’s worth it. After all, providing fun and unique costumes, memories that will last a lifetime, reusing materials, and saving a little cash in the process is a pretty great Halloween treat!
Thanks to our friends at Suddath for their inspiration for this piece. Suddath, a moving and relocation company that helps over 30,000 military families a year PCS, offers services to make moves easier for the military community. Click here to find more information about Suddath’s moving and storage options.