Dressing up for Halloween can be tricky for kids with sensory challenges. Itchy seams, tight collars, and the smell of a mask or face paint can make wearing a store-bought costume unbearable.
Making simple sensory-friendly costumes using comfortable, everyday clothes is an easy and low-cost solution. The best part? You may already have what you need lying around the house.
Start with a soft sweatshirt in a style your child finds most comfortable — hoodie, crewneck, or zip-up. Once you choose the sweatshirt, add details to transform it into a:
- Bat: Glue or sew additional material under the arms.
- Dinosaur: Hot-glue felt triangle “spikes” down the back of a hoodie.
- Jack-o’-lantern: Use black marker to draw a pumpkin face on an orange sweatshirt.
For the ultimate in comfort, use soft pajamas as the base of the costume and go from there.
- Skeleton: Begin with a pair of black, fitted, long-sleeve and long-pants pajamas. Then use white fabric paint or masking tape to create a skeleton.
- Thing 1 and Thing 2: Use glued or sewn felt scraps to turn plain red pajamas into the Dr. Seuss characters.
- Gumball machine: Use hot glue or sticky Velcro dots to attach pom-poms to a solid-colored pajama top.
Costumes using regular clothes
You don’t have to do much to turn your child’s regular, comfortable clothing into a costume. Inexpensive accessories can turn your child into:
- Waldo: Pair jeans with a red-and-white horizontally striped shirt, some fake glasses, and a winter hat. You can even use painter’s tape to add stripes to a plain red or white shirt.
- Referee: Instead of the red-and-white stripe shirt above, buy or make a black-and-white one with vertical stripes. Add a whistle and pair of athletic pants.
- Fairy: Add a pair of elastic band wings to a comfortable dress from your child’s closet.
A solid-colored apron makes a great canvas for many costumes. Decorate the apron (you can use marker, colored tape, paint, or glued-on pieces of fabric) and put it on over your child’s regular clothes or pajamas. With a few strokes your child could be:
- A ketchup or mustard bottle
- A bag of chips or candy
- A tube of toothpaste
- A crayon or a box of crayons
- A cell phone
- Many popular characters