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Spend Time With Kids By Making Halloween Costumes

By Amy Woolfolk

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- While Halloween costumes can be as simple as a trip to the store, taking time with a child to create a costume at home can be fun for the family.

Dr. Betty Fulwood, apparel and textiles specialist for Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said it has become common practice in today's fast-paced society to buy ready-made costumes. However, great costumes can be found at home for little or no expense.

"Everyone is busy these days, so it is easy just to buy a costume," she said, "With a little time and creativity, unique costumes can be put together with articles you already have."

The specialist suggested starting the costume search in closets and the attic. Old clothes, accessories and even old costumes may be stored there.

"Out-of-style clothes can make fun dress-up costumes for children," Fulwood said. "It is important, though, to make sure clothes fit children properly."

She said to think of outfits the child may already have that could be used on Halloween.

Sports uniforms, dance outfits and other clothes can be the basis for unique costumes.

"With a few creative alterations and additions, everyday clothes can be turned into costumes," she said. "An orange sweatsuit can become a Jack-o-lantern suit with a few quick appliques, or adding a black cape to black pants makes a great Dracula outfit. Costumes do not have to be complicated or even scary."

Fulwood offered the following safety reminders for creating a costume at home.

* Check the length of pants, skirts and capes. Make sure they are short enough to prevent children from tripping.

* Consider using make-up instead of masks, which may restrict vision. Secure hats so they do not fall down over the eyes.

* Choose light colors for costumes and decorate with reflective tape. These will make the child more visible at night.

"In creating a costume for a child, make something that is safe and practical," Fulwood said. "The time spent with a child making a costume is much more important than money that might be spent on one. So be creative and have fun."

-30-

Released: Oct. 2, 1998
Contact: Betty Fulwood, (601) 325-3081

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