Thursday, 11 November 2021 15:09

Save for Next Year

By Katherine Morna Towne | Families Today
Save for Next Year

I know it violates a big rule of periodical publishing to print something out-of-season, but this is also a column about being a mom, and I tell you as a mom — if I don’t do something when I think of it, it won’t get done. So I’m sorry to tell you that, even though Halloween is over and we’ve moved on to thinking about The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (in which I include Thanksgiving), I have some Halloween ideas I need to share. I’ll leave it to you to decide if you want to save this list for future use; I know I myself will be referring to it often for many years to come.

This has to do with big kids — particularly, in my house, middle school and high school kids. This has to do with costumes — particularly, in my house, kids professing to not be at all interested in dressing up for Halloween and they wouldn’t have any idea what to wear as a costume anyway. This has to do with last-minute freak outs — particularly, in my house, the fact that the eleventh hour seems to be exactly when my children decide to do something they’d previously decided not to do, or change their minds about something previously decided upon, but they have no ideas about how to make it all happen. Yes, at the very last minute a couple of my boys decided they did want to dress up for Halloween after all.

We took to the internet to see if we could find costume ideas. Our standards were very low — we just wanted ideas that could be pulled together in a few minutes with things we had around the house, even if they were dumb, even if they challenged the very definition of “costume.” These were my favorites:

One of the most classic Halloween costumes, and one of the easiest!

Cereal Killer
The picture I saw online of a “Cereal Killer” costume was of a bunch of mini cereal boxes affixed to a shirt with plastic knives stuck in each one and red paint around each knife puncture and on the shirt, but even just one regular sized cereal box could do.

50s guy or lumberjack
I’m grouping these two together because they both involve jeans — only the shirts change. 50s guy can wear just a white t-shirt with the sleeve rolled; a black leather jacket is a bonus. A lumberjack only needs a flannel shirt; suspenders would be a fun addition, but not necessary.

Shirt tucked in, pants hiked up, and hair parted in the middle and slicked down seem to be the hallmarks of a “nerd,” at least in a “Halloween costume” kind of way. A pair of glasses would complete the look nicely, if you had them.

While a bathing suit and swim shirt wouldn’t be great for trick-or-treating in the cold, this could be a perfect costume for a Halloween party or to wear to school. A towel around the neck, flip flops, and goggles would all be good accessories if available.

Bag of leaves
All you need is a big garbage bag and leaves! Cut holes in the bottom of the garbage bag and step into it, pulling it up to the top of your legs (over your pants), and put some leaves in it — voila! You’re a bag of leaves!

Three hole punch guy
After googling “fast easy costumes for teens,” I also googled “Jim Halpert Halloween costumes” — Jim Halpert is a character on the show “The Office” whose Halloween costumes almost always involved the smallest amount of effort necessary. One of them was “Three-hole-punch Jim,” in which he cut out three large black circles (construction paper is perfect for this) and stuck them in a vertical row to one side of his shirt. Not only does this allow you to pass as technically having a costume, but the connection to the “The Office” adds an extra layer of comedy for anyone familiar with the show.

Jake from State Farm or Dave
I have to give credit for this one to some of the teens that have trick-or-treated at my house in past years. The first time I saw a teen wearing a red polo shirt and khakis with a nametag that said, “Jake from State Farm,” I laughed out loud! Similarly, one of Jim Halpert’s “costumes” on “The Office” was a nametag that said, “Dave.” When people asked him what he was, he’d point to the nametag and say, “Dave.” So dumb, yet so funny!

Error404:  Costume not found 
I thought this last idea was pretty clever: It’s just a matter of putting the words, “Error 404: Costume not found” on your shirt! It could be as easy as writing it on a piece of paper and sticking it to the front of your shirt.

You can see what I meant when I wrote in the beginning that it didn’t matter if the ideas I found were dumb or even challenged the very definition of “costume”! I really think this list is going to come in handy in my house in the coming years — I hope you find it as helpful as I do. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Kate and her husband have seven sons ages 17, 15, 13, 11, 9, 7, and 3. Follow her at, or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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