Costume Craze – Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

When we think of Halloween, we think of candy, trick-or-treating, and fun. We also think of scary things like goblins, ghosts, ghouls, skeletons, vampires, and more. But for young children, any costume, even a cute or funny one, can be scary. Costumes make everyone and everything look unfamiliar, and make loved ones unrecognizable so children don’t know where to turn.  Children also often (dare I say, usually?) refuse to wear the costumes that their parents so carefully selected or made for them. I always spend at least a week preceding Halloween preparing my students so they know what to expect and aren’t scared when they are surrounded by people in costume on Halloween, or scared to put on their own costumes. In order for my kids to have fun on Halloween and associate it with good times, I make a costume, hat, or mask with them every day, let them wear them around the classroom, and send them home wearing them so they get comfortable with the concept of costumes and disguises. My kids love making all kinds of Halloween crafts, and paper plate crafts are an easy material for making hats, masks and other kids crafts for Halloween.
Paper plate masks are an easy way to make a costume. Cut eye holes in a paper plate and then kids can make it into virtually any animal they choose. Bears, rabbits or cats work well – just cut rounded ears for bears, long ears for rabbits, or triangular ears for cats out of colored paper. Let the kids glue them to the top of their mask and then draw on a nose, mouth, and whiskers (no whiskers for bears, though), and decorate them however they choose. (Cats can be decorated with spots to look like leopards or stripes to become tigers.) You can staple both ends of a strip of elastic to the back of the paper plate craft so kids can wear them, or have the kids glue craft sticks to the bottom of the kids craft so they can hold the mask in front of their face. For a lion, pre-cut fringes out of yellow or brown colored paper and have kids glue them around the perimeter of the paper plate. Voila, your Halloween craft is done!

Another paper plate craft that’s always a hit with the girls is a flower mask. Cut out the inside of each plate so it is just a ring (about an inch wide). Then have kids glue lots and lots of “petals” around the ring. Start with petals cut out of posterboard or tag, and then glue tissue paper “petals” on top of those. Flower petals can be red, pink, yellow, or any color the children choose, and Hygloss paper plates come in an assortment of coordinating colors. Staple on an elastic band or glue on a craft stick and your flower mask is done. One great thing about this Halloween craft is that if a child doesn’t like the way it feels on her face as a mask, she can use the elastic band to secure it like a hat on top of her head instead. To make a costume out of this kids craft, children can just wear green clothes for the stem, and even attach green tagboard “leaves” to their arms.

Here is one last Halloween craft that is really simple and a big hit with the kids. A kids craft that they always love to make is a Mickey Mouse-ear crown. Simply cut a strip about 2 inches wide and long out of black paper. Cut out circles 3 inches in diameter. You can also cut bows out of colored paper for the girls to be Minnie Mouse. Let children glue the ears and bows on to the paper strips and then staple the strip into a circle that will fit around each child’s head. This is a fun and quick way for kids to make a costume that they will really enjoy wearing. I made one with my daughter Marni and she didn’t take it off all day.

A few spare masks and hats can be left in the dress-up corner for round-the-year use.
Lorie
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