Our Favorite DIY Halloween Costumes of 2010

We asked our readers what their favorite DIY Halloween costume ideas were, and they delivered!  How will they outfit those trick-or-treaters this year?

Pair of dice. Cut head and arm holes in boxes. Paint them or wrap them in white paper, add some black dots. (Thanks, Brittany!)

The world. Use old boxes to make a sandwich board that fits over the shoulders. Paint it. Attach planets, the sun, and the moon made from cardboard scraps onto a headband. (Thank you, Lauren!)

Fairy. Scavenge around the house for materials! Lauren’s daughter will wear a tutu over a onesie and sweatpants. Felt will cover her shoes, transforming them into fairy shoes. Make a wand out of a stick, ribbons, and paint. Fashion wings out of hangers and old tights. The final touch? A crown made from fake flowers.
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A Creepy, Crawly DIY Halloween Craft: Another Paper Spider in Its Web

Last year I dazzled you with my Paper Spider. (Not to brag or anything, but this easy Halloween craft was showcased on the French website Bulbinblue earlier this month!) What crafty goodness do I have in store for you this year? Another, different paper spider. A creepier, crawlier paper spider:

Here’s how you do it:

1. Fold a white, square piece of paper in half, making a triangle

2. Fold it in half again

3. Fold that in thirds

4. Cut the top off at an angle

5. Draw a web pattern as shown

6. Cut out the web

7. Fold a piece of black paper in half and cut out a spider

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The Easiest Halloween Craft in the World: A DIY Paper Jack-o-Lantern

1. Cut a pumpkin out of orange paper. (Go directly to How to Make a Paper Jack-o-Lantern if this step seems too daunting!)

2. Have your child draw a face on the pumpkin.

For more advanced Halloween crafts, check out some of our vintage posts:

How to Make a Paper Spider in Its Web (I’ll have a new version of this coming up soon!)
How to Make a Cardboard School Bus Costume out of a Wagon
How to Make Your Own Compostable Diaper out of a Pumpkin
How to Make a Paper Jack-o-Lantern

Valentine’s Day Ideas Brought to You by the Green Baby Guide

Have you been asking yourself lately, “What do Joy and Rebecca have to say about celebrating an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day?”?  Well, you’re in luck because today’s post highlights some of our fascinating thoughts on this very subject.

First, there’s Joy’s Valentine’s brownie recipe. Not only will it woo the health-conscious chocolate lover in your life, these treats are guaranteed to cost less than a foil-covered box of chocolates.

nutritious-brownies-made-with-wheat-germ

Would you like to celebrate without shelling out hundreds of dollars for tickets, dinners, and diamonds? Readers weigh in with cheap, green date ideas.

Finally we have a few ideas for homemade Valentines. Potato print valentines are perfect if you need to mass-produce some cards for a child’s class. In our last-minute eco-friendly valentines post, we discuss how to make Valentines out of organic materials . . . such as rocks. Or perhaps you would like to know how to make a paper heart valentine—we reveal our paper-cutting secrets. (Strange fact: That post happens to be our most popular post of all time!)
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DIY Fabric Gift Bags for Next Year’s Holidays

Are you still suffering flashbacks from wrapping, taping, and then cleaning up mounds of paper this year?  Even if you tried to go green by using recycled paper, wrapping everything and then cleaning up the holiday mess is labor intensive.  You may never have had have time to sew up a batch of gift bags before the holiday crush, but why not do it now?  Holiday fabric and ribbon are on sale and it will only take you about two hours to make bags that can wrap up all your gifts for years to come—with no waste and no yearly cost.  (My mom is still wrapping our gifts in festive bags that we’ve used for over thirty years!)  While you’re at it, whip up a few out of simple patterned fabric and have bags that can be used for birthdays, Valentines, and random surprises.
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Easy Homemade Holiday Napkin Rings

Homemade Napkin Rings for HolidayEven small tots can participate in the holiday preparations with this simple craft.  If you use cloth napkins instead of paper on a regular basis, you may want to dress them up a bit for the festivities.  This simple craft should be done within an hour and will help your little one contribute to the holiday table.  If you already have a few of your child’s paintings to use, you’ll be done in just minutes!

Materials needed:

  • Paper
  • Tempera or watercolor paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Tape
  • Ribbon

Technically, these aren’t napkin rings at all, but simply decorated wraps for your cloth napkins.  Pick out the colors that will accent your holiday table and then set your child lose on a blank canvas.  When the painting is dry, cut it into two inch strips.  Roll your cloth napkins up and use the painted strip as a ring.  Cut and tape it shut.  Then add a decorative ribbon on top.  Done!

It’s Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas; or, All-Natural Air Fresheners

Why waste money on plug-in devices that spray chemicals into the air when you can scent your house with natural ingredients? This time of year, I like to buy whole cloves in bulk from the grocery store to make a simple homemade air freshener. All I do is take a small saucepan, fill with a cup or two of water, then sprinkle in a small handful of cloves. Keep the pan on low heat and let the spicy smell waft into the room. Of course, this does expend a bit of energy. I’m working on a bicycle-powered version of this little trick. . . .
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How to Make a Proper Paper Snowflake

Do your paper snowflakes come out looking like doilies? Do you wish you had the creativity, skill, and expertise to cut out a proper paper snowflake? Keep reading to learn how a prize-winning* snowflake cutter makes it happen.

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1. Fold a square piece of paper in half.

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2. Fold it in half again.

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3. Fold it in thirds, so it looks like this:

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4. Cut the top part off.

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5. Cut out pieces to create your snowflake design. Note that there is very little paper left! Cut nice, skinny lines to create a delicate paper snowflake. Cutting out tiny shapes all over will result in a doilyesque snowflake.
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Seven Simple, Inexpensive Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas

homemade thanksgiving centerpieces use natural itemsWhen the last piece of Halloween candy has been devoured and the sugar high is over, it’s time to look forward to the cozy festivities of Thanksgiving.  If you happen to be preparing the feast this year in addition to being pregnant or the mother of a little one, you may feel oppressive exhaustion just thinking of a centerpiece.

Fear not!  There are several gorgeous things to choose from which are probably laying in your front yard or in the park up the street.  On a brisk autumn walk you and your child can easily gather lovely items to display on Thanksgiving without breaking a sweat.
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Last-minute DIY Halloween Costume Ideas for Babies and Kids

While some of us have been lovingly hand-sewing Halloween costumes since Memorial Day, the rest of us are stuck sticking stainless steel colanders on our kids’ heads and making them trick-or-treat as “robots.” Last year we mentioned several DIY Halloween costumes—from the Cold Weather Bandit to the Glad Bag. (Yes, that’s right—we actually recommended dressing your kid as a garbage bag.)

What brilliant last-minute ideas were we able to come up with this year?

Baby burrito. Swaddle your baby in a white blanket, letting some lettuce or cabbage leaves peak out at the edges. Variations on this theme include baby spring rolls, baby eggrolls, or baby turkey wrap.  Here a doll is modeling this look, which took just one minute to create.
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