Get Halloween Sewing!

Halloween is a great time to DIY and putting together a stand-out costume doesn’t have to require years and years of garment-making expertise! With a little creativity and a few key tips, it’s easy for anyone to craft a creative costume.
Here are 5 tips for beginner sewers who want to make a notable Halloween costume:

  1. Choose ‘no-fray’ fabrics
    When you work with fabrics that don’t fray, costumes are as easy as cut-and-go. Look for felt, vinyl, pleather, and flannelette. Once cut, the raw edges won’t unravel, so the finish will look pro even if your skills are not (yet!).
  1. Find existing pieces
    Instead of sewing an entire costume, use clothes you already own as a base (or hit your local thrift shop) and build the costume on top of that. Having less to put together will save you time for extra trick-or-treating.
  1. Use a sewing machine that’s easy to work with
    Look for a sewing machine with features that are suitable for beginners. The Brother NQ900 sewing machine has speed control, an automatic needle threader, and an easy-to-load bobbin. A machine that’s easy to work with eliminates frustrations, so you can spend more time crafting your costume.
  1. Find creative ways to customize
    “Glue gun” is not a four-letter word when it comes to a homemade Halloween costume. Anything goes! Add studs, appliques (the Brother NQ900 has a sideways-sewing feature to make this super easy), or trim to your piece. Many sewing machines have the ability to embroider different fonts, so adding words or monograms to your costume is also within reach.
  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself
    Halloween is about having fun, and a DIY’d costume is a bragging right! So get creative, and don’t worry about little mistakes that only you will notice.

– Denise Wild

TV personality, sewing, DIY expert

Don’t bleed financially this Halloween – Reduce Reuse and Recycle your Costumes!

By: Shawn McIntyre, Community Relations Manager, Kijiji Canada

October is never a great month for your budget. Here we are, recovered from back to school, and the holidays are right around the corner! So Halloween is just poorly-timed, really. If you’re my age, you remember that Halloween used to be as simple as some makeup, or a sheet with a couple of holes in it. Not today. The average price of costumes has jumped significantly over the last 10 years, and it isn’t “cool” to wear the same costume twice. Let’s face it: Kids are stepping it up. As parents, we’re expected to have superhero powers; balancing budget and coolness.

October does, however, seem to be the perfect time for Waste Reduction Week. So in light of this, why shouldn’t we seize the opportunity to reduce our ecological footprint a little as well? Used costumes have become far more common than they once were, and since we generally only wear a costume once, I think “gently used” is probably a more appropriate term. Buying these gently used costumes prevents unnecessary waste, and saves cash. Selling your own used costumes creates an instant “costume budget” for next year. Forget crime-fighting, you’re an ecologically-conscious, money-saving superhero. Well done!

As for the market, it is flooded with options. Thrift stores have become “Halloween stores” in October, and people are turning to sites, like Kijiji.ca, to find great costume options at a much better price. Some smart shoppers even source the parts needed online to DIY that perfect costume themselves.

The used costume market is probably more popular than you think. In 2012, the month of October accounted for over half of Kijiji.ca’s “costume” searches. The week leading up to Halloween saw 36 times more costume-related searches than an average week the rest of the year. Some of the more commonly searched costumes included Pirates, Princesses, and Star Wars. The most common theme searched for? Superheroes. Oh, the irony.

Be Safe, Be Seen This Halloween

The B.C. Association of Optometrists is offering free, reflective stickers for children’s Halloween costumes. The reflective stickers are available to parents across the province at BCAO optometrists’ offices, which are listed at www.whatcouldbemoreimportant.com. In rural areas where there are no optometry offices, the reflective stickers are provided to the local RCMP detachments.

About 10 per cent of all pedestrian traffic injuries involve children six to 15 years old and occur between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Traditional Halloween activities such as trick-or-treating can be risky because there are more children on the street than usual, and they tend to be excited and pay less attention to traffic safety.

Here are some Halloween safety tips from the B.C. Association of Optometrists:

  • Have a responsible adult accompany trick-or-treaters.
  • Use iron-on reflective fabric or tape – or pick up a “Be seen. Be safe.” reflective sticker for children’s costumes and/or coats.
  • Don’t wear a mask, use hypo-allergenic make-up instead – children need to see where they’re going.
  • Carry a flashlight.
  • Don’t crisscross the street while trick-or-treating – go down one side of the street to the end, then back on the other side.
  • Avoid novelty or cosmetic contact lenses, which may obscure vision and increase the risk of eye infections.
  • Avoid costumes that restrict movement of the head, so children can still easily look both ways before crossing the street.
  • Ensure that the path to your door is well-lit for trick-or-treaters.
  • To avoid an eye injury or vision loss, stay clear of firecrackers and sparklers and keep young children away from them.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!