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Children’s Fancy Dress


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How to get make sure your kids win at fancy dress

Sooner or later the dreaded day comes. Your child comes home clutching a letter – there’s a children’s fancy dress contest, and of course, your little one is desperate to enter. Now, no one is suggesting that you are the sadly competitive type, but on the other hand, you don’t want the whole affair to end in total embarrassment for your child, do you? But of course you are short of time, and maybe you are also clueless as to how to even start such a project? Then read on for some great shortcuts. These are clever and witty, and most of them can be made from things that you will already have around the house, leaving you plenty of time for that long soak in the bath.

Really easy

Bin liners are very handy here. Cut a hole for your child’s head, drop the liner over body, stick on a few circles of white paper, and you have a domino. Another great bin liner idea, which little boys will love, is to put white tape over the liner in the shape of a skeleton. Or, make an After Eight mint – just use gold pen to copy the pattern from an After Eight wrapper onto the bin liner. You can eat the rest of the box in the bath.

Boxes are also a great source of ideas. Cover a large one with foil and cut a hole for the head and neck and your child is a robot. Older children can stick on paper shapes for buttons and switches themselves. Or, cover the box with wrapping paper and add a bow and a gift tag, and you have a cute present.

Moderately easy

Every fancy dress competition includes numerous little girls in fairy costumes. This may be what your child insists upon, and hopefully she’s got the outfit already, in which case you are off the hook. But if you want to do something a little more original, what about a bride’s outfit? Dress her in a pretty white dress or nightie. Then make a veil using a length of white material, such as an old net curtain, gather at one end with big stitches and attach it to a hair band. Give her a bunch of flowers to finish it off.childrens fancy dress

For boys

If you can invest a little more time, a dalek costume will delight any small boy. Cover a box in dark paper and stick on darker spots. Or, spray paint it gold and use foam balls, cut in half, for the spots. By now, you may be wondering why you ever started this, but you are nearly out of the woods. You can use another box for the head and stick on antennae made from more foam balls. But you might find that your child prefers not to have anything over their head, in which case all that is left for you to do is to provide them with a sink plunger for one hand and a metal whisk for the other.

Make use of what you have

Using clothes that you already have at home or can easily pick up in a charity shop is another good shortcut. For a clown outfit, use a brightly coloured wig, clown makeup and primary coloured clothes. Add a bow tie, braces and a pair of baggy trousers. Paint some cardboard red and tape it to your child’s shoes to make them look bigger. For a scarecrow, you can use an old, overly large flannel shirt and tie up the cuffs with string or soft rope. Tie baggy trousers up with rope at the waist, and put on some boots. Sew straw onto the collar or stuff it into the belt and pockets of the trousers. Find an old felt or straw hat and decorate that with straw too – if it is a bit too big, so much the better. Other ideas are: a granny (a cardie, curlers and some knitting), a businessman or woman (smart clothes, a mobile and a laptop bag or briefcase) and James Bond (smart clothes, slicked back hair, a toy gun and a 007 badge).


Whichever way you do it, you can be sure that this is only the first of many such challenges, so it may be worth keeping a stash of the most useful items, such as bin liners, cardboard boxes and paper and tape in various colours, so that you are always ready to whip up a dalek at a moment’s notice.







About Paula Hendry

About Paula Hendry

Paula Hendry is a freelance consultant in the field of social work. She has been a social worker for twenty five years, and specialises in mental health. Paula has two children and writes in her spare time (which is virtually non-existent.)

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