Consider a Mix of DIY and Store-Bought Duds
I am all for families who pick a group idea, hit up Party City, grab four costumes off the rack, and are done. Get it! For me, though, I want to flex my creative muscles. With two kids and a full-time job, I only have so much time (and, let's be honest, skill) to go completely handmade. I don't own a sewing machine and can barely do a whipstitch without studying up on YouTube. If you're in the same situation, consider taking on a few modest DIY projects and sourcing the remaining essentials elsewhere. For our Wizard of Oz year, I cobbled together a tin suit out of a cardboard box while trying my pregnant best not to inhale silver spray paint, yet I bought Moose's cowardly lion mane on Etsy and let my husband consult his closet for scarecrow-worthy flannel. Even when I'm not making something from scratch, I tend to cobble things together without ever entering a costume shop. (Yes, for the Tin Man, I wore a kitchen funnel on my head and old shinguards on my arms.) And if I do, I try to think outside the box. For Moose's infamous Cousin Itt costume, I opted for a clearance-rack Harry Potter Hermione wig and broke apart a woman's feathery fascinator hair piece for the hat.