Cari Highbloom of Croton on Hudson, NY, didn't have a problem agreeing to three-year-old Madison's request to be Elmo for Halloween last year. "We dressed her in a red sweatshirt with a picture of Elmo on the front, red sweatpants, and red socks," said Highbloom. "Too cute!"
Almost every toddler has a garment with his or her favorite character on it. Highbloom's simple solution works for many television characters. Try a blue sweat suit and blue face paint for Cookie Monster (don't forget to give your little one a bag of cookies to carry around as the tell-tale prop). Or how about green sweats for Oscar the Grouch. Wrap a paper plate in tin foil to create a garbage can lid that can be affixed to your little one's head, and make the bottom of his can from a box wrapped in foil. Make sure the can is brimming with faux garbage!
Three-year-old Leah Frank wants to be Dora the Explorer for Halloween this year. Her mom, Cathy, of Holland, Pennsylvania, plans on dressing her in orange shorts and a pink shirt. Leah already has a backpack to wear, and her mom will roll up a piece of paper and draw big eyes on it to replicate Dora's map. As long as Leah can say, "Hola" and "Swiper, no swiping!" she'll be a dead ringer for Nick Jr.'s bilingual cutie-pie.
Fairy tale or nursery rhyme character costumes are fairly easy to whip up, too. All Little Boy Blue needs is a horn, some overalls, a corncob and a stuffed sheep. Little Red Riding Hood can be created with a red cape (with hood, of course!), a pretty dress and a basket of goodies for grandma. For added effect, Erin Brown Conroy of Schoolcraft, Michigan, suggests a "wolf" or stuffed animal dog to carry.
Christine D'Amico, author of The Pregnant Woman's Companion: Nine Strategies That Work to Keep Your Peace of Mind Through Pregnancy and Into Parenthood, got this great idea from her son's preschool. "They had us put a pair of white nylons and a large stretchy t-shirt on our children," said D'Amico. The shirt and nylons were then stuffed with a full-sized pillow. "We put black paper buttons down the front of their shirt, they wore a hat, scarf, mittens and sunglasses. The cutest snowmen you've ever seen!"