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Shortcutting Halloween

5 clever ideas for (nearly) homemade costumes.

treat bag

We'd love to say we're making our kids' costumes from scratch this year. But it's just not going to happen. We'll more likely order a cute one from Pottery Barn Kids—unless the Universe blesses us with some spare time, in which case we may pull together one of these semi-original, quasi-DIY getups imagined by our editors.

Olaf. Okay, we're a little Frozened out, but we still think an infant in an Olaf costume would be darn cute. Put a long-sleeved dark brown top (to simulate the stick arms) under a plain white sleep sack. Stick on some big black buttons—you can cut them out of felt—and top it all off with an Olaf hat.

Fancy Nancy. The first Fancy Nancy book came out almost nine years ago, but author Jane O'Connor is still releasing new sequels and the Fancy Nancy musical is touring up a storm. This costume is better for older toddlers than babies because of all the—what's that fancy word? Oh yes, accessories. Start with a leotard in purple or pink, then go nuts with fancy add-ons: maybe a fluffy tutu, some sunglasses, a tiara, a wacky headband, bows, sparkly clips, necklaces, a boa, lacy socks, and her most glamorous (comfortable) shoes.

Corduroy. Celebrate the arrival (finally!) of a standard-size Corduroy board book by outfitting your little bear in a sweet and fuzzy hat, some green overalls, and a light brown tee.

Flamingo. The flamingo is one of this year's trendiest animals (if you believe animals can be trendy). Any girly girl will love an all-pink ensemble of tights, leotard, tutu, and flamingo hat. Bonus points if you can get her to keep the hat on while posing for a picture standing on one leg, flamingo style.

Royal baby. The biggest baby news of the year (other than any you may have, of course) is the forthcoming sibling for Prince George. One of the simplest costumes we can think of is an ode to the royal baby—just pair a Union Jack tee or onesie with a crown or tiara. (If that won't stay on, try a crown-emblazoned paci.)