We began assembling our Harry Potter costume in July for the Harry Potter Midnight Party at our local bookstore. This is one of our oldest son’s favorite heroes. Since he wanted to go as Harry Potter and we didn’t want to do the Griffindor attire we decided on three little first years that haven’t been sorted. My husband went as Hagrid and dressed from the scene when Hagrid brings in the "first years" and I dressed as Professor McGonagal and brought along the Sorting Hat to sort the First Years.
We later used the costumes for our rounds of Halloween Parties. We did most of our shopping for the costumes at Goodwill and Salvation Army. We also scrounged through our own belongings for some nice touches. For Hagrid we did buy a cheap beard/wig. Then he borrowed a great trench coat from a friend of his. He built the lantern out of a cardboard box and "lit" it with three closet lights placed inside the cut outs of the box. He used a red shirt and pants, stuffing both to make himself look heavier. He also stuffed his work boots to give himself a little more height. Finally I bought scraps of fur material from a fabric store and we attached it to string to look like "critters."
McGonagal was probably our most expensive outfit. I bought two formals, each $10 at Salvation Army, one with a large satin black skirt and one crenoline. The other was sheer and black with puffy flowing sleeves and a flowing skirt. The one with a large satin skirt did not fit me and it had a pink bodice that did not match at all. I folded down the bodice to be inside the skirt and just zipped it up enough to hold. Then I wore the flowing dress over the top of it. It gave it a lot of texture. I bought a cheap satiny blouse that buttoned up to the chin and had ruffles up the buttons. I cut out the sleeves and wore it like a vest over the top of the shirt. I also pinned it with my grandmother’s brooch.
To top it off I bought a yard of fancy green fabric at half price. I cut a neck hole in the middle of it. I cut another straight cut from one side of the hole to the farthest edge. Then I hemmed it and Voila! I had a cape of sorts. I used a plain $1 witch’s hat from Wal-Mart and pinned on Peacock feathers which had been decorating my room. For the Sorting Hat we found a second-hand cone shaped hat that had been used as a scarecrow hat. I added Christmas "snow" decoration as stuffing (looks like quilt stuffing) and wrapped it around the scarecrow hat. Then I wrapped that in a brown gauzy fabric that I bought on clearance. I pinned it up and carried it like a puppet so the Sorting Hat could talk when I held it over kids’ heads. I also sprayed my hair white.
The kids loved putting together their Harry Potter costumes as well. For all three of them we used old graduation gowns for their school cloaks. They also pulled out white shirts, gray pants/skirt, gray sweaters, black ties and shoes. Since none of them had the same hair color as their chosen character they all got a good spray with temporary hair die. We found three sticks from the woods and my husband sanded them down into wands. Then we added all the special touches that made them Harry, Hermione and Ron. Hermione carried her ginger cat Crookshanks, a stuffed animal from her room. She also carried two heavy old books from our bookshelf one of them about Ghosts.
Harry carried Berti Bott’s Every Flavored Beans bought at Barnes & Noble. We found a broken pair of wire sunglasses popped out the lenses and then reshaped the wire into circles for Harry’s glasses. We painted a lightening bolt scar on his forehead with my nail polish. It pealed off at the end of the evening. Ron’s outfit was all out. His robe was torn and his shoes scuffed. We broke his wand and then retaped it with ducted tape. He carried it so that it wobbled about pathetically. We also draped him in webbing and pinned on spiders. Every time he spun around you could see the spiders spin from their golden threads. He too carried a small bag of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavored Beans. His favorite part of the costume was a cat toy: a little mouse (to be Ron’s mouse Scabbers) that you turn on set it on the floor and watch it scurry around.
We had a great time with the Harry Potter costumes at the Midnight Party. Everyone wanted pictures with us. Everyone wanted me to use the Sorting Hat to sort them. Harry had a great time casting spells with all the other Harries that showed up for the party. He especially loved jumping out and yelling "Expecto Patronus" at the guy who came dressed as a Dementor. At the end of the evening we won an autographed poster from the Illustrator of the series Mary GrandPre. Again through Halloween everyone wanted pictures with us and the kids felt like celebrities. I loved how the kids ran around their robes flowing behind them. The one thing I wish we had done differently was the hair. If I could I would have just bought the wigs. The spray paint had to be washed out every time usually after a long exhausting event. It also smudged onto their faces and necks so that they looked dirty. It ruined their nice dress shirts that we had planned to put back in their closets.
Thanks to all the great Harry Potter costume ideas on this site!
Total Spent: $100
For the last few years Harry Potter has been a very popular character in our home and lots of kids at school dressed in a Harry Potter costume for the Halloween parade. Nine year old Will was looking for a way to dress like his favorite book character but still stand out from the crowd. We talked about lots of different ideas like other characters from the book etc. Jokingly I suggested he could just go as the book that he carries around daily in his backpack, book seven, the final chapter in the Harry Potter series. Immediately Will said yes!
So we called the local copy center to check out options like making an enlarged version of the book cover but copyright issues and hefty costs stood in our way. With some spare poster board we had lying around I started sketching a life-size version of the book cover. Once I had a basic sketch I went to work on making it come to life.
I used red construction paper to cut out letters in a matching font. I used brown paper for Harry’s cloak and got several orange crayons out to color the book cover background. I used markers and crayons for shading and effect. Thus I had created the front cover.
So we called the local copy center to check out options like making an enlarged version of the book cover but copyright issues and hefty costs stood in our way. With some spare poster board we had lying around I started sketching a life-size version of the book cover. Once I had a basic sketch I went to work on making it come to life. I used red construction paper to cut out letters in a matching font. I used brown paper for Harry’s cloak and got several orange crayons out to color the book cover background. I used markers and crayons for shading and effect. Thus I had created the front cover.
I bought more poster board to make the back cover. This part only required me to sketch out the creepy hands and a black cloak. Again I used construction paper to bring it all to life.
Finally I cut letters out of red construction paper to make the spine and I covered the finished back, front and spine with clear packing tape for durability and to protect it in case of rain. Using a large box that we picked up from the appliance store I cut a hole for Will’s head so his face could be Harry’s face on the front cover. Since he already had the wig and the glasses he made a perfect Harry Potter face.
I attached the poster boards to the front and back using lots of duct tape. I curved the spine between the back and front and taped it on that way for a more realistic look. On the top and sides I made pages by drawing black lines on white poster board.
All together it took five hours to make but the time flew by and the kids helped cut out the letters and glue on the cloaks etc. Since the box was somewhat heavy and I only cut one arm hole out of the pages side I cut some handles in the box inside for Will to hold the costume up and distribute the weight. This way it wouldn’t have to rest on his head entirely.
As usual we saw several Harry Potter costume designs at the parade but there wasn’t one other Harry Potter Book! Will’s Harry Potter costume was the star of the show. This was an easy costume to make and the same idea could be used to make any favorite book with a face on the cover. We didn’t have to spend much since it is easy to find a large box someone doesn’t need and we all have markers and construction paper lying around. Most of the money was spent on poster board duct tape and packaging tape.
Total Spent: $20
Our better-than-bought, homemade Harry Poter costume was made with:
1) A "new-again" black satin robe from Mom’s PJ drawer (we printed a Hogwarts Crest from the internet onto color transfer fabric and sewed it on)
2) A whipped up scarf made from yellow and red fabric
3) A wand made from clay and a lightening bolt scar made from sticker paper.
Good luck with your own Harry Potter costume!