Dressing as a clown is a common, traditional costume for Halloween. Rather than heading to a costume speciality shop or a department store, parents can put together a clown costume for their child fairly easily. While there are a variety of different styles of clowns, a few basic ideas let parents create a costume that can easily be adapted to dress their child as the type of clown they want -- from a hobo clown with his pack on a stick to a comical, exaggerated Auguste clown.
Decorate an old pair of trousers with fun textures and bright colours. Find a baggy pair of trousers or overalls that are past their prime (from your closet or a thrift shop). Cut out patches of felt in circles, squares or other shapes. Sew (or adhere using fabric glue) these felt pieces to the trousers. Use suspenders to help keep the baggy trousers up.
Jazz up a T-shirt or sweatshirt in a similar fashion. Use felt patches, oversized buttons and fluffy pom poms to give the shirt a wild look.
Add some neckwear. A large tie borrowed from dad's collection will look goofy on a young clown. Alternatively, create a poofy clown collar by threading elasticated string along one long edge of a 7x36" piece of nylon tulle. Scrunch up the mesh, place it loosely around the child's neck and tie it.
Paint the child's face. Use a damp sponge to apply white face paint over the child's entire face -- even her eyebrows. When the face paint dries, use brightly coloured face paints to decorate her face. Draw in red lips with big dimples, a redden her nose and decorate around the eyes. Finally, add some exaggerated eyebrows in the middle of her forehead. A red circular nose that slips over the child's real nose also works.
Put on a wig. A colourful, curly clown wig transforms the child's appearance. Top it off with a goofy hat, such as a bowler hat decorated with polka dots and ribbon or a silly-looking cone hat.
Complete the costume with attention-getting shoes. Since wearing shoes that are too big will be a challenge to walk in, slide on some rain boots that feature a crazy pattern.