A mom who's gone viral for her kids' DIY Halloween outfits shares her 5 tips for making last-minute, at-home costumes

Max Kalnitz
schitts creek high res
Lauren Mancke's children dressed as the Rose family from "Schitt's Creek." Lauren Mancke
  • Lauren Mancke is Instagram famous for the Halloween costumes she makes for her children. 

  • For anyone looking to make a last-minute Halloween costume, Mancke shared five tips for making successful DIY costumes. 

  • Mancke says recycling old articles of clothing is the easiest way to approach making your own costume. 

  • Peel-and-stick felt is your best friend — Mancke says it's easy to remove but is durable while trick-or-treating. 

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Almost every October since 2015, Lauren Mancke has made a new set of Halloween costumes for her three kids for every day of the month. She shares the pictures with her more than 21,000 Instagram followers with the hashtag #manckemonthofcostumes. This year, an image of her children dressed as the Rose family delighted "Schitt's Creek" fans.

Mancke recently spoke to Insider about how her annual tradition started, what her costume-making process is like, and the highs and lows of trying to wrangle three toddlers for a photo shoot. She also shared five tips for anyone looking to make a last-minute DIY Halloween costume this year. 

First, reuse things you already own 

"The most important tip would be to use the things you already own," Mancke told Insider.

The 35-year-old mom of three added that the point of making your own costume is for it to look homemade. "That's the point. If you're making your own costume you don't want to spend more than it would cost to buy one."

In her "Zootopia" costume, for example, the police belt one of her daughters is wearing was from an old "Reno 911" costume from college. The sheep headdress her other daughter is rocking was made by re-sewing an old pair of her daughter's pants that no longer fit.

Not only does recycling old articles of clothes keep your costume inexpensive, but it's also environmentally friendly. 

 

Peel-and-stick felt is your best friend 

Peel-and-stick felt, Mancke says, "is really helpful because you don't damage the clothing and you can remove those pieces afterward. And it really sticks well for trick-or-treating. It won't just peel off." 

Bundles of colored peel-and-stick felt, like this one, offer lots of versatility while crafting detailed parts of a costume. 

 

Be patient

Mancke told Insider that she often finds herself rushing to complete the costumes. That can lead to roadblocks or making a lesser-quality part of a costume. But, she says, stepping back and taking her time works better and prevents her from then having to fix something on the fly when it's time for a photo shoot. 

"Some of the times we'll be crunched for time and a piece will have broken and there's no time to fix it, and it wasn't constructed well enough," Mancke told Insider. "That's frustrating for me because I'm like, 'I should have done this differently' and there's no time to fix it. So that piece probably gets tossed out of the idea. And I'm kind of a little bit of a perfectionist so that bugs me if I could have had a good detail and it wasn't in there."

 

Pay attention to details 

There may be less than a week until Halloween but that doesn't mean you should skip out on the details. Mancke told Insider that part of what makes her pictures and costumes so successful is that she really tries to bring every aspect of a character to life through a costume. 

"People are amazed at some of the costumes and I think the main thing is just paying attention to details," Mancke told Insider. "Like when you add extra detail from a character to the costume, it really makes it look just like that thing and people love it." 

 

Most importantly, have fun

"The whole point of doing this and why we do it is to have fun with the kids," Mancke told Insider.

Making costumes can be stressful, especially if you're trying to get the details just so, but remember: The point of making a Halloween costume is to share a fun experience with your child(ren) and have fond memories (and pictures!) to look back on in the future.

Read the original article on Insider