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Supply chain problems? Have no fear, we've got DIY Halloween costume ideas

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Halloween is two weeks away, and some of our favorite trick-or-treaters already know exactly what they will be on the big day.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #1: A dark ringmaster.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #2: A dragon.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #3: Batman.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #4: A witch.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #5: Ghost.

MARTIN: But with supply chain problems, some popular costumes are already sold out or on backorder. So what if you can't get yours in time? Or maybe you're rethinking even buying a costume, worried about the environmental impact of wearing something once and then tossing it in the trash on November 1. Either way, you always have the option of actually making it yourself. There are countless DIY Halloween costume tutorials online, but one children's clothing company called Primary has gone one step further. They offer a free DIY costume concierge hotline. The company was founded in 2015, and its focus is on providing eco-friendly kids clothing in gender-neutral colors. Co-Founder and CEO Galyn Bernard says the idea for the hotline actually came from customers themselves.

GALYN BERNARD: We sort of lucked into this DIY costume arena, really because we had noticed that our first year that a lot of customers were purchasing sort of classic Halloween colors, like orange and green and yellow. But particularly in September and October, those things were selling at a much faster rate than we had seen before that. And then we had some customers reach out, letting us know that they were using our clothing as sort of the basis for DIY Halloween costumes.

MARTIN: The following year, they set up the helpline, and questions started rolling in from desperate parents. Here's Cynnie Paull, Primary's head of customer service.

CYNNIE PAULL: We get a lot of emails and texts and phone calls where parents are, like, help. I don't have a crafty bone in my body, but my child just told me that they want to be a water heater or a wind chime or a Dyson vacuum.

MARTIN: So Primary started posting step-by-step instructions for classic and creative Halloween costumes that require little to no crafting expertise.

BERNARD: Earlobe came up as one. Leaf blower is a pretty cool one. Cicada shell was like a really old-school favorite. That was sort of the first one that the whole team was talking about.

MARTIN: Ear lobe and leaf blower instructions aren't currently available on the site, but there is a guide for how to make a cicada costume. Now, if you've never crafted before but are still DIY costume curious, you are not alone. Michael Gardner is a self-taught sewer and DIY enthusiast who started his blog Daddy Dressed Me in 2014 to showcase the outfits he was making for his daughter Ava. He says he made a lot of costumes for himself and his daughter with upcycled clothes from thrift shops or from things they already owned.

MICHAEL GARDNER: For example, like, she was Mary Poppins one year. And you know, with that costume, I used clothing that she really - that she had. I kind of made, like, a tutu to go over top of it. We were trolls one year. We wore regular clothing, and we just kind of - I kind of added things to it using velcro in areas that you don't want to make something permanent, that you can kind of stick it on, stick it off.

MARTIN: Which can definitely be an added benefit of a do-it-yourself costume - easier to repurpose. And what do our experts themselves want to be this year for Halloween?

BERNARD: Well, I really want to be Ted Lasso.

PAULL: My almost 7-year-old really threw me a curveball and says she wants us all to be mustaches. So I see a lot of broom bristles in my future.

GARDNER: So it's funny. I asked Ava maybe two days ago, like, what do you want to do for Halloween? She was just like, I just want to chill this year. She didn't actually want to dress up (laughter).

MARTIN: I wouldn't bet on it. That was DIY enthusiast and blogger Michael Gardner. We also heard from Galyn Bernard and Cynnie Paull of primary.com.

(SOUNDBITE OF RAY PARKER JR. SONG, "GHOSTBUSTERS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.