Halloween costumes aren't necessarily a gift, but they are a gift for your children when you hand make them with love. They are the kind of gift that will not be appreciated until they grow up, but that is ninety percent of being a parent I think. Anyway, my kids go to a school where they have abysmal rules for their "fall festival". This is a party where you aren't allowed to call it Halloween, they serve vegetables, and the activity is a story read by parent, which was picked by the teacher. The kids have to be able to put their costumes on by themselves, in minimal time. So I started making them costumes out of a hoodie, that they could slip on easily over their clothes. Turns out it was a pretty good idea all the way around- it keeps them warm on Halloween night, is sturdy, and they can wear it all the time to play after the fact. You can turn a hoodie into almost anything if you apply a little felt, easy stitching and maybe some duct tape. Last year we made a Storm trooper out of a hoodie by outlining the armor bits with duct tape. This year we made "Batman Beyond" and "Domo Kun":
In the past we have made a cat, a skunk, a unicorn, dudes from Lord of the Rings. All you need is a little imagination, and you can make one too.