Celebrate Samhain by Disguising your Child as a Major Household Appliance

For several months, my four-year-old insisted she wanted to dress up like a letter for Halloween. Yes, a letter. As in, “This letter states that, due to an overdue library book, you never actually graduated college.” *


To our younger readers: If you get something like this delivered to your house, it may be a letter.

This past weekend, Estelle “flipped her mind” and declared that she wanted to dress as a princess instead.  A Princess! Within seconds, big brother and I delivered an onslaught of white lies in order to shield her from the Princess Industrial Complex  (despite the fact that her last name means “King” in Poland, she’s not next in line for the Polish crown).

“You don’t want to be a princess!” Max declared. “Everyone else is going to be a Princess.” I took the deceit a step further: “You know Biscuit, there is a strict limit on the number of Princesses on Halloween, and all those spots are already taken.”

Satisfied with our explantion, Estelle spun around, pointed to the refrigerator and said, “I want to be that! A white frigerator!”

A few minutes later, I left the house to run an errand.  I immediately found most of our costume supplies in the alley within about 50 feet of our back gate.  A pile of barely-used medium cardboard boxes:IMG_2663

A discarded dresser with PERFECTLY SIZED, unthreateningly rounded handles:


Red arrow indicates the part you should remove.

Once the supplies were secured, we had to start making the costume at once — before Estelle flipped her mind again.  To further seal the deal, it was critical to involve her in the (non-toxic) aspects of the refrigerator assembly.


You will need:
– Medium Cardboard Box
– Food Magazine or Grocery Ads
– Scissors, box cutter or x-acto knife
– White Duct Tape, Glue, Primer, Paint and Varnish
– Handles (optional, but recommended) + Screws
– Tiny Reading Light
– Tiny Little bit of Velcro

STEP ONE – SIZE: Determine the approximate size of your child’s head by matching it with a similarly-sized serving bowl.

IMG_2670Trace the hole on the top of the box, but cut it in an oval shape instead, because human heads are slightly longer than they are wide.
IMG_2671IMG_2674Determine the placement of arm holes, and cut those, too.
IMG_2678STEP TWO – PAINT:  Remove your child from the box, and peel off any stray stickers and loose tape. Cover your box in a coat of oil-based white primer and allow it to dry for a couple of hours in a well-ventilated, child-free area.

IMG_2685Then, go fetch the child and a bucket of white latex (water-based) paint. Teach her to paint with a roller brush.  Barely hide your emotion as she smears paint in her hair, just like Mommy!

IMG_2694STEP THREE—STOCK THE FRIDGE:  Ask your mother-in-law to save the grocery ads from the Sunday paper. Squeal with delight when your husband brings home a Kraft® “Holiday Entertaining Guide” from 2009 that he found in the cafeteria at work. Instruct the kids to cut out pictures of food, and try not to comment when they only cut out beer, soda and processed cheese products.
IMG_2707We found that the pictures in many grocery ads were just too tiny. To supplement, we cut up packages of food that we actually eat.  Like butter. We eat lots of butter.
IMG_2709Use silver (standard-issue) duct tape to create four “shelves” and glue the groceries in place. I recommend using a glue stick, since liquid glue causes thin newspaper clippings to wrinkle and warp.

IMG_2717STEP FOUR – SEAL:  Once the glue has dried, coat the whole box in a thin layer of Polyurethane varnish. The varnish will give your fridge that factory-fresh shine, and provide protection against rain, snow, snot and tears – the natural enemies of cardboard.
IMG_2723STEP FIVE – DOORS:  We happened to have a piece of white corrugated plastic that Scott found in the alley and just “knew” we would have a use for someday.**  This stuff is as light as cardboard and infinitely more durable.  I cut out two pieces and, since they were translucent, covered them in white duct tape.  Alternately, use two spare pieces of cardboard cut from the bottom of the box, and prime, paint and varnish them as we did in Steps 3 and 4.  Or cover in white duct tape. Your choice.

We scavenged door handles from an old dresser in the alley, but they can be easily found at any hardware store or IKEA-type place. Screw your handles into the center of each door, where… you know… handles ought to go.  Cover the back of the screws with duct tape so they don’t scratch your representations of food.
IMG_2720Use MORE white duct tape to attach the doors, taping both the inside and outside “hinges.”IMG_2725STEP SIX – CLASSY FINISHING TOUCHES:  After you tape the doors on, you may notice their tendency to swing open uncontrollably. Attach two little pieces of adhesive Velcro discreetly over the shelves, and then attach their grabby mates on the back of each corresponding door.
IMG_2732What refrigerator isn’t complete without a light?  Steal Re-appropriate your husband’s $2 clip-on reading light that he forgot he had and never used anyway.
IMG_2726Use an X-acto knife to cut a tiny hole over the top row of food, and somehow tape your little light to the inside. I briefly considered just clipping the light onto the neck hole, but then remembered that Estelle will mindlessly chew on anything within biting distance. Best to keep electronics and hungry preschooler mouths apart. IMG_2730Take a couple of pictures of the appliance before your kids mess it up again:
IMG_2769IMG_2772PRO-TIP!  Before Halloween, give your child plenty of time to acquire the muscle strength that it will surely take to keep her arms in that position for several hours —  while also holding a pillowcase full of candy.

* Kind of a true story.

** Normally, aspirational hoarding is discouraged in our household, but this time it worked out pretty well.

51 thoughts on “Celebrate Samhain by Disguising your Child as a Major Household Appliance

  1. i think this is great. But i would have been tempted to put in “modified” products. Only for the discerning viewer. Things like Campbell’s blood soup, 100% Juice – Human, fingers between the slices of bread. Coke you could leave, because that stuff is evil enough as it is.

    p.s. i like the idea of the light shining in peoples faces. If you can momentarily blind someone it helps in bagging their candy. Getting away is the problem unless you can master the foot shuffle


  2. If I could like this thirty eight times I would. Count yourself lucky that you don’t live in my neighbourhood. I have a habit of adjusting the amount of candy to the level of cuteness and creativity of a costume. If your daughter came to my door, I’d up end the bowl of candy into her bag and call it a night- she wins Halloween.


  3. Haha I love this! Not just for the genius creativity shown but also for the awesome Halloween costume ideas your daughter has! When my sister and I were young we shared a room with bunk beds and we’d spend hours each night trying to out-do each other with the weirdest idea for Halloween. Toilet seat. Gym sock. Bike shorts (it was the 80’s). Eye lash. We never even considered how to actually follow through with our weird ideas…we just liked having them! I am disappointed to admit the a letter wasn’t ever on our list so your daughter wins!!!


  4. Brilliant! It made me laugh and also remember going to a fancy-dress party when I was 7yrs old dressed as a pea-pod and my y.ounger sister as a tea-bag. Your daughter will never forget this, and when she’s a granny she’ll be saying to her grandkids ‘Princess? huh, they’re two a penny I once went as a fridge..’ You win the Creative Mum of the Year (possibly of the Decade) Award.


  5. That is the best fridge costume I have ever seen! Ok, it’s the only one I’ve ever seen. But it’s still brilliant! Many years ago I dressed of my teenage sons as a can of lager. His feet out the bottom, his head out the tab, using flattened cardboard stuck around hula hoops and lots of tape and spray paint. It was for a carnival and he drew many words of praise from a group of bikers.


  6. Just wanted to say had great fun making the costume off a fridge. Following you details was so easy thank you. If I could find away off send ing photos I would


  7. Pingback: Links – links

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s