DIY Halloween Costumes

Halloween is huge in my family. Not only do the kids want costumes for trick-or-treating, but school has the Character Parade during which they dress up like a character from a book. Of course, the kids want different costumes for their character parade and trick-or-treating. I’m not about to buy two costumes each year. But I don’t sew. So we’ve started to get creative making DIY Halloween costumes with items we already had.

Let me be clear: I cannot sew. I have no domestic talents at all. Literally, I am not even permitted to touch the vacuum due to my husband’s fear that I will break his precious cordless Dyson. (In his defense, I have broken more than a couple vacuums, but that’s a story for another day.)

But even I could look around our house and find ways to repurpose existing outfits, toys, and craft materials to create some fun costumes that stand out from the store-bought ones worn by every other person.

Batman with Batmobile

One of my favorite costumes was Batman. We had a batmobile pool float and I thought “wouldn’t it be hilarious if we made that into a Halloween costume?” So we did it!

We took the inflated float and found areas around the sides that did not contain air. Then, we used a hole puncher to create holes. Rope was thread through the holes to create suspenders so it could go over the shoulders. He wore his batman t-shirt (which came with a cape) and his batman mask.

Everyone who saw it commented. Not only did it look awesome, but it also came with some unexpected advantages.

First, seeing that huge float, people cleared off the sidewalks to make room for us to come by.

Second, my little one tripped on the sidewalk and fell down but didn’t get a scratch on him because he landed on the float!


Diary of a Wimpy Kid

My son was really into the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. So for a Character parade, we looked up online “Diary of a Wimpy Kid masks” and found a template for a mask.

We printed the template and cut it out. Then, we traced the shape onto a cereal box. With a glue stick, we glued the paper and back of the cereal box together (to make it sturdy) and cut out holes for the eyes. A hole puncher was used to create holes in the sides for a string, which was tied around the head to hold the mask in place.

To finish the look, he wore a white shirt and jeans (as the character does). So simple, yet absolutely perfect for a Character Parade!


The Cat in the Hat

This costume based on Dr. Seuss’ famous book was also perfect for a Character Parade. Everyone knew exactly who my son was dressed as, he looked adorable, and it was so easy that even I could make it!

All it took was some construction paper. Red and white construction paper was cut into strips and stapled in place in a cylinder shape to create the iconic hat. Whiskers and a nose were drawn on his face with eyeliner. A big red bow from our Christmas decorations was then tied around his neck. He wore a plain white shirt.

Western look

For this costume, all you need is a cowboy hat, jeans, bandana, and/or boots. Accessories such as a rope, sheriff’s badge, guitar, or pool noodle turned into a hobby-horse can make this costume even more fun.

My daughter loves Sheriff Callie. We took a jean outfit that she already owned and added a pink bandana and pink guitar. She had a pair of pink boots and a pink cowboy hat, which didn’t make it into this picture. She chose to pose with sparkly blue shoes and sunglasses, which were her creative touch. 

1980’s look

We were so excited to attend a 1980s themed party this year. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to dress my son up to look as his father did back in the day – with a rat-tail hairstyle. We used a clip-on-braid that we had from a pirate costume and put it in my son’s hair. He wore a Star Wars t-shirt, jeans, and a bandana around his head (we purchased bandanas in multiple colors last year and used them for various costumes and party decorations).

My husband also dressed up for the party. He ripped some holes in the legs of a pair of old jeans, tight rolled the bottoms of said jeans, popped his collar, and mimicked a flock of seagulls look for his hair.

I wore a fluorescent undershirt, baggy over shirt, bright pink lipstick, lots of purple eyeshadow, big earrings, and jelly bracelets. My hair was styled in a high side-ponytail with a bandana tied around it.


Harry Potter

This year, my son wants to be Harry Potter from the JK Rowling books  (very timely, I know). Since he’s older, he’s happy to dress as Harry did in the more recent movies. Which means he doesn’t care about wearing the robe. He just wants a wand!

For the wand, we used a bamboo chopstick that our friends brought us back from Thailand. We did purchase a pair of Harry Potter glasses. For the outfit, we dressed him in a white collared shirt with gray pants and a sweater. My husband already had a burgundy tie, which was the perfect finishing touch to the outfit. And of course,  a scar was drawn on his forehead with make-up.


My kids love it when I dress up. What’s easier and more appropriate than making me the witch? I have a witch’s hat that I’ve worn for years. I usually just pair it with a black shirt and purple or black top. To add some fun, I tease my hair and put spiders all in it using the plastic spider rings that we’ve collected over the years.


When decorating for any occasion, I usually start by going through what I already have. For Halloween, I wrangle up all the toy snakes and spiders I can find and strategically place them around the house.


To make my fall wreath more festive, I added an old Jack-o-Lantern decoration to the middle and also hung old spider earring on it. Then when Halloween is over, I remove these additions and keep up the original wreath.


Take a look around your house. What old accessories, getups or toys do you have around that can be repurposed into an original costume?


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2 thoughts on “DIY Halloween Costumes”

    1. Thank you! For someone who’s not at all artistic I’m quite proud of the creative costumes we’ve been able to put together for next to nothing. And these original costumes get a lot more attention than when they wear store-bought ones.

      We also have examples of us adults repurposing some of the kids’ old costumes with hilarious results. (For example, when I went to work wearing my son’s airplane outfit.) But I didn’t get up the nerve to include those pics!

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