For kids, the best part of Halloween—besides all the candy, that is—is dressing up in fun, spooky, creative costumes! While you could go in for a store-bought costume, why not have some fun with your kids and create a DIY version? Check out these easy ideas for the perfect handmade costume, even at the last minute!
1. A Fluffy Poodle
A few accessories are all you’ll need for this quick and easy costume. Create fluffy wrist and ankle cuffs with faux fur or feather boas stitched or glued to wide elastic. More faux fur (or feathers) can be used to create the poodle’s ears, which can be attached to a headband or hat, if the Halloween weather looks cold. Cut a strip of felt for a tail, again adding your preferred fluffy material to create a poodle-like look, complete with a pom-pom on the end of the tail. Stitch or glue the tail to a ribbon your trick-or-treater can wear as a belt. Finish off the costume with white sweatpants and sweatshirt and puppy dog facepaint.
2. Cuddly Monster
Start with coordinating sweatpants and a hooded sweatshirt in your choice of color. Add tufts of colorful faux fur in a random spread, interspersed with irregularly shaped patches of felt to create a patchy monster hide. On the hood of the sweatshirt, glue ping-pong balls with pupils drawn on to be the monster’s eyes.
3. Rainbow Unicorn
Unicorns are a Halloween classic! Use air-dry clay to create a colorful horn and attach it to a headband. A tulle tutu skirt with a white shirt and leggings completes the look. To make the tutu, cut strips of tulle about four inches wide and knot it around a loop of elastic or ribbon, alternating colors as you go. For more tips on making tutu skirts, check out this handy tutorial.
4. A Pink Flamingo
With fluffy feather boas, pink leggings, and a pink long-sleeved shirt, you’ve got almost all you’ll need to create a quirky flamingo costume. Stitch or glue the boas to the bottom half of the shirt, winding them up the side and around one sleeve to form the neck of the flamingo. Add some googly eyes and a hooked felt beak to the cuff of the sleeve, and you’re ready to go!
5. The Walking Raincloud
There are lots of version of this costume, but they all have one thing in common: a repurposed umbrella! Covered with fluffy batting and strung with paper raindrops or crystal beads hanging from fishing line, your trick-or-treater can wear stormy grey to blend in, or brighten things up by wearing rainbow stripes.
This costume requires four pairs of knee socks, the more colorful the better. Match them with a coordinating pair of leggings and a sweatshirt. Stuff three pairs of socks with fiber and stitch them to the hem of the sweatshirt. With the fourth pair of socks drawn on over the leggings, your trick-or-treater becomes an eight-legged octopus!
7. A Budding Artist
This one is as much fun to make as it is to wear! Cut out a palette shaped piece of cardboard, and add dollops of acrylic paint. Let it dry thoroughly. Meanwhile, take an apron, coverall, or old set of clothes, and go to town with the paint! Drips, splashes, smears, and splatters are the perfect complement for your young artist. Wielding a paintbrush and palette, he or she is ready for the costume parade!
8. The Sweetest Skunk You’ll Ever See
Here’s one costume that definitely doesn’t stink! It’s also almost ridiculously easy. All you’ll need is a black, hooded tracksuit and three feather or marabou boas, two white, one black. Use glue or stitching to attach the boas down the back of the hood all the way to the hem of the shirt. Let the excess trail off to form a tail, using black thread to tie the three boas together. Add a wrist loop made of elastic cord at the end to keep the tail from dragging on the ground.
9. Ice Cream Oops
This is the perfect quirky costume for a one-of-a-kind kid. Start with a long shirt or dress and cover it with fluffy batting and stuffing so that it resembles a melting scoop of ice cream. Use spray paint to tinge it the appropriate color, and add felt sprinkles. For the final touch, make a cone of brown kraft paper to wear as a hat, and voila! A spilled ice cream cone that won’t disappoint.
10. A (Not So) Spooky Spider
Like the octopus costume, this one relies on stuffed knee socks for extra appendages. Start with two pairs of black knee socks and a black tracksuit, with or without a hood. Stuff the socks and stitch them to the sides of the shirt below the sleeves. Stitch a string to the cuff of the shirt and knot it to the tips of the extra legs. This will let them move whenever the sleeves do. If the tracksuit has a hood, add six googly eyes. Alternatively, they can be added to a hat.
11. The Little Bad Wolf
This is a great sewing project for someone ready for more advanced materials and techniques. Create a simple hood from faux fur. It’s best to line it with fleece, flannel, or another soft fabric since the backing of faux fur can be scratchy. Add ears to your hood and attach it to the neck of a grey sweatshirt. Embellish the sweatshirt with more fur at the cuffs and on the chest. A furry tail and grey sweatpants complete the look.
12. Caped Crusaders
Whether your kids have favorite superheroes already, or love to make up their own, a cape helps sets the scene for leaping tall buildings, outracing speeding bullets, and collecting candy from all the neighbors! For a quick and simple cape, use a length of fabric cut to the desired length of your cape. Hem the sides and bottom, then fold the top over one inch and stitch. This creates a casing for a drawstring. Thread a ribbon or cord through the casing and the cloak is ready to tie on and wear.
13. Fierce Viking
Layer accessories over a base of black pants and a long, tunic-style shirt. A vest made of faux fur or rough felt sets the scene; belt it with rope or a strip of fabric. Furry leg warmers tied with leather shoelaces resemble handmade boots. A store-bought horned helmet is a nice finishing touch, but If you really want to go all-out, a thick bushy beard made of yarn is a showstopper.
14. Scarecrow Costume
A great project for getting rid of some of those bits of scrap fabric lurking around your sewing space. Check local thrift stores for a pair of overalls and a flannel shirt. Stitch on patches of different fabrics for a raggedy look. To mimic straw, glue lengths of raffia to trail out of pockets and shirt cuffs. A straw hat and scarecrow makeup completes the look.
15. Mommy’s Little Mummy
The only fabric you’ll need for this is plain unbleached muslin. Start with a pale tracksuit and several yards of muslin. Using scissors to start a tear, rip the muslin into strips two to four inches wide. Use fabric glue to attach the end of each strip to the tracksuit and wind them mummy-style around the suit. This is easiest to do with your child wearing the tracksuit. Use safety pins to hold the glued ends in place while you work.
16. Busy Little Bee
For crafty costumers, this is a quick and easy costume with very little sewing. With using black felt or fabric paint, add black stripes to a yellow shirt. Coiled chenille pipe cleaners with pom-poms glued to the ends make adorable antennae when attached to a headband. For wings, turn to an unexpected material for a nifty translucent effect: bubblewrap! Cut into wing shapes, they can be stitched or safety-pinned to the back of the shirt. Worn with black pants, your busy bee is is ready for a night of trick-or-treating!
17. A Pack of Colored Pencils
This is a great group costume, and is easy enough to put together in just a few minutes. Each participant wears an outfit in his or her color of choice, dressed head to toe in one color. Cut large circles from brown kraft paper or poster board, then cut each circle in half. Coil these half-circles into cone-shaped hats, securing them with glue or staples and adding elastic chin-straps if necessary. Paint the tips of the hats to match the outfit of the wearer, let dry, and you’re ready to go!
18. Beautiful Butterfly
Another easy costume great for last-minute creativity! All you’ll need is a black tracksuit, a sheet of black felt as wide as your child’s arm span, and colorful felt to attach. Fold the black felt in half and trace a buttterfly wing shape. Cut it out with the center on the fold, and you have your basic wings! Decorate them by gluing or sewing on colorful felt shapes, either to mimic a favorite type of butterfly, or to create something unique. When the wings are done, tack them to the sleeves of the tracksuit at the wrist, elbow, and shoulder, and add reinforcing stitches at the center. A headband with pipe cleaner antennae completes this metamorphosis.