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8 Unique Homemade DIY Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids & Adults

By Casey Slide

wrapped present costume smallAs Halloween approaches, if you haven’t yet decided on costumes for your family, you may start to feel the pressure of the clock ticking. And if you want to make your own do-it-yourself costumes for Halloween, the pressure can increase even further, as homemade costumes take several months of planning, and days or weeks to assemble.

You may have time to make costumes, but cost also factors into DIY costumes, especially if you need to buy pre-made items in order to save time. If making DIY Halloween costumes take a lot of your time and money, the fun factor can quickly dissipate.

Luckily, you can easily make simple, yet fun, DIY Halloween costumes. These costume ideas don’t cost much and assembly is straight forward, even if you don’t have any innate DIY life skills. In fact, you can make most of these costumes in less than an hour, and you may already have most, if not all, of the materials you need in your home.

Try one of these eight inexpensive, fun, and easy DIY Halloween costume ideas for kids and adults this year (I’ve included homemade pictures of my wonderful son, niece, and myself!):

Holiday Inspired Costumes

1. Candy Cane

You can wear this simple costume again during the Christmas season as a fun way to celebrate the holidays. This was my favorite costume and it looked terrific on my young model. Even at his age, he wore the costume without any problems. Best of all, you can make this easy DIY Halloween costume in less than 30 minutes.

Time Commitment: 30 minutes

Age Appropriateness: Any age

Approximate Cost: $15

Supplies Needed:

  • White t-shirt – $3
  • White pants – $6
  • Red or green tape or both – $4
  • Headband - $2
  • Wire hanger
  • White felt – $0.25
  • Used toilet paper roll
  • Fabric glue

Assembly Instructions:

  1. You can start with either the pants or the shirt by wrapping the red or green tape around the clothing in a way that resembles a candy cane. I started wrapping from the bottom by folding the tape under the bottom hem. For the pants, start with one leg and go all the way up to the waist. When you make the second leg, you can still wrap it up to the waist by fitting the tape between the first strip that you placed on the pants.
  2. To make the hat, unwrap the wire hanger and re-fold it in a way that closely resembles a candy cane. Next, place the used toilet paper roll over the long part of the hanger. Wrap the white felt over the toilet paper roll and hanger so that it completely covers the candy cane shape. Use fabric glue to hold the felt in place.
  3. To finish the hat, wrap the colored tape around the felt in the same way that you wrapped it around the shirt and pants. Use the fabric glue to fasten it to the headband.
candy cane costume

2. Wrapped Present

You can also use this fun costume as a Christmas costume or wear the costume to celebrate someone’s birthday. Most likely, you won’t have to purchase a single item to quickly assemble it. In fact, if you wait until the last minute to decide that you want to dress up, you can put this costume together 30 minutes prior to leaving your home for a party or to go trick-or-treating.

Time Commitment: 30 minutes

Age Appropriateness: Any age, depending on the child’s temperament, since the box can be intimidating

Approximate Cost: Free, assuming you have the supplies

Supplies Needed:

  • Box that will fit around your torso
  • Wrapping paper
  • Decorative bow
  • Scissors
  • Tape

Assembly Instructions:

  1. In order to get the box in wearable condition, open up the bottom for the body to fit through. For the top of the box where the head fits through, cut out a large square in the middle and ensure that some box will rest on its wearer’s shoulders. Cut out circles on each side for the arms.
  2. Cover each side with wrapping paper and tape. You can also decorate your box, to add a unique and individualized touch to your costume.
  3. Place a decorative bow to place on top of the head for a finishing touch.
wrapped present costume

3. Hershey Kiss

You can eat Hershey Kisses all year long, but many people consider the little chocolates to be holiday staples. This unmistakable symbol of celebration makes for a fun Halloween costume. In fact, it may get people talking and excited about eating some Halloween sweets. This costume takes up to two hours to assemble, so make sure to start putting it together at least one night before Halloween.

Time Commitment: Up to two hours

Age Appropriateness: Over 5 years of age

Approximate Cost: $15

Supplies Needed:

  • Aluminum foil
  • White felt – $0.25
  • Cardboard garment box
  • Red marker
  • Poncho (with sleeves) – $10
  • Hula Hoop – $5
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape
  • Duct tape
  • Fabric glue

Assembly Instructions:

  1. To make the hat, use the cardboard garment box to create a dome to cover with aluminum foil. To make mine, I used a mixing bowl to draw a circle on the cardboard garment box. I cut out the circle, and then I cut a slit to the middle that would allow me to form a dome. I taped the dome into position and then covered it with foil. Tip: Use caution when handling the foil, it rips easily.
  2. Cut out a strip of white felt and write a message on it with the red marker, such as “Trick-or-Treat” or “Happy Halloween.” Use fabric glue to attach the felt to the hat.
  3. Cut off the hood and the sleeves. Insert the hula hoop on the inside of the poncho and duct tape the hem up around the hula hoop so that when you hold up the poncho, it now forms the shape of a Hershey Kiss.
  4. Next, cover the entire poncho with the aluminum foil. Use caution when handling the foil to avoid rips and tears. Use tape to hold the foil in place. Tip: Hang the poncho off of a fan or door frame while you assemble the costume.
hershey kiss costume

Animal Costumes

4. Dalmatian

Little kids like to dress up like animals for Halloween. Animal costumes look cute on children, and children tend to learn to identify animals at an early age, making these costumes fun to wear. If you want to make a DIY animal costume for Halloween but you don’t know how to sew, you can still assemble this in 30 minutes.

Time Commitment: 30 minutes

Age Appropriateness: Young child

Approximate Cost: $15

Supplies Needed:

  • White t-shirt – $3
  • White pants – $6
  • 10 pieces of black felt – $2.50
  • 1 piece of white felt – $0.25
  • Black headband – $2
  • Scissors
  • Fabric glue
  • Face paint – $1
  • Cardboard boxes

Assembly Instructions:

  1. Using the black felt, cut out several Dalmatian spots in different shapes and sizes. Tip: These circles do not have to be perfectly symmetrical.
  2. Cut the cardboard boxes so that you can fit them inside the shirt and the pants. Lay the shirt and pants on a table facing upright, and insert the cardboard. Next, lay out half the spots on the front of shirt and the pants. Reserve the remaining spots for the back of the costume. Once you have the spots positioned, use fabric glue to attach them.
  3. After the glue has dried, flip the costume over to attach the remaining spots to the back of the costume.
  4. For the headpiece, cut out small triangles from the white felt and slightly smaller triangles from the black felt to use as dog ears. Glue the black felt triangles to the middle of the white felt triangles. Attach the ears to the headband by dabbing a little glue to the bottom of the ears and placing them on the edge of the headband.
  5. Finish off the costume by using face paint to create whiskers, a dog nose, and spots.
dalmatian costume

5. Spider

When my husband and I discussed ways to save on cheap Halloween costumes, we really liked the idea of making a simple yet clever spider costume. Kids have a great time trying to control all of the legs while wearing this fun Halloween costume. We still like the idea, but after making it for our 18 month-old son, we realized that it was not practical to put so many limbs on such a little guy. He was overwhelmed, and unable to control the eight legs. This costume takes an hour to put together.

Time Commitment: 1 hour

Age Appropriateness: 5 years and up

Approximate Cost: $15.50

Supplies Needed:

  • Black shirt – $3.50
  • Black pants – $6
  • 8 men’s crew length socks – $6
  • Lots of newspaper
  • Fishing wire
  • Scissors
  • Safety pins

Assembly Instructions:

  1. Stuff the eight socks with crinkled up newspaper. Tip: I experimented by stuffing the socks with other materials, such as more socks, cotton balls, and tissue paper, but the newspaper worked best because it is lightweight and we already had some laying around in our home.
  2. Safety pin the open end of the socks to the black t-shirt. Arrange two at the bottom that hang straight down and then work your way up on each side so that the legs can go outward.
  3. Using the fishing wire, tie a loop around the end of each of the third legs. Give the wire a couple of inches slack, and tie a loop around the second legs. Give the wire a couple more inches slack, and tie a loop around the top leg. Give the wire a final couple inches and tie a loop for the costume wearer’s wrists to fit through. This wire gives them the ability to lift six of their eight spider limbs.
spider costume

Unique Costumes

6. Static Cling

This costume works well for people who wait until the very last minute to assemble their costume. This simple DIY costume does not require the purchase of any supplies and catches the attention of others. Not only that, as long as your laundry is fresh, you should smell nice too.

Time Commitment: 15 minutes

Age Appropriateness: Any Age

Approximate Cost: Free

Supplies Needed:

  • Random clothing items
  • Safety pins
  • Dryer sheets

Assembly Instructions:

  1. Take random clothing items and safety pin them to whatever you are wearing. Consider socks, hats, underwear, scarves, towels, and whatever other small items you can find.
  2. Safety pin a few dryer sheets to your costume so that others recognize your costume.
  3. Top off your outfit by putting a clothing item on the top of your head.
static cling costume

7. Highway

People who love cars and the open road love this costume. Kids also have a blast wearing this costume and playing with the cars. In fact, some children cannot keep their hands off the cars, making it difficult to keep their costume together. It only takes 20 minutes to assemble this DIY costume.

Time Commitment: 20 minutes

Age Appropriateness: 3 years to 10 years

Approximate Cost: $20

Supplies Needed:

  • Black t-shirt (or gray) – $3.50
  • Black pants (or gray) – $6
  • Yellow tape – $2
  • Velcro – $2
  • Half dozen Matchbox cars – $6
  • Hat
  • Paper
  • Safety pin

Assembly Instructions:

  1. Cut the yellow tape into one and a half inch-sized strips. The number of strips you need depends on the size of the costume. Place these strips on the pants and the shirt in a pattern that resembles traffic lanes.
  2. Cut the Velcro into one-inch strips, and place one side on various places of the shirt and pants, and attach the other side to the underside of the Matchbox cars. Then stick the cars onto the shirt and pants. Tip: When attaching the Velcro to the shirt, pants, and cars, heat the area slightly with a hair dryer in order to melt the Velcro in place.
  3. For the hat, search online for an image you want to put on the hat to describe the road the costume portrays. For example, I found an image of a sign for I-85 online, so I printed it out and safety pinned the image to the hat.
highway costume

8. Painter

Busy parents love this costume because kids want to help put the costume together. It also includes some fun props. This DIY costume takes 60 minutes to assemble and works well for adults, too!

Time Commitment: 1 hour

Age Appropriateness: Any age

Approximate Cost: $12

Supplies Needed:

  • White t-shirt – $3
  • White pants – $6
  • White hat – $3
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Used and cleaned out paint can

Assembly Instructions:

  1. Cut the cardboard boxes so that you can fit cardboard pieces inside the shirt and the pants and so that the paint does not bleed through to the other side.
  2. Place shirt, pants, and hat outside in a place where you can work with paint. Splatter some paint by dipping a paint brush into paint and shaking it over the clothing.
  3. Let the clothing dry. If you want to decorate the back of the clothing, flip over the clothes and do some more paint splattering.
  4. To go with the painter’s costume, use an old, cleaned out paint can to act as a bucket for candy when trick-or-treating.
painter costume

Final Word

These costumes do not take much skill, time, or money to assemble, but no one has to know that except for you. Remember, you don’t need to have a perfect ensemble, and everyone loves homemade Halloween costumes. So have fun and relax; you’ll be wearing your costume at night, and no one will suspect that you didn’t spend months creating your look.

Have you ever made a DIY Halloween costume? What’s your favorite?

buy costumes

Casey Slide
Casey Slide lives with her husband and baby in Atlanta, GA. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and worked for a prominent hospital in Atlanta. With the birth of Casey’s son in February 2010, she decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Casey’s interests include reading, running, living green, and saving money.

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Comments

  • http://www.mypersonalfinance.com Cherleen @ My Personal Finance

    I love your ideas! Although these costumes will be a surefire hit to both parents and kids, we have decided that they will be wearing the costumes they used last year. I will bookmark this page for next year’s great ideas. The suggested decorations by Centsible Life and the recipes youposted earlier with these costumes will make a perfect Halloween.

    • Casey Slide

      Thanks for your feedback, Cherleen! I hope you have a fun Halloween this year!

  • Brake Darla

    Awesome Ideas!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  • The Spring Mount 6 Pack

    This is really cute. Thanks for sharing

  • Dlc6pack

    YOUR VERY CREATIVE!!! Kids are adorable too! thanks for sharing :)

    • Casey Slide

      Thank you!

  • Anonymous

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  • Theskaterchick14

    meh, they’re ok

  • danielle

    very cute and practical! I’m really have a hard time choosing which one I’d like to be first! My boys are 8 and 10 can you help me think of something they might like to be I could put together at home ? Maybe Mario and Luigi? need something by sat afternoon! HELP!

    • Casey Slide

      Mario and Luigi would be so cute! Especially for boys of 8 and 10. Dress one in red and one in green (make sure they have hats too), and then get some fake mustaches for them!

  • anonymous

    these arent things i would wear.. i like creative halloween costumes but.. not these. =/

    • Couponcarli12

      If you don’t like the ideas, you don’t have to leave a negative comment.

  • Dedee

    stupid costumes on one boy

  • Emoev

    what kind of costumes are these no offence but my opinion is that i dont really like them

  • Anonymous

    @BabyBoy…….I c?n’t b?leive…..M? fri?nd’s sist?r m?k?s 96/hr on the L?????. Sh? h?s b?en un?mplo??d for 10 months but l?st month h?r incom? was 8253 USD ?ust w?rking ?n th? PC f?r ? f?w h?urs. G? t? this w?b sit?….http://alturl.com/hmm5h

  • guest

    These are so cute! Great ideas Thanks! :)

  • Leeana

    I used the highway idea and made it into the 405fwy in california which everyone knows is full of cars. So on the costume i put alot of cars, everyone and I mean everyone that we walked by LOVED it and thought it was funny

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