Babies, toddlers, and many preschoolers don’t yet have firm opinions on what they want to be for Halloween. But parents still enjoy dressing them up so their little ones can have a special holiday too. Plus, there’s no beating the photo op when it comes to babies dressed in adorable outfits.
And while you could buy them something from the store, in many cases doing it yourself can help you save money on their Halloween costume. That’s not the only reason to make your own, though. If you have your heart set on who or what you want your little one to be — like a character from your favorite storybook — there’s no need for disappointment when you can’t find what you want in a store. The sky’s the limit when you DIY.
Even better, with so many options for easy homemade costumes, you don’t have to worry your crafting or sewing skills aren’t up to par. You can put together many costumes with pieces assembled from thrift stores — like Once Upon a Child or Goodwill — or the back of your own closet. And those that do require a bit of sewing or crafting don’t take much more than a few simple stitches or some glue.
So go ahead and get your camera ready for all those adorable baby pictures to come.
Halloween Costume Ideas for Babies, Toddlers & Kids
Find endless inspiration for cute baby and little kid costumes from your favorite things — whether that’s a storybook, a yummy treat, or an adorable animal. And for even more ideas, see our post on group Halloween costumes. It includes ideas to involve your baby, toddler, or preschooler in a family costume.
But this year brings unique costuming challenges, as everyone who plans to interact with those outside their household or pandemic bubble — whether at a party or trick-or-treating — should wear a mask to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns against masking children under 2, as it can interfere with their breathing. That makes little ones especially vulnerable when they’re exposed to others. For that reason, it’s best to keep those under 2 at home this Halloween and save their costumes for all the adorable pics.
But for kids over 2, there are plenty of fun masks that pair perfectly with their Halloween costumes. Look for masks that match the colors in their costumes or those that let you skip the face paint. For example, a face mask with cat whiskers easily stands in for whiskers drawn directly on their face. And it’s even possible to find glow-in-the-dark face masks, upping both the Halloween safety and fun factor.
Halloween is all about pretending to be whomever you want. So why not a character from one of yours or your child’s favorite books?
1. Max From “Where the Wild Things Are”
Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s picture book, “Where the Wild Things Are,” is as beloved today as when he wrote it generations ago in 1963. And while Pottery Barn sells a costume for Max, the story’s main character, for close to $80, you can make a no-sew DIY version for under $20.
So, if this is one of your favorites, let the wild rumpus start with a little yellow felt, faux fur, elastic banding, and liquid stitch glue. First, cut a crown shape from yellow felt, and then glue an elastic strip measured to fit your child’s head around the inside bottom edge. Use Velcro to attach the ends of elastic together. Embellish the crown with some faux fur around the bottom. Then use the leftover fur to make a tail and pin it to whatever your child wears as a base. That could be an inexpensive beige romper for a baby or cream-colored or white footed-pajamas for an older child. To keep costs down, forage for these from a thrift store or your child’s closet.
Get the full instructions on A Night Owl.
2. The Caterpillar From “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”
Another children’s classic, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle, is also beloved by generations of children. Make an easy mask by cutting the caterpillar’s classic red face (around the size of your child’s face), circular green and yellow eyes, round black mouth, and purple antennae from craft foam and gluing them together. Affix elastic to secure it to your child’s face. Then pair the mask with a long-sleeved green shirt and matching green pants. Get the full instructions on Kids Activities Blog.
Alternatively, make a hat to mimic the caterpillar’s face by cutting the shapes from felt or fleece and hot-gluing them onto a red cap. Get the full instructions on Do-It-Yourself Danielle.
3. The Mouse From “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”
A totally doable DIY, dressing your child as the mouse from “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff requires only an everyday outfit of denim overalls, a long-sleeved white T-shirt, and some black eyeliner for whiskers. Then make some mouse ears by cutting mouse ear shapes from gray and pink felt. Hot glue them onto a plain headband, which you can pick up from the dollar store. Then pair the costume with a cookie trick-or-treat bag made of two circles cut from brown felt and decorated with black felt chocolate chips.
Get the full instructions on The House That Lars Built.
And for kids over 2, skip drawing whiskers directly on their face with makeup and opt instead for a mouse whiskers face mask. Or purchase a mask in a solid color to match your felt mouse ears and draw whiskers on it using fabric paint.
Perfect for Halloween, your child can dress as Coraline from the eponymous children’s book by revered author Neil Gaiman. Becoming the main character from this haunting tale requires gathering a few everyday pieces — blue jeans, a red-and-white striped shirt, a yellow raincoat, and yellow rain boots. Combine those with a blue wig and a chauffeur hat. All you need to do is gather the pieces — no sewing or crafting required.
See the look on Dear Creatives.
You can also pull together the main character’s look from the beloved children’s series “Madeline” by Ludwig Bemelmans from everyday clothes — no sewing required. Gather a blue dress, a shirt with a white collar to wear under it (or a faux Peter Pan collar), white knee socks, black Mary Janes, a straw hat, and a red ribbon. Tie the red ribbon into a bow necktie. If desired, spray-paint the straw hat yellow.
Get the full instructions on Chirping Moms.
Food costumes are popular choices for Halloween because they’re silly and unique. And on little ones, they’re especially adorable.
6. A Cupcake
Make your cute-as-a-cupcake kiddo this fun food costume. Form the cupcake base by cutting the bottom off a round laundry basket. Then fold wrapping paper accordion-style to mimic the look of a cupcake liner. The tutorial uses brown paper. But, since cupcake liners come in all sorts of colors and patterns, any wrapping paper works. Hot-glue it around the laundry basket. Create icing by cutting two circles with scalloped edges from white felt — one large enough to cover the basket’s rim and the other a little larger than your child’s shoulders. Cut a hole in the center of each icing piece (like a doughnut), so one can slip around their waist over the “cupcake” basket base and the other over their shoulders. Then cut smaller circles from different colors of felt to look like sprinkles, and glue them onto the white circles. Tie ribbon to the basket to act as shoulder straps to hold the cupcake base on. Then dress your child in a white shirt and brown pants. Slip on the basket and layer one circle of icing around the basket’s rim and the other over your child’s shoulders.
Get the full instructions on HGTV.
7. An Ice Cream Cone
A tutu, a white top, some mini colored craft sticks, and brown construction paper are all you need to turn your child into the sweetest ice cream cone ever. If you don’t already have one, you can follow the instructions at HGTV to make your own tutu from white tulle and an elastic band.
Glue safety pins to colored craft sticks and pin them all over the tutu and top to resemble sprinkles. Finish by twisting a sheet of brown paper into a cone shape and taping or gluing it together. Affix the cone hat to their hair with bobby pins.
See the adult version of this kids adaptation at Treasures and Travels.
8. Candy Dots
This fun and simple costume involves a basic white dress or T-shirt and some small Styrofoam spheres. Cut the spheres in half, paint them in pink, yellow, and blue candy colors, and glue them to the dress or T-shirt. For fun, you can add a blue wig to mimic Katy Perry in one of her most famous costumes. If they don’t know or care who Katy Perry is, let them wear any color wig they want.
Get the full instructions on HGTV.
9. A Gumball Machine
Glue pom-poms in a circle at the center of a white T-shirt or tank to resemble gumballs inside a gumball machine. Pair the T-shirt with red pants, a red skirt, or a red tutu. Cut a rectangle of gray felt and use a black permanent marker to draw on a coin slot and “25¢.” Then use a safety pin to attach it just below the gumballs on your skirt or pants.
Get the full instructions on Alex Marie Jordan.
10. A Burrito
Turn your Chipotle obsession into a costume for your kid. Pair a silver skirt or pants with a beige top. Make lettuce and toppings like cheese, tomatoes, and olives from cut felt and pom-poms. Glue the toppings to the lettuce, and then bunch and affix the lettuce inside the collar of the shirt so it peeks out. Your child will look just like a burrito.
See the adult version of this kids adaptation Aww Sam.
Animals are a classic choice for kids Halloween costumes. They’re often simple to put together. And little kids always look adorable with furry tails and fuzzy noses. You can opt for the ever-popular cat costume. But if you’re looking for something more unique, opt for a more off-beat animal.
11. A Frog
This fun costume doubles as a jacket kids can wear anytime. Embellish a green hoodie with light green felt circles to mimic frog skin. Make eyeballs by stuffing white socks with fiberfill and sewing on black pupils cut from felt. Then sew the eyeballs onto the hood of the sweatshirt using eye pockets cut from more green felt. Pair the hoodie with green sweatpants. If you need one, you can add a cute frog face mask.
Get the full instructions on HGTV.
12. A Dinosaur
This homemade animal costume also relies on a hoodie for its base piece. Start by cutting some dinosaur back spines, teeth, and eyeballs from felt. Then, sew the back spines down the middle of the back of a green hooded sweatshirt. The hood itself acts as the dinosaur’s mouth, so sew the teeth around the edge of the hood and the eyeballs onto the top of the hood. For older kids, complement the tutorial’s look with a dinosaur face mask.
Get the full instructions on HGTV.
13. A Jellyfish
Since this costume requires kids to carry an umbrella all night, skip it for the littlest kids and babies. That said, it’s the perfect costume if you’re expecting a drizzly Halloween. Start with a clear umbrella. Then tape a variety of sizes and textures of ribbon around the edge to hang down like jellyfish tentacles (not too many — they still need to be able to see). Embellish the umbrella with sparkly bling — like self-adhesive craft jewels. Make a pair of eyes for the jellyfish by cutting large white circles from construction paper and slightly smaller black circles to make the pupils. Glue them to the front of the umbrella. Alternatively, keep the costume waterproof by gluing on some giant googly eyes instead. On Halloween, pair the umbrella with a frilly dress, tutu, or all-white separates, and light it up by gluing or taping on some glow sticks. Pair it with a jellyfish face mask or one that matches the ribbons.
Get the full instructions on ‘A Casarella.
14. A Bat
You can also repurpose an old black umbrella into bat wings. Remove the center handle using wire cutters, and cut the umbrella into the shape of wings. Wrap the metal hinges with black electrical tape so they stay straight (the electrical tape also helps cover any sharp edges). Complete the costume with black-painted cardboard bat ears glued to a headband and a bat nose cut from a paper cup and decorated with a pink button to look like bat nostrils. Use an elastic band to secure it around your child’s face (or skip the bat nose and opt for a bat face mask instead). Pair it with black pants and a black T-shirt.
Get the full instructions on Mother Natured.
15. A Bull in a China Shop
If you have a toddler at home, you know firsthand they’re “why we can’t have nice things.” So make light of your current reality with this silly and adorable costume. Start with a brown shirt and pants. Then make a vest to go over them from some fuzzy brown felt. Attach a bull tail cut from the same felt. And then use a combination of sewing and Velcro to attach doll-size cups and saucers. Make a set of horns by cutting them from cream-colored felt, stuffing them, and gluing them to a headband.
Get the full instructions on Merriment Designs.
Although little kids are generally too young to have firm opinions on their Halloween costumes, we still like to dress them up as part of enjoying the holiday. That’s especially true for new parents getting to experience Halloween with their little one for the first time.
But, while dressing them in costume is still doable, taking kids under 2 trick-or-treating is problematic this year. For kids over 2, it’s OK to go trick-or-treating as long as you follow the CDC guidelines for a safe Halloween: Wear a mask, socially distance, and carry hand sanitizer for them to use between candy stops. Just be sure to keep the sanitizer out of their reach, as the United States Food & Drug Administration warns that ingesting even a small amount can cause alcohol poisoning in kids.
It’s also OK to skip the trick-or-treating entirely. And that doesn’t mean your kiddos will miss out on Halloween. Instead of the annual candy fest, plan a safer Halloween family activity. There are still plenty of options for dressing in costumes, including hosting a virtual costume party on Zoom. And your friends and family are sure to enjoy all those adorable costumed baby pics you’ll be posting to social media.
Are you dressing up your little one this year? What will they be wearing?