A big part of Halloween is the dressing up. It can also be one of the biggest expenses and stresses but it doesn’t have to be. With 4 kids I now have quite a collection of dress ups for all ages and sizes but I still get caught out at times. I’ve been dressing my kids up for parties, book week, school plays, assignments, Halloween and the list goes on. What makes a good costume is matching the right colour, adding accessories and getting little details in. What makes a better costume is all of that in an easy and cheap costume.
When planning your costumes look around the house are there toys that can be used? Do one persons clothes work for someone else’s costume? Maybe Grandma’s got some gems hiding in her closet. Pyjamas these days often look like everyday clothes so does that superhero PJ top work as part of a costume?
Be willing to watch a few YouTube clips to learn how to do hair or make up. Having iconic looking hair such as Princess Leia can make the costume pop. YouTube can show you how to make armour out of boxes or duct tape boots and weapons so search what accessory you want and you can almost guarantee someone has put up a clip or tutorial on the net.
To help this Halloween (or book week or party or whatever event) here is a list of 31 easy and cheap DIY costume ideas. Most of these are based off what we already have in the wardrobe and what can be easily and cheaply picked up at either op shops or the local $2 store.
- Mrs Frizzle from The Magic School Bus – She wears a blue dress with pictures all over it, most of the time these are planets and space themed. We already had a blue dress with constellations on it so we were lucky but any blue dress that you can pin pictures to will work, add a crepe paper or fabric white collar and do up the hair in her style gives the look the finishing touch
- Princess – A princess doesn’t have to be a Disney princess it can be any fancy dress you already own and a cardboard crown. A simple one is to get a sheet of card, roll into a cont and tape, add a few ribbons from the top and a string to hold it on and viola, a matching crown for the dress for barely anything.
- Fairy – Fairies also don’t have to be Tinkerbell and friends. A dress with cardboard or coat hanger wings and a wand made from a chopstick and cardboard do the trick. You could go one step further and make the tooth fairy by having a bag with a tooth picture on it which is where the teeth are collected.
- M.I.B– If you already own a black suit, white shirt and sunglasses you have a number of options at your disposal. Add a black tie and take a sharpie covered in foil with you and the Men In Black have arrived.
- Blues Bro – Or maybe you like it a little more old school and add a tie and hat for the Blues Brothers. This works well if you have a partner especially if one is a bit taller than the other. Use eye liner to add details like tattoos on the hands.
- Slappy from Goosebumps – That suit can also pair with a red bow tie and you can be Slappy the puppet. Use eye liner or face paints and draw lines down the chin from either side of the mouth like a puppet. Slick the hair back and be ready to scare.
- Indiana Jones – This is actually what my son went to Book Week as this year. It was tan pants, white shirt, jacket that he already owned and a brown hat we got from the $2 shop and shaped. He made a whip with his dad from rope and duct tape. Then we made a side satchel from old work pants but any side bag would do. Add a toy gun and Indy is set for adventure.
- Cat / Dog / Mouse – Dress all in one colour (white, black, brown, grey) and make a tail out of a stocking and newspaper. Paint or use make up to draw the nose and whiskers. For the ears use a headband and out of cardboard tape on pointy ear or droopy ones depending on what animal you are going for.
- Big Bad Wolf – Once again go for an all over colour like black or grey and get the pointy ears on a headband happening. Make the tail from wool to give it a shaggy look. Print a mask from online or make a muzzle from cardboard and strap around your head. If you wanted to be different go as the Big Bad Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood and dress in a night dress over the top.
- Elephant – Dress in grey and pad it out with pillows or extra layers of clothes underneath. Make some big floppy ears out of fabric pinned to a head band and a trunk from card or fabric to strap around the head.
- Pirate – A stripy or white shirt and some denim shorts plus a bandanna are all you really need but add a sword, use make up to make some scars. Cover one eye with an eye patch or stitch a toy parrot to your shoulder and the pirate really comes alive.
- Zombie – Zombies are just people who look like they need a shower and a massage. Wear normal clothes and scruff them up a bit, be untucked and if you’re willing rub a bit of dirt everywhere. Use makeup to look paler than normal and dark around the eyes, add blood from the mouth if you want to be a bit gruesome. And don’t bother brushing your hair. Walk funny and drag a foot behind for good measure.
- Wonder Woman – Wonder Woman is a popular choice for girls these days. Her colours are red on top with blue on the bottom and gold accent pieces. Any red top will do a little gold paint and a black sharpie can have her logo on the front in no time. We already had this star skirt for a couple of years but a blue skirt that you stick or pin stars to gives a iconic look. Make wrist bands and a tiara out of gold or yellow card (my girl doesn’t like to wear them) and a shield from stronger card and your ready to save the world!
- Doctor/Vet – Slacks and a large white shirt for a coat are the start. If it has a pocket, add some pens and a notepad for writing prescriptions. Toy doctors kits are cheap and have a stethoscope to drape around your neck and you can use the bag as a prop or to collect the lollies in!
- Astronaut – I’ve seen snow suits converted into some pretty amazing space suits but you could keep it low cost with a white hoodie and pants and add some details like name tags, NASA patch and country flag either with iron-ons or just fabric paints. Add oxygen tanks with a couple of soft drink bottles taped together and sprayed or a pillow with the country name on the back. Add some straps to keep it to your back and up, up and away you go.
- Belle – The big yellow ball gown is the go to but Belle wears a simple blue dress with apron for most of the movie so if you have a blue dress pull it out, add an apron which could just be a pillowcase pinned on, do up the hair and start singing to the animals.
- Mummy – There is always a toilet paper mummy, but if you want a more durable costume used ripped fabric from an old sheet or similar and wrap and tie them over your body. Wear white or cream clothes underneath so that any wraps slipping out of place don’t show too much and it also means you wont need as many wraps to cover you. The ragged look is in for Mummies so you don’t even have to worry about getting things perfect!
- Alice in Wonderland – Blue dresses are easy to turn into many characters. Alice in Wonderland wears pale blue with a white apron, which could be a pillowcase or tea towel pinned on. Add black ribbon as a head band, white stockings with black slip-ons and Alice is complete.
- Madeline – Madeline was a favourite show for me growing up and she is easy to copy. Once again a blue dress, add a white collar with fabric or crepe paper, use a straw hat with a black ribbon around it for the school hat and a pair of white gloves finishes the look.
- Cinderella – Just like Alice, Cinderella wears a pale blue dress. Make it more puffy at the bottom by wearing a bunched up circle skirt underneath. Pull out some jewellery, do up the hair and you’re almost ready for the ball. If you don’t have glass slippers handy, white shoes work or decorate a pair of slip-ons with clear plastic beads. Take it one step further and only wear one shoe all night.
- Boxtroll – Boxtrolls can be any shape and size you want so grab some boxes and start creating. Use face paint to change the colour of your skin to get a bit more of an authentic feel. What cant a cardboard box do?
- Karate Kid – If you or your kids do any martial arts chances are they have a uniform. This makes for one of the easiest costumes – The Karate Kid. Wear the uniform and add a bandana, maybe practice the Crane Kick pose and be ready to wax on and wax off all night long.
- Shark attack victim – If the weather is warm enough wear swimmers and use face paints to add a bite mark and blood train somewhere on your body. You can add blood soaked bandages to avoid the make up work by using food dye or paint and making a normal bandage all red. Let it dry before putting it on or you really will be going for a realistic look.
- Scientist – A white coat is what people think of when you say scientist so get a white shirt that’s too big and make it work. Accessories like glasses or goggles, pens, notebooks, magnifying glasses or name tags and lanyards all add to the feel. If you want the mad scientist look spike or frizz the hair, laugh like a maniac and maybe add some explosion dust to your face.
- Butterfly – Butterfly wings are easy to make out of any lightweight fabric. The easiest way is to pin a few hair elastics along one edge to slide your arms through. If you don’t want to use pins a quick hand stitch and the elastic will keep in place. Use bright patterned fabrics and make your body all one colour either to match or just go classic black.
- Super hero – Anyone can buy an Ironman or Spiderman costume but to create your own superhero is much more fun. The outfit can be anything you want but as most superheros go for the lycra tight look, tighter is better. Underwear on the outside, cape v no cape, mask or face paint, it’s all up to you because Super Someone has never been seen before.
- Robot – Use boxes to create your own robot. Make sure they aren’t so big that walking, sitting and feeding yourself aren’t an issue. Paint or cover with paper and add buttons, pipe cleaners, stickers etc to make your robot funky.
- Alien Conspiracy Theorist – My kids think this one is hilarious. You need al foil and a book on aliens which you can borrow from the library. Wrap the foil over your head to create whatever looking helmet you want, think Signs the movie. Walk around clutching the book to your front and glancing at the sky in case of aliens.
- Chef / Cook – Wear all white and add an apron. That’s it. You can add to the costume with a hat or by making the apron a bit dirty from cooking. Add some flour or brownie mix to your cheeks for an authentic home cook look.
- Coco – Coco was a big movie when Disney released it and is great for dressing up as. You just need jeans, a white shirt and a red hoodie. To complete the look a white guitar or ukulele is great. If you don’t have one cut the shape from card and strap it to your back. If you want more paint your face in the Day of the Dead style.
- Enderman – Endermen are from the game Minecraft and are easy to dress as thanks to being all black, so long sleeve top or jumper and pants in black for the body. Cover a square box in black paper or paint and cut eye slits as this will be your head. Add purple eyes with paint or paper squares in the order light purple – dark purple – light purple on either side of the box about 2/3 of the way down and your done.
What are your easy costume ideas?