Rather than purchasing a complete outfit, consider putting together a homemade Halloween costume with your kid using items you have lying around the house or stashed in a self-storage unit.

“A great costume doesn’t have to be complex or expensive,” says  Joe Powell, community lead at Daddilife.

Use these DIY ideas to create a fun costume:

Cute and Creative Costumes

Start with these suggestions and let your imagination customize the look.

1. Raining Cats and Dogs

Items needed:

  • Raincoat
  • Rain boots
  • Umbrella
  • Small stuffed animals
  • Hot glue gun

Dress your child in a raincoat and rain boots. Attach stuffed animals to an umbrella with hot glue. Apply to the stuffed animal first to avoid melting the umbrella material.

2. Sprinkled Donut

Items needed:

  • Swim tube
  • Colored foam sheets
  • String
  • Tape or glue

Blow up a swim tube your child takes to the beach or pool. Attach cut out pieces of foam in different colors to resemble a colorful sprinkles. Ue strings to hang it on your child.

3. Bath Bubbles

Items needed:

  • White balloons
  • White shirt
  • White pants
  • Shower cap
  • Rubber ducky

Dress your child in a white shirt and pants. Blow up the balloons and attach them to the outfit with tape or safety pins. Complete with a shower cap and rubber ducky.

4. Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

Items needed:

  • Two large pieces of cardboard
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Wide elastic
  • Duct tape
  • Black marker or circles cut out of black colored paper

Cut the two cardboard pieces into circles.

“You’re going to want them to cover your child’s body aside from arms, legs and head,” says Keith Fotta, co-founder of GoFunFace! animal masks.

Use the wide elastic as straps to go over your child’s shoulders and hold the cookie pieces together. Decorate with a black marker or circles cut out of black colored paper.

5. Cindy Lou from Dr. Suess

Items needed:

  • Pink fleece onsie
  • Scissors
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Red ribbons
  • Over-sized ball ornament

Melanie Musson sewed the pink fleece to create the shape she wanted. She wrapped pipe cleaners around her daughter’s pigtails and used red ribbons for bows. She then added an oversized Christmas ornament.

6. Walking Watercolors

Items needed:

  • Plain sweatshirt and matching sweatpants
  • Construction paper or colored paper
  • Cardboard wrapping paper tube
  • Brown or black pipe cleaners
  • Duct tape
  • Beret

“Attach oval shaped ‘paint pots’ onto the outfit cut out of construction paper or similar colored paper,” Fotta says.

Make a paintbrush by taping pipe cleaners on one end of the cardboard tube.

Finish the look with a beret.

7. Gumball Machine

Items needed:

  • Colored hoodie
  • Pompoms
  • Hot glue gun
  • Permanent markers

Use a hot-glue gun to attach pompoms the top and sides of the hoodie. Draw a money deposit with the words “25 cents” on the front.

8. The Itsy Bitsy Spider

Items needed:

  • White fleece
  • Black fleece
  • Glue

“Cut the fleece into a circle with a hole cut out for the child’s head,” Fotta says.

Then cut notches or half-circles out of the bottom of the fabric. Cut the black fleece into thin strips and glue these to the white fleece to create a web effect.

9. Woodland Fairy

Items needed:

  • Matching t-shirt and pants
  • Tutu
  • Cardboard
  • Elastic
  • Tape
  • Artificial leaves
  • Safety pins

Pin the leaves to the shirt. Cut cardboard wings and use elastic for straps around your little girl’s arms. Dress her in the shirt, pants, tutu and wings.

Secondhand Finds

Browse the clothes and accessories sections of thrift stores for costume ideas. Here are a few to get you started:

10. Pirate

Items needed:

  • Pirate hat
  • Long hair wig
  • Belt
  • Long sleeve white shirt
  • Striped pants

Dress your child in striped pants and a white shirt. Add a belt, hat and wig.

11.  Zoot Suit

Items needed:

  • Fedora
  • Striped suit
  • Tie
  • Dress shirt
  • Dress shoes

Dress your child in a suit, hat and tie. If the suit is too big, trim the legs to fit your child’s height.

12. Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland

photo credit: Goodwill Industries of Central Florida in Orlando 

Items needed:

  • Black and white skirt with hearts
  • Red shirt
  • Red shoes
  • Crown

If you find a black and white skirt without hearts, add your own by cutting hearts out of red felt and gluing them to the material. Add a red shirt, shoes and crown.

Family Costumes

Have your little ones follow a theme or dress up everyone, including the baby and mom and dad, before heading out Halloween night. Try these getups to start the fun:

13. Linus and Pig-Pen

Items needed:

  • Wig caps
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Tape
  • Brown eye shadow
  • Blue blanket
  • Red shirt with dark stripes
  • Black pants
  • White t-shirt
  • Brown overalls
  • Cardboard
  • Black permanent marker
  • Craft moss
  • Safety pins

Kasperowicz poked the pipe cleaners through the wig caps and used brown eye shadow for Pig-pen’s dirt. She pinned moss on the overalls to create a cloud of dirt.  A sign can be made with cardboard, tape and permanent marker.

14. Mickey and Minnie Mouse Family

Items needed:

  • Mouse ears,
  • Black shirts
  • Red skirts and pants
  • Black face paint
  • Makeup

Dress up everyone in Mouse ears and black shirts. Use a red skirt for every Minnie and red pants for each Mickey. Use black face paint or makeup to draw on noses and whiskers.

15. Pack of Sharks

Items needed:

  • Colored hoodies with matching sweatpants or leggings
  • Fabric paint or acrylic paint
  • Brush
  • White felt
  • Hot glue

Paint shark eyes and teeth on the hoods of the sweatshirts. You can also use white foam sheet to cut teeth and glue them to the edge of the hoodie. Cut white felt to form a belly and glue it on the front of the sweatshirts.

16. Lego Characters

Items needed:

Cut a concrete form tube into sections to wear as heads and add styrofoam cylinders to the top.

Cut holes for eyes and mouths. Spray paint the heads yellow and draw on faces with permanent markers.

Use cardboard to form box bodies with arm holes. Then spray paint the boxes and draw on designs.

Last-Minute DIY Costumes

Only have 15 minutes before a Halloween party? Try these fast tricks:

17. Super Hero

Items needed:

  • Plain t-shirt
  • Shorts
  • Eye mask
  • Fabric or garbage bag
  • Scissors
  • Black duct tape

Dress your child in a T-shirt, shorts and eye mask. Cut the fabric or garbage bag to make a cape.

“Add an ‘S’ made out of black duct tape to the shirt ,” Fotta says.

18. Scuba Diver

Items needed:

  • Swimsuit
  • Goggles
  • Face mask
  • Snorkel tube
  • Flippers or flip flops

Dress your child as a diver. If you extra minutes, strap two empty 2-liter soda bottles on your kid’s back to mimic air tanks.

19. Disney Princess

Items needed:

  • Princess dress or fancy dress,
  • Dress shoes
  • Crown
  • Hair bows

Have your daughter pick out her favorite dress. Add shoes and style her hair in a braid or bun.

20. Star Wars Jedi

Items needed:

  • Light saber
  • Tan shirt and pants
  • Brown belt
  • Brown blanket
  • Brown or black boots

Dress your child in the tan shirt and pants. Add a belt and boots; then tie a brown blanket around the neck for a cape. Carry a light saber when trick-or-treating.

21. Baby Baseball

Items needed:

  • White onesie
  • Red permanent marker or paint

Use a red marker or paint to create stitches on the onesie.

Photo credits:  Melanie Musson, a writer for CarInsurance.org, Goodwill Industries of Central Florida in Orlando ; Leslie Kasperowicz, managing editor for ExpertInsuranceReviews.com

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Rachel Hartman