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How to Create an Awesome Costume

Updated on September 15, 2014

How to Create an Awesome Costume

Costume parties and Halloween are fun, since dressing up as another person or thing is a special experience that doesn't happen often and can be quite exciting and enjoyable when it does. Putting together your own homemade costume looks far better than a flimsy looking, expensive, or cliche costume from a a big block or department store. Using our tips and your own creativity and items borrowed or bought from a thrift shop, you can make your own authentic-looking costume that will impress everyone.

To start, you must think outside the box of mass-produced costumes and be creative. Start looking everywhere you go for objects that can be used as part of your costume. Many items may be repurposed. glued, or sewn to make them into the perfect costume. It really isn't hard to do. For instance, my son wanted to be Joker and I found a photo online and then copied the makeup and costume easily. You can do this too. The pirate costume here is also easy to make with a white shirt, brown vest, red scarf, and eye patch.

It's not as hard as it sounds to look amazing and surprise your friends with a great costume if you know how. Creating an awesome costume for yourself or your children can be easily done by exploring some of the useful tips below.

Find Costume Ideas Online or at the Library

If you need ideas on what you want to dress up as and what your costume should look like, check out books at the library or go online. Search for famous people, fictional characters, or historical periods that are interesting to you.

You might have a special hero or historical person that intrigues you or a character from a book or movie. Or perhaps you might want to dress up like an object, animal, or certain occupation like a doctor or sports player.

Then search online for ideas on how your costume should look. Explore websites like other Squidoo lenses (there are some listed below for a start), Pinterest or Google images or historical sites or just Google the character or time period of your character to find ideas and take notes on what materials you will need to create your costume.

If you want to be Batman then go to a Batman site to see what he looks like so you can copy the outfit. If you want to be a Beatle or a princess or famous person in history then Google those words or names. When you find the look you want to create or copy, print out the photos or images and look at them frequently. Brainstorm ways to duplicate the look from materials you can find or purchase in thrift stores.

Here's the photo we used to find out what George Washington looked like.
Here's the photo we used to find out what George Washington looked like.

Be Creative in Finding Materials

Beg, Borrow, Buy, or Sew your Costume

My son wanted to be George Washington for Halloween. We found a picture of George Washington online (the photo in to the left and other photos) and printed them out. Then we bought a white wig and tied it back to look like George Washington's wig, borrowed a jacket and frilly white blouse from our neighbor, cut off some old pants from a thrift store to look like knee breeches and hemmed them by hand, bought long socks from another thrift store and found some old shoes with large buckles in our basement. The costume looked really good.

Check through your house or ask friends for materials they might have on hand such as clothing, wigs or craft supplies. Creating costumes with used items and materials is an easy way to save money. Cardboard boxes can make thousands of different items, metallic cloth can make a tin man, a cape can be used for a vampire or super hero, a tin can can be used for Captain Hook's hook hand,

Go to thrift shops and craft stores to find materials you do not already have. If you need a certain kind of shoes, clothing, props for the costume you'll find them at a thrift shop.

If you can sew, you can always find patterns of costumes to sew or you can adapt clothing and old sheets and fabric you already own.

If you cannot sew or find a friend who can, find old clothes that you can decorate or embellish by adding accessories or craft items. Many accessories, such as artificial flowers, ribbon, glitter, glitter glue, paint, crowns and buttons, can be found at a good price at arts and crafts stores. Fasten the embellishments with staples or fabric glue to stick them to the garment. Duct tape is also great, and it can also be used for sticking two pieces of cardboard or fabric to each other. If you duct tape, staple or glue your outfit together be sure to wear something besides underwear under your costume to be safe, unless you want to spice up your Halloween event in ways you hadn't planned.

Makeup goes a long way to jazz up your total look. Once again you can search online for ideas on how to put on make up to create cool, scary, or glamorous styles. Copy the Joker's face like we did and find out what kind of clothes he typically wears in movies and comic books. Try the makeup recipe below to make your own. Practice with it first.

Makeup Recipe

We have made this every year and have perfected it through trial and error. The food colouring is the tricky part. You might want to do a couple of trial runs when you're not in a hurry.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 5 minutes (without mixing colors)

Total Time: 15 to 20 minutes with colors

Serves: Depends on how much area you are covering


  1. Mix up all the ingredients except for food coloring and divide into separate small bowls . Add food coloring for the colors you need.


  • 1/4 cup of moisturizing face cream (cold cream)
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of corn starch
  • food colouring (you need to experiment to find the right mixtures)
  • for black: equal portions of yellow, red, and blue
  • for green: yellow and blue
  • for orange: red and yellow
  • for purple: red and blue
  • for brown: 1 part yellow, 1/2 part red, and a tiny bit of blue
  • a few drops of liquid dish soap
Cast your vote for Makeup Recipe

Thrift Stores are a Good Resource

Keep looking and you'll find what you need

I find that thrift stores are a great place to find clothing and accessories for costumes at a very reasonable price. Look everywhere in the store. I found some black pajama pants that were great for a ninja costume and a short exercise skirt that was perfect for a flapper costume. I found a pirate sword in the toys and a cane in the book section. I don't know why it was there. I've found corsets in lingerie and a top hat in hats. The socks and shoes can really be helpful too.

Try different stores too if the first doesn't have everything you need.

No time? Run out of ideas?

Find a Quality Costume Shop

If you've attempted the above recommendations and still can't put together a costume or you've run out of time or ideas, you can also check nearby costume stores that sell quality ensembles, masks, and accessories. Find a costume shop that has a wide selection as well as quality. Numerous costume shops not only have incredible costumes, they also have wigs, hats, props and makeup. They can help you pick the ideal costume for your costume party or Halloween. Whether its a gangster, superhero, animal, or flapper costume, or a person from an historical period like the Renaissance, Roman times, or Wild West, a good costume store should have them all. Have fun finding the perfect costume at a great price.

Costumes and Makeup on Amazon

Here are some great costumes and makeup ideas from Amazon.

Clown Costume Makeup Kit
Clown Costume Makeup Kit

Easy way to do Clown Makeup

Football Player Sexy One Size
Football Player Sexy One Size

Here's a great football outfit for women. You;ll look so attractive at your costume party.

Hollywood Makeup Center
Hollywood Makeup Center

If you don't have time to make your own.



Let us know your ideas

If you liked this lens, or have ideas, suggestions for making a costume or improving this lens, please let us know in the comments. We especially welcome your costume ideas and how you made costumes. This lens has been written and editted in collaboration with the owner of Calgary Costumes, a quality Calgary costume shop.


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    • ducktoessite profile imageAUTHOR

      Cathie Dunklee-Donnell 

      4 years ago from Calgary, Alberta

      Thank you for your kind words. Happy Halloween to you too.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      4 years ago

      Wow, very cool make up recipe-- something I've got to try. Love the pirate costumes too, thanks for sharing. Happy Halloween!


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