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Halloween Costume Ideas - Jump Start Your Creativity

Updated on September 12, 2019
Tricia Deed profile image

Two of my best originals were Medusa and a mummy with its casket. It is more exciting and fun to create an original costume; win a prize. .

A Couple Wearing Modern Witch and Skeleton Costumes

A couple modeling a modern day witch and a skeleton.
A couple modeling a modern day witch and a skeleton. | Source

Costume Solutions

The simplest solution is to use last year’s costume with a few adjustments or borrow a costume from a friend. But for fear of being recognized as a cheapskate or having no interest in a costume, the next solution is to purchase or rent a costume. The money will solve this problem. Costumes start at $20 and go up in price according to complexity or quality. There are many department stores and online outlets available.

Renting costumes are available at specialty, party, and theater outlet stores. I am always hearing rents start at about $100 and more. If you decide is to purchase a costume the price starts around $25 and will rise depending on the type of costume being selected. The outcome may be between $300 and $500.


Halloween arrives once a year. Wake up your creativity and energize your imagination. The extra fun in Halloween is the creation of a new costume. Wear it to a party and receive reviews or a prize for best costume, the funniest, the most terrifying, ingenious, beautiful, or original. Use it in a parade. This celebration can also be a testing ground for a cosplay costume, Mardi Gras, or other costumed events that you attend. There are no costume limitations for the Hallow's Eve celebration.

Six Steps To Make a Costume

Designing a personal or original costume is not difficult. Here are six steps to kick start the process of making a costume.


1. Start with an idea
2. Select a mask or facial makeup
3. Review the contents of your closet and dresser draws
4. Shoes or boots
5. Wigs and facial hair
6. Accessories

Truthfully, you may need to purchase a few small items to enhance an original costume. Some accessories can be made, but items needed for certain warrior weapons or trademark props associated with particular characters that cannot be made in the home will need to be bought.

Alice in Wonderland

The card soldier, Alice in wonderland, the Queen of Hearts, and the Mad hatter,
The card soldier, Alice in wonderland, the Queen of Hearts, and the Mad hatter, | Source

1. Ideas

Ideas may be gathered from movie and television characters, cartoons and animations, books and comics, toys, and your imagination.

Check the faces of the characters to note if a makeup kit or a mask will be needed. The makeup kit may be from your private supply, a Halloween makeup kit, or perhaps you have some stage makeup available. If no cosmetics are going to be used choose an appropriate mask.

Family costumes can be based on stories like Red Riding Hood, the wolf, grandmother, and the hunter or famous horror characters such as "The Monsters" from television and the movies.

Alternative face coverings made from cardboard boxes, pillowcases, sheets of heavy paper, or lightweight plastics can be used in place of makeup or masks. These here are many do-it-yourself masks locations online or use your creativity to design head and face coverings which may be left as is, painted, or decoupaged.

Gas Mask

A lady wearing a gas mask and splatters of paint cover her body.
A lady wearing a gas mask and splatters of paint cover her body. | Source

2. Alternate Head and Face Coverings

Facial makeup and masks may not always be necessary because of the character that is being designed. Here are some alternate methods for facial coverings.

  1. A cardboard box for a head ornament and face covering. Refine by adding ears, nose or exaggerated hair features with cardboard, paper, or cotton. Dyed twine for hair, holes for eyes and mouth. Add a nose that fits the character and paint accordingly. Are you making a robot? Cover with aluminum foil and use wire clothes hangers for antennas.
  2. A pillowcase is a quick solution for a ghost. Cut eyes and mouth out of fabric. Trim the holes with a border of black paint.
  3. A pair of nylon ladies' stockings pulled over the head squashes hair and distorts facial features.
  4. Cut plain stretch fabric painted with facial markings of your character. Spider-man would be an example.
  5. A paste of flour and water will add gruesome markings such as pimples, blood clots, warts, and scars to a monster's face.
  6. Eye masks, hats, and hair adornments can be made from margarine bowls.

Are you still considering using a mask?

Visit for other ideas or solutions.

Zombies of Horror

Three individuals wearing clothing from their closets and painted faces of Zombies.of horror.
Three individuals wearing clothing from their closets and painted faces of Zombies.of horror. | Source

3. Closet and Bureau Draws

Look at all your garments differently by turning them upside down or sideways. Your creative mind will start ideas flowing. Do check the dresser draws. Many characters wear clothing found in the closet. Decorating the head and face and using accessories compliments the body attire.


  1. Wear any clothing choice, adorn the face and headpiece then add a pair of stilts.
  2. Borrow clothing which is larger than your size and stuff with pillows.
  3. Wear the legs of pants on your arms converting it to a shirt or blouse.
  4. Wear clothing of the opposite sex, children’s clothing, or children wearing adult clothing.
  5. Hats add mystery or comedy.
  6. Jewelry can be a fashion statement or a gypsy character.
  7. Wear underwear over leotards as outside clothing.

4. Footwear

It is amazing how a pair of boots and shoes can change or add to a character.


  1. Stuff the toe section or the heels of a large pair of shoes to create a character with over=sized feet.
  2. Cowboy boots and a hat make a drastic change for a pair of jeans and a checkered shirt.
  3. Wear boots or shoes of the opposite sex.
  4. Cut the toe section out of a pair of worn-out shoes for a hobo appearance.
  5. A pair of sandals and a sheet wrap complete a toga.
  6. Boots and strapped guns on a pair of legs create a Lara Croft copy.

Little Girl

A woman with a white head band, wig, glasses, and a white and blue dress appearing as a little girl.
A woman with a white head band, wig, glasses, and a white and blue dress appearing as a little girl. | Source

5. Wigs and Facial Hair

Wigs or facial hair are other choices for hairy details. The character which you have chosen will determine the hairstyle, beard, eyebrows, or mustache which may be needed. Use a wig that you may have located in one of the bureaus draws or visit a discount store of your choice to buy an inexpensive wig. There are some selections as low as five dollars.

There are a variety of wigs from today’s fashions to wigs of dignitaries of the early 18th century. There are bald caps, toupees, and wigs of celebrities. These hairpieces may be found in costume or theater shops. Wigs can be fashionable, comedic, functional, fantasy, and maybe styled for the chosen personality. Beards, mustaches, chin pieces, may also be purchased or time permitting allow your facial hair to grow for the occasion.

There are Halloween kits that contain wigs and facial hair ready to be used for the costume. Wig choices include fashionable, comedic, clown, Gothic, horror, and celebrity,

The Witch

A witch's mask with the trademarks of a large nose accented with a wart and her protruding skinny chin.
A witch's mask with the trademarks of a large nose accented with a wart and her protruding skinny chin. | Source

6. Accessories

Accessories for costumes are key to identifying or finalizing the character. If the costume lacks the adornment people will notice that something is different. Often times the adornment is the trademark for the individual.

  1. A top or tall hat is a trademark for Abraham Lincoln, Fred Astaire, Marlene Dietrich, Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat, and Alice in Wonderland.
  2. A cane is used by actors portraying Dr. Watson of Sherlock Holmes, Winston Churchill, and Willy Wonka.
  3. Pirates and warriors are always wearing a sword. Famous users of swords were Napoleon, King Arthur, and Joan of Arc.
  4. The bow and arrow have been made famous by cupid, Legolas of Lord of the Rings, Robin Hood, Rambo, Green Arrow, and Lara Croft.
  5. Other props that may be considered are Thor’s hammer, musical instruments, umbrellas, Aladdin’s magic lamp, brooms, snakes, dolls, balloons, and toys.

More costume ideas are at for more suggestions.

Sugar Skull - Mexico, Spain, and Latin American Countries

A sugar skull decorated woman wearing black and yellow floral tube-neckline dress.
A sugar skull decorated woman wearing black and yellow floral tube-neckline dress. | Source

Halloween Worldwide

Halloween is celebrated in many different countries, but not always in the manner as practiced in America. The common thread for acknowledging Halloween is the religious acknowledgment to honor the dead and preserve their memories.


  1. Dia De Los Muertos – “Day of the Dead” – Mexico, Spain, and Latin American countries – November .1-2
  2. China - “Hungry Ghost Festival”- July 14-15
  3. Sweden, Scotland - “All Hollow’s Eve” - October 31
  4. Italy - “All Saints Day”- November 1
  5. Romaine – “Feast of St. Andrew” - November 30

The early costumes consisted of monsters or horror masks designed to scare away evil spirits and mischievous fairies. Some festivals, unfortunately, became brutal and people found it necessary to start new traditions to tame unwanted behaviors.

Trick or treat was one of those techniques. The exchange of sweets or candies helped to remove violence. Likewise, costumes have changed through the passing years. Seemingly, Halloween has become a public party day.

Halloween is celebrated primarily at private parties to avoid unseen hazards of going door to door gathering candies and treats by children. Parents need to escort their children and on arrival in the home, all contents of the children’s bags need to be checked for any harmful items.

This celebration may also take place in public areas such as night clubs, schools, street functions coupled with a parade, city, county, or state-sponsored, and theme parks

Top 20 DIY Halloween Makeup Tutorial IDEAS +

DIY or Commercial Costumes

Do you prefer commercial or diy costumes for your costumed events?

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