Homemade Halloween Costumes
It's Halloween and you have no costume. Oh no! Maybe you don't care very much about the holiday, or maybe you didn't have plans until the very last minute, or maybe you're on a very tight budget, or maybe it isn't even Halloween but some random costume party you or your child have been invited to. Whatever the case is, don't freak out--and don't worry! You can have a cool costume without shelling out big bucks.
I have always loved Halloween and dressing up in costumes in general. So over time I have learned how to re-work every day items into costume pieces. Here's a collection of costumes for men, women, and children that you can create with items straight from your closet or by spending just a couple dollars on materials.
Now let's go save your Halloween!
DIY Angry Bird Hoodie CostumeClick thumbnail to view full-size
DIY Angry Birds Hoodie Costume
- Pullover sweater with hood (in color of Angry Bird you want to make)
- Sturdy sewing needles/sewing machine OR glue gun
- Thread (preferably in same color as felt add ons)
- Colored felt (in colours of accents of Angry Bird you want to make)
- Pins/Safety Pins
- Sharp Scissors
- Paper & Pencil
- Reference image of desired Angry Bird
My boys love Angry Birds, but I hate the Angry Birds costumes sold in the US. They are just bleh all around. I waited too long to buy a costume from elsewhere, so I ended up making theirs on my own (last minute, as usual). I'm really happy with how they turned out, and the boys are happy they get to wear their hoodies all year round.
Step 1. Make a sketch. Look at the bird you would like to make a hoodie for. Most people choose Red because he is the main character. My boys wanted Red and Bomb, so I made a sketch of what their feature would look like on a hoodie.
Step 2. Collect the materials. For the sake of time, I decided to focus only on the facial features of the characters and not the spots and such on their body. So I collected only what was needed to complete their faces. I also ordered Rabbit Skins (name of brand, not what they're made of haha) hoodies through Amazon.
Step 3. Cut out shapes and pin them to the hoodie. I tried on the hoods to make sure the pieces were even before I sewed them. I recommend using at least two layers of felt for a more opaque/professional look. Layering also makes pieces, such as the feature on Bomb's head, stand up more firmly. For the feather I used 4 layers of felt. If you plan to add tail feathers this type of layering will help a lot. (Check out the pics on the right for some tips on how I went about this.)
Step 4. Sew pieces onto hoodie. If you are not good at sewing or would like to get this done quickly, you could glue the felt pieces onto the hoodie. I knew that my boys were going to want to wear these for as long as they could, so I needed to make sure they would last. So, I sewed the peices onto the hoodies carefully. I chose to use thread the same colour as the felt so that the stitched could not be easily seen. (Check out the pics on the right for some tips on how I sewed my pieces on.)
Step 5. Go get those piggies! Enjoy the hoodie as it is or embellish it however you like. At one point I wanted to add wings to the arms of the hoodie, but since I was so pressed for time (and was party of a wedding happening the day before Halloween), I really wasn't in the mood to add too many extra details.
Male & Kid PirateClick thumbnail to view full-size
Female PirateClick thumbnail to view full-size
Last Minute Pirate Costume
Unisex Suggested Items
- Button-down shirt
- Colourful or striped pants
- Industrial Boots
- (optional) Eyepatch
- (optional) Sword
- (optional) Pirate Hat
- (optional) Long Coat
- (optional) Makeup
- (optional) Waist Scarf
Female Suggested Items
- Fishnet Tights
- Full Black or dark skirt
- Knee High Boots
- Costume Jewelry
- Waist Belt
This is my go-to costume when I'm down to the wire. Mainly because I have always seemed to be drawn to piratey/gypsy like clothes anyway...This costume works well for the whole family!
Step 1. Plan out your outfit and get dressed. Look at TV pirates and other pirate costumes for inspiration. If you don't have a hat, a bandanna will work just fine.
Step 2. Once you're all dressed take your outfit a step further by doing facepaint or makeup. This is especially cute on little kids!
Step 3. If you have an eye patch or other pirate accessories, awesome.
That's it. Really.
DIY Bodycon Skirt
Mermaid Costume Tutorial
Last Minute Mermaid Costume
- Shimmery Fabric*
- Button-up Cardigan or shirt
- Hot Glue or Fabric Adhesive
- (optional) Costume Jewelry
- (optional) Seashells
- (optional) Needle & Thread or Sewing machine
- (optional) Rhinestones & Eyelash Glue
- (optional) Makeup
- (optional) Wig
This was my 2013 costume. It took me forever to decide what I wanted to be and when I finally did, I had a super slim budget and only a day to work on it.
*I spent about $5 in total on the fabric for this costume. All I needed was a yard of shimmery fabric, a yard of tulle, and a yard of cheesecloth. But if you have a shimmery bodycon skirt or dress in a mermaid colour you can use that instead easily. You can also use an old t-shirt or something else with stretchy fabric that you don't mind cutting up.
Step 1. First I followed anneorshine's tutorial to make my long mermaid tail skirt. I was a in a bit of a rush and forgot to buy fabric adhesive so I actually ended up hot gluing the whole thing together ( O_O ). I was a little nervous it was going to fall apart, but it actually held together well. However, I wouldn't recommend this method if this is a costume you want to keep!
Step 2. I then followed Martha Stewart and Christian Soriano's Mermaid tail tutorial. (That seashell mermaid bra they made was pretty awesome too, so if you have more time and the materials needed to do it, go for it!) Soriano recommends getting yards and yards of tulle for this costume...I suppose you could do that, but I didn't. I used cheesecloth to add volume in the bottom layer, and added the tulle on top for shimmer. I also didn't iron it down because I didn't have one available to me where I was working on this--but I did twist the fabric.
Step 3. This is optional but I took some seashells from my collection and some costume pearls and hot glued them on a barret for a mermaid hair clip. I wanted to have a long coloured wig, but it wasn't in my budget to buy the one I liked (maybe next year).
Step 4. For my top I took a white button up cardigan and just tied it. Yep. Then I took lots of necklaces from my jewelry box and layered them.
Step 5. Last was the makeup. I have pretty sensitive skin so I am always afraid to do too much with makeup, so mine was pretty simple. Although I did add some rhinestones with just a little eyelash glue (a little goes a long way!). There are so many awesome mermaid makeup tutorials on YouTube though, so if you're more into makeup you should look it up and see what you can do.
That's it! Enjoy your under the sea party!
Last Minute Fairy Costume
- Wire Hanger Wings
- Fairy-like Dress
- Shiny Sheer tights
- Elemental Accessories (flowers for a flower fairy, snowflakes for an ice fairy, etc.)
- Cute shoes
- Glitter Make-up
Step 1. Check out my Hub on how to make wire hanger wings and fairy dust necklaces to make some quick and awesome fairy accessories. Once you have your wings, it doesn't really matter all that much what else you wear.
Step 2. Pick an element. Do you want to be a Spring Fairy or a Winter Fairy? Or maybe you want to be some other type of Fairy like a Water Fairy, or a Wind Fairy, or even a Space Fairy. Use this as inspiration to gather your accessories and sell your costume.
Step 3. Check out YouTube for some awesome fairy make-up looks to finish off your costume.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Crew
This year I had to switch my family's ensemble costumes at the last minute. The Ninja Turtles costumes required some craft skill but April O'Neil and Casey Jones were pretty easy and mostly used things we already had in our wardrobe.
Toddler Mutant Ninja Turtles
I call them that because these costumes were made for toddlers, but I'm sure you can adapt the costume to any age.
- Matching loose pants and tank top
- Hooded Sweatshirt in desired ninja turtle colour (red = Raphael, blue = Leonardo, orange = Michelangelo, purple = Donatello)
- About a half a yard of fabric in ninja turtle colour (red, orange, blue, purple)
- Ninja weapon of desired ninja turtle (katana = blue, nunchaku = orange, bo staff = purple, sai = red)
- Brown fabric
- Fabric paint in green, yellow, tan, brown, and white
- Needle, thread, or sewing machine
- Paint brushes
- Some cardboard
- Elastic band
Originally, my oldest son was going to be Kid Trunks from DBZ, but of course--after I had finished sewing his costume--he decided he'd like to be a ninja turtle instead. So instead of spending more time and money on making or buying a completely new costume. I decided to re-purpose the costume I already made him and sew a matching costume for his little brother with the fabric I had left. You do not need to sew your own costume, but it might help. It's easy to sew this outfit for toddlers because they are so small. With one yard of fabric I was able to make two matching ninja pants and sleeveless shirts.
If you do not want to sew, all you'll need is a tank top and a pair of loose pants (sweatpants are good) in ninja turtle green. Make sure the tank is a large fit, because it is meant to go over the sweater and whatever layers you may want to put on your little one.
Once you have your pants and shirt, you will need to paint the ninja turtle chest on the front of the tank top. Before you begin slide some cardboard inside the shirt to protect it from paint that might leak through.
If you are not confident in your painting skills--don't worry! You can paint a giant yellow rectangle on the front of the shirt and then use brown paint to create lines that divide the rectangle into six equal parts. This will create the same visual effect of a ninja turtle six pack. When you're done, set the shirt aside to dry.
When the shirt is done drying, you may want to paint a turtle shell on the back if you don't want to sew one.
To make a turtle shell you will need to cut out two pieces of brown fabric in an oval turtle shell shape. Then sew and stuff will some fabric. Don't stuff it too much, just enough to flatly fill the whole thing. Then sew it closed.
After that, you will need to sew an inch around the shell to create the rim. These can be large stitches, but tight, so it puckers a bit.
Using the fabric in the colour you want, sew the back part of the belt around the back of the turtle shell. In the front, stitch a piece of elastic band through the front part of the belt and then sew to the shell, making sure to line it up with the part of the belt you already stitched. This is to help secure it in place. I also added two shoulder straps to keep it up because I found that the shell started to slide down when my boys ran around.
After that you're done! To allow your little one to wear their costume without having to worry about them being cold, put thermal layers underneath the sweater. You may also want to make or buy a hat in the appropriate color if it is particularly chilly.
Additionally, you can make armbands, legbands, wristbands, masks, and headbands, in the appripriate colours (or brown). I paired my son's outfits with brown boots, but green is a good option as well or the turtle's official colour.
- Hockey Mask
- Hockey Stick
- Athletic Tape
- Baseball Bat
- Golf bag or duffel bag to carry weapons
- Cutoff denim vest
- T-shirt over thermal
- black bandanna
- Ripped Jeans
- Combat Boots
- black wig
- Skull facepaint (new Casey design)
- Football padding
Casey's outfit is fairly easy. You just need to think of 90's grunge and any combination of that will work as long as you pair it with a hockey mask, and a hockey stick that looks like it's been repaired with athletic tape. It's hard to go wrong with this costume, especially if you partner up with a Ninja Turtle or April O'Neil. Anyone familiar with TMNT will be able to piece together who you are with no problem.
Those familiar with the old TMNT cartoon may not know this character design, but it's April's current look in the newest cartoon on Nick. I decided to go with this look because it was easy to put together and I had nearly all the items I needed already.
Here I'll describe how to dress up as three different versions of April O'Neil, all of which are not too difficult to pull together.
2014 Movie April O'Neil
- Yellow Jacket
- Jeans (Black or Dark Denim)
- T-Shirt (Preferably Grey)
- Hoodie (Preferably Burgundy)
- Tall Black Boots
- Reddish Brown Wig
- Blue Contacts
2012 Cartoon April currently on Nick
- Yellow shirt
- Yellow Headband
- Black long sleeve
- Brown cuffs
- Denim Shorts
- Black leggings
- Blue and white striped socks
- Black Boots
Old School Cartoon April
- Yellow Jumpsuit
- Red Wig
- White Boots
- Microphone or Old School Video Camera
Speaking of Makeup...Face paint is a really quick and cheap way to go if you need a costume. Although, it will require some artistic skill by you or someone willing to help you. There are lots of great tutorials on YouTube for men, women, and children with a variety of cute, cool, funny, and spooky characters to choose from. If you have a nice selection of makeup at home, you may even be able to use that instead of going out and buying face paint.
Once you've decided on a character you can wear an outfit that goes with your face paint, dress in all black, or wear whatever you want.
If you've ever seen Naked Vegas, you know that body painting is a real art, so if you are going this route, feel free to get really creative with your design!
The Power of Accessories
If you have a character hat, tiara, wig, or some other costume prop of some sort you can use it as the foundation for your costume.
With character hats, just dress in the colour of your character or in an outfit that is similar to what your character wears.
If you have a crown or a tiara, dress up in your fanciest clothes and wear some regal-looking costume jewelry if you have any.
Have a cool coloured wig? Take a look at some K-Pop videos and dress up like a K-Pop idol.
Have a cowboy hat? Be a cowboy!
You'll be surprised by how many options you have once you go through your wardrobe and think creatively.
More Last Minute Costumes
- 5 Easy Halloween Costumes from Once Upon a Time
Recreate the looks of your favorite Once Upon a Time characters like Hook, The Evil Queen, Rumplestiltskin and more by using basic items and adding the character's signature piece.