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Ten DIY Homemade Halloween Costumes

Updated on November 18, 2013

Let's face it...We are all aware of how expensive Halloween costumes are these days. It's really no surprise that parents only care about buying cutesy Halloween costumes until their kid reaches a certain age, before sticking them in a homemade outfit. Kids that still want to dress up after age ten can forget about getting an expensive costume, especially if they have a cute little sibling going as a pea pod.

Its much easier after years of buying expensive Halloween costumes to scrounge up something clever from around the house. Homemade costumes can still work, especially some of the timeless classics. In case anyone forgot about these classic DIY homemade costumes, here is a refresher on ten of them:

  • Ghost: This is probably just about as simple and chintzy as parents can get, but it is still a classic homemade costume and worth mentioning. In order to make it all you need is a white, or in the case of really cheapo parents--off-white, sheet. Throw it over the kids head, mark where the eyes should be while it's on the kid, then cut the eyes out (after you take it back off the kid). Whala—a ghost!

  • Hobo: We've seen this guy time and again and yet it apparently never gets old. To make a good hobo outfit you need old raggedy clothes, preferably overalls, and shoes with the toes cut out. If Halloween make up is just way out of your budget, then get an old stick of eyeliner, an eyebrow pencil or mascara and paint a 5 o'clock shadow on your kid's chin. Dress them up in their raggedy clothes, tie a bandanna in a bundle on a stick, then send them on their way.

Ironically I found a family pic that almost had all the costumes mentioned. Zombie cheerleaders, hobo, clown, housewife and hippie
Ironically I found a family pic that almost had all the costumes mentioned. Zombie cheerleaders, hobo, clown, housewife and hippie | Source
Here we are again. This time 2 hippies and a pregnant housewife.
Here we are again. This time 2 hippies and a pregnant housewife. | Source
  • Zombie: Back before zombies were cool, we just called this “dead guy”, but now after all the zombie hype, this could turn out to be less than miserable for the kid in the homemade costume. Ripped, tattered clothes are a must for this outfit so find an appropriate play outfit and start shredding. It also requires pale (dead) skin so you will need to either purchase some white Halloween make up or douse your kid in baby powder. Whatever you can do to make the kid's skin dead-looking. Zombies also need blood-stained mouths, so if you don't want to splurge on fake blood, you'll have to come up with a way to improvise—like lipstick, maybe.

  • Housewife: This is another simple one that we see year after year. All you need for this one is a housecoat (if you have a grandma that lives close by, you can borrow hers) or robe, a pair of house shoes and a curler. If you don't have a hot roller lying around, I guess you could improvise to the best of your ability and maybe use one of those mini lint rollers!

  • Punk Rocker: I guess you can't call this costume a hooker at this age. But really, the costume itself is practically interchangeable between the two. Call it whatever you're comfortable with. You'll need a mini skirt, knee-high boots, fishnet hose, ratted hair and lots of make up. Don't forget to paint on the fake beauty mark before sending your kid out the door.

  • Hippie: All you really need to make for this costume is a pair of bell bottoms and a tie dye shirt. You can cut slits in any pair of old jeans and sew some retro, flashy fabric in each slit to make them bell out. Grab a white tee shirt, section it off with rubber bands and get the food coloring from the pantry. Dip the rubber banded parts into different colors of food coloring and let it dry. That takes care of the hard part, now all you need to do is get a permanent marker and write hippie phrases on the jeans, like “make love, not war” and “peace”. Oh and be sure to draw some peace signs. Hippies also wore bandanas or headbands, and any colored pair of sunglasses.
  • Clown: This one is fairly simple. All you need is some colorful clothes, baggy pants cut off below the knee, and suspenders or something like them. You can also cut out patches from bandannas and sew them on randomly. For the face you'll need red lipstick for the nose if nothing else. Ideally you'll want to outline the eyes with eyeliner and paint the corners of the mouth into a smile. Feel free to go the whole nine yards and paint the face white if you want. For headgear, since some parents wont bother with the rainbow wig, you can get creative with the head of a mop, a party hat, or a toboggan hat with a pom pom on top.

What is your favorite homemade Halloween costume?

See results

  • Athlete: Ahh...another one that is almost as cheap as the ghost. The only thing you need for this costume is the uniform for whatever sport your kid is playing. If your kid is in little league baseball or pee wee football, dress them up in their uniforms, smear some black mascara under their eyes. Some bubble gum would probably go well with the baseball player too. You can get more generic than this even. If you are desperate for a costume, you could dress your kid up as a miscellaneous athlete by putting them in a sweatsuit and accessorizing with sweat bands and an iPod. You could always say they're “training”.

And finally...last but not least....

  • Paper Plate Monster: This one is so simple even the kid can put it together, literally. In all honesty though your kid will probably have a lot of making this costume and they get a chance to express their creativity. Let your kid use the markers and color their own monster face on the back of a paper plate. When they're done with their masterpiece, measure it to their face and cut some eyes and maybe a spot to breath. Now you just thread or staple a piece of elastic or string through both sides of the paper plate and strap it around your kids head. For instructions on how to make the skeleton mask in the picture, visit this website.

Paper Plate Skeleton Mask
Paper Plate Skeleton Mask | Source

© 2012 crissytsu


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    • profile image


      2 years ago from Harrisburg Pa

      Great ideas about the hippie and hobo. The thing about those 2 is that. Any old and almost trashed pair of jeans/pants are a start. The time between Halloweens is good for putting improvements on them. A hippie patch here. If you're like me and have 1 thrift shop who will give a piece of trashed clothing before throwing it in the trash. Another is having a Goodwill with a 85 cent back room. Again making the time between Halloweens to work on the small details.

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 

      4 years ago from West Virginia

      I've been some of these characters before. It reminds me of when I was a kid and went trick or treating.

    • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      Shal77 thanks for stopping by, glad you liked the costume ideas!

    • shai77 profile image


      6 years ago

      All such good ideas! I like these kinds of costumes so much better than the cheap store bought polyester body suits of super heroes and gory ghouls. Great job on this, nice hub!

    • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      Suziecat--Haha, serial killer, I like it. Very witty. Thanks for the vote.

    • suziecat7 profile image


      6 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Great ideas. A friend of mine once attached all kinds of cereal boxes and labels, etc. to her clothes and called herself a cereal killer. Cute. Voted up and shared.

    • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for the vote Dreamhowl.

    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Peri 

      6 years ago from United States

      You have a lot of good homemade costume ideas here! I actually never thought of the hobo before. Voted up!

    • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      TToombs--thank you for the vote, I'm glad you liked the ideas

      StephanieB--How exciting! I'm sure they will turn out great. Best of luck.

      Your Cousins--Your comment was so hilarious about the "hobo being a crowdpleaser" that I had to share it with my family (including the "hobo" herself who is now 28 yrs old) and we laughed so hard over it...Turns out the hobo was mad at her sister the housewife, pictured far left, at the time of the photograph. Haha. Thanks for the vote and the comment.

      L.L. Woodward--Smart thinking making all your kids hobos on their first Halloween...No doubt it was hasslefree and less complicated than dressing them in a lot of garb. Thanks for the comment.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Each of my kids were hobos on their first Halloween outing. It's a great costume for little ones because it is easy to make, the little one isn't dragging around a lot of costume, and since you only use make-up, the little one can see fully where he or she is going.

      Nice selection of ideas here. Voted up and Shared.

    • Your Cousins profile image

      Your Cousins 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I used to help my kids make Halloween costumes and they really liked doing it because theirs would be unique. We would always try to match the kid to the costume. That "hobo" in the photo is a crowdpleaser! Voted up and funny.

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 

      6 years ago from New Jersey

      This is the first year that I am going to make my kids's costumes. I'm hoping to sharpen my sewing skills and give them a one of a kind look. My son, 4, will be a doctor and my daughter, 2 (almost 3), will be of course a princess.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Some great costume ideas, Crissy! Voted up and shared.

    • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      Iheartkafka: Thanks, I appreciate the vote. Glad you liked them.

    • iheartkafka profile image


      6 years ago

      Great ideas here! Thanks for the useful hub! Voted up!

    • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      Wow! That's awesome, punk rocker is a classic! You were really creative coming up with his costume. Thanks for the comment.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Great ideas! I used to make my sons costume for his school halloween and the funny thing was, one year we really didn't have any money so at the last minute I made him into a punk rocker! lol! an old denim jacket, torn trousers and white makeup made from flour, then we put calomine in his hair! he got second prize!

    • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      thanks JSMatthew. I really appreciate that & I'm glad you liked the costume ideas

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      These are really good ideas. I am adding a link to this page on my Halloween Hub:

      Nice ideas. Voting up and sharing.


    • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      Thanks Jeannie, 50s girl sounds cute. If I had a pair of saddle shoes, I'd definitely make use of them with a 50s costume. Good idea.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 

      6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      There are a lot of great ideas here. I've always found a 50s girl to be easy for me to throw together at the last minute since I have saddle shoes. I've done it for a couple of Halloweens. Cute hub and voted up!

    • crissytsu profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Texas

      @hecate-horus: Thanks! I appreciate the vote.

    • hecate-horus profile image


      6 years ago from Rowland Woods

      All good ideas! I find it is a lot cheaper (and more creative!) to DIY Halloween outfits. Voted up and useful


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