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How To Make a Good Costume

Updated on February 28, 2012

Maximize Your Costume Awesomeness

If you're putting effort into making your own Halloween costume, you want to make sure it's a good one. The great thing is that it's not hard to make a terrific Halloween costume that will have your friends talking for years to come.

I should know - I've had great success in the past, specifically with my homemade Viking costumes and my homemade Sarah Connor costume. My rock star costume was kind of thrown together at the last moment, but I'm still pretty happy with how it turned out!

Read on for tips of how to make your very own Halloween costumes... and more importantly, how to make them good!

Thinking About Costumes
Thinking About Costumes

Step 1: Pick Your Costume Type (Early!)

What Do You Most Want To Be?

It's never too early to decide what you want to be for Halloween. (Keep this in mind when you're out partying or trick-or-treating - you can be scouting for costume ideas for next year!) Before you can start on that epic costume in mind, you need somewhere to start.

There are tons of ways to get costume ideas. If you have any favorite movies/books/video games, crafting character costumes is a fun way to go, especially since these costumes are often unique and recognizable. You can also choose a historical period, and create costumes from then. Or, turn to mythology.

You don't even have to pick a specific "thing" to be. I've seen great concept costumes, such as "fire" or "the ocean." The options are limitless!

Image source: Flickr.

Inspiration For Your Costume Ideas - Find It Here!

Halloween Costumes (Singer Sewing Reference Library)
Halloween Costumes (Singer Sewing Reference Library)

Looking through a costume book such as this one is a great way to come up with costume ideas. If you want to sew a costume completely from scratch, you'll probably want to use a sewing pattern like the ones in this book. (You can also get specific sewing patterns at your local crafting store, or find them on Amazon.)


What Is Your Favorite Type of Homemade Costume? - Vote Here!

My favorite is...

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How To Make a Pirate Costume - Video Inspiration

Videos are a great way to get ideas for how to make your Halloween costume of choice. Here's a great one about making a pirate costume.

Step 2: Plan Your Homemade Costume - There's Plenty to Think About!

Costume Supplies
Costume Supplies

Here are some questions you'll want to consider if you want your homemade costume to be a good one:

  • How much work do I want to put in? A homemade costume can be as simple as cutting two holes in a white sheet, or can take weeks of tireless work. Most costumes end up taking more time to make than you'd expect; my four Viking costumes took probably around twenty hours, including planning and shopping.

  • How much money do you want to put in? Money can often substitute for time when making a homemade costume. For example, we ended up making the shields for our Viking costumes out of cardboard and duct tape, but we purchased the plastic axes and swords.

  • Do you want to be part of a group?Homemade group costumes can be epic, but require working together in a team.

  • What sort of functionality does my costume need? Will you need to get in and out of cars? Go up lots of stairs? Spend time outside in the cold, or time inside surrounded by sweating people? All these things should be considered.
Image source: Flickr.

Ideas for Homemade Halloween Costume Accessories - Save Some TIme

If you want to save time on your homemade costume, consider purchasing some accessories to add pizzazz without eating up hours of crafting time.

What Is the Most Important Aspect of a Good Halloween Costume? - Vote Here!

A good Halloween costume should be...

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Rockin' A Homemade Costume

Rockin' A Homemade Costume
Rockin' A Homemade Costume
Halloween Shopping
Halloween Shopping

Step 3: Go Shopping

Assemble Your Equipment and Supplies

By "go shopping," I don't necessarily mean go out and buy a bunch of stuff willy-nilly. At this point, you'll want to look around (in stores, in thrift shops, even in your own or a friend's closet) for anything and everything that can be used to make a costume.

Use your imagination! I ended up taking apart old leather and faux-fur jackets to make Viking vests, and an inexpensive plumbing fitting from a hardware store became part of a Viking "crown." If you find something you know will work, buy it, but it's best to acquire things over time, because your costume concept is likely to change.

Image source: Flickr.

Another Great Source: eBay - Bid For Your Costume Booty

If you're searching for a particularly hard-to-find item, and you've already checked local venues (and decided not to assemble a rainbow-colored feather boa or a peg leg or whatever from scratch), eBay can be another great place to look for costume supplies.

Trust Your Creativity

The best thing about a homemade costume is that it's homemade! It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be fun.

Step 4: Start Creating - Sew, Glue, Tape, and Build

Crafting a Costume
Crafting a Costume

At some point, you'll have to take a break from planning and just jump into the creation with both feet! Here are some tips to make sure you end up with a good costume.

  • When possible, simplify. If you can hot glue instead of sewing, do it. If you have access to a sewing machine, use it. If you have brown shoes instead of black ones, that's perfectly okay. Save your attention and energy for the details that are really important, or really fun to work on (like building a replica sniper rifle out of foam core and electrical tape!)

  • Buy a little at a time. If you're anything like me, you lose all thoughts of "budget" when entering a craft store. However, you never know when you'll find the perfect bit of material for free at a friend's house or for cheap at a yard sale. Start early and keep your eyes peeled for deals.

  • Duct tape is your friends. Chances are, you'll only need your costume to last one night. And no one is going to be looking closely enough to see that your costume is held together with tape.

  • Ask for help. If you do have some crafty-type things you'd like to do, like felting a hat or forging a sword, ask a knowledgeable friend for help. You'll save tons of time and effort that way.

Image source: Flickr.

Are You Going To Make a Good Halloween Costume This Year? - State Your Opinion!

Make my own costume, you say? Why, I...

Have a favorite homemade costume story? Let us know!

Thoughts on Good Homemade Halloween Costumes? - Share Them Here!

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    • emmaklarkins profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @GypsyPirate LM: Awesome! I love reusing items, it definitely makes things easier.

    • GypsyPirate LM profile image

      GypsyPirate LM 

      6 years ago

      I was able to re-use my Little Red Riding Hood cape for my Cruella DeVille costume just by stitching some spoted fake fur around the edges - worked brilliantly.

    • emmaklarkins profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @Gayle Mclaughlin: Thanks for stopping by!

    • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image


      6 years ago from McLaughlin

      Very clever article! Keep up the good work!


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