Ah, Halloween season. There’s a chill in the air, discount candy crowding store shelves, and parents everywhere scrambling to find the perfect last-minute Hallowen costume.
Sound familiar? If you’ve ever been faced with the daunting task of helping your child find a costume hours before their homeroom Halloween party, you know how difficult (and expensive) it can be. Thankfully there’s an easy way to get your child outfitted in a fun, last-minute costume without emptying out your bank account: a little thing called DIY.
Creating your own costume from household items and clothes saves time and money while simultaneously giving your creativity a chance to run wild. Wanna know the best part? You can get your kids involved as well! Having your children help you create their costume lets them use their own creativity, practice their fine-motor skills, and create something totally original that they can be proud to strut down the street in.
Without further ado, here are twenty last-minute DIY Halloween costume ideas for your little one that won’t break the bank.
Last-Minute DIY Costume Ideas
- Where’s Waldo? Your child won’t get lost in the crowd in this easy costume. All you need is a red-and-white-striped shirt, a matching hat, and some round glasses to turn them into the iconic character from the Where’s Waldo books.
- Ghost. Ghost costumes are classic for a reason—just ask Charlie Brown. For this costume, simply take a white sheet and cut two eye holes large enough for your child to see out of. If they’re going to a party where they can’t cover their face, cut one hole large enough for their head to poke through instead. Then, help them draw a spooky ghost face on the front of the sheet with a black marker.
- Baby. When Halloween rolls around, babies aren’t the only ones who get to wear pajamas all day. Help your child dress up as their infant self by finding a pacifier, a bottle, and a fun, appropriately sized onesie.
- Tourist. All it takes to turn your child into a temporary tropical tourist is a Hawaiian shirt, bermuda shorts, a bucket hat, a plastic lei, and a camera hanging around their neck. Bonus points if they’re wearing socks and sandals!
- Clark Kent/Superman. Help your child tap into their superhero potential with this easy Superman costume. First, print off a picture of the Superman emblem from the Internet, then use a glue gun to stick it to a blue t-shirt. Have them put the t-shirt on beneath a white button-up and some slacks. Gel their hair back, and they’ll be a dead ringer for Superman’s unassuming alter-ego, Clark Kent.
- Greek God/Goddess. People in Ancient Greece believed that a group of gods and goddesses ruled the world, but it’s your child’s turn to rule Halloween with this easy costume! Just take a white sheet and help your child wrap it around themselves toga style. Add some finishing touches to turn your child into their favorite character from Greek mythology: a tinfoil lightning bolt for Zeus, a pair of winged sandals for Hermes, or an owl perched on their shoulder for Athena.
- Black Cat. I’m all too familiar with this DIY costume—growing up, my sister and I dressed as cats two years in a row. To make the ears, cut two black triangles and two smaller pink triangles out of felt, then glue them together atop a black headband. The tail can be created by filling an old pair of black tights with cotton. Dress your kiddo in their finest black regalia, attach the tail and the ears, then draw on some whiskers. Voilà (or should I say meow)!
- Bob Ross. Waiting until the last minute to come up with your child’s costume wasn’t a mistake, it was just a happy accident! Help your kiddo embody everyone’s favorite art teacher, Bob Ross, by dressing them in a blue button down and an old pair of jeans. Plop a fuzzy afro wig atop their head and give them a painter’s pallet and brush to complete the illusion.
- Bubble Bath. Who doesn’t love a bubble bath? For this costume, have your child help you blow up a bunch of white or clear balloons. Tape or glue them to a white shirt and pants to resemble a tub overflowing with suds. Add a rubber ducky and a shower cap, to complete the costume.
- Grapes. I love grapes: they’re delicious, nutritious, and the perfect last-minute Halloween costume. This grape getup is made using the same method as the bubble bath suds, only with purple or green balloons (depending on which kind of grape your child likes best).
- Sushi. This costume will have everyone saying itadakimasu! To make an at-home sushi costume, glue some white cotton to an old t-shirt to act as rice, then wrap a black garbage bag around it to resemble nori. For the finishing touch, top your child’s roll with some fish roe made of small orange balloons.
- Spider. Nothing screams Halloween like a spider. For this DIY costume, you need three pairs of long black socks, a black sweatshirt, some googly eyes, and a needle and thread. First, stuff the socks with cotton or old grocery bags. Sew them onto the sweatshirt—three on each side right below the sweatshirt sleeves. Then, attach the socks to the sleeves and each other using a needle and thread so that each leg lifts in unison when your little arachnid lifts their arms. Hot glue the google eyes onto the sweatshirt’s hood and set your little spider loose!
- Athlete. There are a ton of benefits to encouraging your kiddo to participate in youth sports. It boosts their mental health, gives them some much-needed exercise, and features a built-in Halloween costume. Simply have them pop on their jersey and gear to play the role of professional athlete for the night.
- Werewolf. If your child has a flannel and some jeans, it won’t take long to help them make the perfect werewolf costume. Just spike their hair and add some tasteful face paint to create a werewolf look that will have them howling at the moon. Face paint can be difficult to master, so don’t be afraid to take a look at a YouTube tutorial if you need some extra guidance.
- Pirate. Yo-ho, yo-ho, it’s a pirate’s life for your kiddo in this gangway getup. It’s easy to create a last-minute pirate costume. All your child needs to do is don a striped shirt, cut the ends of an old pair of pants in a zigzag pattern, and pull a colored bandana over their head. Add an eyepatch and a stuffed parrot on their shoulder to really complete the costume.
- Stick figure. If your children are anything like me when I was young, they are stick figure aficionados. To create the perfect DIY stick figure costume, dress them in a white long-sleeve shirt and pants, then use black duct tape to create a simple stick figure illusion over their clothes.
- Scarecrow. Scarecrows are a universal symbol for fall, making them the perfect DIY Halloween costume. Start your child’s DIY journey by having them help you sew a few patches to an old pair of jeans or overalls. Then dress them in their finest flannel shirt and pop a straw hat on their head. To take the costume up a few notches, add a touch of straw and do some fancy scarecrow-inspired face paint (like the werewolf, you can easily find a tutorial online!).
- M&M. Back when I taught first grade, I showed up to my classroom Halloween party wearing an old M&M costume my mom had made a few years back. My students loved the costume, and I bet your kiddos will too! To make your own M&M costume, cut two large circles out of red fabric. Sew them together, but leave four openings: one for each arm, one at the top for the head, and one at the bottom for their legs. Then, cut the iconic white “m” out of white fabric and sew it onto the front of the costume. Ta-da!
- Grandparent. Few things are more important than family, so why not keep your child’s costume in the family by dressing them up as a grandparent. Track down some grandparent-style clothes (like a polo shirt, bowtie, or a shawl), then paint some wrinkles onto your child’s face using basic makeup. Don’t forget to take a picture for the family scrapbook!
- Snapchat filter. Snapchat is one of the most popular social media apps out there, and with features like DIY Snapchat Halloween costume filters, it isn’t hard to see why. These fun filters zest up your photos by digitally painting your face to resemble all sorts of Halloween creatures and monsters. Click here to find out how to use Halloween filters on Snapchat and here to answer the question, “What are the Halloween things on Snapchat?” And if you’ve ever wondered how to be a snapchat filter for Halloween,
- check out these zany costume ideas courtesy of Good Housekeeping.
Be a Smart Trick-or-Treater with Troomi!
Now that you and your kiddo have some delightful DIY costume ideas, it’s time to start thinking about the best part of Halloween: trick-or-treating.
Many families trick-or-treat together, but older kids may prefer going out with friends. If you think your child is ready for a bit of holiday independence, make sure to review some basic safety rules before they go. If you’re still a bit nervous, calm your fears with Troomi!
Kid-friendly smartphones from Troomi Wireless feature a Family Locator KidSmartⓇ App that helps you keep track of your kiddo, no matter which neighborhood they’re trick-or-treating in. It uses the phone’s built-in GPS tracker to ensure family safety—and save you some stress in the process. Click here to learn a bit more about how Troomi can help your kids have a safe and splendid holiday.
Now get out there and have a great Halloween!