If you want to make a store bought costume more original, or just need to save some money this year; this post is for you. I’ve made some elaborate costumes over the years, but I think the easy DIYs and budget friendly costumes are the best. Here are some of my favorites from the past; and some tips for DIY Halloween costumes.
Add A Cape
This Batman costume was fully handmade, but you can add a superhero applique or fabric paint to any store bought tee for a super comfy costume. Or, get off the hook completely and just buy a superhero shirt. Alternatives are wizards, vampires, Zorro, Elsa, etc.
You need a cape though! I love this no sew cape tutorial and template from Jolly Mom.
Shop your own closet or thrift a suitable dress to make this adorable flapper costume. Add pearls and lace (or the entire contents of your craft room) for a sweet, 1920’s look. Variations: Wild west/saloon girl, mob boss, witch, fairy, etc.
Chop off pants or overalls for a Mark Twain themed costume. Every little boy has a pair of highwater pants and a dingy old t-shirt, right? Here’s my Tom & Huck Photoshoot with my
Carry a whitewash paintbrush for Tom, or maybe a rope belt for Huck. Don’t forget a straw hat! A similar idea for girls would be long dresses, bonnets, and aprons for a Little House On The Prairie look.
Just Be A Pirate
Pirate costumes are easy because nothing needs to be hemmed. Leave your edges raw and let them fray. Don’t bother cutting nicely. It doesn’t need to fit properly, and nothing has to match. Shop your closet.
Make a sash with a long rectangle of any fabric; an old sheet will do. Chop off pants and add a drawstring pouch for trick or treating. Cut the sleeves and hems off a shirt to make a vest. Cheap plastic swords and eyepatches are a fun addition. Use these same tips to make a hobo or rodeo clown. See my family pirate costumes for more ideas!
Glam It Up
This DIY Tin Man costume was made with inexpensive metallic fabric. In fact, the whole outfit cost less than $20 to make! You can add a tutu and bow to a store bought costume for a cute no- sew DIY. You certainly don’t have to sew to make a glam costume. Start with sweatpants and a sweatshirt if you like. You can girlify any costume by adding ruffles and lace. Which brings me to the next tip:
Seriously, glue it. Tape it. Heck, staple it! This awesome Wicked Witch Costume was based on the Disney movie, Oz The Great And Powerful. I love the costumes in that film, omg.) When I couldn’t figure out how to make the winged shoulders work with a sewing machine, I got out the hot glue gun. Done in an hour!!
Top off any costume with a fun halloween fascinator. Or wear it to work/school and pretend to be festive if you aren’t in a costume mood. My fascinator tutorial will show you dozens of ideas to complete your look. (Or pretend to give a darn.)
Dollar store jewelry is your friend on Halloween. Dig in your kids toy box for props. Glue some yarn to a baseball cap to make a wig. Make spats or boot overs. (Maybe I’ll make a tutorial soon? It’s basically a leg warmer!)
Makeup or face paint is a given, but think outside the box. Don’t forget about temporary tattoos if it goes with your costume. Colorful hair extensions are fun. Glitter is everything.
Not for children or the feint of heart: I superglued rhinestones onto my face once. You can superglue gold gems to your teeth too. (Yes, I swear. And while I’ll be super impressed with your hardcore Halloween attitude, I assume no liability if you superglue anything to your body. Use discretion, obviously.)
Oh, zombie makeup and fake blood makes anything a costume, bonus points for an 80’s prom zombie. Iconic outfit zombies are awesome…Marilyn’s white dress, anyone?
I hope I’ve got some ideas churning in your head. I bet you can fashion a costume right now with things you already have. What’s your favorite costume you’ve made or worn?