10 Halloween Costume Ideas You Can Make at Home

by David Sung

The holiday season can drain your wallet, so it’s best to penny-pinch where you can.  We have compiled a list of 10 great Halloween costumes that, with a little creativity and not a lot of money, can make you the life of the party. These ideas aren't gender specific so feel free to make it a family affair!

1.  Birds of a Feather – Let your costume take flight by imitating an owl, parrot or Big Bird himself. Simply take a pair of glasses and glue feathers around the rims in an upward sweeping motion. To mimic a beak, cut a diamond out of orange or yellow cardstock or construction paper. You’ll want to make it the length of your nose and glue the base to the underside of the glasses’ nose bridge. For the rest of your costume, simply wear clothes that match the feathers of your chosen fowl. If you are an owl, wear all brown or if you are a parrot mix up bright blues, greens, and yellows. The more feathers the better!  

2.  Hawaiian Dreams – It may be a chilly time of year, but the hula dancer outfit is always a popular and an inexpensive costume. You’ll need a bathing suit, leotard, or a tank top with a grass skirt bottom. Often, large stores and grocers will have “Hula” kits that contain a skirt, lei, and flowers for the hair. For more coverage, add tights or long johns to your outfit so you can stay warm. If you can find a small ukulele, you can really bring your character to life.

3.  Bird’s Nest – If you don’t mind a trip to the craft store, simply donning a bird’s nest on top of your head will make for an interesting Halloween costume. Purchase some faux-nesting, along with some Styrofoam eggs and a fake bird. Arrange them on top of your head like a halo and wear brown wear an outfit with matching colors, and you are ready. This idea partners great with the bird costume.

4.  Solar System – This costume will be fun for kids. Take some old cardboard boxes and cut out circles to represent the sun and each of the eight planets. You can either use paint or markers to color in the circles (aim for accuracy). Once you’re done, take the sun and attach it to the top of a helmet or baseball cap with strong strings or pipe cleaners. Next you’ll need to take a long sleeve black shirt and begin to attach the planets.  You can either make holes and use string or hot glue to stick them where you want.

5.  Halloween Headbands – All that is required of a Halloween costume is that it reflect the festivity of the occasion. If you dress in all black and attach spooky floating items to a headband, then you fulfill this requirement. The headband can have bats, black cats, pumpkins, or full moons—all of which can be found at craft or department stores. Finish it off with some accessories and you’re good to go!

6.  Traditional Ghost – What would Halloween be without this simple classic? All you need is a sheet and a pair of scissors. Drape the sheet over you and cut out the eyes. If you want to make if slightly more original, try dressing up the sheet by painting it beforehand. You can eve give your ghost some character by making it a gentleman with a top hat, monocle, and cane.  

7.  Candy Bar – This one will take a little bit more skill and creative license. You’ll first need to think of your favorite candy bar and make sure you have a shirt that matches the overall color of the candy. With a candy bar to use as an examples (and to eat of course) design your shirt to match it with fabric or spray paint. Once it’s dried, throw it on over dark pants or a skirt. You can even use face paint to represent bite size pieces like Skittles, M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces. 

8. Autumn is Falling – For this simple costume, you can either buy faux leaves at a craft store or you can literally pick some leaves from the trees outside your home. Attach the leaves to a pair of sunglasses or a blank mask, which can be found at a craft store. Once again, match your outfit to the leaves—greens for spring leaves and neutrals for fall leaves.

9.  Collage Mask – Recreate a face (whether human or some other life form) from images clipped from old magazines. In this project, you can become the celebrity of your choice or a freakish being straight from a sci-fi movie. Mismatching facial features from several different people (or species) can also have a humorous effect.

10. Change Your Facial Features – If you are headed to a Halloween party where effort is expected, but not a priority, try pairing your normal clothes with a fake facial feature on a stick. You can use a faux moustache, lips, nose, eyes, eyebrows—any feature that can be exaggerated. Glue it to a long stick that will allow you to hold it up to your face when you feel like it. This allows you to choose when to be in character.

There are plenty more opportunities for cheap, homemade Halloween costumes. Sometimes it is best to begin by walking through your home and deciding which objects could be used before you even know what you want to be. This will allow to gather a few options and to decide which could be most cost effective (and fun!) for you.

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