Simple Halloween Costumes for the Family
Halloween creeps up on even the best planners. Looking for a clever costume for the kids? Need a quick disguise for you, your husband, or even Fido? If you’ve waited until the last-minute, there are still fun ideas you can pull together fast. Prepare to be shocked by the creative costumes you can create from simply raiding the kitchen pantry, hitting the recycling bin, and digging into that mess of a junk drawer.
Tortoise and Hare
Slow and steady may have won that race, but when this silly duo teams up they win the gold for cuteness. For the tortoise’s tough shell, you'll want something that won't weigh your little racer down like a turkey roasting pan (get the how-tos). The hare’s hard-to-beat (and super soft) style comes from some party store essentials (get the how-tos).
New Balance 775v1, zappos.com.
New Balance 990, newbalance.com.
Baker and Gingerbread Boy
Cowgirl and Sheriff
Wanted: A cowgirl dressed in denim and accessorized with homemade western flair. To get her look, you’ll need a few paper bags, tape, and some envelopes (get the how-tos). When it comes to playing sheriff, the disguise (get the how-tos) must be just right for combing the wild neighborhood streets.
Child’s Cowboy Hats With Stars, orientaltrading.com.
Western Bandanna Assortment, orientaltrading.com.
Little Boys’ Iron Knee Elastic Waist Blend Chino Pants, landsend.com.
Little Boys’ Short Sleeve Solid No Iron Pinpoint Shirt, landsend.com.
Prepared to battle the crowds and brave the streets after dusk, these caped crusaders are out to find the best treats in town. These simple disguises rely on a few household items like tape and plastic bags (get the how-tos).
Rash Guard UV Swim, polarnopyretusa.com.
Rash Guard UV Surfer Pants, polarnopyretusa.com.
Converse Kids Chuck Taylor All StarCore Ox, zappos.com.
Infant Baby Rib Long Sleeve Lap T (in red and powder blue), americanapparel.com.
Infant Baby Rib Karate Pant (in red and baby blue), americanapparel.com.
Lion Tamer and Lion
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, step right up to see the most spectacular performance of the trick-or-treat season. Leaping through rings and running wild across the front lawn, this dynamic duo puts on the greatest show on earth. This lion tamer’s costume starts with pants and a sweatshirt and turns to bottle caps, masking tape, and tassles for embellishment (get the how-tos).
American Apparel Kids Fine Jersey Short Sleeve T in black, americanapparel.com.
American Apparel Kids California Fleece Pant in white, americanapparel.com.
Mischief-maker? More like one sweet little monkey having a swinging time. Dress your little chimp in chocolate brown from head to toe and add some felt for the belly and ears. Complete her look with a long fluffy tail made from a feather boa (get the how-tos).
Parents keep it real wearing traditional business attire. Just remember to pick up a bunch of bananas (yep, mandatory prop) on the way home.
Monkey: American Apparel California Fleece Zip Hoody in brown, americanapparel.com.
Dad: Briefcase, overstock.com.
Mom: Suit, anntaylor.com.
Jester and King
Nothing could take the jingle out of your court’s jolly jester. Start with bright and cheery attire like two-tone tights, a tee accented with grosgrain ribbon, and swap out shoelaces for ribbons with bells attached to the ends (get the how-tos). His royal highness has a few wardrobe demands. Start with a plush robe and slippers, which are both embellished with cupcake liners. The golden crown and staff are made from safety pins, an empty wrapping paper roll, and wiffle ball (get the how-tos).
Jester: American Apparel Opaque two-color pantyhose in lime/turquoise, americanapparel.com. This item is sold item, find a similar item here.
J.Crew Perfect fit long-sleeve tee in deep jade, jcrew.com.
King: L.L. Bean Fleece Robe in apple red, llbean.com.
Little Bearded Gnome and Mushroom
A truly enchanted ensemble. This roaming garden gnome is sporting an all blue outfit with high-top sneakers (boots will also work). The vest and beard are made from a paper grocery bag and cotton balls (get the how-tos). For this mushroom’s conceptual disguise, dress your little girl all in white and let a rainy day accessory make a colorful splash. All you need is an old umbrella and a hot glue gun to attach the pipe cleaners (get the how-tos). Mom joins the fun by dressing in her Saturday afternoon gardening attire.
Gnome: Converse Kids Chuck Taylor All Star Hi Top in black, zappos.com.
Band on the Run
This idea is destined to be a hit with the whole family. Count on even your most darling little punk embracing the dress-code requirement: gym-clothes and sneakers, of course! Let the budding pop stars select their own instruments, which you can whip up in minutes from household items like empty paper towel tubes, tissue boxes, and tennis balls (get the how-tos). And if you’re in a real jam, a pair of pot lids can step in as some mighty fine cymbals. Consider yourself warned: It might get very loud...
Adidias Samoa Shoes, shopadidas.com.
Pirate and Parrot
A mighty pirate needs a trusty traveling companion when braving the seas (or rather, streets) looking for loot. Cue cute-as-can-be parrot. This fluffy disguise begins with pants and a tee covered in brightly colored feathers. The beak is made from a felt-covered baseball hat (get the how-tos). Cover his little feet with a pair of rubber gloves. Mom’s get-up quickly comes together by grabbing staples—black leggings, boots, scarves—from her closet.
Pirate: Tretorn Viken, zappos.com.
Blue Dragon and Green Dragon
Uh-oh: Two colorful dragons on the hunt for sweet treats are approaching your front stoop. For this costume, start with sweatpants and a hooded sweatshirt and turn to a few household items—cupcake liners, sponges—to pull this ferociously adorable look together (get the how-tos).
Converse Kids Chuck Taylor All Star Hi Tops in green, navy, zappos.com.
No matter how well you train your dragons to stick together, there’s bound to be one having too much fun trailing behind. Get this look by letting your little one wear her favorite hue from head to toe and then get to work creating the tail. Want a hint? It starts with a pair of tights (get the how-tos).
Converse Kids Chuck Taylor All Star Hi Tops in pink, zappos.com.
How To: Make Tortoise Shell and Hat
What You Need
Spray paint (in green)
2 Ping pong balls
Sharpie (in black)
Green duct tape
Knit hat (in green)
1. On a newspaper covered surface and in a well-ventilated area, spray paint the roasting pan green. Set aside to dry.
2. Make straps by taping two pieces of tape together (sticky sides facing one another). Secure about two inches from the top and bottom of the roasting pan.
For the Tortoise Hat:
1. Using scissors, cut the ping pong balls in half. Draw in eyes with the black sharpie. Glue on the hat with.
How To: Make Hare Costume
What You Need
Felt (in tan and brown)
Pipe cleaners in brown (about 4-6)
For the Body:
1. Glue boa to the front of the sweatshirt.
2. Make a ball with the glue and glue together. Then attach it to the back of the sweatshirt for the tail.
For the ears:
1. Cut the brown felt in the shape of two bunny ears. Make two slightly smaller ears out of the tan felt.
2. Layer the beige over the brown. Glue together. Glue the pipe cleaners around the edges (to give structure) of the ears.
3. Attach to the brown hat with glue.
How To: Make Gingerbread Boy and Baker Costumes
How to: Make Gingerbread Boy
What You Need
White duct tape
3 Bottle caps
Spray Paint (in red)
Shoe laces (in white)
2 Black adhesive felt sheets
8 Black furniture pads
1. On a sheet of newspaper in a well-ventilated area, spray paint the three bottle caps red. Set aside to dry.
2. Cut tape in ¼ inch strips. Tape in a zigzag pattern along the wrists of the sleeves and the bottoms of each leg.
3. Create collar by cutting tape in half longways and making a “W” pattern.
4. Glue the buttons to the front of the brown shirt.
How to: Make Baker's Costume
1. Cut oatmeal container in half and cover with white craft paper. Glue white shower cap to the oatmeal container about 3-inches from the bottom.
2. Make a small hole on either side of the container and string shoelace through to create a strap to tie under child’s chin.
3. Cut long thin strip of black felt to create the trim of the baker’s jacket. Adhere to front of shirt. Cut a 2-inch thick strip of felt with rounded edges to create the collar of baker’s jacket and attach to the inside of the white shirt.
4. Adhere the eight black furniture pads to the front of the shirt (as pictured) to make the buttons.
How To: Make Cowgirl and Sheriff Costumes
What You Need
3 Paper bags
Envelopes (in red and black)
Gaffer’s tape (in red)
Construction paper (in black)
For the Cowgirl’s Vest:
1. Cut out two pieces of paper measuring 4-by-6 inches. Make one-inch frays on one end. Set aside.
2. Take one paper bag and measure against child. Cut holes for head, arms, and opening of the vest.
3. Glue envelopes to the front of the bag to create pockets.
4. Create fringe on the bottom of the vest by cutting one-inch strips along the bottom.
5. Attach the two 4x6” inch strips of fringe above the pockets on the vest (as pictured).
For the Cowgirl’s Skirt
1. Measure around the bottom of the skirt. Cut a strip of paper the exact length with an additional 3” overlay. Cut one-inch fringe.
2. Attach the fringed paper with red gaffer’s tape on the edge of the skirt.
For the Sheriff’s Vest
1. Measure paper bag against child and cut holes for head, arms, and opening of the vest.
2. Glue envelopes to the front of the bag to create pockets. Glue on three buttons.
3. Create the badge by cutting a star out of paper and covering with aluminum foil. Attach to the vest with glue.
For the Sheriff’s Belt
1. Cut a piece of cardboard in the shape of an oval and cover with aluminum foil.
2. Cut a star out of black paper and glue to front of oval. Glue the oval to the belt to make the buckle.
How To: Make Superhero Costumes
What You Need
Pants and shirt in the same color (the brighter, the better)
Trash bag (bath towel will also work)
Duct tape (in assorted colors)
Adhesive felt sheets
1. Cut out a letter on the piece of felt. Stick to the child's shirt.
2. Tape plastic bag to the shirt (by the shoulders) to create the cape.
How To: Make Lion Tamer Costume
Lion Tamer’s Overcoat: What You Need
Oversized red sweatshirt
Bottle caps (2)
Gold spray paint
1. Spray paint bottlecaps gold.
2. First cut the sweatshirt down the side and under the arm. Then working on the frontside, make a cut in the shape of a tux with tails by heading down the middle veering towards the back.
3. Make a shape of a jacket lapel using black tape. Add embellishment by sticking strips of black tape to the right and left side of the jacket lapels. Glue three tassels onto the left, right, and middle of each strip of tape. Finally, apply black tape around the wrist portion of each sleeve.
Lion Tamer’s Pants: What You Need
1. Starting at the top, attach black tape along the sides of the pant legs.
Lion Tamer’s Hat: What You Need
Black construction paper
1. Cover oatmeal container with black construction paper and black felt on the top. Wrap ribbon around the hat and secure with glue.
2. Attach shoelaces to the inside of the hat with glue.
Ring of Fire: What You Need
Five strands of red tinsel garland
1. Glue the beginning of the red tinsel garland to the hula hoop and twist around the hula hoop until it runs out. Glue the end to secure. Repeat with another strand of garland.
Lion’s Mane: What You Need
Three shades of yarn
1. Cut pieces of yarn into long pieces, about 12-inches long.
2. Hot glue center of the darkest colored yarn to one side of the collar. Then, turn collar over and glue the middle shade to the other side of the collar. Glue the lightest shade of yarn to the top of the middle shade. When putting on the dog attach it with the lightest colored yarn closest to his ears.
How To: Make Monkey Suit
What You Need
Light brown felt
Dark brown felt
Brown marabou feather boa
Tail: 1. Glue marabou feather boa to the back bottom of the brown hood to make a tail.
Chest: 1. Cut two sheets of light brown felt into an oval for the tummy of the hoody. Glue them together, then attach to the front of the hood.
1. Cut dark brown felt into a large circle. Cut light brown felt into a smaller circle that fits inside the dark brown felt. Glue them together.
2. Pinch one end of the circle and glue together, cut the bottom of the pinched side flat and glue on right and left side of the hood to create ears.
How To: Make Jester and King Costumes
Jester’s Shirt: What You Need
Oversized longsleeve crewneck shirt
White coffee filters
1. Glue ribbon in a diagonal pattern to the longsleeve crew neck shirt.
2. Fold coffee filters in halves, and then again to make them ¼ the size. Secure with glue and cut tips off. Glue filters to the collar of the shirt. Do this all around the collar and then cut the folded edge to give a full look.
For the cuffs: 1. Cut the coffee filter down the side and cut the entire center out of the filters. Wrap around the wrist part of the sleeve and glue to secure. Repeat with 4,5,6 filters starting from the center and working outwards until you like the way it looks.
Jester’s Shoes: What You Need
1. Replace shoelaces with ribbon and tie bells to the end of the ribbon.
Jester’s Hat: What You Need
1. Cut foam into triangles and glue side by side to headband.
2. Glue ribbon to headband and glue bells to tips of the triangles and on the headband.
King’s Robe and Slippers: What You Need
1. Cut cupcake liners in half and glue to collar of the robe and around the bottoms of each shoe.
King’s Staff: What You Need
Gold spray paint
Wrapping paper tube
1. Spray tube and wiffle ball gold. Set aside to dry.
2. Hot glue wiffle ball to the end of the wrapping paper tube.
King’s Crown: What You Need
Gold safety pins (go with one size or various sizes)
1. Open safety pins and attach to headband.
2. Hot glue safety pins side by side onto the headband and to one another.
How To: Make a Gnome Costume
Make Gnome’s Beard: What You Need
White pom poms or cottonballs
1. Glue pom poms to visor. Hold for a few seconds to adhere.
Gnome’s Vest: What You Need
1. Cut paper bag down the middle. Then cut to fit holes for child’s arms and head.
2. Glue buttons on bag.
Gnome’s Belt: What You Need
Black trash bag
1. Fold trash bag into one long 4-inch thick piece, adhere with glue and black tape (on the top and bottom).
2. Cut cardboard to shape of square buckle, wrap with aluminum foil and adhere to one side of the vest.
How to: Make Mushroom
What You Need
White pipe cleaners
1. Twist white pipe cleaners in circle to resemble a swirl and glue onto umbrella in a random pattern. Set aside to dry overnight.
How To: Make Instruments
Guitar: What You Need
Paper towel roll
Colored wrapping paper & white kraft paper
1. Wrap tissue box and Band-Aid box in colored wrapping paper and cut hole with exacto blade. Wrap paper towel roll in white kraft paper, glue together.
2. Glue popsicle stick to far end of tissure box. Glue yarn from popsicle stick to Band-Aid box and adhere a button to yarn on Band-Aid box.
Drum: What You Need
1. Glue hat box shut. Place red tape on top and bottom edge of hat box.
2. Glue shoelaces in a zigzag pattern from top to bottom of hat box.
3. Glue long 2-3inch thick ribbon to bottom of the drum and tie it around the neck at desired length. Use chopsticks to drum!
Microphone: What You Need
Silver spray paint
1. On a sheet of newspaper, paint tennis ball silver.
2. Glue it to one handle of the jump rope.
Flute: What You Need
Paper towel roll
Bottle caps (5)
Silver spray paint
1. Paint paper towel roll and five bottlecaps.
2. Glue bottlecaps along one side of the paper towel roll and leave space on one end for the pretend mouthpiece.
How To: Make Parrot Costume
Parrot Body: What You Need
Rainbow boas (2)
Pair of yellow dishwashing gloves
1. Glue rainbow boa to shirt with fabric.
Parrot Head: What You Need
Felt in rainbow colors
Black pom poms
1. Cut felt into feather shapes, glue felt feathers onto yellow hat. Glue eyes on hat. Set aside to dry.
How to: Make a Dragon Tail
What You Need
1. Make spikes by cutting sponges into triangles and then cutting cupcake liners into halves. Glue liners onto sponges. Set aside.
2. Cut tights in half. Fill one leg of the tight with batting. Remove the other leg of the tight and put it over the tight filled with batting to give it a more opaque look.
3. Glue the opening of the tight shut. Then glue the filled tight to the bottom back of the hooded sweatshirt.
4. Then hot glue all the triangle cut sponges with cupcake liners to the hood in a straight line down the back.
Find more quick and easy costume ideas here: