What Are the Different Types of DIY Halloween Costumes?

Dan Cavallari

Shopping for a Halloween costume will reveal one stark truth: costumes can be very expensive. In many cases, the costumes are cheaply built as well, so purchasing one is not only expensive, but also a poor investment. That's why many people turn to do-it-yourself (DIY) Halloween costumes that can save money and look just as good as store-bought outfits. Making DIY Halloween costumes will require a bit of creativity and patience, and for those people who have sewing skills, some planning will be required. Not all DIY costumes will require modifications, however; a visit to the local thrift store may be all that's required.

A woman dressed in a gypsy costume.
A woman dressed in a gypsy costume.

Consider who the costume is for. Children's costumes can be more challenging than adult costumes, since it is likely that children's DIY Halloween costumes will need modifications for size. If the child is an infant or toddler, keep it simple: a candy cane costume, for example, can be made by simply putting white clothing on the child and using red duct tape or electrical tape to make stripes. The baby will not care what the outfit looks like, so the parent will not need to spend much money and time on the costume to make it worthwhile.

A hippie costume can be made quickly and easily.
A hippie costume can be made quickly and easily.

DIY Halloween costumes for adults can be fun to make or assemble. Visiting a local thrift store is a great way to get inspiration for a clever outfit; if, for example, a person finds some old platform shoes, take a look around the store to find some brightly colored bell-bottom pants. All of a sudden a hippie costume can be made quickly and easily. Out-of-date prom clothing makes a great costume for an older person trying to recreate that awkward high school look, all with little or no extra effort.

Using face paint for a Halloween costume can save money over buying a mask.
Using face paint for a Halloween costume can save money over buying a mask.

If a person has sewing experience, avoid the store-bought superhero costumes the kids want to get and sew together a similar costume with inexpensive materials such as felt. Patterns can often be found online, and face paint can save money over buying a mask. Another advantage to DIY Halloween costumes a person sews for a child is the ability to customize the size to allow the wearing of a warm coat beneath the costume. Halloween nights can be cold, and warmth is especially important for children; many store-bought costumes do not account for this, so the child can be left wearing a coat over the costume instead.

Halloween costumes with specific props may be more time consuming to make.
Halloween costumes with specific props may be more time consuming to make.
Thrift stores often have cheap Halloween costume materials.
Thrift stores often have cheap Halloween costume materials.

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Discussion Comments

bythewell

@pleonasm - The internet is a great source of inspiration for funny Halloween costume ideas, especially for very young children.

I particularly like it when a family will dress everyone up in a theme, like characters from The Wizard of OZ or The Simpsons.

You almost have to do those kinds of things yourself though, or else it would be pretty difficult to find all the right costumes in the right sizes.

pleonasm

@MrsPramm - It's actually not that difficult to make a decent homemade Halloween costume. There are plenty of instructions online for people to follow that will show them how to do something step by step and if they follow them correctly, there's nothing to it, really.

I think the problem comes when people who aren't all that good at design try to make something, particularly if it's for a character they aren't all that familiar with.

Another option is to get your kids involved in the creation. Hopefully, they'll feel so much pride in their work that they won't mind wearing it, no matter what it looks like!

MrsPramm

Just make sure that you are capable of making a decent Halloween costume for your kids before you force them to wear it on the night. Once you've made it, they might feel obliged to wear it in order to make you feel good about your efforts, but they can be very embarrassed to be wandering around in something that looks and feels terrible.

If your sewing skills aren't that great you can figure out something that will work from a thrift store.

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