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Exciting DIY Halloween Costumes You Can Actually Make!

Halloween is a magical time for those who love dressing up, and a terrifying time if you’re wondering what costumes to make for the whole family; that are easily achievable, and don’t cost a fortune.

I used to work in the Wax Museum, which meant 2-3 weeks of dressing up prior to Halloween. Yes, I could have just donned a witch’s hat, but where’s the fun in that? The 2 cardinal rules I learned were:

  1. Ready made costumes are usually disappointing

  2. Creative Make-Up and a Cape, can hold a realm of possibilities

So what will your family dress up as this year? If you want to stay away from the old reliable scary characters, but don’t want to spend a fortune (or become a professional seamstress) here are some handy hints, for different levels of motivation/budget:

Use What You Have

  • Old Woman/Old Man (from Up): Woolly cardigan, Shirt or Dress, Pearls, Large framed glasses, Flour/Talc in hair/Hat covered in cotton wool balls, Handbag/Zimmer Frame (made from plastic piping, with tennis balls on the end.)

  • Cereal killer: Large T-shirt covered in mini cereal boxes (torn, or ‘stabbed’ with plastic knives) and splashed with Red Paint/Fake Blood. 

  • Garden gnome: Blue Top/dress, Red Pointed Hat (cardboard or felt rolled into a cone), Chunky Belt, Trousers/leggings, Boots, optional Fake Beard (could be cardboard & cotton wool, tied with elastic; or felt attached to neckline of top.)​

Make Up Masterpiece

Of course the amount you do is dependent on the age of your little one, and how much they like to move/touch their face!

  • Vampire: Black clothes, Cape, or high-collared White Shirt. Make-up: White face, Red lips with ‘blood drip’ in one corner, Dark Sharp Eyebrows. Optional eyeliner/grey shaded cheeks (vampire contouring!)

  • Ventriloquist's Dummy: Shirt, Trousers, Braces, Side-parted hair. Make-up: Rosy circle on cheeks, Dark Eyebrows, Line drawn from corners of mouth to chin. Optional red lips.

  • Mime: Black&White Striped Top, Black Trousers, Red Neckerchief, White Gloves. Make-up: White Face, Thin Dark Eyebrows, neat Black Spot on cheeks. Optional Red/Black Lips, and Eyeliner.

    ​​

Key Items

  • Harry Potter/Hogwarts classmate: Black Cape (could be made from oversized black T-shirt), White/Grey Shirt, Striped School Tie or Scarf. Optional lighting bolt forehead Scar, and Wand (can be made from suitable stick!)

  • Deer: Brown Top/Leggings, Cream Fabric/Fake Fur attached to front, Reindeer Ears (or twigs/cardboard attached to a hairband.) Make up: small White Dots on cheeks, pink/red nose, bushy Brown Eyebrows. Optional brown sponged-on Face paint on forehead, and cheeks.

  • Clark Kent: Superman T-shirt, partially-unbuttoned White Shirt, loosened Tie, square black-rimmed Glasses, Black Trousers, Side-parted Hair.

Buy The Basics

  1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle: Foil Roasting Tin, painted brown/green; Green Top & Leggings, fabric Mask in colour of your favourite character, Arm Band in matching colour, brown/matching Belt (tied around waist and ‘shell’.)

  2. Mary Poppins: White Shirt, Red Bow-Tie, Navy/Black Skirt, black hat with red flowers pinned to it. Optional Umbrella, or Carpet Bag.

  3. Minion: Yellow Top, Yellow Beanie with optional Black Pipe-cleaner ‘Hair’ glued/sewn on, Blue Dungarees. Minion eyes: black headband or elastic around hat, with 1inch loo-roll tube (for each eye) sprayed silver; or cardboard circles painted white with a black circle in the centre.

Go Wild

  1. Unicorn: Oversized Hoodie, with Felt ‘Ears’ attached; and multi-coloured Chunky Wool attached for Mane/Tail. Horn of paper folder tightly into cone, decorated with paint or washi tape. This can also be done with a jumper, and separate hairband for horn/ears, minus the mane.

  2. Sushi Roll: Collapsible Washing Basket (worn horizontally with hole for head and legs) covered in black plastic, with a large cardboard circle to fit each end: Cardboard decorated with White Polystyrene ‘peanuts’ (used for packaging), painted/felt/foam Orange, Green, and Yellow shapes (Salmon, Avocado, Pepper) Black Leggings, Chopsticks in hair. Optional Orange Pompoms/Balloons around outside, for the roe.

  3. Scuba Diver: Black Jumper/Leggings, Goggles, Foam 'Flippers' fastened at ankles with elastic. Cannisters: 2L drinks bottles, sprayed silver/neon, taped together with Black Electrical Tape & strapped to back with string/elastic (or attached to a light backpack.) Optional snorkel, or black tubing running from bottles, clipped to chest.)

So are you going trick or treating? How big is Halloween in your family? We'd love to hear. Have a look at our Halloween section, for inspiration on treats, pumpkin carving, and staying safe

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About the Author

Emily is a writer, editor, blogger, and our Digital Content Assistant. She has three awesome nieces, and has accidentally worn the same outfit as them on at least one occasion. Emily likes making things, including hand-drawn cards, and a darn good chocolate cake. She still sounds very English, despite living in Dublin for the last nine years. More insight into the workings of her brain can be found on dancingcakesandsilence.blogspot.com.

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