Last Minute DIY Halloween Costumes

DIY, Family Time

Last Minute DIY Halloween Costumes

If you’re a procrastinator like me (and my girls – they learned from the best 😉 ), you’ve waited until the last minute to figure out Halloween costumes.

Halloween is my favorite holiday (it is my birthday after all), so you would think I would have everything all planned out weeks ahead of time. But no, I wait until the last minute – always have and probably always will.

Co-parenting hasn’t helped in this scenario. Halloween is not one of our alternating holidays so it just depends whose day it happens to fall on. If they are at dad’s, I just have to worry about myself (in theory).

However, if they are with me, then we have a couple variables to consider:

  • Do they want to dress up?
  • Trick-or-Treating? If so, as a family or with friends?

My girls are both teenagers now, so there is the question of do they even want to dress up?!?!

If they do, is there a theme they want to go with or just go with whatever we can find?

With my girls, it almost never fails that they say they don’t want to dress up and then at the last minute they change their minds and decide they are going to dress up.

This leads to lots of drama (I can just hear them now) because the stores are picked over on costumes so now life is just ruined, they’ll be the only ones not dressing up. 

Luckily – being the world-class procrastinator that I am – I’ve had years of practice with throwing costumes together. We always come up with something – may not be their first choice, but it is better than no costume at all, right?!?!

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 DIY Halloween Costumes


Making costumes yourself not only saves money, but it allows you to make a unique costume you won’t be able to find in any store. It gives you the opportunity to be creative and make a one-of-a-kind costume.  The possibilities are endless.


This is probably the easiest of all if your kids play sports, or you know someone you can borrow from that does.  Just slip on the uniform and viola you are a soccer player, football player, cheerleader, etc.





I made a domino costume in college using a black pillowcase and some white felt.  Cut holes for your head and arms, attach the dots and a white stripe in the middle and you’re done.

You can also just where a black top and pants and attach the dots to those.  This is probably a better option for adults as pillowcases might be a bit more snug.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

If you have a kid that is adventurous and doesn’t mind having some fun with his costume, he might love to wear a spaghetti and meatballs costume! This is also easy to make on your own from home if you don’t want to buy a costume.

What you need is:

  1. A red-checkered tablecloth that you can turn into a poncho.
  2. Beige yarn which you’ll glue to a large paper plate so that it looks like spaghetti.
  3. Small foam balls that have been painted a brown color to be the meatballs. These are also glued to the spaghetti.
  4. Red paint can create dripping tomato sauce on the tablecloth.
  5. Glue the plate, spaghetti, and meatballs all to the front of the tablecloth costume.
  6. Give your kid a big pot to wear on his head like a hat.

Garden Fairy

This is actually a very easy costume to make for kids, though to others it will look very complicated. All you really need to make a fairy dress is a tutu skirt that is long enough for them to wear as a little dress. Get a belt, preferably some type of floral one, and wrap it around the tutu dress at their waist, and it instantly transforms it. You can then add a ribbon around the halter, then, of course, don’t forget the wings! Put her in tights and add a halo to your head if you like.

Ice Cream Cone

Another food-themed Halloween costume that can be a lot of fun is to make an ice cream cone costume. For this costume, you are going to use a tutu again. If you don’t have a tutu that is an ice cream cone color, you could always just use chiffon in any off-white shade. Wear a white top (or a color to match your favorite flavor) and create large rainbow-colored sprinkles to attach or paint on the top. Make a hat with a big cherry on top, and the costume is done.

Raining Cats and Dogs

If you are pressed for time and just need to make a quick costume, this is perfect. It is based on the term ‘It’s raining cats and dogs’. You just need an umbrella that you can attach pictures of cats and dogs to. Once you do that, all that is needed is to put them in a fun outfit, such as a raincoat and rain boots as if they are out in the rain while it is raining cats and dogs onto the umbrella.

Another variation of this for us single moms would be ‘It’s raining men’.  Attach pictures of men to the umbrella instead of cats and dogs.

Family/Group DIY Halloween Costumes

If you or your kids/teens are going to a party with a group of friends or co-workers or trick-or-treating as a family, you might be looking for possible group costume ideas.

There are a variety of themes to choose from, depending on the number of people in your family or group. 

When thinking about a family Halloween costume idea, try to think of any movies or television shows where there are multiple characters you can make a costume out of.

It could even be an actor/actress and each person dresses up as a character they’ve played.

We did this last year at work with Johnny Depp.

Can you guess what movie/character I chose?!?!

Here are a few more fun ideas you could use.

Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz is perfect because there are a lot of characters to choose from. Regardless of the size of the family or group, it should work great! There are many characters to choose from including Dorothy, Scarecrow, the Lion, and the Tinman.  If you have a baby, it can be dressed as Toto the dog. If you have a dog, he can be Toto. You could also dress as one of the witches or munchkins.

We did a Wizard of Oz theme with the other 2nd grade teachers when I was doing my student teaching.  Being from Kansas, this was a popular theme.


Superheroes never seem to go out of style, and instead keep getting more and more popular. There are tons of ways to do a superhero family costume. Each person can dress as their own superhero, even if they are supposed to be in different universes.

You can go as a superhero group, such as The Avengers, or you can even find a superhero movie with an actual family, like The Incredibles.

My coworkers and I dressed as the Incredibles a couple years ago.  It was a lot of fun.

We used a Cricut machine to make the logo on the t-shirts, cut a mask out of felt and then just work red legging with a black skirt and boots.

Willy Wonka

Why not go with a Willy Wonky theme? This is a timeless story that creates some really fun costumes. You can go as Willy Wonka, Charlie and some of the other kids, but there are other ways to do it. Perhaps a fun option is to go as Willy Wonka, a Wonka bar and an Oompa Loompa.

Need more ideas? 

Here is an article from Good Housekeeping with 50+ more costume ideas.

Anything you can make into a group of characters is easy to turn into a family or group Halloween costume everyone will love.

The most important thing to remember is to BE YOU and have fun.  A DIY costume may not be an exact match to a character to you are trying to imitate like a store bought one, but it will be unique and likely save you money.

I’d love to hear your ideas and see pictures of what you came up with.  Share in the comments below, on my Facebook page, or in my private group.  

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

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