18 easy DIY Halloween costume ideas for kids

Halloween kid costumes

Need to cobble together a Halloween costume in a hurry? Fear not – you'll find everything you need for a spooky ensemble lurking around your house

Three step-by-step costumes

To begin, here are three DIY costumes that can be made at home with the right supplies, in less than an hour.

Toothless the Dragon

You will need:

  • Black hoodie
  • Black trousers
  • Black costume tail or sock and stuffing
  • Four 30cm by 30cm squares of black felt
  • A small scrap of yellow felt
  • A small scrap of white felt
  • A small scrap of red felt
  • A small scrap of cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue, fabric glue or needle and thread
  • Templates, printed onto A4 paper to cut out – download them here
  • Pins, for keeping your templates in place

Watch our video below for easy step-by-step directions.

A raincloud

You will need:

  • Light coloured or clear umbrella
  • A sheet of wadding (one meter)
  • A bag of cushion stuffing
  • Glue gun and hot glue sticks (and needle and white thread if you want the clouds to be extra secure)
  • Eight battery-operated string lights (six around the edge of the umbrella, two stuck around the inside)
  • Six raindrop shaped beads for the ends of the string lights
  • Sellotape to secure the two string lights around the inside of the umbrella
  • A coat and wellies, to complete the look.

Watch our video below for easy step-by-step directions.

Giant bag of sweets

You will need:

  • A large clear plastic bin bag (parental supervision required)
  • Balloons
  • Metallic paper such as gift wrap
  • A 'sweets' logo you can make or print out at home and stick to some cardboard – download our template here
  • Scissors, sellotape & glue stick
  • Colourful accessories such as striped socks and ribbons
  • Plain black trousers and a black jumper to wear underneath

Watch our video below for easy step-by-step directions.

Raid the wardrobe for anything black

Spider

You will need:

  • Black leggings
  • Black shirt
  • Eight black stockings
  • Newspaper
  • Safety pins

Directions:

  1. Stuff eight black stockings with crumpled newspaper.
  2. Strategically attach the stockings with safety pins to the shirt so that there are four legs on each side.
cat costume

Cat

You will need:

  • Black leggings
  • Black shirt
  • Headband
  • Small piece of cardboard
  • Paints
  • Hot glue
  • Black stocking
  • Newspaper
  • Black eyeliner
  • Safety pins

Directions:

  1. Paint two cat ears on a piece of cardboard and cut them out.
  2. Use hot glue to attach them to a headband.
  3. Stuff a black stocking with crumpled newspaper to make a tail.
  4. Attach the tail to the back of your child's shirt or coat using safety pins.
  5. Use a black eyeliner to draw a triangle on your child's nose and whiskers across the cheeks.

I couldn't get newborn costumes, so I dyed a babygro black, added some white fur and a tail, added white socks and mittens, made some ears – and voilà, a cat! She was six weeks old, though, and slept for most of it (quite appropriate for a cat, I thought).

Skeleton

baby in skeleton outfit

A black all-in-one can have white bones drawn on to make a skeleton.

You will need:

  • Black onesie (or a black hoodie and leggings set)
  • White chalk
  • White fabric paint

Directions:

  1. Print out an outline of a skeleton to trace, unless you feel comfortable drawing it out by hand.
  2. Once you've outlined the bones with white chalk, you can start colouring in one side of the skeleton.
  3. Before it dries, fold over the onesie face down on the other side. This will transfer some paint to the other side, which will give you a guideline on where to paint so that the two sides are symmetrical.

Find inspiration in everyday things

mummy costume

Mummy

You will need:

  • Toilet paper or long cotton bandages
  • Clear tape

Wrap your child in toilet paper for an easy Egyptian mummy costume.

Flower pot

You will need:

  • Medium canvas shopping bag (with longer handles, like this one)
  • Scissors
  • Packing tape
  • Clear tape
  • Colourful tissue paper
  • Green construction paper
  • Wooden skewer sticks
  • Stapler

Directions:

Watch the video below on how to make flowers out of paper tissue.

  1. Make 15-20 tissue paper flowers using the technique in the video.
  2. Place a skewer stick diagonally against a corner of the green construction paper. Fold the corner around it and roll the paper all the way around the skewer stick, securing the end of the paper with clear tape. Make as many stems as you have flowers.
  3. Push the pointy end of the skewer out of the paper so it sticks out slightly, only about half a centimetre.
  4. Secure the tissue flowers on top of the stems by poking the skewer stick through the centre of the flower (making sure it doesn't stick out too far). Put two pieces of clear tape across the top of the skewer stick, making an X. Then secure the stem on the underside of the flower with some clear tape at the point where the stem and flower meet.
  5. Use packing tape to attach the flowers to one side of the canvas bag. Use the side where there are no handles. Depending on your child's height, tape the flowers so that they are sticking out at a distance that feels comfortable for them.
  6. Cut the bottom of the bag for your child's feet to go through.
  7. Make sure the side with the flowers is at the front when your child puts on the costume. Rest the side handles over their shoulders to hold up the bag.

Dig through the kids' craft box

Follow our simple video guide to make an easy pumpkin mask with a paper plate, card, pens and glue.

Fairy

You will need:

  • Tutu (or a colourful dress)
  • Tights
  • Crown/tiara
  • Wand
  • Large sheet of paper
  • Pen/pencil
  • Cardboard
  • Paint
  • Box cutter or craft blade
  • Hammer and one nail
  • Ribbon

Directions:

  1. Draw one side of a wing pattern on a large sheet, with the top wing slightly bigger than the bottom one.
  2. Fold it over and cut it out following the line you've drawn so that the wings are symmetrical.
  3. Trace your template onto the cardboard using a pen or pencil.
  4. Cut out the wing pattern you've drawn using a box cutter or craft blade.
  5. Fold the wings down the middle to make them bendable.
  6. Unfold the wings and colour them with paint, decorating them any way you wish. Let them dry over the course of a few hours.
  7. Use a hammer and nail to punch two holes on the right side of the wings, 5 centimetres from the centre. Do the same for the left side. and They should all be the same distance apart, forming a square.
  8. Cut two piece of ribbon long enough to be able to wrap them around your child's shoulder and tie them into bows.
  9. Thread a ribbon through the top-right and bottom-right hole, and then do the same for the left side.
  10. Once your child has put on the rest of their costume, tie the ribbons around their shoulders with a bow to secure the wings.

Cut cheap netting or tulle into strips and tie them onto a piece of around your child's waist – voilà, one gothic fairy.

Edward Scissorhands

You will need:

  • Cardboard
  • Tin foil
  • Safety pins
  • Black or grey long-sleeved shirt

Cut out triangular strips of card, wrap in tinfoil, and safety pin to an old long-sleeved shirt for a simple Edward Scissorhands costume.

Ancient Egyptian

You will need:

  • Cardboard
  • Fake jewels or beads
  • Gold paint
  • White pillowcase
  • Black eyeliner

I made my son a large Egyptian collar and wristbands out of cardboard. Sprayed them gold and stuck fake jewels etc on them. He went as Tutankhamun; a girl could be Cleopatra.

Wreak revenge on the contents of your laundry basket

ghost costume

Ghost

You will need:

  • Old white sheet or pillowcase (or greying 'white' clothes)
  • White face paint
  • Black eye make-up

I drew a ghost face on a pillow case, cut out holes for my daughter's arms and head and then cut the bottom all raggedy. Job done!

Frankenstein's monster

You will need:

  • Old clothes
  • Green face paint
  • Black eyeliner

Directions:

  1. Cut and fray the old clothes.
  2. Colour your child's face with green face paint and draw on stitches with a black eyeliner.
  3. Backcomb their hair slightly to complete the messy monster look (optional).

Scarecrow

scarecrow costume

You will need:

  • Jeans or denim dungarees
  • Plaid shirt
  • Straw hat
  • A few orange/brown/yellow leaves
  • Raffia ribbon
  • Packing tape

Directions:

  1. Cut the Raffia ribbon into many strings of identical length, about 10 centimetres.
  2. Turn over the bottom of the pant legs and line up the Raffia along the front edge. Use the packing tape to secure them in place so that they are sticking out when your child puts on their jeans. Do the same for their shirt's cuffs.
  3. Stuff some cut Raffia ribbon into the jeans' or dungarees' pockets.
  4. Wrap some Raffia around the straw hat, tying it with a tight bow. Tuck in the leaves strategically.

Delve into the toy box

toy box

Medusa

You will need:

  • Rubber snakes
  • Headband
  • Old white pillowcase
  • Yarn or string for a belt
  • Bracelets (optional)

Directions:

  1. Glue rubber snakes to a headband using a hot glue gun.
  2. Cut off one corner of the pillowcase for your child's head and one arm to fit through (so the robe rests on one shoulder).
  3. Cut a slit on the other side of the pillowcase for the other arm.
  4. Once your child puts it on, tie a few pieces of yarn or string around the waist to shape it.
  5. You can add some bracelets to complete the look (optional).

Giant

You will need:

  • Toy cars/dolls
  • Frayed/ old-fashioned clothing in green or neutral tones
  • Boots

Directions:

  1. Style the giant as old-timey as you'd like – depending on the kind of clothes you have around – and complete the look with boots.
  2. Give your child the toy cars/dolls to carry around.

Relive your teenage hair and beauty regime

zombie make up

Monster

You will need:

  • Old/frayed clothes
  • Hairspray
  • Comb

Hairspray and a bit of back-combing help to make a monstrous impression.

Zombie

zombie costume

You will need:

  • Black eyeliner
  • Red lipstick
  • White face paint or powder/talc
  • Old frayed clothing (or another DIY costume from above)

Directions:

  1. Go BIG on the eyeliner, red lipstick and face powder (or talc).
  2. Fray old clothing to make some rips.
  3. You can also spook up existing fancy dress costumes, eg fairy/bride/doctor's outfit + white face and black eyes = zombie version.

For a zombie/witchy schoolgirl, wear some old uniform and add a white face, dark circled eyes and fake blood.

And finally, remember: it really is the thought that counts

My son once won first prize in nursery for his Halloween costume. It was one of my old white T-shirts, with a skull drawn on it (by me, in two minutes). He was the only child with a homemade costume, which was why he won.