Last-minute Halloween costume ideas for kids

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

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kids in halloween costumes 

Ready? Let's get started...

Raid the wardrobe for anything black

black clothes

Black leggings, black t-shirt, eight stuffed black stockings sewn on strategically = spider.

Black leggings, black t-shirt, ears stuck on a headband, stocking made into a tail, whiskers drawn on with eyeliner = cat.

baby skeleton outfit

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

"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 voila, a cat! She was six weeks old, though, and slept for most of it (quite appropriate for a cat, I thought)."

Dig through the kids' craft box

craft supplies

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

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

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

"Cut out triangular strips of card, wrap in tinfoil, safety-pin to an old long-sleeved shirt - Edward Scissorhands."

Wreak revenge on the contents of your laundry basket

sheet ghost

Make use of old white sheets or pillowcases (or greying 'white' clothes) for a ghost costume - just add white face-paint and black eye make-up.

Cut and fray old clothes, team with green face paint and draw on stitches: Frankenstein.

Delve into the toy box

toy animals

Rubber snakes in your child's hair = Medusa.

For a really REALLY simple costume, give your child toy cars/dolls to carry around: instant giant. If they have a dinosaur costume, make them Godzilla. Monkey onesie? King Kong.

Find inspiration in everyday things

bat costume

"Make bat wings with an old black umbrella."

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

Relive your teen hair-and-beauty regime

big hair

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

Go BIG on the eyeliner, red lipstick and face powder (or talc) to spooky-up existing fancy dress costumes: fairy/bride/doctor's outfit + white face and black eyes = zombie version.

"For a zombie/witchy schoolgirl, wear 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."

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Last updated: almost 3 years ago