Blockhead and Gumby characters - homemade Halloween costumes

If you’re anything like me, you always find yourself deciding at the last minute to dress up for Halloween. Need a quick idea that’s cheap and easy to put together?

Here are some more frugal homemade Halloween costumes, for both adults and kids. These are quick and easy creative costume ideas that you can make yourself, at home, from stuff you’re likely to have around the house already or that you can pick up inexpensively at a discount store or thrift shop.

(Tip: Cardboard boxes and Halloween makeup are your best friends for quick cheap costume!)

Quick Home-made Halloween Costume Ideas

Kite Caught in a Tree – This is my all-time favourite Halloween costume, and so quick and easy to do! Wear brown pants and a green shirt. Get a cheap colourful kite at a discount store, and fasten it to a headband or elastic so you can wear it on the back of your head, with the tail hanging down your back. Tie a piece of white cord (or yarn, ribbon, whatever you have) to the kite and wind the rest of the cord ddown around you, sewing or pinning it in a couple of places. Fasten some artificial leaves to the costume around your shoulders and arms, too, if you want.

Household Appliance – Cut a head hole in the top of a very large cardboard box, open up the bottom end, and cut arm holes in the sides. Wear the box so it rests on your shoulders. Paint the box white or cover it in white paper, and add a few decorative details. For a refrigerator costume, for example, just add a shopping list and a couple of fridge magnets.

Traditional Robot – Use a large cardboard box for the body, as with the Household Appliance Costume, but cover it with tinfoil and draw on a lot of dials and control knobs with a permanent marker. Use a smaller foil-covered box for a hat or cut a big square hole (for your face) in one side of a slightly larger box that will come down over your head. Get creative with black and silver Halloween makeup on your face, to finish off the costume.

Golf Green – Cut a cardboard box to wear around your waist, covered with an old green sheet or tablecloth (check the thrift stores!) and glue on a golf ball, a ping-pong ball, or even just a white pompom. Stick a piece of dowel or stiff wire into it with a flag on top, or wear a flag in your hair. Carry a golf club, if you have one, to make the costume complete.

Picnic Table – Wear a checkered tablecloth around your waist or neck, using cardboard to make the “table” so it’ll stand out flat if you prefer. Glue on a couple of paper plates, maybe a plastic fork or two, and a napkin. What about a plastic bug? Or cheap plastic fruit from the dollar store?  Option: save and clean out a KFC chicken bucket to wear on your head!

Crayon Kid – A quick and easy Halloween costume for a child is to dress him head-to-toe in his favourite bright colour, and cut Crayola-type label markings out of black felt or paper to decorate the shirt. Make a pointy cardboard hat in the same colour.

Bathing Beauty – Dress all in pink or white, and fasten pink or clear balloons all over your clothing. Wear a shower cap and glue a rubber ducky on your shoulder! A popular variation on the Bathing Beauty is the Bunch of Grapes costume, made the same way but using all green or all purple balloons, with a bunch of fake grape-leaves as a head piece.

Bag of Jelly Beans – More fun with ballooms! A very popular Halloween costume is the Bag of jelly beans (or other candy), which uses a very large clear plastic bag stuffed with a lot of inflated balloons.  This works well with one of those lightweight bags you get from the dry cleaners, and looks best if you use a whole lot of different colours of balloons.

Trailer Trash – Cut arm holes and leg holes in an extra-large black plastic bag (similar to the Bag of Jelly Beans costume, but you can just use an extra-large garbage bag for this one). Step into it and poke your arms out, then stuff the bag with crumpled newspapers. Tie the open end loosely at the neck, so bits of a particularly trashy tabloid newpaper can show at the opening! It’s fun to come up with ideas for accessories. Women can do fluffy bedroom slippers — marabou feather heels would be a hoot! — with hair in curlers and lots of blue eyeshadow; an old flannel shirt, TV guide, ball cap and beer for the men!

Dirty Laundry – Here’s a clever costume that works for trick-or-treat, but maybe not for those Halloween parties where you might want to sit down! Cut a hole in the bottom of an old laundry basket and wear it wround your waist, held up with suspenders. Fill it with some light-weight material like fibre-fill, quilt batting, or crumpled newspapers, then cover that with an old sheet. Pin a few odd bits of clothing on top of the sheet, and add an empty laundry detergent container.

Hershey’s Kiss – This is inspired by a really darling Hershey’s Kiss costume for a baby, but basically you’re making yourself into a giant chocolate candy with this idea. All you need to dress up as a great big Kiss is a roll of aluminum foil, some padding around the hips, a wide ribbon to come out the top, and a helper to give a hand in putting your costume together! Carry a bag of Hershey’s Kisses, and put on some bright red lipstick — yummy!

Christmas Tree – I saw a cute little girl wearing this costume last year, but it would work fine for an adult costume too. Just dress in green and drape yourself with tinsel. To make unbreakable ornaments, save the foil tops from single-serve yogurt or pudding and glue two together with the shiny sides out, then sew them to your costume. Stick a yellow or glittery star onto a green cap, and there you are!

Look around the house and exercise your imagination — what can you pull out of the recycling box or the spare bedroom closet, to make a costume they’ll be talking about in years to come?

A clever costume idea will beat big spending, every time!

Photo credit: Blockhead and Gumby by danielle blue, on Flickr

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