Homemade Halloween costume ideas can be hard to come up with off the top of your head, so we’ve rounded up 20 tried-and-true ideas you can definitely make yourself. These are broken into two subsections, starting with the gold standard for homemade Halloween costumes: Thrift Store Costumes. The second section details some easy-to-make cardboard box costumes that should be easy to put together and will definitely inspire more Halloween costume ideas.
Homemade Halloween Costume Ideas: Classic Thrift Store Concepts
These homemade Halloween costume ideas won’t score you any originality points, but they’ll be easily recognized and if done right, they can still win Best Costume. Try going to the thrift store with a few different costumes in mind so you don’t end up hunting around for one specific thing.
Ghost – A white sheet with two holes cut in it? Voila! Costume made.
Farmer – This one just requires a plaid button-up shirt, some overalls and a hat!
Cowboy/Cowgirl – Yee Haw! Combine boots with the right shirt, vest and jeans and accessorize.
Soldier – Every military surplus store in the country can outfit your child with this one.
Doctor / Nurse – There are always scrubs at the thrift store, now just find a few accessories.
Aerobics Instructor – Leggings and a leotard? Maybe a headband? You’re done.
Baby – Use a cut sheet or white towel for a diaper, add a bonnet and a rattle.
Tennis Star / Golfer – Rackets and golf clubs are in every thrift store. Add some plaid and you’re done.
Mechanic – Find an old mechanic’s shirt that says “Butch” on the name tag and you’ve found a costume.
Prom Queen / Pageant Queen – Thrift stores are overflowing with fancy dresses. Add a tiara and a sash for victory.
Tourist – A funny Hawaiian shirt plus an old camera and a map is all it takes to make a tourist.
Pregnant Woman – Here’s an easy one, grab a pillow, throw it under a maternity shirt and pow!
Hippie – You’ll find no shortage of old duds in the $1 bin. Bell bottoms plus accessories equals a costume.
Sockhop Girl – Pair a plaid pleated skirt with a printout of a poodle pinned to it, tie a scarf around her neck.
Train Conductor – You’re looking for the signature blue-and-white striped hat and a bandanna to pull it off.
Mad Scientist – You need a lab coat and a beaker full of gummy worms, plus funny goggles and a crazy wig.
Raining Cats and Dogs – Look for an umbrella you can sew cat and dog stuffed animals to, and rain gear.
Harry Potter – Find a red shirt, brown pants, a black robe, a wand and black pipe cleaner glasses.
Cardboard Box Costumes
These require a little more creativity and can be much more original, but they won’t take a full head-to-toe “costume” design. If your child has an all-black sweat suit or a sweat suit of another solid color that coordinates, you’re good. These don’t take much beyond the box or boxes, some paint and glue — especially if you find the right accessories. For some of them, you’ll need to affix “suspenders” made of yarn that go over your child’s shoulders.
Box of Candy – Cut a head hole and arm holes, and cut out the bottom; paint to match your favorite box.
Robot – Small boxes for each body part work best. This what you’ve been stockpiling on tin foil for.
Monster Truck – Decorate the box like your kid’s favorite monster truck. Use black paper plates for wheels.
Delivery Truck – The logos for FedEx and the Post Office can be found at any shipping center — on envelopes!
iPhone – Paint a flat line at the top and a button with a square at the bottom. Decorate the screen with buttons or a game.
Wall-E – Paint the bottom of a box yellow and decorate like Wall-E. Wear goggles. Tracks should be long, black right triangles.
Lego – Make 6 circular “pegs” of cut Dixie Cups or styrofoam circles and affix them to a rectangular box. Lego!
Christmas Gift – Wrap a box in wrapping paper, cut head and arm holes, and put a bow on your child’s head.
Box of Popcorn – Wrap your box in vertical red and white striped wrapping paper: add yellow paper “kernels” to the top.
TV – Add knobs or buttons and an antennae hat. Decorate the “screen” with your favorite cartoon character.
Juice Box – Use a paper towel tube painted white for the “straw” decorate like your favorite juice.
Recognizable Food – Cut the same food shape out twice, make shoulder straps and paint. Wear it like a sandwich board.
Box of Puppies or Kittens – Use a plain cardboard box with suspenders, add stuffed animals to the top, and paint your kid’s face like a cat or dog. Win!
Most of these homemade Halloween costume ideas will make a fun project for you and your child. Just make sure you have fun, and don’t be afraid to ask folks to use their imagination when they try to guess what it is. A Halloween costume doesn’t have to be perfect to be adorable.
Have you tried any of these homemade Halloween costume ideas? Do you have any of your own to add? Please share your thoughts below.