12 DIY Halloween costumes for kids

Remember that Big Bird costume your mother made for you, painstakingly sewing on each individual feather? Please. Who has time for that? Here are 12 classic costume ideas that are adorable, easy and cheap. Most of the pieces can be found in “attic store” or the nearest Goodwill, and your kids will be proud strutting around the neighborhood in something they helped create.


Put your extra wool tights (you know, the ones with the hole in the toe that you keep around “just in case”) to good use. Cut the feet and waist off so you’re left with two black tubes. Put these on your child’s arms, cover with a black T-shirt with white bone cutouts safety-pinned and voila! Insta-costume.

The 50s couple

This part could be played by any couple, no matter the age or height. A parent and child could easily attend a costume party in this classic look. Until the poodle skirt and cardigan make a fashion comeback, this remains a great costume idea. You can use fabric paint to adorn an existing skirt with a poodle, or do as we did and get a pattern from your local fabric store, along with some glue, felt and cotton balls.

Butterfly & Ladybug

For this costume to really take off, you’ll need a cape of some sort or a few yards of felt. The color can vary, depending on your favorite butterfly. Then, create a unique pattern for the wings, or make black dots for a ladybug. For the antennae, use a headband, pipe cleaners and pompoms.


This puppy started off as a plain white long-sleeved shirt and felt dots. Cut out oddly shaped felt spots and glue them randomly onto the shirt to make your canine the cutest of all the dogs on the block.


Pirates are eclectic characters, and their personalities really come through in their clothing. Stripes are popular, along with vests, belts and plenty of gold jewelry.


Not only is this costume very simple, it doesn’t require a landscaper-you’ll be one yourself by the time you’re finished. For starters, you’ll need a green sweat shirt and matching green sweat pants to serve as the stem of your flower. For the top, stitch felt petals onto a ski hat. The flower you make could be any of an array of colors. Two possibilities: a white daisy or a sunflower.


To be your own Bozo you will need one crazy wig, face paint and a personally decorated (with fabric paint) shirt. Color is key for this fun costume. To add to the amusement, you could try to learn how to juggle, make balloon animals, get an invisible dog on a leash-or just tell some jokes.

Army Vet & Uncle Sam

Our army dude wore an army print jacket and grunge jeans from a Goodwill store. He has an authentic helmet and canteen from Military &Police Supply, 7351 Madison St., Forest Park. Uncle Sam is wearing his own blue slacks and a sailor jacket from Goodwill. The red, white and blue flowers and ribbon for his bow were from a craft store on sale after the Fourth of July.

Miss America

A glamorous role to be played by a true little starlet. The biggest necessity is the sash, although the flowers and crown are important, too. The hand wave should come naturally. A crown can be constructed in many ways, but we recommend gluing as much glitter and gems as possible to a foam cutout. The dress is the fun part: an old flower girl ensemble or a glittery Easter dress like this one we found at a Goodwill store will do the trick.

Native American and Cowgirl/boy

Most of the articles for these costumes can be found at a secondhand store. The little boy is wearing a leather shirt with fringe, a belt, a headband and feathers from Goodwill. Our cowgirl donned her own jean skirt with a collared shirt, bandana, cowgirl hat, boots and a horse on a stick. When you go looking, you must be ready to rummage around.

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