4 DIY Halloween costumes to make this year

Anyone can buy the most in-demand Halloween costume at a store. But when the kids want something out-of-the-ordinary, parenting creativity kicks into high gear. These costumes from four Chicago Parent readers – Samantha Sheahan, Maria Dripps-Paulson, Heather Holtz and Sue Quinlan – are certain winners.

Fire Truck


  • Box, spray paint, spray adhesive, contact paper, scissors, foamboard (white & black), aluminum foil, black Sharpie, pair ofsuspenders, other supplies that will make your box your own!

Step 1: Take the box and use spray adhesive to seal all sidesand let it dry overnight.

Step 2: Cut a hole in the bottom andtop that is big enough for your child to stand comfortably

Step 3: Spray paint the entire box red.

Step 4: Cut a piece of white contact paper to create the frontof the truck(which also adds another layer to help hold thebox together).

Step 5: Use the foam boardto create windows, ladders, etc. Cover some foam pieces with foilto create headlights/front grill, etc.

Step 6: Use anything else to continue decorating your truck! Weused stickers, foam as a hose, and flashing lights for the top.This part is all up to your imagination!

Step 7: Use suspenderswith clips to place the box over your child’s shoulders and havethem dress in their best fireman costume!

Samantha Sheahan of Oak Lawn

Son, Jackson, 5

Cabbage Patch Kid


  • Cardboard
  • Yellow tempera paint with primer
  • Construction paper
  • Logo
  • Crochet hat
  • Yarn


Find a piece of cardboard large enough to fit over yourstroller. Fold it over the front of the stroller creasing ittwice. Fasten the cardboard behind the stroller using stringor bungee cords.

Cut a hole in the front of the box so you can see the”doll”.

Paint the box yellow.We used tempera paint withprimer.

Add a green border with construction paper around the cut-outhole.

Borrow the Cabbage Kidslogo from Google Images, print it on regular paper, cut the accesspaper off and glue the logo to the box.

Cabbage Patch Kid “Doll”

Make or purchase a crochet hat in any color to act as”hair.” Pull long strands of yarn through the crochet hat aspigtails.Leave the hair loose or braid strandstogether.Fasten ribbons to the ponytails!If you do notknow how to crochet, do not worry.I have seen Cabbage Patchhats available for purchase on

For the outfit, your”doll” can wear just about anything you like!In this doll’scase, she simply wore her own patchwork jeans and a wooljacket!

Sue Quinlan of Palatine

Daughter, Alexis, 21months

Luigi Riding Yoshi

My son wanted to be Luigi riding Yoshi for Halloween, so weimprovised to make him a cute and unique costume.

We bought a dinosaur costume at thestore, which served as the Yoshi part of the costume.

We pieced together different clothing items for Luigi’s costume:We bought a green sweatshirt at Goodwill. We found white gloves anda Luigi hat at the Halloween store.

My son put on the green shirt, added the dinosaur costume overit. The straps from the costume served as Luigi’s suspenders. Then,he put on the Luigi hat and white gloves.

Add a mustache with Halloween makeup or eyeliner.

Luigi riding Yoshi is complete!

Heather Holtz, Hanover Park

Son Jaden Holtz, 6



  • White shirt (I used a long sleeve tee). This is the costumebase.
  • TONS and TONS of packing peanuts (NOT biodegradable)
  • Hot glue gun/glue sticks
  • Old T-shirts of various colors to be made into fish (I used myold orange, pink, white, and yellow T-shirts)
  • Black duct tape for seaweed
  • Various pieces of scrap (cardboard, piece of foam) to make fishforms
  • Velcro
  • Scissors
  • Needle and Thread

Hot glue packing peanuts on the front of the costume base (whiteshirt).

Createfish pieces (check out many pictures of sushi on Google Images toget the general shape/look of the fish)

For Tamago (egg cake)

Cover a box or a rectangle piece of foam with fabric from ayellow T-shirt

Hot glue the yellow fabric to the rectangle

For Sake (salmon)

Cut a piece of foam the shape of the salmon

Cover and hot glue thefoam form with fabric from an orange T-shirt

To make the stripes on the salmon, braid strips of fabric from apink T-shirt and glue on the salmon. You could also cutstrips and glue without braiding.

For Ebi (shrimp)

Cut orange and white T-shirts into long strips and tie thestrips together on one end

Braid shirt strips together (I did a fishtail braid)

Cut cardboard the sizeof a shrimp tail, cover and hot glue the tail with parts of anorange T-shirt

To make the tail look shiny like a shrimp tail, cover the tailwith clear packing tape

Hot glue the tail to the shrimp

Making Seaweed

Use black duct tape to create long pieces of seaweed

Fit the black duct tape around the sushi and your Trick orTreater with Velcro

Affixing the fish to the costume base

Using hot glue, glue the fish on to the costume base.

Tack various areas of the fish pieces to the costume basewith needle and thread

Watch your children be the hit of the Halloween parade and enjoymany compliments


Instead of a shirt, use a puffy/quilted vest, then maybe omitthe packing peanuts

Other family members can be a part as a sushi chef, wasabi, soysauce bottle or packets

Find shiny black belts to use as seaweed


I bought the white shirts (costume base), because I wanted themto be new (more durable) and a larger size than what my childrenwere wearing at the time. Online, I found the shirts for about $30with shipping ($8 each). All the other items, I already ownedand found many people who had foam and packing peanuts and weremore than willing to have me take them off their hands.

Things to consider:

Ownership. Involve your Trick or Treater in the fun. Atthe very least, you’ll need to have them try the costume on alongthe way. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through acostume creation and having your Trick or Treater change his/hermind

Weather. In Illinois, it can rain, snow, or broil on Halloween.I always make costumes that can be put over a coat/layers AND iswaterproof just in case.

Lightweight. Depending on the size of your Trick or Treater,you’ll want to use material that is not too heavy and might travel

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