DIY Costumes that are Amazing ... and Cheap

  • October 12, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

DIY Costume

Every Halloween each of us faces the BIG dilemma.  “What do I want to be for Halloween?”  Sometimes this decision becomes even more complicated with varying factors that tend to muddy the costume waters.  Kids are notorious wafflers when it comes to finalizing costume decisions and often will wait until the final hours before Halloween night to make their costume decision--leaving parents with the problem of having to pull the look together--and in a hurry.  Often it comes down to simple economics, too.  With a gaggle of kids in tow, parents and sometimes pets to boot--well, costuming up the entire family can potentially cost a small fortune. 

Making your own costumes from simple items easily and inexpensively obtained (often from around the house) has become a family ritual for many and money savings aside, these D.I.Y. costumes often turn out to be some of the best, most original costume masterpieces out there.  Not to mention that there is something to be said for wearing a costume that is truly unique and not a carbon copy of several other local Halloween revelers. 

So, what does it take to put that perfect last minute D.I.Y. costume look together…and still look simply fabulous?  Here are a few tips to help you as you put on your creative thinking cap and get started.

Think Basics.  Many costume looks can begin with some pretty simple, basic clothing pieces that you will then need to fully accessorize in order to complete your look.  The clothing items you will end up needing will vary widely depending on your chosen character, but you will be surprised at how easy it is to improvise the basics with items you already have around the house.  Sweats, leotards, yoga pants, solid color turtlenecks, baseball pants, etc. are a great place to start.

Think “Inside” The Box.  Got an old cardboard box?  You would be amazed at how many accessories or other clever costumes or accoutrements can be created with this simple item.  Recently a very clever “iPhone” costume was created using foam-core pieces put together like a sandwich board.  The foam core was cut into a large phone shape and held together on each side with self-sticking velcro.  The logos and buttons were then painted onto the foam core. Duct tape was placed around the edges of the “phone” to create the look of a metal edge.  This clever crafter found the buttons as a PDF file online, printed them out and then carefully glued them onto the foam core.  Result? A very unique costume!

Think Thrift Shopping: Sometimes coming up with an inexpensive costume idea is as simple as a trip to the local thrift store for some quick inspiration.  Thrift stores are a great place to shop for retro looks or for clothes you don’t have to worry about destroying a bit for characters like zombies.  A few rips, tears and shreds--and you have a really amazing look to dress your character in.  Thrift stores are also a great source for old shoes that will also compliment your costume look. 

Think Basic Costume Makeup and Accessories: No matter what your chosen character look is, you are more likely than not going to need some simple costume makeup to pull the look together.  A basic Halloween makeup kit will give you some of the essentials to get you started, so it’s definitely a good idea to have one on hand. Putting the best D.I.Y. costume look together often also comes down to specific accessory items.  These little details are usually the things that will not only fully define your character but will pull your entire look together.  A lot of these accessory items can be carefully created yourself, others you might have to purchase.

Once you’ve spent all that time and energy putting together that truly epic D.I.Y. costume look, you may even deserve a little extra recognition for your own unique brand of ingenuity as well as creativity!  Make sure you enter the 2013 Halloween Express DIY Costume contest!  Have fun and be creative!