DIY Costume Contest

We're sorry. The 2020 Halloween Express DIY Costume Contest has been cancelled. Check back with us in 2021. Thank you to everyone who participated in previous years.

2019 Halloween Express DIY Costume Contest

$6,000 in Cash and Prizes!!

12-09-19: All winners have been contacted - see list of names below. Winner's photos will follow within a few weeks.

2019 DIY Costume Contest



Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry this year. As in past years, there were a lot of really great costume entries. If your name appears on this list and you haven't yet claimed your prize, check your email spam or bulk mail folder. Instructions for all winners were sent out before Thanksgiving.

Adult Couple

  1. Elyse Moreton
  2. Debbie Chrisman
  3. Alicia Malcolm
  4. Candace Norton

Adult Single

  1. Jaime Devine
  2. John Broadhead
  3. Carla Snyder
  4. Matthew Harter


  1. Danielle Fullmer
  2. Easton Heldt
  3. Shaunalace Stroup
  4. Tonia McMillan


  1. Lonnie Spranger
  2. Cathy Vander Meulen
  3. Elijah Cantu
  4. Melissa Blackstock


  1. Crystal Anderson
  2. Leah Holub
  3. Tracie McNemar
  4. Lindsay Falke


  1. Beth Abelew
  2. Melina Ramos
  3. Ruth Cochran
  4. Ingrid Rosenquist

There is something about Halloween that inspires the creative genius in many of us. Whether it is the perfect way to adopt a secret alter ego, or just the opportunity to try and live a little outside of the box, Halloween and creativity seem to go hand in hand. Since we got into the costume business in 1990, we have been very impressed with the originality and innovative genius that comes out in folks at Halloween. Thus, it seems only fitting that we offer to you industrious souls, an opportunity to showcase your illustrious costume making talents! We are pleased to announce the sixth annual Halloween Express DIY Halloween costume contest!

The past six years have proven this contest to be both amazing and overwhelming! This Halloween season, we're offering $6,000 in cash and prizes to the winners and the runners-up in these six costume categories: Adult Couples, Adult Singles, Child/Teen/Tween, Infant/Toddler, Pet and Group.

DIY Costume Contest Entry Form
Be sure to read the rules before submitting your entry.

DIY Costume ContestThe Full Scoop: Your costume must be created with at least 50% materials that come from something other than a store-bought Halloween costume. Yes, of course, we love to sell our Halloween costumes. But for this contest, we want you to come up with something that is uniquely your own and not part of something that is commercially available. Feel free to accessorize your DIY costume at will. In other words, wigs, hats, facial hair, makeup, fake blood, gloves, hats, jewelry, weaponry, teeth, etc. all can and should be added to your original look with reckless abandon. You will find thousands of costume accessories to choose from here at Halloween Express! We're pretty sure you are going to love how your imagination and our stuff work costume magic together.

Once you've constructed your costume masterpiece, here is what you need to do. Submit up to 3 photos of your DIY costume to our site using the link that will appear on this page starting October 15, 2019. The deadline to enter is midnight Sunday November 3, 2019. In addition to the photos, we need a little bit of information about your costume. We want to know all about your costume. Tell us what inspired you to make it, how you made it, what you used to make it (including the accessories you added) and what kind of a reaction your DIY costume received. What did your friends think? How did you feel wearing it?

DIY Halloween Costume ContestWe will look at every single entry we receive. Some of the entries will make us laugh hysterically. Others will leave us simply dumbfounded. Many will get a round of Halloween Express applause. And some DIY costumes are sure to blow our minds. We will, however, judge each and every entry and choose the most worthy winners and runners-up in each of the six entry categories. The winners will receive cash and prizes, to the tune of a total prize value of $6,000 being given away, which my friends, is what they call icing on the cake. Here are the criteria that our very distinguished judges will be using as they judge each entry: 25% on the execution and creation of the costume. 50% of the points will be for the originality and creativity of the costume. Lastly, 25% of the point value will be given for the written story about the costume and its creation. More details about the judging criteria can be found below. All of your photos must be original and taken during the 2019 Halloween season, which for this contest means from October 1, 2019, to November 2, 2019. We are looking for amateur, do-it-yourself, creative costumes from everyday folks, not professional costumers. Winners will be announced on or before December 9, 2019. (Just in time to use the cash for Christmas, oh yeah…) We have rules people, so please review them and follow them carefully, so everyone stays happy!

(If you would like to check out the past years winners, scroll down for links of former DIY contest winners.) 

DIY Costume ContestNow it's time to get your creative juices flowing. We can't wait to see what you come up with because we know that the best costumes ever really do come from YOU. Do not despair if you are feeling uninspired, unimaginative and just plain unmotivated. You may not win any contests, but you can still shop from the largest selection of Halloween costumes on the planet at Halloween Express. Halloween Express has more Halloween Costumes in more sizes and more styles than anyone. Period. No matter what costume you may be looking for -- adult costumes, kid costumes, sexy costumes or pet costumes, we have everything you need and a whole lot you probably hadn't even thought of yet. Make sure you check out our huge selection of Halloween decorations and props, too! That way your home can be the spookiest one on the block!

The Contest Categories

Entries will be accepted in the following six costume categories. Details of each category along with requirements and restrictions are listed below.

  • Adult Couples
  • Adult Single
  • Child/Tween/Teen
  • Baby/Toddler
  • Pets
  • Groups

Adult Couple DIY Costume Contest EntryAdult Couples: Significant Others. Partners in Crime.  Two Peas in a Pod.  BFF's.  There are many ways to describe all you dynamic duos out there.  It's even better when the two of you are dressed in a pair of go-together costumes!  The couples category of our costume contest is for those of you who like to do everything as a twosome, right down to creating and wearing costumes.  If your DIY costume is worn as a couple and goes together like hand in glove or yin and yang, this is your category.  Send us pictures of your contest entry along with its story.  Who came up with it?   What did your friends say?  If you win, it will then be up to you how you two divi up the money.

Requirements / Restrictions:  Photo must contain two people (thus "a couple") in costume and both being 18 years of age or older.

DIY Costume ContestAdult Single:You know who you are.  You're one in a million.  And so is your DIY costume idea.  You dreamed your idea up and created an awe-inspiring costume gem all by yourself and now a little recognition would be nice.  We understand.  If you've created a costume idea that's simply the pièce de resistance, we want to see it.  Send us the pictures.  Tell us your story.  How did you come up with the idea for your costume?  What was your inspiration?  What was the reaction when you wore your creation?  If you are the lucky winner in our costume contest "single" category you will win a cash prize.  Which means you can take all the credit for your greatness, too.

Requirements / Restrictions:  Photo subject must be that of a one person in costume who is an adult at least 18 years of age or older.

DIY Costume ContestBaby/Toddler: It's a fact, the ooo's, ahhh's and "oh how cute's!" your little one receives during Halloween never get old. You're neighborhood renowned for the skill and creativity you display with a sewing machine during the month of October. It's time to show off your skills on the big stage! Send us those pictures you'll cherish for years to come - and may the cutest win!

Requirements / Restrictions:  Photo must be that of a baby or toddler (newborn thru age 4) in costume with the photo being submitted by the parent or guardian who is 18 years of age or older.

DIY Costume ContestChild/Tween/Teen: You know your kid is a genius, he (or she) demonstrates this to you time and time again.  If this time your child has come up with a Halloween costume idea that (once again) shows his (or her) infinite prowess and brilliance, we want to see it.  Send us pictures of your child, tween or teen in his (or her) fabulous costume masterpiece.  Tell us the story behind it and why you think it needs special recognition.  Kids from all over the country will enter our costume contest, but only a few will win.

Requirements / Restrictions:  Photo must be that of a child, tween or teenager in costume between the age of 5 and 17 with the photo being submitted by the parent or guardian who is age 18 or older.

DIY Costume ContestPets: What's this you say?  Some of you silly humans have finally figured out how to make your furry friend into the cutest, costumed up creature on the entire block--or maybe in the entire universe? If you have a DIY pet costume that has gotten you (and your pet) a lot of attention, we want to see it.  The pet category of our costume contest is just for you creative pet owners that know how to make the most of your pet's best assets when it comes to creative costuming.  Send us pictures and tell us the story of how your costume came about.   You never know, you may win--and cash prizes can buy an awful lot of dog treats!

Requirements / Restrictions:  Photo subject must be that of your pet (e.g. dog, cat) in costume and submitted by the owner who is at least 18 years of age or older.

Groups: Hey, hey the gang's all here!  And when they got their DIY costumes on--was it ever a glorious sight to behold.  If you have a great Halloween costume idea that you came up with for your group of 3 or more, then this costume contest category is just for you and the other members of your wild bunch.  Send us pictures of your group's costumes and tell us the story behind them.  We have crazy friends, but yours might be crazier, the costumes usually do not lie.  The winners of this category will receive a nice cash award, which will likely make all your efforts well worth it--at the very least it should buy you all a nice dinner.

Requirements / Restrictions:  Photo must contain a minimum of 3 people dressed in costume.  The person submitting the photo must be at least 18 years of age AND either be in the photo OR be the parent/legal guardian of a person in the photo.

The Judging Criteria

DIY Costume Contest Judging CriteriaAll entries will be scored on a scale of 1 to 10 and judged based on the following formula.  The entries in each category with the highest, second highest and third highest scores will win:

  • 50% (max 5 points) on originality and creativity of the DIY costume idea.  At least half of the costume must be created from materials other than a commercially available Halloween costume. Store bought accessories, makeup, masks, hats, components, etc. however are acceptable.
  • 25% (max of 2.5 points) on the execution.  How well the costume idea was translated into a real costume.
  • 25% (max of 2.5 points) on the written story behind the costume. We want the full scoop including details of how you came up with the idea, how it was made and the reaction you got from wearing it. Feel free to share any additional information about your entry.

All photos must be original and taken during the 2019 Halloween season which for this contest is the period of October 1  to November 2,  2019. Sorry, you can't reuse costume contest photos from prior years.  We're looking for fresh, new ideas! (you can however use a DIY costume made before this time period -- the photo however needs to be taken during the contest period with the person entering the contest wearing it). Note too we're looking for costume entries from amateur, do-it-yourselfer's. Not professional costumers.

The same person in the same costume cannot win in multiple categories.  We want to spread the wealth so you can only submit an entry into one category. It's only fair. Let's give everyone a chance!

Entries must be submitted by midnight eastern time Sunday November 3, 2019.  Winners will be announced by or before December 9, 2019 (just in time to spend the cash for Christmas!) Of course there are some rules so make sure you review them.

Tips From the Judges

  1. Make sure the photo you're submitting is a good representation of your entire costume (head to toe) and the photo is a quality photo (e.g. in focus, enough light, costume features are clearly visible, etc.).
  2. We strongly suggest you submit three photos to make sure you are giving the judges the best possible look at your creation. Details matter here.
  3. If you are submitting a photo that contains other people or other items in the photo that aren't part of the contest make sure it's obvious what the focus of your photo is.
  4. While makeup can certainly play an important role in creating the total costume look, submitting a photo that is only about a makeup look isn't what we're looking for. Makeup only photos absolutely will not win in any category. They may be cool looking but this is a costume contest.
  5. The essay part of this contest is important. We encourage all contestants to take the time to craft an essay that not only explains how you made the costume but also what gave you the idea along with the reactions you received from wearing it. The reality is that we receive a lot of the same types of costume entries for each category. One way to make sure your costume entry gets noticed is to take the time to write a proper essay about the costume you created.

DIY Costume Contest PrizesContest Prizes

    First Place:  $500
    Runner-Up:  $250
    Third Place:  $250 Store Credit

We will award a top prize of $500 (via Paypal) in each of the six costume categories.  A runner-up prize of $250 (also sent via Paypal) will be awarded in each category.  Additionally, there will be one third place award in each category consisting of a $250 online store credit. All winners must be at least 18 years of age, reside in the United States and have an email account.  Winners of cash prizes must have a Paypal account.  If you don't already have a Paypal account, you can setup one in a matter of minutes by visiting   The awarding of prizes are subject to the rules governing this contest.  Before entering, please take a few minutes to read the complete rules.


Have a Question?

Questions that can't be answered by reading the above information (including the official rules) can be emailed to contest [at] halloweenexpress [dot] com. We will respond as soon as we can. One request: Each year we receive lots of questions from folks who clearly aren't reading the information on this page. Please, Please, Please ... take the time to review the above information before submitting a question.  There are very few questions that cannot be answered by reading the information found on this page or in the rules.   Thank you!


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