Store-bought costumes have come a long way since our childhood. Remember the plastic masks held hot against our faces by a tiny elastic string and a few staples? And if you lived in a place with four seasons, your winter coat probably covered your Halloween costume for trick-or-treating. Ahh, memories.
But our kids have a slew of options and ideas thanks to the mass production of creative Halloween costumes (not to mention the wealth of ideas found on Instagram and Pinterest). Yet there’s something special about pulling together specific details to create your own unique DIY costume. A personal favorite from my own Halloween past was a 1950s milkman and housewife couples costume I threw together for me and my husband. I bought a thrifted dress and carried around a spatula and fake cigarette while he donned a white shirt, bow tie, and a crafted milk delivery pack made out of Starbucks bottles from the grocery store. (It’s all about the details, people.)
To jumpstart your crafted Halloween, we put together some other super cute DIY costume ideas for the whole family using five elements or less, with accessories, props, and gear you might find around your house, in your closet, or easily purchase from Amazon with Prime delivery. Plus, some include items you can use outside of Halloween, like striped pajamas, grey sweats, or sunglasses. None of the ideas require a sewing skillset, rather we just suggest caution when using those safety-pins or glue-guns!
1. Where’s Waldo?
Striped holiday pajamas double as Waldo’s iconic shirt. Wear jeans, add prop glasses, and a stocking hat you can use all winter. Incorporate other details if you have them at home, like a backpack, walking stick, or binoculars.
2. & 3. Daniel Tiger and Miguel from Coco
A red hoodie can easily be worn all winter, so it won’t go to waste after Halloween. Consider making either theme a family costume by buying extra tiger ears for mom or dad. Or dress up in Day of the Dead attire to go as Miguel’s extended family.
1950s gear is always a classic retro costume. Pair a white t-shirt with a black button-down or spring for a faux leather jacket. Grease your back the hair, and add some sunglasses to transform into a regular T-Bird from Rydell High. Alternatively, pair a poodle skirt or cropped black leggings with a plain T-shirt and tie a scarf in a high ponytail. Black ballet flats or sneakers with rolled socks can complete the look.
5. Stranger Things
This show has so many great characters it’s difficult to choose a focus, but these four seem the easiest and most fun to DIY. Eleven’s iconic look from Season one — pink dress, cardigan, retro socks, and quintessential Eggo waffles — is a favorite.
6. JoJo Siwa
Nickelodeon child star JoJo Siwa’s signature look is super easy to DIY — just add colorful clothes, big bows, and some sparkle.
7. Ruth Bader Ginsberg
Wear black, add a white tie, some prop glasses, and a gavel or law book to become the notorious RBG.
8. Bubble Bath
White balloons pinned to a white shirt create an adorable bubble bath costume. Accessorize with a shower cap and any toys you might find in your kid’s bathtub.
9. Cute Mice Family
Most farm animal costumes are easy to put together using stuff you may already have at home — like gray clothes. Add mouse ears and glue on pink felt bellies to complete the look.
10. Mother Nature
Take a trip to the local craft store for flowers, leaves, or other nature-themed props to pin to a green outfit. Create or buy a floral headband, à la TeFiti from Moana.