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Blog > September 2018 > Children’s Halloween Costume Ideas on a Budget
These days, Halloween is big business. Decorations, costumes and themed party food fill the shops for weeks and it seems like everyone will have a social engagement that needs a costume. From special school days, to Halloween parties and of course, neighbourhood trick-or-treating… a costume will be needed!

This should be brilliant news. Who doesn’t love dressing up? Choosing a costume with your child and helping them get in to it is a wonderful shared experience - not to mention taking all those ‘scary’ pictures before they go out. For children, playing pretend is great fun and the spooks and scares of Halloween costumes just add to the joy.

But Halloween can get expensive. Shop-brought costumes are rarely cheap and don’t always last. So, why not put together an easy Halloween costume without spending money?

There’s the fun of getting everything together, and this just increases when you involve your kids in the process too. They’ll get a flush of pride with every costume compliment they receive knowing they made it (yes, you probably will too!). And, best of all, a homemade Halloween costume is completely unique! So, you’ve decided upon a DIY Halloween costume this year, saving money in the process and ensuring it will be as fun to make as it is to wear. The next question to ask is which DIY Halloween costumes are easy to make?

DIY Halloween Costume Ideas for Babies and Young Children

Just because your child is too young for trick-or-treating, it doesn’t mean they have to miss out on the fun of dressing up. A small-scale party, family gathering or even a trip to a themed activity, gives you the perfect excuse to throw together a toddler Halloween costume. The thing with young children is that they grow up so fast. As adorable as they look, rosy-cheeked in an elaborate shop-bought costume, it will always feel like a waste of money when you know it’s only going to be worn once. Chances are, next year your expensive purchase will be three-sizes too small and will remain crumpled at the bottom of the wardrobe.

DIY Halloween costumes not only save money right now - you’ll feel much more comfortable upcycling parts to reuse in years to come.

• Spider

Credit Pretty Plain Janes

Adding extra pairs of legs to your littlest loved one is a simple way to up their scare factor. Stuff two old pairs of socks or tights with news or tissue paper and you’ve got your extra legs. Attach these to a black long-sleeved top - sew them if you can as they’ll be sturdier. Keep all other clothes black, and for a final flourish, get a beanie hat or elastic headband and glue on the biggest googly eyes you can find.

• Mummy

Credit Super Lucky

ear a plain white sheet into strips and dye them using a very strong tea or coffee mix to age the fabric. Glue the strips to set of white clothes, layering them to look like they’re wrapped. The age of your child may influence how heavily you want to swaddle them. Older kids can even have their faces partially wrapped, with black sunken eyes painted in.

• Bumble Bee

Credit The Crafting Chicks

A no-sew tutu, made of tulle tied round elastic, is such an easy craft you can get your child to help with it. Stripe it yellow and black, team it with some pipe-cleaner and pom-pom antennae and black clothes and you’ve got the makings of a super simple, super cute insect costume

• Cowgirl/boy

Credit She Just Glows

Most children will have a pair of jeans and a chequered shirt, which should mean a cute cowboy is within everybody’s budget. Props like a hat, badge or waistcoat can be brought or made depending on how adventurous you’re feeling. Tie a paisley bandana around their neck to finish the look.

DIY Halloween Costume Ideas for Older Children and Tweens

Older children will have a lot more opportunities to showcase their costume. From school parties and non-uniform days, to parties and of course, trick or treating. They might have multiple Halloween themed occasions all in the same year! They are a little pickier though. These days, a sheet with eyeholes and ‘boo’ across the chest just won’t cut it, and Halloween costumes for tweens have got to have the wow factor. With friends to impress, trends to fit in with and their own idea of what works for them of self to stay loyal too, older children are going to be more demanding of their Halloween fancy dress. But, they’re also even happier when you pull an amazing Halloween costume out of the bag.

• Unicorn

Credit Shwin and Shwin

Once you’ve got a horn headband (a cone of felt, stuffed and attached to elastic or an Alice band) it’s up to you how far you go with a unicorn look. A basic no-sew tutu can be the perfect tail when you waterfall different lengths and colours. Or knot thick vibrant wool around a belt if it you prefer. White clothes make a good base, and pastel or rainbow socks are a nice touch.

• Mad Scientist

Credit Polkadot Chair

ou‘ll need to get hold of safety goggles for this one, but they’re cheap and easy to get online. A white lab coat is best, but if you are particularly pushed you could customise a longer length white shirt, leaving it unbuttoned with a couple of pens poking out of the pocket. Save yourself shelling out for a wig by lightening hair with talc and going wild with backcombing. Spray, comb, spray, comb until your arms ache and you’ll have the perfect mad scientist look.

• Werewolf

Credit The Happy Scraps

A little bit of fake fur and some brown eyeliner are all you need to turn your child’s every day clothes into a fabulous werewolf costume. Attach some fur to some dark fingerless gloves for horrifying hairy hands. You can even up the furry-factor by adding some hair to a t-shirt and leaving it to peak through the top of a button-down shirt. Sketch in heavier, knitted eyebrows and a smudgy dark nose with an eyeliner pencil.

• Pineapple

Credit Puravida

This costume is about as simple as it gets, and pineapples are totally on trend. An Alice band and a t-shirt are the only necessities, and everything else is up to your own design flair. Glue paper leaves to a toilet roll to make the headband – add your own detail with glitter glue, paint or different shades of paper. Use paint or a sharpie to add V-shapes to your yellow top, and accessorize with yellow, brown and green jewellery or ribbons.

Essential Supplies for making Halloween costumes

• Sharp scissors, needle and thread. Because all costumes will need a bit of trimming, sewing or cutting.

• Plain tights and/or trousers. A good, solid base to build on.

• Face paints and/or glitter. Try to avoid overdoing it on either – too much face paint can be itchy and irritating, and glitter gets everywhere.

• Elastic and tulle. Few girls of any age are going to turn down the chance to flitter around in a tutu, and no-sew tutus are ridiculously easy to make.

• Alice bands. Specifically engineered to be head shaped, it’s an easy shortcut for something that could take a while to make yourself.

Helpful tips

• Upcycle wherever possible. Sewing is harder than it looks. If you can paint, cut or restyle an existing item of clothing; do it! It will be easier, quicker and usually look just as good in the end than if you started from scratch with a pattern.

• Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise. The right accessories will turn everyday clothes into a complete costume and can often be picked up for pennies. Also, they’re usually easier to make. For example, a cape can be made in minutes from fabric and ribbon, and can easily be thrown over everyday clothes to make a vampire, a superhero or a fantasy character.

• Be patient. Sometimes things will take longer than expected; sometimes they’ll need doing twice. Just take a deep breath and start again: it will all be worth it when you’ve finished a totally unique costume. In conclusion Hopefully now, you’re full of homemade Halloween fancy dress ideas, and feel confident trying to make one. Remember it should be as fun to make as it is to wear, so throw yourself in and be proud. After all, no other child will look as good as yours!

In conclusion

Hopefully now, you’re full of homemade Halloween fancy dress ideas, and feel confident trying to make one. Remember it should be as fun to make as it is to wear, so throw yourself in and be proud. After all, no other child will look as good as yours!