At-Home Halloween Costume Ideas

Halloween is a fun and exciting time for kids. But it can be a pretty scary proposition for your budget! From the high price of pre-made costumes to the cost of gas consumed traveling from store to store to store to find just the right one, it can have you seeing red—and not in a good way! As we fast approach the 11th (Halloween) hour, I’ve got some ideas to help you scrounge up some frightly fun and ghoulishly good ideas to help transform your little trick-or-treater quickly and easily and courtesy of things you likely already have around the house.

Raid your (or your partner’s) cosmetics! Use lipsticks to create great clown face paint. Eyeliner can be used to mock-up a pretty believable pirate tattoo. Use eye shadows, blush and mascara to create oozing and eww-inducing scars.


Let ‘em dress up with the real thing. A white grown-up shirt can masquerade as a chef’s coat. Drive the point home by arming your kiddo with a whisk, spatula or oven mitt. Got a brief case and a blazer? Let your kiddo trick or treat as a professional. Want to make things even easier on YOU later? Help them dress up as a baby and let them go out in their (warm) pajamas toting a favorite stuffed animal and maybe a baby bottle or a pacifier. (No need to change when you return home, they’ll already be ready for bed!)

Toilet paper can do wonders. Wrap your child from head to toe (but be sure to keep his or her eyes uncovered) to instantly create a mummy costume.

Bed sheets and pillow cases can be great costumes too. (And don’t worry! You needn’t cut them up, either!) A light colored flat bed sheet can be draped around your child to look like the Statue of Liberty (just create a crown out of an old cardboard box and a torch out of an empty paper towel roll to complete the look). Or turn your tyke into the only cute “bed bug” around by pinning a pillowcase to the front of him or her and adding some fun antennas.

Odds-and-ends from around the house can be recycled in fun, imaginative ways. Stuff 6 old socks and pin them on the sides of your child’s body to instantly transform them into a spider. Pop out the lenses in a pair of old glasses to put the final touches on a librarian or “mad scientist” costume. Cut out an artist’s palette from a piece of old cardboard to add to your child’s current art smock at home to instantly add panache to an artist’s costume.

Easy, peasy can fit the bill also. Want a short, sweet and couldn’t be easier idea? Cut out a red, green and yellow circle, all at the same size and tape them down the front of your child’s clothing for an instant traffic light. Make it even more fun by arming your child with a flashlight to shine on whichever light he’d like “on.” One of my personal favorites? Print out a variety of good, positive comments on different pieces of paper and tape them all over your child. And—Voila!—You’ve got a tiny, but powerful little optimist!

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Author Info

This post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. Shannon is an educator turned parent turned writer and focuses on sharing new and innovative ways to not just survive, but thrive on empty. Visit to learn more. Her newest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar is available in bookstores now.

One Response to “At-Home Halloween Costume Ideas”

  1. Parvinder |  Oct 31, 2012 at 5:22 am

    Great way to save money on holiday costumes. Properly now I was looking for some ideas for Halloween and here is your great article to save money. Thanks