Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids
Are you looking for fun Halloween costume ideas for kids? You will find a vast collection of Halloween costume ideas for multiple themes. Select below to get those creative juices flowing!
Cardboard Box Costumes
Some adorable costumes have come to light using little more than a cardboard box, some paint, and lots of imagination. Here are several ideas to choose from. Happy Halloween!
All of the costumes listed here use a cardboard box.
1 large box
1 small box
gray hooded sweatsuit
silver spray paint
gray, white, or black gloves
silver face paint
4 plastic milk jug lids
Seal one end of box with silver duct tape. Leave other end open. Do this with both boxes. Spray paint silver, let dry. When dry, cut circle out of small box so when placed on child’s head, the hole will be there for his/her face. Cut open ends off or fold inside box. Follow above instructions for large box, then cut holes for arms. Glue lids on box in front, along bottom as control knobs. use markers to draw horizontal lines across the front of the box for effect. Paint face silver.
Red spray paint
Black spray paint
5 paper plates
4 yellow plastic milk jug lids (other colors will do as well)
1 red plastic milk jug lid for horn
Red construction paper
White construction paper
Fold sides of box in on both ends. Attach yarn to go from front of box to back of box and rest over child’s shoulders. To attach, poke holes with a pen or screwdriver into the box, then run yarn through and tie off. Spray paint box red. Let dry. Spray paint the paper plates black. Let dry. Glue 4 of the 5 paper plates onto the box as wheels. Glue the plastic milk jug lids on to the plates as hub caps. Take last plate and cut out a steering wheel. Glue red plastic milk jug lid onto last plate as the horn. Glue plate to box. Cut tail lights from red construction paper, glue on. Cut headlights from white construction paper, glue on. Draw a grill on front with black marker.
Small trinket type toys
Post it notes
Empty box of cereal
White spray paint
Fold top of box closed, leave bottom open. Paint box white and allow to dry. Cut hole out of top for head and holes for arms out the sides. Use marker to draw a handle on fridge. Use different small trinket toys as magnets, glue on. Stick a couple of post it notes on with messages such as “Don’t forget to walk the dog!” and “Pick up dry cleaning”. Added effect, glue a box of cereal on the shoulder of the costume.
Tape up one end of box, fold in sides of other end. Wrap box up in wrapping paper. Tape or glue ribbon around the box and adorn with a bow!
Jack In The Box
4 white pompoms
Red spray paint
Gold craft paint
Toilet paper roll
2 paper towel rolls
Tape up one end of box, fold in sides of other end. Spray paint the box and the paper towel and toilet paper rolls with red spray paint. Let dry. Cut out tall triangles from the different colored felts. Roll into cones and glue closed. Glue pompoms on top of cones. Glue cones to headband. Hopefully, the cones will be tall enough to flop over like a jester’s hat. Cut appropriate holes for head and arms. Glue paper towel and toilet paper rolls together to form the crank, glue to the side of the box. Decorate the box with gold craft paint by sponging paint on in various places or along the border.
White spray paint
Black craft paint or marker
Black construction paper
Tape up one end of box, fold in sides of other end. Spray paint the box white. Let dry. Then, either cut big circles from black construction paper, or paint the black spots on your “dice”.
Small box (hair color size)
Black spray paint
Red craft paint
2 dowels from clothes hangers
Magazine picture of Barney (or football game, or whatever fits age)
2 plastic milk jug lids
Tape up one end of box, fold in sides of other end. Cut holes for arms and head. Completely close the small box and spray paint completely black. When dry, use red paint to paint cable box channel number on small box. Glue small box to top of large box where shoulder will be. Wrap dowels in aluminum foil, poke holes in top of “TV” and insert dowels for antennas. Use a black marker to draw a picture tube on front. Glue magazine picture onto TV screen. Glue milk jug lids on as knobs.
White spray paint
Paper skeleton decoration, torso only
2 plastic milk jug lids
Tape up one end of box, fold in sides of other end. Spray paint box white, let dry. Cut holes for arms and head. Paint a black rectangle on the front, and the words: “Caution: X-RAY IN USE”. Use the torso of a life-size paper skeleton decoration as the image on the black rectangle (the screen). Glue the milk jug lids on the front as control knobs.
White spray paint
Tape up one end of box, fold in sides of other end. Spray paint box white, let dry. Cut holes for arms and head. When dry, paint red stripes vertically on box. Using paint brush, paint the word POPCORN in black across the front of the box. Cut large popcorn pieces out of yellow poster board. Glue along top edge of box. Cut a couple of strips of red posterboard, enough to go around the top edge of the box, covering the very bottoms of the popcorn. This will give the appearance of the popcorn being inside the box rather than floating on the outside.
Spray paint in a bright primary color
6 empty margarine or butter tubs
Small plastic cups
Tape up one end of box, fold in sides of other end. Spray paint box and let dry. Cut holes for arms and head. Paint empty butter tubs same color as the box. Glue the six butter tubs to the front of the box, 2 vertical rows, 3 in each row, closed end out. To create a matching hat, take a shoe box and spray paint it to match your costume. Glue small plastic cups (also painted) upside down to the bottom of the shoe box. Place the shoe box on your head. Paint your face the same color as your costume.
Recommended Reading: Family Fun Tricks and Treats great! My daughter & I love Halloween and when we saw this we bought it right away. There are so many wonderful ideas. A must have! There were a lot of spooky things to do with foods and great little ideas for those little helpers to decorate your home with lots of memories! You have to get this one!
About the Author
Amanda Formaro is the entrepreneurial mother of four children. She and her husband live in southeastern Wisconsin. She is also the owner of FamilyCorner.com Magazine at http://familycorner.com Subscribe to her free holiday newsletter, Family Holidays.
Frugal Halloween Costumes
Ideas For Dark Clothing
Black Jacket and Pants – These go a long way! We got three costumes out of a yard sale find black jacket and some black jeans my oldest son had. Here are some ideas:
Abraham Lincoln – One year, I made a beard out of fake fur and a top hat out of a coffee can and ice cream bucket lid (glue together, spray paint black). With a copy of the Gettysburg address, my tall, slender son made a perfect Abraham Lincoln (not the greatest picture, but you can see it here).
Sean and a friend kicking it up at a sock hop. The jacket was too big, and his hair wouldn’t stay slicked back, but he had a lot of fun!
1950’s Greaser- black or blue jeans, white t-shirt, loafers and white socks, sunglasses. Slick your son’s hair back-he’ll look like a little rebel without a cause. Looks even better if you can find a highschool letter jacket or a windbreaker that suits the time frame. For the girls, poodle skirts are very simple to make. They are literally a circle with the waist and hem finished, and an applique. Any sewing store has lots of patterns. Add a white t-shirt or blouse, saddle shoes, and a scarf- you’re in business!
Men in Black – We used the same clothes to make him a “Man in Black” by adding yard sale sunglasses and slicking back his hair. He also wore some old black church shoes.
Blues Brother – If you don’t slick back the hair, and add a hat instead, the kids becomes a Blues Brother. A navy blazer and pants would work great for a Blues Brother as well.
Frankenstein- Paint their face green and stick up their hair, add some scars and a ripped up shirt.
Incredible Hulk – Paint their face, arms and legs green, add ripped clothing and green hair spray.
Magician- black pants and suit coat, add a white shirt, make a black cape, and coffee can top hat
Ninja- black pants, shirt, and sash to wear around head.
Pirate- black pants and boots, red sash around waist, white shirt
Quasimoto- Black pants, large shirt in any color-stuff with pillow for hump in back
Zorro- black pants and loose black shirt, red sash around waist, black mask, and cardboard sword.
Punk rocker- black jeans, leather jacket, and lots of colored hair spray. Tease that hair to stick straight up! The weirder the better!
Priest- Black pants, black, button-down shirt, black shoes. Create a priest’s collar from white cardstock and insert into front collar area of shirt. Works best if you use a shirt that has the same type of self-faced collar as priests wear, or you could tuck under the collar points for a similar effect. Add rosary and bible.Especially a cute costume for a boy who is constantly in trouble. I have a friend who was a big troublemaker as a kid who became a priest!
-Take a brown paper grocery bag and turn it upside down. Cut holes in it for the child’s head and arms. Cut the bottom into strips, like fringe. Add a few beads, and a feather headband and you now have an Indian costume.
-Have the little boy wear one of yours or Dad’s button down shirts. Put some of your lipstick or blush on his cheeks in circles. Add a tie, a hat that is too big, and some pants, and he is a hobo.
-Have your child dress in all white. Take a white sheet and wrap around the child and pin it. Have the child sit down and bend his head over. Take a white towel a wrap it around his head “Sheik” style. Pin it to keep it together. You now have a makeshift Aladdin.
-Have the child dress in all black.
-Take about three yards of black material and pin it to the back of his shirt. Slick back his hair, paint his face white, and you have a Dracula.
-Put a lifejacket over his clothing, and a fisherman’s hat on his head. A child’s fishing pole (without a hook of course) makes this fisherman’s costume complete.
-A hat that your child wears tipped sideways, a black mustache drawn with eyeliner and an artist’s palette that you cut out of cardboard make a nice artist’s costume.
~ Submitted by Serena
My son Steve is really into middle ages stuff. He is dressing up as a knight.
His father cut out a shield and sword of plywood and together they painted on a coat of arms. It was a nice father and son time together.
If you are not so handy with a saw it can also be done with cardboard, markers or paint. To seal it from the weather cover in clear contact paper.
Creative ideas are much more fun than store bought items. They will have a lasting meaning with your children as they remember the time you spent together.
~ Submitted by Carol
Ideas With Overalls
Paul Bunyan/lumberjack-add a flannel shirt, boots, and a plastic fireman’s axe (from a dress-up set). Blue oxes are pretty hard to find, but you could use a blue stuffed animal. Add a black cap for that Canadian lumberjack look.
Farmer –overalls, galoshes, straw hat, flannel shirt. Could carry a stuffed farm animal, plastic pitchfork or toy tractor.
Scarecrow-such as cute look for little kids! Same as farmer, except paint a red triangle on your child’s nose and attach raffia to the cuffs of the sleeves and pants. I simply tied the raffia around my child’s wrists and ankles. This was one of the cutest, easiest costumes we ever did, and Beau did not mind the painted nose.
Athlete-dress up your kids in their sports uniforms and let them go as a famous baseball/football/basketball/hockey player. They could also borrow an older sibling’s sports uniform.
Pajamas– Whenever my kids get new pajamas, we make sure to get the superhero kind that can double as Halloween costumes. Easy, and you don’t have to change them for bedtime, after they have passed out from exhaustion and have come down from their sugar high!
About the Author
Kim Tilley, a tightwad at heart, is the mother of three active boys and the founding editor of Frugal-Moms.com. Frugal by force and later by choice, Kim cut her income by 60% to stay at home with her children and discovered that anyone can live better for less. Her work has appeared in print publications such as The Tightwad Gazette. In her free time, she entertains herself by chasing kids and finding ways to create something from nothing!
Ideas With Sweatshirts
Muscle Man- Paint or quilt muscles onto the front of a flesh-colored sweatshirt. Stuff arms to make biceps look big. You can also paint or quilt leg muscles onto flesh-colored pants, and have the child wear a pair of shorts over it. For a barbell, attach two black balloons to a cardboard paper towel roll or gift wrap roll painted black.
Road- A little boy I know asked his mom if he could be a road one year for Halloween. My creative friend Mary was up for the challenge, and made a really stunning costume. She put him in a black sweatsuit, then created an intersection out of cardboard, one for his front, one for his back. She painted the cardboard cross black, added white lines, and hot-glued toy cars to each side. She punch holes and strung the two intersections together with shoelaces or string so that he could slip on the road over his head. For a finishing touch, she took an old construction hat from his toy box, painted a black strip down the entire hat and added the white traffic lines. She hot-glued cars and a miniature road sign to the top. This was the most creative costume I have ever seen- simply adorable!
Spider- Stuff the legs of three pairs of black pantyhose and attach to a sweatshirt. Be sure to wear all black so your spider matches. Add a red spot on the back of the shirt for a black widow.
Cat-Wear a black sweatsuit with tail attached. Tail can be made of stuffed pantyhose or other fabric. Attack ears to a headband for girls, or make a hood (or use a hooded sweatshirt) and attach ears to that.
Cow- Add black spots to a white sweatsuit, add ears as for cat above- on a head band or hood. You can do almost any animal costume with a sweatsuit. Just adapt to whatever animal you like- brown suit with bushy tail for squirrel, large pink sweats stuffed with pillows and corkscrew tail for pig, etc.
Dragon-Add dragon scales to the back of a green or purple sweatsuit (best to use a hooded sweat shirt). You can make them from felt, shoulder pads (there is a use for those annoying things!), or paper plates, folded in half. Sew or glue onto sweatsuit, starting from the hood, and going down the back. Make a paper mache mask to complete the costume.
Skeleton- Add “bones” to an old black sweat suit by fabric painting them on or using white felt. You could also do this just to the shirt, and then alter a cardboard box to look like an x-ray machine.
Bug-Add extra arms (like the spider) and wings to create the bug of your choice. Use a hooded sweatshirt or add a hood. Attach antennae to hood or headband.
Butterfly-same as above, just add colorful cardboard wings
Flower-Use green sweatsuit for body, and make a flower hat/crown. You can make these out of posterboard and tissue paper, or craft one out of fabric. You can also Hot glue petals to a hat you already own. Remember to keep the scale big, so you child looks like a walking flower in bloom. Sunflowers and daisies work very well. Another approach: attach petals at the neck of the sweatshirt, so that your child’s head is the center of the flower.
Carrot and other veggies-Wear an orange sweatsuit, paint face green, and spray hair with green hair spray. Looks even better if you tease hair to stand straight up. If you don’t want to do the paint and hairspray, make an orange cap and attach pipe-cleaners and green yarn to the top. You can adapt any veggie to a sweatsuit costume-just be creative!
Pumpkin-large orange suit, stuffed with pillows. Add a jack-o-lantern face and a pumpkin top on hood, with some leaves for effect! For small kids, just make an orange big with a pumpkin face and a bonnet with a pumpkin stump and leaves on it. Cute and easy.
Grapes-purple or green sweatsuit with matching balloons. Easy and fun.
Costume Odds and Ends
Take your recycling to a whole new level and create cheap, fun costumes from stuff you have lying around the house!
Balloons- Make a costume out of balloons and let them go out as a bunch of grapes. Put them in a green or purple sweatsuit and tape on matching balloons. Fun and easy!
Coffee cans- Make a top hat! That’s what I did in the picture above. I just spray painted a large can and the top of a one gallon ice cream bucket, making them black. I then cut a hole in the ice cream bucket lid, and hot glued it to the can. It was not a comfortable hat, but it did work well as a prop, and cost just pennies (for the paint) to make.
Toilet Paper Rolls – Make a judge’s wig out of toilet paper rolls! Save them up and staple together into a colonial-style wig. You can even spray paint it white, if needed. All they need is a gavel and a black graduation-type gown and the look is complete!
Sean as Abraham Lincoln. If you look closely, he is holding up the Gettysburg address in one hand and his black hat (made from a coffee can) in the other hand.The girl next to him is a sunflower.
Juice Can Lids – Someone in the Tightwad Gazette suggested drilling holes in juice can lids and connecting them to make a suit of armor. I’ve been saving my lids for a while, but don’t know how much work this project would entail, seems a little daunting!
Cardboard boxes – Perfect for robots, computer, fuzzy dice, dominos or a food items. Go as a soup can, box of candy, french fries (use cut foam for fries), take out pizza, etc.
Foam-If you have access to an old foam couch cushion or a large piece of foam, the possibilities are really endless. Use foam to make french fries, or sandwich bread (I know a girl who came to school as a ham and cheese sandwich one year). You can paint or color the foam for just about any purpose, or use it as padding in a costume. I think foam was used for the petals in the sunfower costume shown above.
Sheet- Make a traditional ghost costume or be a mummy. Tear an old sheet into 2 inch-wide strips. Soak the strips in weak tea to discolor them (for that old mummy look). Have “the mummy-to-be” wear tight-fitting but warm white clothing. Wrap the strips around the legs, arms, etc. You can secure the fabric strips with masking tape or safety pins (I would not do this costume on a younger child). You could also try wrapping the kid in toilet paper, but it won’t last long! If you have access to lots of gauze, use that instead.
Newspaper- Create paper mache masks and accessories for you kids’ costumes, or have them create the masks! We are going to try making an astronaut’s helmet from paper mache this year. I’m not sure how it will turn out, but it was the only way I could figure out the head piece to my oldest son’s costume. You can also make flowers from newspaper by sponge painting the newspaper and then cutting petals out and assembling. For roses, paint, let dry, and then roll into a rose shape, starting on the inside. Glue closed.
Foil-Great for robots, astronauts and space creatures. Try it for swords and on knights as well.
Knobs, nuts, and bolts- perfect for a robot or a TV set costume.
Costume and safety tips:
-Please be sure your kids have reflective tape on their costumes, especially if their costumes are dark-colored.
-Don’t put plastic bags on your kids as part of a costume, particularly on small children. I think this is just a bad idea- freak accidents do happen.
-Keep the face paint minimal on small children. They tend to rub it in their eyes anyhow. A painted nose seems to be ok, but putting anything near their eyes or on their hands is just asking for trouble.
-Always accompany your children while trick-or-treating, even if they assert they are old enough to go by themselves. You never know who is running around after dark on Halloween night, or what kind of trouble-making they could be up to.
-Always check your children’s candy before letting them eat it. Many places also offer free candy screening at local hospitals. If in doubt, throw it out!
Kid’s Costumes From Adult Clothing
Dress your kids up in some of your older, nice clothes that you don’t wear anymore or find them at yard sales and thrift shops.
Old Suit- Dress up your son or daughter as little executive. A grown man’s suit looks really cute on a 4-5 year old. Make sure to hem these so they won’t be falling all over themselves while trick-or-treating.
Old Dresses- Little girls love to dress up as “mommy”. You can also make “brides”, “princesses” or fairies out of cast off prom/homecoming outfits. Add wings to make your kid an angel.
Army Fatigues- We dressed up Beau in some of our old army uniforms and he went as “G.I. Beau” (instead of G.I. Joe). If you don’t have any fatigues laying around, check out the thrift stores and yard sales. Our kids love camouflage, so we pick it up on sale, clearance, wherever, in their size. Instant costumes, plus play clothes.
White blouse- add some baggy dark pants and a sash to create an instant pirate outfit. Add a belt, some rain boots and a cardboard sword and you’re in business.
Old band jacket- If you can find a marching band jacket at a yard sale, thrift shop, or in your closet, your child can be a “Modern Major General” or a Napoleon. Make a funny paper hat to go with the jacket, add some white pants and some boots.
Retro clothing – If you have any castoff clothing from the 60s and 70s still rolling around and your teen hasn’t already stolen them to wear to school, dress up your kid as a hippie.
Bathrobe- Can be used as a king or queen’s robe, a space alien, or dress your teen daughter up as a housewife- with curlers and a facial mask (and don’t forget the mop!). That should scare anyone! Even scarier if a teen boy dresses as a housewife, but he has to agree to it first! One year our paper boy dressed up like this and I nearly fell over laughing.
Uniforms- If you are in a profession that requires wearing a uniform to work, perhaps your kid would like to dress up as a “mini you”. Kids love to dress up as doctors, nurses, surgeons, firefighters, constructions workers, business person or lawyer (slick back the hair, add suit and briefcase), soldiers, police officer, etc.