Classic Halloween Costumes

As trick-or-treaters reach our doorsteps, we will view many fun and frightful costumes. Over the years, several designs pop up over and over, year after year. If your kids are looking for a traditional costume, try one of these on for size!

Should you need face paint, fake blood, or need to know how to create fake bruises, check out our feature Homemade Halloween Make Up, Bruises & Blood.

denim bib overalls
plaid flannel shirt
rope or twine
straw hat
gloves and boots
straw or shredded raffia
corncob pipe

Dress child in overalls and shirt. Stuff the pockets full with straw or shredded raffia. Tie twine or rope around waist for a belt. Add a few touches of straw to the hat, gloves and boots. Plaid and polka dot patches are a nice touch to denim jeans, but not required. Finish off with a corn cob pipe.

blue jeans
western shirt
cowboy boots
cowboy hat
toy gun and holster
sheriff’s star

Dress in blue jeans, a western shirt or flannel shirt, and cowboy boots. Top with a cowboy hat and tie a neckerchief or bandana loosely around the child’s neck. Carry a rope as a lasso and attach Sheriff’s star to shirt. Adorn the outfit with toy gun in holster.

brown pants
white shirt
brown vest
face paint
plastic tomahawk

Dress up basic brown pants and vest with moccasins and a tomahawk. Make a headband from brown posterboard by cutting a 1 1/2 inch wide strip that fits around your child’s head. Glue or tape the feather to the headband. Smear on war paint in diagonal lines along cheek bones.

black tux or suit jacket
black pants
white dress shirt
red silk carnation
top hat
stuffed bunny
magic wand

Pin silk carnation to breast pocket of black jacket. White gloves are a nice touch to this costume, but not necessary.

lacy or frilly nightgown
nylon scarf or crepe paper streamers
ribbons, sequins, fake jewels
gold foil
poster board or party hat
string elastic
cardboard tube/paper dowel from clothes hanger

Tape together a poster board cone hat or use a party hat. Decorate with glued on sequins, fake jewels, glitter, etc. Attach scarf or streamers to top point of hat. Punch holes on sides of hat, tie on elastic string. To create a princess scepter, use cardboard tube covered in foil, glue on sequins and fake jewels and attach ribbons to the end.


For a Fairy, cut a star from poster board, cover with foil, attach to dowel from hanger, tie ribbons underneath the star.

Miss America
Make a cardboard crown and spray paint it gold with glitter. Then make a sash from fabric or sheets and write Miss America on with fabric paint.

Add a veil made from netting and a plastic headband. Carry a bouquet of silk flowers.

about 40 frozen juice can lids
silver tights
black or gray gloves
knight helmet
silver spray paint
plastic sword

Punch small holes in juice can lids for wires to be inserted through. Thread the wires through to create a suit of armor that will drape over child’s shoulders. Be sure to leave a hold for the head! Cut cardboard in the shape of a shield and spray paint silver. A nice touch is to paint on a coat of arms.
(check out Kid’s Domain for a great homemade helmet!)

red & white horizontal stripe shirt
black jeans or sweat pants
gold clip-on hoop earring
toy sword
plastic eye patch
face paint for mustache
small stuffed toy parrot (optional)

Fringe bottom of black jeans by cutting slits at the bottom of pant leg. If using sweat pants, tuck them into the boots. Tie bandana around child’s head with knot sticking out at side. Clip on earring and put on eye patch. Attach parrot to shoulder of shirt with double sided tape or a few hand sewn stitches. use our face paint recipe above to create a brown or black mustache. Add a wide belt with large buckle as an added bonus.

white dress or white sheet with arm and head holes cut out
clear spray paint
white chenille sticks (enough for halo)
clothes hangers
sheer white cloth or netting

If you decide not to use the dress and to make your own, spray the sheet lightly with some clear spray paint and dust glitter on it before paint dries. Make halo from chenille sticks, twisting together until long enough to wrap around head. twist another chenille stick (or two) straight up and form halo from remaining sticks. Make the wings by bending clothes hangers and wrapping in white cloth or netting. Cloth or elastic strips can be used to attach wings to body backpack style. Ready made wings are also available, inexpensive and safer for use by children.

white or tie-dyed sweatshirt
red sweat pants
three pom poms, bright colors
fabric paint, different colors
colorful store bought wig, or yarn wig
craft glue

Using craft glue, attach pompoms down the front center of the sweatshirt. Using fabric paint, draw swirls, stars and other fun shapes on the front and back of the sweatpants. Paint face white and paint on a red nose, or purchase a clown’s nose. Top with colorful wig. Oversized shoes are optional, but not recommended for smaller children.

Bum or Hobo
large men’s pants
large dark sport coat
shirt with patches
old hat
stick with a bandana tied to the end (stuffed with newspaper)

Get dressed and carry stick over shoulder! You can add a “dirty” look by using the recipe for bruises or paint on a scruffy beard.

black hooded sweatsuit
long strip of black cloth,
long enough to wrap around head and hang down a foot or so
aluminum foil
long stick or broom handle
paper towel rolls
black construction paper

Cut eye holes in black cloth for mask. Make machete from cardboard and wrap in aluminum foil. Use the long stick or old broom handle for a bo. Using two paper towel rolls, connect them with piece of twine and cover with black construction to create num-chucks.

Rock Star
toy or cardboard guitar
wild clothing (be creative!)
leather jacket
spiked dog collar
clip on earring (cross or hoop works well)

Instead of a wig you can spike your child’s hair with gel and hair spray and then spray with temporary hair color. Carry an electric guitar. Make your outfit as crazy as you like and top off with sunglasses and leather jacket. Don’t forget to clip on the earring and put the *spiked collar around their neck!

*spiked collar not recommended for children under 5 years of age.

Movie Star
long white dress or nightgown
long white gloves
*fancy dress up shoes
feather boa
make up

Put dress or nightgown on first, then gloves, then jewelry over the top of the gloves. Paint on a pretty face with Mom’s make up or by using our make up recipe (top of page). Paint a beauty mark under one eye, level with the bottom of child’s nose. Finish off with sunglasses, feather boa and dress up shoes.
*dress up shoes not recommended for children under 5 years of age.

tie-dyed shirt
fringed vest
bell bottom pants or jeans
beaded necklace and/or peace sign necklace
rose tinted sunglasses

Dress in t-shirt, then vest. Put on necklace(s) and sunglasses. Tie bandanna around head as a headband and put on sandals. Voila!

poofy long sleeved blouse
long skirt
4 or 5 scarves
clip on hoop earrings
necklaces and bracelets
black boots
fake eyelashes

Tie a few scarves around your child’s waist and one around her head. Add earrings, necklaces and bracelets. if you child can stand it, use fake eyelashes and finish with purple eyeshadow and bright lipstick.

black sweatsuit
black cape or piece of black material
strip of black cloth
strip of red cloth
toy or cardboard sword
black boots

Tie cape on over sweatsuit. Cut eye holes on strip of black cloth for mask. Tie strip of red cloth around waist. Carry toy or cardboard sword.

1950’s Greaser
black or blue jeans
white t-shirt
white socks
plastic comb
leather jacket (optional)
chewing gum

Slick hair back with styling gel. Get dressed, adorn sunglasses, put comb in back pocket and chew gum!

1950’s Girl
light colored short sleeve blouse
big skirt
saddle shoes
white socks

You can use a plain skirt or make a poodle skirt. They are quite simple: literally a circle with the waist and hem finished, and an applique. Sewing stores have many patterns. Put child’s hair in a pony tail and tie with a scarf.

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 Magazine at




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