Halloween: love it or hate it, it’s impossible to ignore it. Chances are, your kids need costumes for trick or treat — and if you’re hosting or heading to a Halloween party, you’ll need an outfit too.
There’s a couple of good reasons to avoid splashing out on ready-made costumes this year. For one, shop-bought costumes don’t come cheap, especially if you have more than one child. And, at a time when so many of us are focusing on sustainability and committing to rewear, reuse and recycle, it feels wrong to buy cheap, polyester costumes that may only be worn once before heading straight to landfill.
So we’ve put together a list of easy and affordable costume ideas — many of which are made from old clothes or household items — to save you time and money… and help to save the planet, too. 🌍
The (waterproof) bat
Fun fact: an old, black umbrella makes a great set of bat wings. Who knew? First, remove the central pole, then cut the top of the umbrella in half down the middle. Wrap tape around the arms to hold them open, then attach the cut side of the umbrella to the under arms of a black hoodie with safety pins. For the finishing touch, make bat ears out of cardboard, sticking them to the hood. Ta-daaa!
Disclaimer: we can't promise the costume will look QUITE this realistic...
Toilet paper mummy
Ah, the old classic. All you need is some recycled loo roll. Wind toilet paper around your child’s arms, legs and body to create a bandage effect, using white make-up on the face and neck to cast a deathly pale glow. This looks even better with an all-white outfit underneath, but works just as well over jeans and a jumper. Just maybe don’t try this one in the rain…
A classic costume for kids and adults alike. Layer a black dress over an old white shirt — or school shirt — with the collar standing out at the top. Add enough white face paint to look pale and interesting, then part long hair in the middle and put it into two tight plaits. Alternatively, use a wig or make your own braids out of wool. Spooky!
It’s time to dig out all those old clothes — especially trousers that are too short and T-shirts that are too tight. Add a few rips and stains; apply green make-up to the face, neck and hands; draw bolts on the neck and some badly-stitched wounds; and voila! Frankenstein’s (mini) monster.
You’ll need an old white t-shirt for this one — plus a dark-coloured vest or tight t-shirt to wear underneath. First, use a pen to mark out the shape of the ribcage on the front of the white t-shirt and cut out the spaces in between. If that sounds too complicated, just cut a row of slashes on either side of the chest for a similar effect. For the finishing touch, apply white make-up to the face and neck, with lots of black paint around the eye sockets to create a skull effect.
Bad to the bone
Zombie school kid
There’s no need to buy a zombie costume if you have an old school uniform in the cupboard. It doesn’t matter if it’s too small, stained or ripped: the worse it looks the better! Rip a sleeve off a school shirt, roughly chop off the bottom of some trousers and tear holes in school tights. Splatter everything with fake blood, then add some white face paint and messy, backcombed hair. Zom-bea-utiful.
Minions might not look scary, but this has become a classic Halloween costume (bewildering, we know). Get the look with denim dungarees or shorts and braces, plus a yellow T-shirt. Draw some eyes and slot them inside swimming goggles and wear them high on the forehead — or attach them to a headband for a similar effect.
You can create this costume in minutes, but you’ll need an all-white outfit for this one to work — white leggings and a long-sleeved white T-shirt are ideal. Run a strip of black tape up the middle of each arm and leg, and straight up the middle of the chest to create a stick figure effect. Draw eyes and a mouth on a paper plate and attach some elastic so that it can be worn as a mask. This one looks even better after dark.