Family Halloween costumes do not have to be expensive (Amazon has cheap Halloween Costumes for sale) , nor do they have to cost any money at all for that matter. You can create family Halloween costume ideas from items you already own, and in many cases, your creativity makes a much better family Halloween costume idea than any one you could have purchased in a store.
Here is a huge list of family costume ideas, and free or make your own Halloween costumes. These were collected by readers and from various parenting newsgroups that I have belonged to over the years. The photos are all of my family showing our Halloween costumes that I have made or modified from store bought costumes. I have also listed Costume Ideas for Pregnant women, and Mardi Gras Costume ideas
Also, Amazon has loads of costumes!
OK, here’s a bunch of FREE Family Halloween costume ideas to get you started:
Be an animal — ANIMALS of ALL KINDS For toddlers – you can make just about any animal there is using a sweat suit in the appropriate color. If it has a hood, you can attach ears to it, otherwise, you can use a headband to attach the ears. Glue some fake fur from a fabric store to appropriate places (like brown fur on the belly for a bear, or pink fur on the belly for a rabbit, or white fur as stripes on a black sweatsuit for a skunk, brown fur on the hood for a lion, etc.). You can do a zebra with a white sweatsuit and a roll of black tape easily too.
Get three friends. Take one white sheet, and cut four holes in it. Whiten your faces and hair with make-up, powder or flour. Then line up and stick your heads through the sheet, and enjoy your monumental costume — as Mount Rushmore!
Lost TV Remote
Art imitates life once again with this cumbersome but easily-identifiable costume. Simply remove two large seat cushions from your sofa, and affix one in front of you and one behind you. You’re an item familiar to all — the lost TV remote control!
A simple pillow can provide any number of last-minute costumes. Tuck it into the upper back of your shirt — you’re Quasimodo! Or move it around to the front — you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger! Now drop it lower — you’re Helen Hunt last season on “Mad About You!” Don’t discard that pillow case — put it over the top part of your body and you’re a Chicklet!
Universal Bar Code
Get a child’s growth chart with the lines and numbers on it, then affix it to your body from head to toe. Every shopper will recognize you as a price in Universal Bar Code! This costume will also protect your anonymity: No one call tell what the real price is, just like at the grocery store! The Universal Bar Code thing can also be done as a “Generic Halloween Costume”. Dress all in white and draw a big UBC symbol about the size a of a sheet of paper. Attach one to your front and one to your back. You are now wearing a “generic Halloween costume”
How about just a crazy hat to get you inspired? Try Buy Costumes.com for a huge selection of novelty and costume hats or Amazon has loads of costumes. We got these hats and used them for inspiration for our “chef special” crawfish costumes at Mardi Gras. Go here to see tons of Mardi Gras costume ideas and photos.
A CAESAR SALAD Put a colander on your head stuffed with lettuce (preferably Romaine for authenticity). Put croutons wherever you want. Tie a bottle of dressing around your neck. Make a simple toga from an old white sheet or towel. Find some sandals.
DALMATIAN Find an old white T-shirt or sweatshirt. Use black spray paint or cut black circles from felt or construction paper. Add black face paint on nose and a piece of rope for a tail. Make some floppy ears and attach them to a headband. Pant.
BAKED POTATO Find some brown tights, socks or sweatpants. Take a brown garbage bag and cut holes for legs and arms. Stuff with newspaper or packing peanuts. Attach around neck without strangling self. Use yellow construction paper for a pat of butter on the tummy or head. Consider a hat made from an empty sour cream container, unless you’re concerned about fat grams. And sticking with the potato theme, if you have a baby who wants to get in on the tater-tot costume, then wrap the kid in aluminum foil and he’s a “baked potato”!
GOODWILL or THRIFT STORE COSTUME IDEAS:
- Sherlock Holmes: Get a brown cape, a vest, white slacks and a magnifying glass, the sleuth hat.
- Tacky Man/Woman: Just butt UGLY, mismatched clothes (polyester and patterns are a plus). Cowboy/Cowgirl: Jeans, western shirt, boots, western hat, neckerchief and bandanna.
- Scare Crow: Add patches to jeans and flannel shirts, add straw to cuffs of pants and shirt (duct tape will allow you to attach straw to under side of pants and shirt).
- Gypsy:Get a scarf for your hair, a shawl and a puffy blouse with a flowing long flower print skirt.
- Betty Rubble:Wear a black wig done “Betty” style, take a blue halter dress and cut the length with a pair of scissors so that the ends are jagged. Wear a bow in your hair. Glue a small rock to the top of the halter dress.
- Bam-Bam: Using leopard skin material, cut out a diaper size piece of cloth for the waist. Cut a ragged edge and then use the same material to make a sash for the shoulder. Use a dog’s rubber bone for the back. Use hot glue to attach at the rear. Cut a card board circle and glue on a circle of material. Use bobby-pins to attach to the hair.
- Ghosts: Sheets – make sure to cut big holes for eyes.
- Mr. Potato Head: Fill a burlap bag with old shirts or rags. Using felt, cut out the eyes, nose and mouth. Attach Velcro to the backs of these items. Use fiber- fill to stuff the parts. Then attach the Velcro backs to the suit. Use black sweat pants or leotard for legs.
- Magician: Where a black tux jacket, black pants, white dress shirt, Top hat and stuffed bunny for your tricks.
- 1950′s Look: Untucked, solid-color button down shirts; jeans rolled up to mid-calf; socks and penny loafers. Girls wear pony tail and boys slick-back duck tail with grease.
- Old Man/Women: Old looking clothes, glasses, old shoes, and cane. Use a bulky purse and for that added touch, use baby powder for grey hair.
- Mummy: Take white sheets, tear up into long strips and wrap them around the body.
- Rapper: Large jeans, large shirt. Baseball cap worn sideways or backwards.
Zombies: ALL of these Zombie costumes were practically free. We did pay a few bucks for some of the suits at the Goodwill (less than $5), but you could also just use something out of your closet. The makeup and fake blood are what really makes these awesome.
Animaniacs: Black cotton cap for hair, use pipe cleaners and felt for forming ears which can be glued to hat. Use a small slinky (stretched and wrapped in black felt for the tail. Black pants & shirt, white gloves for hands. Use lip stick for nose, white face paint for face, black face paint for neck. (For Dot, add a red polka-dot skirt and yellow silk flower on hat) (For Wacko, Use a baseball cap turned around (ears will be glued to it) with Blue sweat shirt with the sleeves cut 1/4 length) and (for Yacko, Wear white pants).
Mummy: Take white sheets, tear up into long strips and wrap them around the body.
Pat (From Saturday Night Live): Get a Western shirt 2 sizes too big. Stuff yourself with rolled up newspaper. Use polyester pants that are brown and 2 sizes too big. For the stuffing on the pants, use multiple layers of foam. Use military style glasses. Black curly wig.
Zorro: Black clothing, black hat, mask (for the cape – dye an old sheet black) and a red scarf wrapped around the waist.
I Dream of Jeannie: Use a tube top for the top, and cut off a red vest for the jacket. Use baggie pants that can be dyed pink and an old pair of ballet shoes.
Nerd: High-water pants (FLOODS),white shirt, bow tie, white socks, black shoes and dark-frame glasses with masking tape around the nose piece. For that extra touch, use a pocket protector.
Hippie: Bell-bottom jeans, long jeans, or peasant dress, love beads (long necklace, bead band, peace button and pink-tinted glasses. Tie-dyed shirt optional.)
Grape Vine: Use a brown body suit and shoes. Cover your body with double sided sticky tape. Then fill up purple balloons and attach the balloons to the double sided tape. You may use a garbage bag tie to attach the balloon to the double sided tape. This is preferred if you are going outside in the wind.
Here are even more costume ideas. Some are really funny! There’s even some costume ideas for pregnant women. Here are a few:
A Mummy–Just use toilet paper or gauze.
Denorex Model–Remember that commercial we always laugh at? Well it can be a funny costume, too! Part your hair down the middle and put shaving cream on both sides, wear a towel, and feel the tingle!
Energizer Bunny–(We didn’t have an “annoying” category!) Wear pink clothes, attach a cotton tail, and don’t forget the black sunglasses. Find and old hat box for the drum and attach it to your shoulders with rope. Then bang on it all night and drive everyone crazy!
Carrie–Wear a white dress from a thrift store, lots of fake blood and carry a bucket of cherry jello. Beavis & Butthead–Wear shorts, dirty hair, tacky t-shirts, red marks on your face and a bad attitude.
Statue of Liberty–(Great if you have long hair) Use gel to mold your hair into points, wear a sheet and carry a book and a flashlight.
Man on a windy day–Wire your tie to the left (this is a last resort!).
Oreo Cookie–Cut two large circles of cardboard, spray paint them black, and glue on white cotton balls to spell Oreo. Tie the two pieces together and slip over your head, and wear all white underneath for the cream filling. Carry a plastic pumpkin full of Oreos to give to your friends and you’ll be the hit of the party!
Information Highway–Dress in Black with Yellow stripes down the front.
John Wayne Bobbitt–You’ll figure it out.
The Absent-Minded Professor–Dig out that old graduation cap and gown, find some glasses and maybe a calculus book. Under the gown wear a shirt and bow tie and outrageous boxer shorts (you forgot your pants!). Extra touches can be a pocket protector loaded with pens and men’s sock garters.
The Bet–Find a barrel and attach rope so it hangs from your shoulders (and wear shorts underneath, of course!) and carry a sign that says “I LOST!” Have a friend carry a pile of clothes and a sign that says “I WON!”
Roadkill–Wear all black, cut lines out of yellow construction paper, and attach them down the front of your outfit. Then pick your least favorite stuffed animal and pin it to your outfit. Gross but easy!
‘Automatic Dog Feeder’ –Get a 50# dry dog food bag. We have had dogs–or donated the food to the Humane Society. Cut the bottom edge across the bottom so that it is ‘open.’ Pull it over your head and staple shut across each shoulder. Then mark and cut ‘arm holes’ on each side. This is fairly easy to wear throughout a party. You can wear almost anything under it and be sure to carry a few pieces of ‘dog food’; in your pants’ pockets. When someone asks (as they will!), “What are you?” You can pull out a few pieces of food and place each piece, one at a time, into their hand, while replying, “I’m an automatic dog feeder!”
Last year I went as a piece of gum tied to the bottom of a shoe…Tie a sneaker on top of your head, paint your face pink, wear pink clothes, viola! Gum on the bottom of a shoe.
Dining room table – Take a box, at least as wide as your shoulders. Cut the top off, cut a hole in the bottom. Take an old tablecloth, cutting a hole in the middle, and place it on the box. Glue or tape it down. Then tape plastic dishes, silverwear and glasses to the top. Add a napkin, some condiments and a centerpiece and you are a walking dining room table.
The funniest one I saw was a woman dressed as a brick and her husband was in overalls with a trowel. He was the brick-lay-her. I also saw a lightbulb and socket.
I made the greatest costume- take your Gateway Boxes (after they are empty) and cut them into small pieces. Paste the pieces to a sheet. Tape a surgical glove to the front. You will look like one very silly cow- great for laughs and getting attention!
Last year hubby was out of town on my favorite holiday..so I donned mourning attire. Carried a black hanky..to dab my constant flow of tears..and a book called…the Black Widow’s Handbook. Chapters outlines on cover: Basic Mechanics Undetectable poisons Probate Law & You Marked the pages with the Last Will 7 Testaments from my last 2 unfortunate husbands..Mr. JR Ewing, Skeik Moneybags.
Drape yourself in red and pasta-colored yarn. Attach “meatballs” also made of yarn!
I dressed my children in black clothes, black jeans, black shirt (long sleeved). Got while reflective tape at Walmart, taped it in skeleton formations as best I could to front of clothes, down arms, made pelvis, ribs, leg bones, etc. Painted faces white with dark shading around eyes, nose, mouth. As they walked down the street, when cars would approach, the lights would make the tape glow and all you could see was bones. Too cool, and safe. Looked better than any store bought costume.
Floppy disk… Black sheet folded in half with appropriate glue ons to look like a disk… (5 and 1/4 of course!)
woman in bubbly bath…. nude colored leotard with clumps of batting on it like bubbles… carried bubbles around all night blowing them in everyones face…
A tube of toothpaste–and it is very easy. First, get a white lampshade for the cap to wear on your head. Then dress in sweats that emulate your favorite toothpaste–for Crest I wore white. Then I cut out of construction paper the “Crest” with the logo, and saftey pinned it to the sweats. For the toothbrush, get a large sweep broom and turn the handle and tie it on to the stick—-*** it made a brush
A great date costume is very simple — black and white TV. One dresses in black, complete with blackened faces, limbs and hair for the truly dedicated. The other dresses completely in white, taking the same measures. The one in white attaches a cardboard black T on their shirt, the one in black a white V. **A quick reminder : if you don’t want to get caught at anything, skip the face paint. Otherwise you may wind up a little smudged before the night is over!!
Where’s Waldo – Halloween Costume – Make it for free! (or practically free)
I found this red and white sweater at the Goodwill for about $2. It was an adult sized sweater. I cut the bottom off and stitched it shut to make a hat. Then I cut some “glasses” out of cardboard and spray painted them black. My son tied them on with yarn so they wouldn’t fall off. Add some jeans and maybe a walking stick or a backpack. He made a great “Where’s Waldo!”
When I was in college I went as an atom. Took 3 hula hoops and shoved them inside each other so it looked like this —> * hoops to make electrons. Then I wriggled inside so that two of the hoops were on each shoulder with the third circling me. Tied a fishing line to the shoulder pieces in front and back to keep it in place. I wore a black turtleneck and leggings and pasted construction paper circles with plus signs on them all over my body (protons) and plain ones for neutrons. Also made a poof out of my hair and painted my face silver for the heck of it. Great costume, and when I got sick of it, I trashed it. Group variation: go as a molecule (2 hydrogen, one oxygen) with the correct electron/proton combos.
Go as a cereal killer. Make necklaces clothing patches out of cereal boxes. Carry around a large spoon and say things like: “I had Captain Crunch for dinner with some favre beans and a nice Chianti” Or “Wait until I get my hands on that Trix rabbit, who said Trix is only for kids..hehehehehehehehe”
One year we dressed as Hans and Franz from Saturday Nite Live – just wore grey sweats all stuffed with pillows for bulging arm and thigh muscles and wide black belts.
I’m going as a fat and lazy Superman. I bought a Superman outfit and a Santa Claus Gut and am mixing the two of them.this just cost $$. I’m not shaving for a couple of days and then at the party I’ll just ask people if they need help with the food on their plates or their drinks.
For two years running, I went as the wicked Witch of the Wild West. Do the witch thing, with with the following modifications: cowboy boots, silver concho hat band, and a turned up hat brim. I also carried a broom with a stuffed horse’s head (easy to make out of fur and felt) on the end — like those stick-ponies I used to have when I was a kid. Pretty stupid, but I liked it.
Other things I’ve been: an oyster on the half shell, an instant martian (from the Marvin Martian Bugs Bunny episode — the ones with the pink things on the tops of their heads), and one of the rocks from Stonehenge (this was with a group of friends at a “rock group” theme party. We stood in circles all night.) Another good group costume is to go a an egg and sperm (works better with one woman and many men.)
For a couple-John & Lorena Bobbitt. John would wear pajamas with a lot of fake blood on the crotch. Lorena would wear night clothes also, brown wig and carry a bloody knife and the severed peepee, which could be a realistic dildo, or maybe formed out of paper-mache. He could follow her around apologizing profusely and begging her to give his weenie back.
‘OLD SAINT DICK” stole the show! He was basically dressed as Santa Claus but had a VERY protruding private part ( about 5 ft. long) which was clothed in Santa Claus garb. He had it harnessed in the same way as reindeer are harnessed. He played the part, walking around shouting ‘WWhhhhooo Boy’ as he proceeded to pull back on the reigns.
I’m wearing a big box painted like a Kleenex box (with Puffs stenciled on the side) and a real Kleenex box on my head (held on by a rubber band). Coming out of the head hole on the big box is white tissue paper. I’ll be wearing a big plastic nose which will be tinted on the nostrils with red rouge or lipstick and I’ll carry a wastebasket full of “used” Kleenexes. Underneath I’ll wear pajamas and bunny slippers. Makeup will be dark under-eye circles and maybe a few cold sores!
Human Leaf Bag Really cheap and easy idea for a costume: (my friend did this once and she won 3rd runner up in a contest) take a “pumpkin” garbage/leaf bag (those orange bags with pumpkin faces on them that people put on their lawn to gather dead leaves in); make holes for your head and arms, fill the bag with cotton, sponges or anything you have to make it appear full/take up the rest of the space b/w your body and the bag; take some dead leaves and attach them (with tape, staples, glue or whatever) to the outside of the bag — and other parts of your body and face if you so desire. Instant human leaf bag!
Someone who has just been hit by a car…… paint a tire with shoe polish and roll it over a shirt and dress rather disheveled. If you want people to wonder what you are, Go as a speed bump Just wear a yellow sweatsuit and paint tire tracks on the back
Edward Scissor Hands The easiest costume: I won first prize: Find a pair of gloves, duct-tape cut out cardboard fingers and wrap in aluminum foil. (gives you all the dexterity you need). White, parlor make up: dress in black with any silver accents (even earrings pinned onto black shirt or pants). Add a silver buckle belt (or whatever)
Last year, my friend and I dressed up as a cow and a butcher. I was wearing a cow costume and my friend went to a uniform supply store and got a butcher’s apron and shirt. She also got a plastic cleaver and spread blood all over her apron. We won first place at school!!
Executioner: Here’s a picture of my son dressed in a totally free costume. I took and old sheet and cut out a circle and cut out the tabs on it with a hole in the center for his neck. Then I cut out two halves for the hood and sewed right down the middle to make it fit (a hot glue gun works just as well if you don’t sew!) Then he wore an old white shirt with a sash made from the old sheet and black sweat pants. I added wristbands also from the sheet. The head-chopping blade was leftover from a previous year, but you could easily make one from cutting out cardboard.
Ideas FOR PREGNANT WOMAN – PUMPKIN BELLY I was nine months pregnant for Halloween 7 years ago. We didn’t have much money, so my husband painted a pumpkin on my belly. I wore a button-down shirt buttoned to just below my breast, and pinned the rest of it behind my back. I wore pants that I pulled down below my HUGE belly to leave it exposed. The pumpkin was painted with face paint (I spent $3). I walked into the party with my hands under my belly like I was carrying a pumpkin. I was the hit of the party. My son kept moving around, so the pumpkin was constantly moving. 8 days later, I gave birth to a red head! I tell everyone that’s how my son got red hair…the paint soaked in!
Pregnant woman costume idea: BUN in the Oven — Dress yourself as an oven. Use a big box. Put your husband in a chef’s hat and apron and give him some oven mitts. He’s the “bun maker”. Or make your husband wear the oven! If you don’t want to make one, try a ready-made Bun in the Oven costume from Buy Costumes.com or at Amazon!
Basket ball belly: For a couple, the man goes as a basketball player and his pregnant lady friend goes as the basketball. Cut a big circle out of orange felt and draw the lines on it to make a basketball and attach that onto the belly of a t-shirt.
Pregnant Nun: One year when I was hugely pregnant, I dressed up as a Nun. I know, it sounds horrible, but it was really funny! I took an old black sheet and cut a hole for my head, and took a black strip of fabric and tied it around my waist above my pregnant belly. Then I took a black pillow case and tied it on my head like a headband using a white strip of fabric. It was simple and comfortable.
8-Ball Wear all black, black pants, black shirt or a tight black dress with black stockings. Cut a big circle out of white fabric for your belly with an “8″ on it in black letters. Go as an 8-ball
Pregnant Prom Queen- get a big ugly dress from the thrift store and a cheap tiara. Make a sash that says “prom queen”
Pregnant school girl – find a plaid skirt to wear under your belly. White knee socks and white button down shirt. Put your hair in pigtails.
Mother earth – Paint a globe on your belly. Wear some leaves in your hair.
Easter Egg – Wear some bunny ears, all white clothes. Hang your belly out and paint it like an Easter egg
Pregnant Bride – find an old wedding dress at Goodwill
More Easy, cheap or free Costume Ideas:
ZOMBIES!! Go to the Goodwill and buy some cheap clothing and then spray paint it with gray or brown and add some cheesecloth(found at the grocery store or fabric store) to make yourselves good and scary.
Here’s how our family did it: Our Zombie Family The dresses and suit jacket came from Goodwill. Dirt cheap!
My Zombie Kids Costumes We got most of this stuff at the thrift store. Then we bought some of our costume accessories from Buy Costumes.com! and some at Amazon has loads of costumes. Happy Halloween, and have fun coming up with a costume that costs practically nothing or free.