DIY Halloween costume ideas for kids

The popularity of Halloween in Australia has soared in recent years, with dress up parties and ghostly trick-or-treaters becoming common sights on October 31. However, the quest for the perfect costume can put parents under pressure as they scramble to get the kids looking their spooky best. To help, we’ve come up with some DIY Halloween costumes that are kind on the wallet, require no sewing and are easy enough for the kids to tackle themselves! 

Witch 

Dark clothing is perfect for this costume, so search the house for any black or navy t-shirts, long sleeve tops, skirts, pants and leggings. Complete the look with some black shoes – boots will probably work best. 

If you’ve got old dark sheets lying around, give them new life by turning them into a cape for this witch costume. Cut the sheet to size so it won’t present a tripping hazard, then tie two corners in a loose double knot around the neck. The cape can even be customised by cutting strips around the hem for a tasselled effect. 

To complete the look, head to your local supermarket or department store for some great Halloween accessories. Woolworths, Spotlight and Target sell witch hats for under $5, while you can pick up a glittery broom for $8 at Target

Extra tips: take this costume to the next level by investing in some green face paint to create a very convincing witch! If there’s none already lying around at home, you can buy tubes or multi-colour sets from stores like Kmart, Spotlight or Officeworks. Green colour correcting cream will work just as well, so pop down to your local chemist to grab a tube for under $15. 

Ghost 

If you’ve got old white sheets collecting dust in the cupboard, this is a great opportunity to make use of them. Black paper or cardboard is needed for this costume – you’ll be able to find some at your local craft store. 

Measure a hole in the sheet to fit over your child’s head. It’s always a good idea to leave a little extra room so the poncho is easy to remove. 

Get the kids to scour the internet for a ghost face template they like – Pinterest has a range of great Halloween stencils. Expand the template size so it’s big enough to stand on the poncho before printing it off and tracing it onto paper or cardboard. Get the kids to cut out the ghost face, before positioning the template on the poncho to make sure that it sits properly (it’s a good idea for your child to wear it as you’re doing this). When everyone is happy, attach the ghost face to the poncho with glue, safety pins or double-sided tape. 

Extra tips: if you’ve got the time to be super crafty, use black and white felt to create a ghost poncho. Head down to your local Spotlight or Lincraft to grab supplies – make sure that you measure your child’s height and wingspan beforehand. Simply follow the method outlined above, or take a look at this great tutorial if you’re feeling inspired. 

Skeleton 

Long, dark clothing is essential for this one, so make sure you use a long sleeve top and pants for this skeleton costume. It may be a good idea to use clothes that you’re happy to throw away, as this costume will require some pinning and gluing. 

Task the kids with searching the internet for a printable skeleton stencil. Make sure you adjust the template to size so it’ll fit your child’s limbs and torso. Once you’ve printed the stencil, get the kids to trace it onto white paper, cardboard or felt. 

Cut out and arrange the stencil on your child, making sure to match up the bones on both arms and legs. Once satisfied, use glue or pins to attach the template; if you’re using clothing that will be worn again, use double-sided tape instead. 

Extra tips: print out two copies of the template so the skeleton design can be seen on the front and back of your child’s costume. To create an extra spooky skeleton, face paint is your friend - Kmart, Lincraft and Spotlight will have plenty of options available. The internet is teeming with skeleton face paint tutorials like this one, so get the kids involved to help create the ultimate Halloween skeleton costume. 

Pumpkin 

If you happen to have any orange clothing lying around, this is the perfect opportunity to use it! Take an orange top or shirt and use it to create the base of your child’s pumpkin costume. 

Websites such as Pinterest have a range of great pumpkin face stencils, so get your child to choose one they like and trace it onto black paper, cardboard or felt. Cut out the pumpkin stencil and position it onto the orange shirt. Use glue, safety pins or double-sided tape to stick the eyes and mouth down. 

Wear this special pumpkin shirt with orange or black pants and use a green hat to represent the stalk.  

Extra tips: take inspiration from our ghost costume idea to create a customised pumpkin poncho! Follow the same process as the ghost costume, but substitute orange felt and a pumpkin stencil into the method. Use green pipe cleaners (you can find them at Officeworks and Spotlight) to create a stalk – wrap them around an old headband before twisting them around one another so they stay secure. 

If the kids are insisting on trick-or-treating but you just don’t have the time to create a costume, there’s a solution. Visit your local Target, Big W or Kmart store for a range of costumes starting at $10, while you can purchase Halloween-inspired outfits, accessories and food from Coles and Woolworths for prices starting at $1.60.  

Happy Halloween! 

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