7 Tips for Crafting DIY Halloween Costumes

Halloween is coming, mamas! Are you considering making your kids’ costumes this year? If so, here are some expert tips for crafting easy and adorable DIY Halloween costumes.

Start early

baby and toddler in DIY Halloween costumesFirst have your kids settle on a costume to give you time to make it. Once the crafting process starts there is very little room to change your mind. I recommend your costume decision deadline be sometime in September. This gives you time to plan and order supplies. Calculate how long you think it will take, then build in an extra week or two depending on how much free time you have to give yourself wiggle room for mistakes, things going wrong, and potential delays. I usually start mid-September or the beginning of October to give myself a lot of time.

Begin with a Base

Our DIY Halloween costumes are usually based around sweatpants and a hoodie. But depending on what you are making, you might use cardboard, felt, a dress, etc. Start with the base of the item that you can build upon, which is easier than creating something from scratch. Primary is a great place to order base colors of almost any clothing item for babies through teens, and Amazon of course has many options to choose from. I’ve made a penguin costume out of a black hoodie, a Minnie Mouse dress out of a red dress, an Olaf costume from a white hoodie, and a Mickey costume out of a black sleeper and some red shorts. 

Unless It’s Within your Skill Set, Avoid Sewing

baby dressed as penguinThere are so many alternatives to sewing DIY Halloween costumes. Hot glue, fabric glue, fabric paint, and even felt that is already sticky so you just have to cut, peel, and stick. I can do some hand sewing but have never mastered a sewing machine so I find other ways to make do. Remember, this is an item being worn once or twice. It doesn’t have to last for long. Just make it through a school dress up day and a night of trick-or-treating tops. And if something falls off, just slap it back on.

Do Your Research

baby in Halloween costume sits with momWhen deciding on a costume, the first thing I do is search “costume name DIY” and see what comes up. Sometimes I can find a step-by-step tutorial. More often I find several photos of other DIY costumes and then cobble together what I have in mind from them. I make a list of the supplies I will need, and then order online or buy at a craft store. 

Be Ok With Messy

toddler in Halloween costume on sidewalkKind of like my homemade cakes will never look bakery-level professional, my DIY Halloween costumes won’t either. As long as my kid likes it and they look reasonably like the character or item they’ve chosen, I consider it a success. This also applies to the costume-making process. If you can choose a place in your home to turn into your costume workshop, it helps to be able to spread out, leave things to dry, and not have to clean up every time you are in the middle of building a piece. 

Have a Backup Plan

Especially if it is your first time, having a backup costume can lower the pressure. You can always return if you need to. In our house we have a plethora of dress-up clothes that can become costumes at a moment’s notice, so we pull from those if needed.

Have Fun! And Skip It if You Aren’t Having Fun

baby in DIY snowman costumeI make costumes for my kids because I enjoy them. I like crafts, problem-solving, and being creative. If making a costume for your kid sounds like your worst Halloween nightmare, don’t do it. If it sounds like a fun adventure, go for it!


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Lindsay Garrett
Lindsay G. was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, and she and her husband headed south to Spring in June of 2016. As a clinical social worker, she works full time with families growing their families through adoption. Lindsay met her husband John when they were both camp counselors. They welcomed their future little campers G in December 2017 and R in 2020. Lindsay is constantly reading, researching at least one new thing, and attempting to organize her life through bullet journaling. Her first book, Parent Goals: The Millennial’s Guide to New Parent Preparedness will be published in November 2021. In her free time, she enjoys binging Gilmore Girls on a loop, baking, and running in the Houston area’s beautiful parks. Check out her website www.lindsaygarrettlcsw.com for parenting prep, support, and more.


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