General Costume Tips for Halloween

If you’re searching for last minute costume ideas, you’re probably searching for something cheap and easy. Here are some tips to help you make an impressive costume!

Raid Your Closet

If you don’t have time to get to a craft store, visit your closet for inspiration. I was digging in my closet for all my Halloween gear and found my long-lost beach sarong! With a couple hair elastics and a safety pin, I paired it with an all-black outfit to create a butterfly. And I can reuse all of the pieces because I didn’t permanently attach anything.

Butterfly Costume

Check the Weather

Nothing will put more of a damper on a kid’s Halloween than having to cover up the perfect costume with a boring jacket. If it’s going to be chilly, try to use a sweatshirt as the base of the costume. Some of my brother’s and my childhood sweatsuit costumes include a bat, rhinoceros, panda, skeleton, cat, witch, and clown.

Clown Costumes

Hot Glue Is Your Friend

One of the easiest ways to make a last minute costume is to cut out some felt and hot glue it to a T-shirt. It might not win any prizes, but it at least looks like you tried to get in the spirit of Halloween. I think my Clark Kent costume turned out pretty well.

Clark Kent

Safety First

Keep in mind what activities you will be doing in your costume. If you’ll be walking from house to house in the dark, make sure you can see in you costume, and that you can see your feet. Carry a flashlight or lantern so that drivers can see you easily in the dark. If you need to ride in a car, make sure you’re able to sit in your costume, or be able to remove any pieces preventing you from safely riding in a car with your seat belt on. For the sake of your friends, make sure you can use the bathroom in your costume without help. Being able to fit through doors is also a plus.

Have fun and Be Different

When you make your own costume, you have less of a chance of showing up in the same costume as someone else. Dressing up as something trendy in pop culture might be fun, but everyone else could have the same idea. Background characters that are still recognizable can be a huge hit. I was the only person at the party dressed as Toad from Super Mario Brothers!

Toad Costume

Happy Halloween!


Easy Halloween Costume–Bunch of Grapes

This is the easiest Halloween costume I’ve ever made, and it only cost about $5 to buy the supplies. It took me less than a half hour to complete it.



One Purple T-shirt

One Bag of Purple Balloons

One Green Handkerchief

Handful of Safety Pins

Costume Materials


Start by blowing up several balloons. I didn’t blow mine up very full, because overinflated balloons are more likely to pop. Pin each balloon to the shirt by sticking a safety pin through the tail of the balloon. Fill in the space, and use as many as you like. I decided not to pin any balloons to the back because that makes it easier to sit in a car.

Put on the shirt and decide if there are enough balloons. Then tie the green handkerchief around your neck to represent the grape leaves, and you’re ready to go trick-or-treating!

Grape Costume


Be careful going down stairs and walking in the dark! The balloons make it hard to see your feet.

Make this a group costume by having each person dress as a different color of grape–green, red, and purple.

Carry a bottle of wine and tell people you’re Dionysus, the Greek god of wine!


Other Easy Halloween Costumes





How I Made Past Halloween Costumes—Part 3: Toad (from Mario Bros)

I think Halloween might be my favorite holiday! I wrote posts last year about how to create a pumpkin, Batman, Superman, and M&M costume, and I thought I’d write about some of the costumes I’ve made in the past.  I’ve already written about my panda and Batgirl costumes.  Now for another one that was part of a group costume!

mushroom hat

Try to space the spots out evenly

Toad (from Mario Bros)

This costume works best when you’re accompanied by other Mario Brothers characters.  I was going with two people dressed as Mario and Luigi, and I didn’t want to spend the evening in a formal gown as a princess.  So I looked at all the available characters and got my creative juices flowing.

The most important part of the Toad costume is the mushroom hat.  I started with a plastic colander.  I wanted a plastic bowl that was cheap and the right size, and after trying on all the bowls at Wal-Mart, I decided the colander was the best.


That’s my friend, Beth. She’s dressed as a nerd.

Even though the colander looked mushroom-sized on my head, it wasn’t a snug fit at all.  So I went to the floral area and bought one of those foam rings you use to make a flower wreath.  Again, I tried them all on until I found one that would fit my head and fit inside the colander.

Then I bought some white fabric to cover my hat.  I don’t remember if the fabric was from the remnants shelf or if it was from the bargain bin, but if all you’re looking for is white, you can usually find something cheap.  I also bought red felt for the spots.

I started off by wedging the floral ring into the colander.  I think I had to shave it down a little with scissors.  Then I centered the white fabric, gathered it neatly over the contours, and stapled the heck out of it on the inside upper edge of the foam.  I pulled the fabric nice and taut so the hat wouldn’t fall apart.  Then I traced red circles using the inside of a role of tape and glued them on.  I added a purple vest I found on sale, a white shirt, and khakis.  I don’t have a group picture that I’d like to use, so here’s a picture of me by myself as Toad.

What’s next?

I might come up with a few more costume ideas, or I might get started on some of the posts I’ve already promised, such as newborn hats and cross stitch.  You’ll just have to come back and see!

How I Made Past Halloween Costumes—Part 2: Batgirl

It’s my favorite time of year—time to start getting ready for Halloween! I wrote posts last year about how to create a pumpkin, Batman, Superman, and M&M costume, and I

Poison Ivy, Two Face, Robin, Batman, Catwoman, Batgirl

Poison Ivy, Two Face, Robin, Batman, Catwoman, Batgirl

thought I’d write about some of the costumes I’ve made in the past.


I needed a Batgirl costume as part of a group of friends who were all going as Batman characters, but I didn’t have a ton of money to spend on it, or a lot of time.  I did, however, have a lot imagination!  First, I looked through my closet to see what I could use.  I found a black long-sleeved dance leotard, black tights, and some short black workout shorts.  Batgirl also needs a mask with ears, a cape, a belt, boots, and gloves.

You’d be amazed what you can make with felt! I made a belt and arm bands with yellow felt.  I had a friend help me make some felt boot covers.

boot cover

Leave the bottoms open so you don’t slip on the felt

All you have to do for those is cut out a shape that roughly boot-shaped and big enough for your foot.  Sew up the back and the front, but leave the top and bottom open.  I attached some elastic to the bottom to hold them in place, kind of like stirrup pants.

I used yellow kitchen gloves, and had a friend help me sew a bat emblem on my chest.  Because my chest stretched the leotard a bit, I wanted to be in the leotard when I attached the emblem.  Otherwise, the fabric would pull strangely and not look right.

Finally, I made a black mask much like the one for my Batman costume, and borrowed a friend’s black swimming cap (optional).  I made the same kind of cape as the Batman costume, only I made this one blue instead of black.

I have totally believable crime-fighting skills!

I have totally believable crime-fighting skills!

What’s next?

I’ve already published the first part of this 3-part post, and next I’ll write about how I made another member of a group costume–Toad from Mario Brothers.

How I Made Past Halloween Costumes—Part 1: Panda

It’s my favorite time of year—time to start getting ready for Halloween! I wrote posts last year about how to create a pumpkin, Batman, Superman, and M&M costume, and I thought I’d write about some of the costumes I’ve made in the past.  I broke this post into three parts to make it a little easier to digest.


One of the things my mom taught me about making a costume (particularly for trick-or-treating) is to make it warm.  My mom got really creative with sweatshirts.  When I wanted to be a panda in 5th grade or so, I looked at pictures with her, and together we figured out how to make the best panda costume ever.

We started with a white hooded sweatshirt, and cut off the arms to reduce bulk.  Then my mom sewed some black ears on the hood.  Pandas have black upper bodies and arms, so we took a black sweatshirt without a hood and cut off the bottom half.

I put the black half sweatshirt over the white armless hoodie, added black sweatpants and some panda makeup, and went out to get my candy!

I would love to show you a picture of the finished costume, but this costume was so long ago that I’m not sure where any pictures of it are. So here’s a picture of a real panda until I find a picture of me!

What’s next?

One of the things about taking such a long break from my blog is that I have at least a half dozen ideas for blog posts floating in my head right now.  So I don’t really know what’s next, except that I will continue to share costume ideas throughout October.  Check back soon for Batgirl and Toad!

Easy Halloween Costume for $4 – M&M

So it’s the day everyone is going out for Halloween, and you’ve procrastinated making your costume…what do you go as? An M&M of course! This is a really great group costume. Everybody picks a different color!


M&M colored T-shirt (green, red, brown, blue, yellow, orange) – $3.99, White felt – $0.25

Step 1 – Make a Stencil

M&M StencilI used Microsoft Word to type an ‘m,’ then made the font huge. My ‘m’ is Garamond font, size 700. Then I printed it, and cut it out.

Step 2 – Cut Out the Felt

It might be a good idea to turn your stencil backwards when you trace it on the felt. That way, your tracing lines will only be on the back of white felt when you turn it around the right way.

Step 3 – Attach the M

I used hot glue. I always get a low temperature glue gun because I have a tendency to stick my fingers in the glue when I’m not looking. But remember, low temperature is still hot! I started out by laying my ‘m’ out where I wanted it. Then I glued down each leg of the ‘m’ without lifting the whole thing off the shirt. That way, I could keep it exactly where I placed it. Once you get a few points glued down, move on to the larger areas.

Remember to put something inside the shirt (like a sheet of paper) so you don’t accidentally glue the shirt shut. Also, place your glue gun on a sheet of paper or something while it’s heating up. Sometimes glue oozes out, and you don’t want to ruin your kitchen counter!

Step 4 – Get Dressed!

M&M CostumeNow get out there and find your fellow M&Ms!

If you want to be a rounder M&M, you could use the elastic hem technique from my Pumpkin Costume.

More cheap and easy Halloween costumes you can make yourself:




Easy Halloween Costume for $7.50 – Batman

I’ll have a few more posts coming today as I finish up my challenge to make Halloween costumes for under $10! Now it’s time for Batman!


Black T-shirt – $3.99, Black and Yellow felt – $0.25 per sheet, Black fabric – $2.99 per yard (you can pretty much work with whatever is on sale).

Step 1 – Create the Stencils

Trace a stencil for each color of felt.Create a stencil for each color–black and yellow.  I looked up the Batman symbol online and traced it.  Then use the stencils to cut out your felt pieces.  It was hard to find something that would show up on the black felt when I traced the stencil.  I ended up using a purple eyeliner.  It worked surprisingly well!  White would have been better though.

Step 2 – Attach the Felt

You could really use everything from needle and thread to safety pins, but I decided to use hot glue.  Put a sheet of paper or something inside the shirt so you don’t accidentally glue the shirt shut, and make sure you place the glue gun on something so you won’t ruin your table if glue oozes out.  Again, I just used a sheet of paper.

Step 3 – Ears, Mask, and Cape

I started with the mask.  I cut about 2 1/2 or 3 inches off the end of the fabric for the cape, tied it around my face, and used my eyeliner to mark where the eye holes should be.  Then I just cut holes…I didn’t use any sort of pattern or stencil.  Just make the holes big enough to see out of.

Then I moved on to the ears.  I cut two triangles of leftover black felt, and folded them over and hot glued them for added stability.  Then I taped them into the inside of the mask.  You could hot glue or safety pin them as well.  I placed the ears while the mask was tied to my face so I would be sure to get them in the right spot.

Batman's cape looks like a bat!One of the things that makes Batman’s cape different from other superheros is the bat-like edge.  I used a roll of duck tape and a pencil to draw my line of where to cut.

Step 4 – Accessorize and Get Dressed!

Na na na na na na na na Batman!Put on some black pants, the mask, and tie the cape around your neck. There you have it, Batman!

Other cheap and easy Halloween costumes you can make yourself: