Last Minute Halloween Costumes for Kids: DIY on a Dime in No Time

9/1/14 - By Tara D

Halloween is almost here, and my kids don’t have costumes. It’s not unusual for us to wait until a week before Halloween to put something together, but this is cutting it a little close, even for us. I searched the web for the best costumes that are easy to put together quickly and use things we probably already have around the house. I was also inspired to come up with a couple of ideas of my own. Here are 9 last-minute Halloween costumes for kids that can be made in no time and on a dime (OK, maybe a few dollars, max).

If you're also looking for quick and easy Halloween decor ideas or just need a fun mask, check out DIY Halloween 101


Harold and the Purple Crayon – I love this literary family costume from Generation T, and I also love that it doesn’t need to be nearly this elaborate to be effective. Dress your little one in a solid blue sleeper. Draw a scene from Harold and the Purple Crayon (I recommend using the book as a guide) on a plain white shirt for the adult(s) and attach a purple crayon to the adult's shirt or the sleeper. You’re done! 

Paper Doll – I think Slap Dash Mom and I would get along very well.  I’m guessing this paper doll costume could be made in a half an hour (or an hour, if my kid is helping), which is about the amount of time I'm willing to spend on a Halloween costume. Supplies are simple, cheap, and easy to get. And the costume is adorable. This lady is a genius. 

Superhero – Sweats, duct tape, and a towel. That’s it, and you’ve got a great, one of a kind superhero costume. Just be prepared to hear your kid asking to wear it to preschool every day for the next month (or year). Thanks, Real Simple.

Adventurer/Explorer – My kids were planning to go as Explorers until they realized that they didn’t have vests. Problem solved. It’s a Real Simple solution that’s green and cheap. Love it. 

Static Cling – A black sweat suit (or shirt and pants), some socks and some dryer sheets are all you need for this clever costume from Spoonful. I’ve also seen more colorful versions, which might be easier to put together when you’re pressed for time. Carrying a small laundry basket for candy would add a nice touch (I've seen them at Dollar Tree). 

Upside-Down Man – This costume idea (pictured above) from Sugar Bee Crafts is hilarious and easy to put together, but it would be better suited to an indoor Halloween party than pounding the pavement on Halloween night. 

Talking Tombstone – Turn an old gray hoodie backwards (you’ll need to cut eye and mouth holes in the hood) and write one of these funny tombstone names or epitaphs on the hoodie. Pair it with gray sweatpants. If you happen to have some fake flowers, stick them in the laces of your kid’s shoes. 

Tree – Attach a bunch of fallen leaves to a long-sleeved brown shirt and wear solid brown pants.  Voila: You have a tree. 

Baby Harry Potter – If you happen to have a scarf in Gryffindor’s house colors, great. If not, glasses (either real or painted on) and a painted-on lightning bolt scar will do just fine. Especially if you’re dressed as Hagrid and you’re riding a motorcycle (just kidding).    

Photo: Upside Down Man from Sugar Bee Crafts

Post originally published October 2013; updated September 2014