Halloween costumes – make or buy?! Easy (make) and inexpensive (buy) options – share what your kids will be!

costumes bannerAh, Halloween. . . arriving next weekend. Are you making or buying your child’s costume this year? Here’s a guide if you need inspiration for either: (1) make: some cute and easy costumes to create yourself or by your child (no sewing) and (2) buy: costumes on sale from around the web, including a bunch of $5-$10 picks and some nicer up to $25 costumes that will have your child happily marauding as whatever (s)he wants to be.  Although all they really need is an imagination – it’s us adults who sometimes need the costumes to tell!


On the make front, while I can sew I’ve never actually sewn a Halloween costume, so I’m sticking with costumes you can make that don’t involve sewing (you’ll note I’m big on (1) using existing clothes or (2) using a cardboard box/posterboard).

H pinterest cloud costume Breana Mock

Cloud: Go to your local CVS and buy two pieces of plain white posterboard for $0.99 each. Cut out, or have your child draw and cut out of each one, a big cloud shape. Put holes in the top and sides of the clouds on both sides and use string to connect the two sides, making “straps” to hang on shoulders and tie together at the sides. Have your child dress in all blue, put this on top, and viola – an adorable cloud! They can also add cotton balls or glitter to their clouds, draw lightening bolts – whatever they want. This photo is a spiffed up one with rainbow tights which I think is also adorable.

Cat/Mouse/Dog/etc.: It is super easy to pull together an animal costume, and kids seem to love it (mine did, at least). You need pants and a shirt (or sweater – it’ll be cold out!) in the same color, a headband, some paper, and some makeup. Then a pair of tights (or an additional pair of pantsRoboranch blog) to make the tail. So if your child wants to be a black cat, put them in black pants, a black sweater, and tuck one of the tights legs into their waistband and pin the other leg to the middle back of their pants at the top to be the tail (works with leggings too but then the spare leg is a little bulkier at their waist). Cut out two triangles from some black construction paper (or have them draw black ones with pink insides on white paper) and tape them to a headband for ears. Finally, use lipstick to make a pink nose and an eyeliner pencil to draw whiskers. This is quick and easy and they can be any animal that they want, just change the colors and the ears! Obviously better for younger children and it’s better to put special face paint than eyeliner on your kid’s skin, but this has saved us in the past!

H washingmachines from West Milford MessengerGoKart costumes from Dragonfly Designs 2Deck of cards/Book/Cereal box/Car/etc: This is the classic “cardboard box costume” genre and is great for slightly bigger kids who want to go to town on drawing, or for younger kids who decide that they MUST be some totally random object like a crayon box or a pictureframe (yes, that did come from one of my kids. . .). Save the next big cardboard box you get, color away, and cut holes in the top (head) and sides (arms). I think you get the idea for anything rhomboid-shaped (I love this one from the West Milford Messenger of kids as laundry machines!), but it you want to do a car I like the instructions from Twin Dragonfly Design’s GoKart costumes. Pluses include that you can put as many layers as needed on underneath and it will still look the same, so works great if it’s cold out. Major con is that your small child may decide it’s not comfortable halfway through trick-or-treating and then you’re carrying a big painted cardboard box down the street!

snail from Oh Happy Day blogbaby_gumball_machine from CostumeWorksOther relatively simple DIY costume ideas that I like from around the web: this adorable snail costume from the Oh Happy Day blog, and the DIY gumball machine concept that is so popular this year that there are pages upon pages of YouTube videos showing you how to make this (basic concept: bag of multicolor pompoms glued onto a shirt or hat, red clothing, and a piece of cardboard saying 25 cents!) but I like this simple pictoral from CostumeWorks.

Parenting magazine has a slideshow and instructions for “35+ Easy DIY Homemade Halloween Costumes for Kids” which is cute to look at but less easy that I’m going for. For example, I clicked on their tornado DIY costume and it says “All you need is: a hula hoop, 2 large adult-sized dark-gray T-shirts, fabric glue, 10 yd black tulle, a stapler, twigs, and dark-gray gloves.” I am not a mom who has 10 yards of black tulle lying around (and I don’t want to think about what 10 yards of black tulle costs), so these aren’t for me, but if you’re into a real project costume by all means check out their list.


So I went looking on Amazon and on some of the costume-specific websites, and there are a ton of great deals out there. I’m not sure if prices got cheaper because it got closer to Halloween or what, but I’m not complaining. Here are some of the best (read: lowest priced) deals and some good deals on more substantial costumes.

h clone trooper h musical elsa h geo washAmazon has some very cheap costumes – lots of Star Wars, Frozen, and Super Heroes at 50-60% off (in the $15-$18 range for most but there are a bunch in the $5-8 range too: big kids Rebel Kahan for $5.19 as an add-on item, baby Clone Trooper (is this different than a Storm Trooper?! I am too old to know!) for $5.67, etc.). Tons of random good costumes for less than $10, or for a little more you can have this musical light up Elsa outfit for is $13.61, down from $34.99. I’m sure my daughter would love this – the copy says “watch her twirl as
the dress lights up and begins to play Elsa’s iconic song “Let It Go!” but I might have to hide it after Halloween since I was just getting used to not hearing that song sung 20 times per day.)

H pink crayon solo H shark H lobsterThe cutest costumes, though, are Amazon’s selection of baby/toddler costumes at 50% off. Your kid can be a lobster, a tiger, a dragon – pretty much anything and they all look so warm and fuzzy. Last year, my friend carried his one year old in the lobster costume in a giant stock pot – it was pretty funny. There are hundreds of costumes from $4-$24 here, and the secret trick is that even though the preview for this sale shows a baby costume and many are indeed costumes for the NB-24M set, there are actually some great costume bargains for bigger kids (3-5Y) here. For example, I like this Crayola pink crayon costume for $9.03, down from $35.00, which is actually only available in XL (manufacturer’s size chart says L is 3-4Y so I’d guess an XL would comfortably work for a 4 year old).

image_6_3 image_5_3 image_3_4From now until 10/28, Amazon is advertising 30% off selected costumes using code HAL30WEEN, but the odd part is that the landing page for the promotion says “Take 30% Off Halloween Costumes for women and men” and only lets you select “Men’s Costumes” or “Women’s Costumers”, no kids or baby. Yet when you actually search there are plenty of kids and baby costumes that come up eligible for the promo – very odd. I’ve included some in the slideshow below, and it can’t hurt to try the promo code on whatever costume you buy! For example, I had my browser open to one of their Frozen costumes and I just refreshed and came up as eligible for the 30% off!

Slideshow of selected sample costumes from Amazon’s Halloween store:

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H lalalopsy picH pb and j picBuyCostumes.com has a huge selection of easily sortable kids, toddler, and baby costumes at what seem to be reasonable prices, so this could be a good place to look if your kid really wants to be something specific (for example, you can click on the “Food” category within Kids Costumes and see 40 different things, or 315 options in animals). This seems like a great site if you’re looking for sibling costumes – just in food I found an adorable sibling set of peanut butter and jelly sandwich costumes on sale for $29.99 for two costumes and a milk and cookie toddler 3-4Y costume set for $24.99 for two costumes.  I found the baby costumes to be cheaper on Amazon but they have a lot of nice looking costume choices in the $14.99-$17.99 range, including Lalaloopsy and other character costumes. They have a 20% off no minimum coupon here, which basically makes up for shipping.

H colonial girlH soldierCostumeExpress.com is a year-round costume site so you can choose different holidays, which is neat. They had some of the same costumes as BuyCostumes.com but I’m including this site because they had a wide selection of historical figures costumes, like this Patriot Soldier kids costume for $17.99 or this Colonial Girl costume for $24.99. Make sure you check what’s included, though – I was all set to highlight their Robert E. Lee kids costume and then noticed that it was shown with a hat and sword but didn’t include it! (note that I typed this part up last night and today they have new sale banners on their site so prices may be cheaper)

Slideshow of selected sample costumes from BuyCostumes.com and CostumesExpress.com:

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So what will your child be? Will you make or buy the costume? Comment below and share!

I think this is hilarious - not only can you be a chicken, but you can be an

BONUS PIC: I think this is hilarious – not only can you be a chicken, but you can be an “America Chicken”. Is this like Captain America, but for chickens?!

This post contains affiliate links from Amazon and lots of general non-affiliate links to stuff I thought was cool or for comparison purposes! Full source links for cloud costume picture (https://www.pinterest.com/breanamock/cloud-costume/), washing machine picture (http://www.westmilfordmessenger.com/article/20121022/ENTERTAINMENT/121029991/0/NEWS01/Design-a-Halloween-costume-using-household-items), Cat face picture (http://www.roboranch.com/blog/archives/000766.php)


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