DIY Halloween Costumes

When it comes to Halloween, I have found that there are two types of moms: those who run to the store and grab a pre-made Halloween costume, and those who are ambitious (or crazy) enough to make their own. Sometimes the DIY route gets complex, especially if a mom has incredible sewing skills and creates an elaborate, one-of-a-kind piece. Other times, a great DIY costume can be thrown together using pre-made components from various shops. 

Confession: I have been both moms. I have three kids ages 12, 3, and 18 months. My 12-year-old has never had a homemade costume in her life. In fact, one of our favorite Halloween traditions was to explore Target and Party City, trying on various costumes and allowing her to select the one she wanted. When her baby brother was born in 2013, I had big plans of going the DIY route and being more creative. Grad school and work got in the way, though, and we ended up purchasing a monster costume that he refused to wear. Good times.

After 12 years of parenting, I finally put together their costumes for Halloween 2016. It was largely because my son requested to be a butterfly, and there wasn’t really a suitable option for what he wanted. It also happened to be his baby brother’s first Halloween, and I wanted it to be special. I ended up DIY’ing both costumes and loved the end result: 


If you’re opting for the DIY route this Halloween, here are a few great tips I recommend following: 

  1. Start early. I know there are many moms out there who can pull off the last minute DIY, and I salute them. For me, though, I need to plan at least a month ahead of time. You will likely need to purchase pieces from different stores or create your own, so beginning early will result in less stress. If you wait until the last minute, something will inevitably be out of stock. I’ve learned this the hard way.
  2. Use Pinterest as an inspiration, but take it with a grain of salt. Again, to all the Pinterest moms out there, I commend you. Sometimes I’m one of you, but mostly I’m an Amazon prime/Etsy kind of girl. Pinterest can be my BFF, giving me some great starting points and vision boards to run with. Other times, though, it has made me feel inadequate because I just don’t have the time, talent, or patience to execute my vision. This is when I defer to Etsy so I can support an awesome, creative mama and still achieve the homemade vibe I’m going for. 
  3. Set a budget. It’s easy to go down the DIY rabbit hole, but remember: this is likely going to be used for just one night. While that $40 fairy crown you saw on Pinterest looks great in theory and would be a killer edition to your daughter’s costume, it will likely end up sitting in the toy box for the rest of the year. Set an initial budget for the costume and stick to it! If you plan early, you can stalk the sales. You can also be strategic and purchase pieces that can be reused, such as my boys’ tank jumpers from June and January, pictured above. They’re adorable on their own but also happened to work well for their costumes! 
  4. Let your kids help. One of the best parts of my son’s butterfly costume was that he chose all the pieces, himself! We looked at various wing options, and he selected the blue ones pictured. If your kids are old enough to have a say, let them help you decide the details!
  5. Above all else, have fun! The DIY route isn’t supposed to be stressful, so give yourself grace and use it as fun bonding time with your kids. Shop for pieces together, browse pictures, and have a great time creating the costume of their dreams. 

Here are the details of my one-year-old’s DIY doctor costume that I had a blast putting together last Halloween. Each piece is super versatile and can be reused again throughout the year:


Piper Finn Shoes: We already had these on hand and didn’t want to buy a new set of shoes just for Halloween — I think they worked out just fine! Black moccasins would also be adorable.

Baby Gap White Button Down: We bought two sizes up so it would have a “lab coat like” fit. I waited for Gap to have a 40% off sale, which they have pretty frequently. 

Etsy Personalized Patch: We purchased an iron-on patch with the caduceus symbol and Graham’s first name to make it a little more authentic.

June and January Denim Tank Jumper: We already had this in his closet — isn’t it cute?

June and January Cobalt Bonnet — I purchased this exclusively for Halloween but was able to resell it on the June & January Buy/Sell/Trade page for almost retail price.

Amazon Medical Kit: Thanks, Prime! 

DIY Halloween Costume










What do you think, Austin moms? Are you opting for a DIY Halloween costume this Halloween?


Jessica Rockowitz
Jessica is a Boston girl turned Austinite as of 2016. She is a wife to Kyle and mama to Hayley, Colin, and Graham. Though she misses many things about the East Coast, she absolutely cannot complain about the active, taco-infused lifestyle of Texas. She is a former OB/GYN Nurse Educator turned digital media agency owner and lifestyle photographer. When she's not busy behind the lens, you can catch her caffeinating, desperately trying to find a cheer carpool, and obsessing over microfashion. Follow her over at


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