quick halloween costumes

I love Halloween, I enjoy the costumes, the decorating and the trick-or-treating. If there is a fall festival or Halloween party near me, I will be attending in costume.

When I found out I was pregnant and due in November, all I could think about was how I could use my belly to add to my costume. Unfortunately things didn’t go exactly according to plan and we ended up spending Halloween in the NICU, but she still had two very cute costumes to show off.

I realize I may be a little overenthusiastic about this candy-filled day, and I blame my parents. They always had fun with their outlandish costumes and always entertained our ideas of what we would dress up as. The crazy thing was, they never bought costumes for themselves or us, it was all ‘Do It Yourself’ before that was a popular term. Nothing was too silly or too hard to make and no ones closet was off limits.

When I was younger, we usually needed to have three costumes: one for school, one for the church festival, and one for the actual day of Halloween. At school we were able to dress up and have a costume parade with a party, some people were so clever with their designs, especially with the restrictions of: appropriate for school and a costume that wouldn’t cause a distraction. We would also attend our local church festival, which in my parents eyes, was another set of restrictions. Finally we would have the actual day of Halloween, no slacking with this costume, this was the time to come with your A-Game and we sometimes would go all out.

So that brings me to the task at hand, we definitely spent time on our Halloween costume, but for parties and festivals we did the last minute DIY Halloween costumes. They didn’t have to be super elaborate just quick, cute, and clever. These are a list of some costumes that I have recently tried to create and recreate for me and my daughter. I succeeded in doing them in under 2 hours (YAY) — shopping NOT included!

The Pinata and The Birthday Kid

Supplies: Bright, Multicolored tissue paper; ribbons; small safety pins; old t-shirt, any party
favors that over exaggerates the point of a birthday party, plastic bat

How I did it: I used the ribbon and tissue paper to decorate an old t-shirt and make it look like a pinata. I pinned 2 sheets of tissue paper, that I cut into fringe, onto the t-shirt starting at the bottom. I worked my way up, so that the next row of fringe would easily cover the safety pins; when I tried it top to bottom, I ended up creasing the row above above and it looked horrible. I put my hair in two buns and hung multicolored ribbons from them. For the role of the birthday kid, I decorated my child with a party hat, a birthday t-shirt, a light up button that says ‘It’s my Birthday’ and a decorated plastic bat to ‘hit’ the pinata with.

Grapes…Big Bunch, Little Bunch

Supplies: A Green or purple hoodie that zips or buttons, small safety pins, green or purple
balloons, green leaves to pin in hair or glue to a head band

How I did it: I blew up balloons (cantaloupe size for my daughter and slightly bigger for me) and pinned them to the hoodie; I tried a t-shirt first, but it was hard to put it over her head. After pinning the big balloons over much of the hoodie, I blew up smaller balloons to fill in the gaps. I tried putting the balloons up around the collar for her, but it bothered her way too much, so I started at the shoulders and went to the bottom of the hoodie. She played with the balloons at first, but then it was fine.

Fall Tree and Winter Snowman

Supplies: A fall colored hoodie/sweater (orange, tan, brown, yellow, red), brown pants (for the trunk of the tree), fall leaves (I used garland), brown pants, tape, details for the tree (birds,
nuts, etc.), white long sleeved shirt, black felt or material, needle and black thread, red scarf,
black hat

How I did it: I made my little one the fall tree and decorated her tan sweater with the fall
garland, I pinned it in the front and back and along her arms, she was covered in fall colored
leaves and there were only small glimpses of her sweater. I had picked up a little bird and clipped it on her back shoulder (I first had it on her tummy, but she kept swatting it off lol) I made her a little crown of fall leaves, by measuring the garland around her head and taping it in the appropriate place. For my winter snowman, I cut out 4 circles, to use as buttons along my front, using the black felt/material. I then sewed, about 4 stitches on the top and 4 stitches on the bottom of the circle, to my white long sleeved shirt. Wrapped my scarf around my neck, put my hat on and we were done.

The Bride and her Bridesmaid…or Groom…

Supplies: An old bridesmaid dress…or suit…or…party dress

How I did it: I rummaged my closet, and found many bridesmaids dresses (yep I keep them and I have been in MANY weddings) I picked the one that I felt the most awesome in and wore it. My daughter had a white dress in her closet, I pinned a piece of lace to her hair, had her hold an old bouquet that I had from one of my past stints as a bridesmaid and then voila, she was the bride to my bridesmaid.


Supplies: Umbrella, iridescent ribbon, tulle, bubble wrap, stapler

How I did it: I cut iridescent ribbon, tulle and bubble wrap at different lengths so I could hang it off the edge of the umbrella, I made sure that the longest piece was only about 9 inches), so she didn’t trip and no one else could step on it. I tied the ribbon on the metal tips of the umbrella and stapled more ribbon, the tulle and bubble wrap around the umbrella, letting it all hang down like tentacles. I repeated the same process for me, I just made the lengths of the ribbon, tulle, and bubble wrap to fit my height.

It’s Raining Cats and Dogs

Supplies: Umbrella, ribbon, hole punch, pictures of cats and dogs (I bought dog and cat calendars from the dollar store)

How I did it: I cut numerous cat and dog pictures out of a calendar I bought and then punched a hole in the top of each cut-out. I measured the ribbon, about 8 inches long for my daughter and 20 inches for me, cut and then tied one end of the ribbon, using the hole I made in the cut-out. With the other side of the ribbon, I tied it to the the metal tips of the umbrella. I repeated the same process for my umbrella.

Roasted Marshmallow and The Camper

Supplies: White t-shirt, black pants, black paint/t-shirt markers, a Tutu with the colors of red, orange and white to simulate the fire (I found some at the dollar store, so I bought one in each color OR you can make you own with tulle and ribbon, camping clothes, back pack and a long stick to ‘ roast’ your marshmallow with

How I did it: To make the marshmallow look a little singed, I colored the seams of the white t-shirt black, put the colored tutu’s around her waist to look like fire (if I had made her a fuller tutu, the fire would have been more prominent, but the name of this list is last minute costumes, soo….I dressed in a flannel, shorts, hiking boots and my back pack; I held the stick next to her and it looked like my marshmallow was burning on the edge of my stick. I was tempted to write marshmallow on her shirt, but I didn’t know if it would be too much, I guess it’s a personal preference kind of thing.

Sushi/Sashimi and Soy Sauce

Supplies: White shirt and pants, a small, pinkish pillow, black fabric or black sheet, black
sharpie, safety pins, chopsticks, the words ‘Soy Sauce’ printed out in red, black shirt and black

How SHE did it: My best friend Elsa did this one for me, she had her daughter get into the white outfit and she placed the pillow along her back and wrapped the black fabric/sheet around her child’s body, as many times as it would go. She made sure it was snug so she wouldn’t lose the pillow, but not so much where it was painful. The fabric/sheet was then pinned on the side and the safety pins were covered with black marker to blend in. Chopsticks in the hair completed the look. For the parent, who becomes soy sauce, dress in black and pin the print out ‘Soy Sauce’ on your shirt.

Farmer and The Flower Pot

Supplies: A light plastic basket, scissors, flower wire, tape, artificial flowers, t-shirt that is
the color of the flowers, strong ribbon, Overalls, hat, handkerchief, watering can

How I did it: First cut the bottom out of the basket, so the child can ‘wear it, it should look like
a tube when its done. Next measure the ribbon from the top front of the basket, over the shoulder, to the top back of the basket, remember the ribbon is going to rest on the child’s shoulders in order to keep the basket put… measure carefully. Tie the ribbons along the area you measured, using the basket’s natural spaces as the anchor. Line the top of the basket, both back and front, with the artificial flowers, using the wire to keep the flowers in place; don’t put any flowers along the sides, the child needs to be able to move their arms and rest them comfortably at their side. Next use the tape to cover the wire on the inside of the basket, so it wont scratch or poke the child. Add a flower to their hair and they are ready to be watered. As the farmer who tends to her flowers, all you need is to dress in some overalls, a hat and have that water can ready.

Artist and The Canvas

Supplies: Beret, one of the parents white button-up shirt, red handkerchief, paint and/or t-shirtmarkers, paint brush, white t-shirt for the adult

How I did it: I had an old white, button up shirt in my closet that I made into her ‘smock’. I first cut along the bottom of the shirt to fit her height and then half of the sleeves came off, so she could move her arms. I splashed some finger paint on the front and back of the ‘smock’, to give the appearance that she paints in it often. While that dried, I drew a fancy picture frame on my t-shirt, using the t-shirt markers. I am NOT an artist, but you could tell it was a frame, woohoo. I then let my child use the finger pants, to paint inside of my t-shirt frame..I was going to be her authentic art. After her ‘smock’ was dry, I looped a red handkerchief through the top buttons and tied it into a bow. I have a bag of berets in my closet, I really don’t know why, but I put one on my little one; gave her a paint brush and we were done.

What is your favorite DIY costume?

Becky Rodriguez
Becky is a transplant from New Mexico and has been in the area for 5 years now. She has her Bachelors of Science in Education from New Mexico State University and has been involved with Big Bothers/Big Sisters; Habitat for Humanity; and TRiO EDucational Talent Search. She is engaged to Ryan and the mother to a feisty and silly 5 year old named Olivia and a curious 2 yr old named Frankie. Becky enjoys exploring Austin and the surrounding areas; during the weekend, Olivia and Frankie will drive up to 2 hours in any direction, to try a new activity, attend a festival or play in a new park.


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