DIY Halloween
Halloween,  Seasonal

Cheap DIY Halloween Costumes for Children

Halloween can work out very expensive if you have more than one child to dress up, but over the years with trick or treating, fancy dress parties and special dress-up days at school, I have become adept at throwing together panicky cheap DIY costumes for children.

I know it’s  a little while until Halloween, but if your children are anything like mine, then they will already be discussing what they want to wear on the night.

Over the years I have had to make numerous last-minute costumes for various school events, parties and Halloween. Buying a ready-made costume can work out very expensive at times, and some children might not want a costume that every other child has.

Here are a few costumes I have made before, which are easy to do.

Harry Potter Costume/Ron Weasley Costume

Please excuse the less than perfect photos, I made this way before I started blogging. One year Harley was determined to be Harry Potter, but I couldn’t find a costume anywhere.

I did manage to get a wand and a pair of glasses from the local market, and I managed to make the rest myself. To make the cape I used a cheap old hoody of mine, and literally cut from the centre upwards to the start of the neck on the front. This instantly made a cardigan type cape, and he loved it.

I found a scarf in the Pound shop that was roughly the school colours for Harry Potter, dressed him in his school top and trousers, used eye liner to draw on a scar and we had a very happy ‘Harry’. If you can’t get glasses anywhere cheaply, you could also use the eyeliner to draw on ‘glasses’.

The Captain Sparrow costume next to him obviously wasn’t home made, but Fin received it as a gift, as I would never pay that much for a costume! Smiling to myself at how little they were in this one.

Here’s a better look at the ‘cape’ below. Harley decided the year afterwards that he wanted to be Ron Weasley, so we left the glasses off and I made our pound shop scarf into Ron’s tie. That £1 scarf was one of our best buys as it’s come in handy for loads of outfits.

Harry Potter DIY cape

Viking Costume

Being told by Fin a few days before the event, that he needed to dress as a Viking for school sent me in to a bit of a panic, as funnily enough it’s not an outfit we had readily at home.

Luckily though we had a very cheap brown blanket at home, that we’d bought for something else and then not used. I think it came from the Asda value range or somewhere similar.

I cut the blanket in to a cape shape (i.e slightly wonky rectangle), and used my slightly dodgy sewing skills to sew two corners together to make a head hole. I bought a very cheap green men’s long sleeve t-shirt from Asda to work as a tunic – I don’t mind buying items like this, as they can be used for more than one dress up outfit, or even for a painting t-shirt for Si or myself afterwards.

I then cut a strip from the remains of the blanket to use as a waist tie, and for somewhere for Fin to pop his sword. The sword we already had, and the helmet we bought from a fancy dress shop for around £3.99. I know Harley will have to dress as a Viking at school at some point as well as he’s 2 school years below Fin, so the helmet and the rest will get good use.

Here’s how the outfit looked – eyeliner beard is optional.

Viking Costume

I’m wishing now I had taken a lot more photos of some of my other costume makes! I have some tips for making your own though and not just for Halloween…

  • If you ever see a grey/brown waistcoat at a bargain price, buy it! Waistcoats are handy for lots of different costumes including Victorians, World War 2 evacuee (at our school they go off on the train with everyone waving), old man and more
  • Before you go out and spend lots of money, have a look around at home, it’s likely you have something there to use. We all have clothes that don’t fit us (groans) so why not make use of them for material if it’s not something you are honestly likely to wear again. Brilliant way to justify an impulse buy that has never seen the light of day
  • Eyeliner is amazing – fact. You can use it for beards, scars, mix it with red lipstick to make cuts and ghoulish looks for Halloween, draw on glasses, or wrinkles…I may start claiming mine are eyeliner..
  • Look in charity shops, pound shops, B and M, Primark, basically anywhere that may have items you can use for a cheap price. If it’s a one-off costume and the item you need to buy isn’t something you will ever use again (rare in this house I love finding a recycling use) try to buy it for the lowest price that you can
  • Ask a friend! As parents we have all had to dress our children up as something at one point or another, and if your children don’t want to wear the same Halloween outfit two years running, then how about they swap with a friend’s child? You can do a costume exchange, they both get to wear a different outfit and neither you or the other parent have to pay a penny
  • Even if you aren’t great at sewing, have a go! You’ll be surprised at what you can make when you get creative and try.

Do you have any tricks that you use for costume finding and making?

Stevie x

A Cornish Mum


  • Chloe

    These are brilliant ideas!! Oh I love the Harry Potter outfits! :-D We’re just thinking up Evie’s outfit now and want to homemake it. It’ll be her first time going to a little halloween party. You’ve inspired me to start planning. x #picknmix

  • Pickinguptoys

    I love this post!I’m terrible for running out at the last minute and buying one which costs the earth but this year I’m determined to be a but more creative.I hope it goes well…if not it’s a “how I wrecked my kids Halloween” blog post in the making isn’t it :-D xx #picknmix

  • Becky, Cuddle Fairy

    These came out fabulous Stevie! I love the idea of making your own costume. My mother always made our costumes growing up, you can get really creative. #PicknMix x

  • luce

    love this, Bundle Number One wants to dress up this year (for the first time!) and we’re off to some Halloween events so will be using a few of these tips, thanks :-) #PicknMix

  • Gemma @ Confessions of a Nagging Mother

    Fab tips, I’ll definitely be taking some of these on board as I agree that costumes can be very expensive esp if they are only used for the day / night.


    Gemma xxx

  • acornishmum

    I used to rebel against making things and being crafty, as my Mum is ridiculously into her crafts ha – I was using a hacksaw at age 7 or so to make my own dolls house furniture! Realising more and more that I love making things though eeek, as much as I love my Mum I don’t plan on turning in to her if I can help it ;)

    Stevie xx

  • acornishmum

    I love it when you can make use of something you already have, as I hate waste! Plus despite my moaning as I sit up really late finishing it off, I love doing stuff like this and getting all creative

    Stevie x

  • acornishmum

    I felt like screaming a little bit when he decided he wanted to be Ron not Harry that year, when I had the other costume already ha but I was quite impressed with how my tie turned out ;)

    Stevie x

  • Talya

    Some great tips! I’m already wondering what on earth to do about Halloween costumes this year and your post has given me inspiration to conjure up something from within the house! #PickNMix

  • Su

    These are fabulous! You are very creative! I have lots of scraps lying around that I think I will make something out of it but I never get round in doing them! Last year, I was pretty impressed with myself I did Pebbles & Dino Flintstone costumes for E&E. How I ever had managed that I had no idea! I will post of this soon! This year Ethan want to be a dragon. Okay, said mummy…. errrr… panic!! lol! :) Great tips by the way. xx #PicknMix

  • acornishmum

    Aw thank you, and ooh I’ll look forward to your post!! Dragons are pretty similar looking to dinosaurs, which are huge at the moment. If you search on pinterest for dragon or dinosaur costume ideas, I know I saw some brilliant ones made partly of cardboard a while ago!

    Stevie xx

  • acornishmum

    Aw thank you! I do get a bit of a kick from re-using old material for something new. I hold off on getting rid of old clothes in case they come in handy :)

    Stevie x

  • Ashleigh

    You’ve got some brilliant ideas! i wish i was as inventive as you, im the type of mum to nip into Asda the day before halloween and pick what evers left! #PickNMix

  • theloveofacaptain

    Still trying to decide how to dress the Captain for his first Halloween. I love this time of year loads better than summer. All the fun starts. Loving the boys outfits, looks like they did too :) xx #picknmix

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.