5 DIY Upcycled Halloween Costume Ideas

5 DIY Upcycled Halloween Costume Ideas

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Get 5 unique ideas for DIY upcycled Halloween costumes that repurpose items you already have at home.

Halloween is right around the corner, and that usually leaves you with two choices: costumes that are way too expensive, or costumes that are time-consuming to create. Boo! If you’re in a costume conundrum, consider our handy upcycled Halloween costume ideas made from common household items or items you can easily find in a store. You take care of the treats, and we’ll worry about the costume tricks.

DIY Upcycled Halloween Costumes - Cotton Candy

1. Cotton Candy

This adorable cotton candy costume can be made from repurposed pillow stuffing, spray paint and a poster board cone hat. How sweet!

Materials

Stuffing from 1 to 2 old pillows
Newspaper
Pink and blue spray paint
1 piece of white poster board
Spray adhesive
White T-shirt
Extra pillow
Hanger
String
Pencil
Scissors
Tape
Hole punch

Instructions

  1. It’s best to work outside. Remove stuffing from old pillows and cover your workspace with a drop cloth or newspaper
  2. Generously spray the top of the pillow stuffing with spray adhesive and let dry. This makes the stuffing stick together in wads so it won’t fall apart when wearing
  3. Stuff a large pillow into the T-shirt — this will help you adhere the stuffing to the shirt more easily
  4. Once pillow stuffing is dry, begin adhering it to the T-shirt. Wad up a small amount of the stuffing, spray some adhesive on a section of the shirt and stick the stuffing to it. You may need to hold the stuffing in place for a few seconds while it dries. Work in this way to cover the entire shirt
  5. Spray the shirt and stuffing with one more coat of adhesive, filling in any gaps
  6. To create the cone hat shape, cut a piece of string about 12" long and tape it securely to the long edge of a piece of white poster board, in the center. Tie a pencil to the other end of the string. Carefully use the pencil and yarn as a compass to draw a half-circle shape on the poster board. Cut it out
  7. Roll the half-circle into a cone shape. The curved edge of the half-circle should be the base of the hat, and the straight edge should taper into the point of the cone
  8. Use spray adhesive to adhere pillow stuffing around the base of the cone hat
  9. Once adhesive is dry, spray paint the T-shirt and hat with blue and pink spray paint, as desired
  10. Use a hole punch to make two holes on either side of the cone hat, at the base. Attach a piece of string through each hole to secure it to the wearer

Tip: Between spray paint and spray adhesive, this costume’s assembly can get a bit messy. Lay down some Bounty Paper Towels around the T-shirt and hat as you spray paint. They’re super absorbent and will help prevent the spray paint from spreading to unwanted areas.

DIY Upcycled Halloween Costumes - Raining Cats and Dogs

2. Raining Cats and Dogs

We love a clever play on words — and it looks like this trick-or-treater does, too! This costume can be made from a raincoat, rain boots, printed cat and dog images and an umbrella — all items you probably have around the house. And don’t worry; your umbrella will still be usable after the ghouls are done haunting.

Materials

Umbrella (use one you already own!)
Printed dog and cat images
White cardstock
Fishing line
Hole punch
Tape or glue (optional)

Instructions

  1. Print dog and cat images onto white cardstock and cut them out
  2. Use a hole punch to make a hole at the top of each dog and cat cutout
  3. Attach a 10" piece of fishing line to each cutout
  4. Tie the other end of each piece of fishing line to the metal frame of the umbrella, near the edges, staggering the lengths as desired. Trim excess fishing line
  5. If desired, tape or glue additional cutouts to the top of the umbrella


DIY Upcycled Halloween Costumes - Grocery Bag

3. A Bag of Groceries

No need to let food packaging and plastic bottles go to waste. This grocery bag costume is made from a cardboard box, plastic toy food and empty food packaging, making it the perfect choice for the DIY lover who also loves to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Materials

1 cardboard box that will fit around the wearer
Brown craft paper
Clear tape
Clean, empty food packaging (cereal boxes, plastic bottles, etc.)
Plastic play food
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
1" twill tape (available in craft and fabric stores), sturdy ribbon or thick rope
Grocery receipt

Instructions

  1. If necessary, disassemble the box so the lid and bottom are open. You may need to stabilize the box by taping or gluing additional pieces of cardboard to the inside of the box
  2. Wrap the outside of the cardboard box with brown craft paper, securing with clear tape
  3. Hot glue clean, empty food packaging and plastic play food around the inside top of the box. The food and packaging should look like it’s “peeking out” from the grocery bag. If desired, you can glue food and packaging to the front of the box as well
  4. Carefully slide the box over the wearer to check fit. Get a helper to hold the box at chest height. Measure and cut two twill tape straps. Mark where the straps should be glued to the box to fit the wearer
  5. Attach a grocery receipt (we created ours by cutting a long, thin piece of white paper and drawing black lines on it) to the front of the box

Tip: Upcycled costumes are fun, but craft messes are not. Keep a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on hand to clean up sticky spills after you’re finished making your upcycled costume.


DIY Upcycled Halloween Costumes - Jellyfish

4. Jellyfish

This jellyfish doesn’t sting, but we bet she’ll take your candy! This upcycled costume can be made from a clear umbrella, white, silver and iridescent ribbons and extra party decorations. Time to raid your craft supplies!

Materials

Clear umbrella
Material for jellyfish tentacles: ribbon, streamers, textured yarn, foil fringe curtains, etc.
Spray adhesive
Clear tape
Large googly eyes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Open up the umbrella. Cut jellyfish tentacle materials to desired length (we used several types of iridescent ribbon and foil fringe curtains)
  2. Attach the tentacle materials to the umbrella with spray adhesive or clear tape. You can also tie ribbon to the edges of the umbrella
  3. If desired, use tape or glue to attach two large googly eyes to the outside of the umbrella


DIY Upcycled Halloween Costumes - Queen of Hearts

5. Playing Card

We love this classic costume because it looks like a lot of work, but only requires a few sheets of poster board, some cardstock and a plastic jewelled crown. This queen of hearts will steal your heart!

Materials

2 pieces of white foam board, or 2 pieces of white poster board and cardboard
Red cardstock, or numbers and heart shapes printed on white cardstock
Scissors
Glue stick
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
1" twill tape (available in craft and fabric stores), sturdy ribbon or thick rope

Instructions

  1. First, make a front-and-back card base from white poster board or foam board. If using poster board, cut cardboard to match the size of the poster board and attach it to the back of each piece as a stabilizer
  2. Trace two large heart shapes, two small heart shapes and two small numbers onto red cardstock. (Alternately, you can use your computer and printer to print red heart shapes and numbers onto white cardstock and cut them out.) Cut out the shapes and numbers
  3. Position the shapes and numbers on the front card base to match a playing card. Glue them to the card base with a glue stick
  4. Use hot glue to attach two twill tape straps to the top of the front card base. Cut the twill so it measures 8" from the top edge of the card base. Then hot glue the ends of each twill tape strap to the back card base, about 2" in from the edge

Whether you want to stand out from the slew of trick-or-treaters or you’re just in it for the boos, these upcycled Halloween costumes are the perfect way to spend the evening — without spending too much money. Who says Halloween has to be scary?

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