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Easy No-Sew DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids

Easy No-Sew DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids

By Melissa Summers

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I spent a lot of time browsing handmade Halloween costumes and thinking about all the adorable things I could dress her up as. One year she was a small monkey and the next year she was an adorable chicken. Then, at the ripe old age of 4, she discovered mass-produced Halloween costumes and now every year she begs to be some kind of Zombie Princess/Cheerleader/Prom Queen, a costume that costs $30, does not include accessories or makeup, and seems to imply that everyone in fourth grade is watching “The Walking Dead.”

I really dislike store-bought costumes — they’re mostly expensive, poorly made, and inappropriate. But what really kills me is that so many of them lack any creativity, which is really what makes Halloween fun. For me, at least.

I’ve always known that I wouldn’t be able to convince my kids to be a chicken and an egg forever (although let’s talk about how adorable that is — a CHICKEN! and an EGG!). But I draw the line at spending $30 so my daughter can look like a small undead prostitute.

What I’m saying is, I’ve been looking for DIY costume options that I might be able to talk my kids into. Here are three of my favorites.

Easy DIY Costumes for All Ages

1. Barnyard animal. Martha Stewart is definitely my go-to for great toddler and preschooler costumes. My favorites are either these adorable lambs or the fluffy chicken. I know you’re rolling your eyes right now and saying, “Right, it’s going to take me 127 hours to hand sew imported ostrich feathers all over that thing and Melissa, I love you, but I’m not doing it.” Listen, I made the chicken and it’s not hard — it’s just really, really cute. (One note: A commenter at Martha Stewart suggested sewing the boas onto a sweater instead of a leotard for the chicken costume. This is brilliant — it’s got to be easier to get a wriggly toddler into a cardigan than into a stuffed leotard.)

2. Robot. Elementary school is when kids start to have opinions about things like, I don’t know, what they want to dress up as for Halloween. It’s also when they start begging you to buy $30 Transformers outfits from Spirit Halloween because that’s what’s cool now, Mom. I’ve been trying to convince my son to be a robot for Halloween for the last three years. I’m dying to make small + friendly’s super simple robot costume. Maybe I just need to offer paint it so it looks like a Transformer. Do you think that will work?

3. Slice of pizza. Older kids are all about food, so why not dress up as something delicious. Of course, if I convince one of my kids to be a piece of pizza, I’ll have to remove everything but the pepperoni, just like in real life. Fortunately, Food Network’s DIY pizza costume lets you choose your own toppings, so they can be as boring as they want. If your kids are are more into sweets than savories, how about dressing up as a giant donut? No sewing required! Perfect.

More From Alphamom on Halloween

Forget Costumes and Rules — Let’s Talk About Candy
Trick Out Your Halloween Treats with These DIY Cupcake Toppers
Universal Parenting Truths: Halloween Edition

Photo source: Depositphoto/ChamilleWhite


Melissa Summers
About the Author

Melissa Summers

Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.


Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.

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  • Paula

    October 9, 2006 at 10:20 am

    When I was younger I was never allowed to buy a halloween costume. One year I was a football player (my older brother played football), one year I was a cheerleader (yes I was also a cheerleader). My favorite costume was when I was a christmas present. My mom got this huge box, cut a head and arm holes in it and wrapped it with paper. I had a green turtle neck on and I wore one red stocking and one green stocking. On my head was a big bow. The only hard part was walking up and down the steps to trick or treat — I lived in the city. That and the fact that I couldn’t put my arms together so I had to hold my candy bag with one hand and swing my body around to ask for candy. It was still a cool costume!

  • CallistaWolf

    October 9, 2006 at 3:01 pm

    My mom always made my costumes when I was growing up and they were fantastic. She even made me a “My Little Pony” costume one year that kicked butt.
    Of course, I lack an essential creative gene and have to purchase my children’s Halloween costumes. *hangs head in shame*

  • Tina

    October 9, 2006 at 3:55 pm

    We never had money to buy costumes as kids…so we made them, and were things like clowns or a robot. I was a Goddess one year (wearing a ‘fancy’ night gown that was in our dress up box)–my real name is Athena, so it worked well. Anyway, it’s kind of fun to see the costumes they have for kids, so this year we’re buying (with the idea they can be used for dress-up later).

  • Melanie

    October 9, 2006 at 9:01 pm

    I’m so worried about the yen for storebought when my son gets older – so far (he’s 4) we’ve done all homemade and it’s worked well, but who knows how long I can get by…. Of course,I always had homemade costumes as a kid, too, so maybe I can pass that down? Either way, thanks for all the suggestions. Because right now the plan is to be a mummy and I’m NOT loving that kid-wrapped-in-toilet-paper idea.

  • Amy

    October 10, 2006 at 12:55 am

    Oh, yikes. That monster girl costume is so awful. It is TOTALLY an un-dead prostitute. I would like to think I won’t let my daughter dress like that when she’s older, but she’s already toting the fugly Dora backpack to preschool every day. So, who’s to say?

  • B

    October 10, 2006 at 4:06 am

    Holy Balls! $23.49 pricey? I like the way you talk! Because you, like me, would just about fall over and die if you take a gander at the Pottery Barn Kids costumes my daughter was looking at.

  • Jenn

    October 10, 2006 at 11:02 am

    What the hell is the deal with the Power Rangers? Ugh. DS#1 has been a Power Ranger every year since he had a clue about dressing up. Now DS#2 is joining in. There still may be hope for my youngest – a girl. But…who am I kidding? I’ll be at Target on October 28th trying to figure out if the 4T costume is really too big for my 2T daughter and why there are no more numchucks to go with the crappy Ninja costumes that were left for my sons to wear. Sigh.

  • pursegirl

    October 10, 2006 at 2:01 pm

    My kiddos, 14, 12, & 8, have been whining at me since around age 5 about the rule in our house: “we don’t BUY costumes! What’s the fun of that?” I have to admit I broke down and bought pieces of a cheerleader costume because it was 75% off. Cheerleader? Geez… I’m a no-sewer and glue, sweats, felt, and thrift stores have made the three nay-sayers into fairies, pheonix (rising from ashes, no less), Queen of all things, frog (my personal fave with spray painted scuba flippers as feet!), Pippy Longstockings, evil monster dudes (many variations), and Medusa. I love, love, love Halloween.

  • pixie sticks

    October 10, 2006 at 2:06 pm

    my little guy was that old navy chicken costume last year (the perfect accessory to his brother’s farmer costume) and I loved it. So easy and warm – he wore his pjs underneath. Wish I could stuff him into it this year too. I dread the age when they put up a fight over what they want to be vs. what I feel like making them be!

  • Heather

    October 11, 2006 at 5:00 am

    I love the phoenix idea! Congrats on the craftiness. Someday I hope to be so inventive!

  • Jen-m

    October 24, 2006 at 8:58 am

    I still haven’t got my kids costumes worked out. My daughter (she’s 7) wants to be a fairy which shouldn’t be too hard, it’s just a matter of getting all of the stuff put together. All of the store bought fairies look like hookers to me. My son (6) wanted to be a ghost. But not a “Scream” ghost, a white one, without a bleeding face … but make it at home ?? A HORROR – according to him. I will admit that we have bought our costumes every year so far. It’s just so easy … Costco has the greatest furry ones for my son and all of the Disney princesses for my daughter. This year though, the furry ones are Winnie the Poo. That was a no go and my daughter has been all of the princesses there. So I’m in a lurch now that it’s a week away and we’re left with no ideas and no time and it’s an hour to any shopping. Crap !! My whole point for posting a comment was to tell you Melissa that I was in Target yesterday and all of their costumes are 30% now and they have those Power Ranger costumes with the muscles there. Good luck !!

  • Grandma Patti

    October 25, 2006 at 10:15 pm

    I am a grandma and just finished making a VERY furry chicken costume for my 1 /12 yr old granddaughter, a red flying dragon for her 4 yr brother, and an Evil Kneivel outfit for my other 1 1/2 year grandson. I will cry when they want storebought!