3 Easy DIY Cardboard Box Costume Ideas for Kids

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When Halloween rolls around, our favorite motto regarding costumes is: Why buy, when you can DIY? Most of us have empty boxes around, especially parents with kids still in diapers. With just a few simple supplies and minimal effort, we've got all the deets you need to recycle your cardboard containers and transform them into great costumes for your kiddos.

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From a charming train conductor to an adorable ice cream seller or a sweet little robot, we're pretty sure you'll have the cutest trick-or-treater on the block.

Train conductor — choo choo!

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

eHow may earn compensation through affiliate links in this tutorial.

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Train engineer: Things you'll need

  1. Box cutter or utility knife
  2. Empty large diaper box
  3. Small box
  4. Paper or plastic cup
  5. Hot glue gun
  6. Black glossy spray paint
  7. Gold spray paint
  8. Paper bowl
  9. Gold washi tape
  10. Cotton ball
  11. Ribbon
  12. Suggested props: Conductor hat and bandana

Cut Squares Into Your Cardboard Box

For this DIY train costume, use a box cutter or utility knife to cut a large square hole in the top and bottom of the empty diaper box. Make sure the holes are large enough to fit your little one. Leave enough space uncut in front of and behind the hole to fit the small box and cup.

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Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Glue the Boxes in Place

Place the small box and cup on top of the diaper box and hot glue them in place.

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Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Spray Paint the Boxes

Spray paint the train with a black glossy spray paint. It'll take at least two or three coats to cover the print on the boxes. Be sure to paint in a well-ventilated area and put a tarp or newspaper down to protect your surface.

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Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Spray Paint a Bowl Gold

Spray paint a paper bowl with gold spray paint. Once the train and bowl are both dry, hot glue the bowl to the front of the diaper box, just below the cup.

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Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Add Decorative Stripes

Use gold washi tape to create decorative stripes on the sides of the train and around the smoke stack.

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Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Create the Train Wheels

Cut out circles from scrap cardboard to create six wheels. Paint them with gold spray paint. Once dry, hot glue three wheels on each side of the cardboard box train.

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Pull a cotton ball apart to loosen it and hot glue it on top of the smoke stack to look like a puff of steam. Lastly, hot glue two long strips of ribbon on each side of the train to act as straps, so your child can "wear" the train costume.

And just like that, you've created a simple cardboard box Halloween costume!

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Ice cream seller

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Things You'll Need

Wrap Your Cereal Box

Wrap an empty cereal box with white wrapping paper, as if you were wrapping a present.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Cut Holes in the Box

Use a utility knife to cut six X-shaped holes in the top of the box. Space them about 2 inches apart on each side.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Print out text that says "ICE CREAM" and "25¢" on white printer paper and cut them out. Tape or glue them to the front of the box.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Cut the Card Stock

Draw an arc shape on each corner of brown card stock or construction paper and cut them out.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Create the Ice Cream Flavors

Roll the arc shapes into cones and hot glue the ends together to secure the cones. Then scrunch up tissue paper into a ball to look like ice cream and hot glue it inside each cone. We used mint green, pink, brown and white tissue paper to create various "flavors." There's a lot of variety in this simple DIY Halloween costume!

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Add Sprinkles and Other Decorations

To create sprinkles, cut out little pieces of colored paper or felt. To create chocolate chunks, cut out small squares from brown paper or felt. Use a small red pom pom to create a cherry on top. Hot glue the decorations on top of the ice cream cones and then insert the cones inside the holes of the box.

To create a carrying strap for your child to wear the box around his or her neck, cut a long strip of ribbon and hot glue each end on the sides of the box. Your kiddo will be the most successful ice cream salesperson in the neighborhood!

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

DIY robot costume

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Things You'll Need

Cut the Flaps off the Box

Use scissors to cut the four flaps from the top of the box.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Create a Head Hole

Turn the box upside down and use a box cutter to cut a large round hole in the bottom of the box. Be sure to center the hole and make it large enough for your child's head to fit through.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Make the Arm Holes

Cut a round hole on each side of the box large enough for your child's arms to fit through.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Paint the Box Silver

Spray paint the box silver. It'll take about two or three coats. Be sure to paint in a well-ventilated area. Put a tarp or newspaper down to protect your surface.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Add the DIY Buttons and Gadgets

Paint six water bottle caps with various colors of craft paint. Once dry, hot glue two rows with three caps each on the front of the box. Hot glue a plastic lid (we used an empty oatmeal container lid) on the front of the box next to the smaller caps.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Add the Robot's Gauge

Cut out a circle from white printer paper and draw a gauge on top. Hot glue it above the smaller caps.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

With that, you have three simple Halloween costume ideas that require little more than what you have lying around the house already. These homemade costumes can be recycled, modified and improved year after year as your child grows, too.

We wish you luck in your DIY journey, and a very happy Halloween!

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