8 Easy Halloween Costumes for Kids

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This Halloween, save on time, money and stress with these easy-to-make kid costumes.

It took me only one Halloween of forgetting that one last thing I needed for a costume to realize that standing in line at a party store on October 30 is a horrendous experience. I might be the overzealous type when it comes to Halloween because I make costume plans with my kids far in advance, but I know from watching my mom while growing up that laboring over hand-sewn costumes eventually balances out with years of scrambling around the house looking for anything that might resemble a costume. My brother should know. He once wore my mom’s black church skirt folded over a white pillowcase on his head to make him a nun.

Necessity is the mother of invention — and sometimes the best costume ideas are born from excavating your closet 10 minutes before a Halloween party.

Need some costume ideas this year that will save you some money? You can create these quick kid costumes in a matter of minutes — and most from things you already have in your home.

Poison Ivy

materials needed for poison ivy costume

Cut a little flair (jagged edges) to a green T-shirt (size up so it works as a dress on little ones) and pair it with some green tights to create a simple poison ivy costume. Wrap an artificial ivy garland around your child’s shoulders, pull a few leaves off and secure them with bobby pins in her hair, and finish the look by painting some green leaves on her face and sprinkling with face glitter. Have her carry a bottle of calamine lotion — and she’ll have onlookers scratching their skin in no time.

child in poison ivy costume(My little model’s name happens to be Ivy, so this is even more fitting!)

Chimney Sweeper

materials needed for chimney sweeper costume

I scraped together everything here from our closets and drawers. Chimney sweepers wear pretty basic clothes. All you need is a red bandana to tie it off, a newsboy cap (we stole ours from little brother’s closet), some dirt and grime (with the help of eye makeup) and a broom from the garage.

child in chimney sweeper costume

Car Mechanic

materials needed for car mechanic costume

Anything denim works great to create a car mechanic costume. To pull it together, just add a homemade mechanic name tag, a baseball cap and some grease stains using makeup. To make it even better, have him carry a can of motor oil and include a ride-on car for trick-or-treating.

baby in car mechanic costume


Little Red Riding Hood

materials needed for little red riding hood costume

Most kids’ closets have a few red things, and whether you use a dress or pair a red shirt and pants together, the thing that pulls this costume together is the cape. You can easily fold this yard of fabric to fit any child and tuck it around her head as a hood (secure with a large safety pin under the chin). No sewing needed. Tie a thin red ribbon at the safety pin to finish it off — and add a cute basket. Watch out for the wolf!

child in little red riding hood costume


materials needed for child artist costume

Have a creative little one? She’ll love this easy artist costume and will love helping you decorate the apron even more. Most craft stores sell inexpensive aprons for children. Splatter a bit of acrylic paint on it and top off the costume with a wool beret. I easily created the painter’s palette by cutting a piece of cardboard into the desired shape and painting some colored circles on it. Add a paintbrush, and there you have it — a masterpiece!

child in artist costume
Fraulein Maria

materials needed for sound of music costume

My favorite costume of the bunch, this Fraulein Maria outfit begs for some twirling and heel kicking and a nice round of “I have confidence in sunshine!” Any long skirt will do for this. Just add a cardigan, a wide-brim hat (this one is Mama’s and it worked just fine) and a large purse. If you don’t have a guitar, ask a guitar-playing friend if you can borrow his  case, or any toy guitar will do.

child in sound of music costume
Breakfast at Tiffany’s

materials needed for audrey hepburn costume

Diamonds might not be a little girl’s best friend, but fake ones sure do look cute with a black dress for this Breakfast at Tiffany’s Costume. If your daughter doesn’t have a black dress, have no fear. Use a women’s tank top, which will look like a chic sleeveless dress on a child. Add costume jewels and wrap some sparkly bling around a little bun for the perfect Audrey look — and then top it off with some big sunglasses and a light blue gift bag. You can skip the cigarette.

child in audrey hepburn costume


materials needed for child granny costume

The vintage and old-fashioned trends come in handy for this costume. A long skirt, blouse and crochet cardigan quickly become grandma’s knitting outfit when you add a pair of reading glasses and a knitting project. The fun part comes, though, when you turn your child’s hair gray. Pour a generous amount of baby powder in her hair, massage it through until the hair looks gray, and tidy it all up into a nice granny bun. Then teach her how to pinch cheeks and say, “Sonny, we need to put some meat on those bones!”

child in granny costume


Now isn’t dressing up fun? Happy October!

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Photo credit: Kelle Hampton

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