Shipwreck Costume Ideas: A DIY Guide

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If a Halloween party invite shows up at the last minute, there's still plenty of time for DIY Halloween costumes. A shipwrecked theme offers multiple costume ideas in one, and they're all fairly easy to create from old clothing or a trip to the thrift store. Dress in a shipwrecked pirate costume or as a random castaway stuck on a deserted island.


For a group or couples costume theme, dress as your favorite TV castaway crew from ​Gilligan's Island​.

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Shipwrecked pirate costume

A shipwrecked pirate costume looks much like any pirate costume but with lots of extra wear and tear.


  1. Pirate Pants.​ Cut off some pants or leggings at the knees and then cut slits and shred the bottom few inches or so. If using light fabric, rub some coffee grounds or tea on the material in certain areas to make it look dirty. Hang some Spanish moss or faux seaweed out of the pockets for a high-seas touch.
  2. Torn T-shirt.​ Old T-shirts, especially striped ones, are perfect for last-minute options if you don't have anything that looks like a deluxe pirate shirt with ruffled sleeves. Stretch out the neckline, arm holes and bottom of the shirt and shred part of the T-shirt for added effect.
  3. DIY Sash.​ Make a sash from satin, silk or even a solid-color dark T-shirt cut into long strips if you have nothing else available.
  4. Bandana.​ A solid-color bandana or scrap of fabric becomes a pirate headband simply by tying it around your forehead or over most of your head.
  5. Argh Matey.​ Wear a small hoop earring and an eye patch to complete the look for your pirate party theme.


Castaway costume ideas

The castaway look is another simple DIY option for a Halloween party, and it's even more effective as a group or couple's costume. As with a pirate costume, shred the bottom and sleeves of any type of shirt and stretch the material out a bit if possible. An old, faded T-shirt with stains is perfect for castaway cosplay. Shred parts of a skirt, shorts or pants for the bottom of the castaway outfit.


If you have old shoes or sandals that look like they belong in the trash, tear them up even more and wear those if going barefoot isn't an option. For group men's costumes, grow beards or wear fake ones, messing up facial and head hair for added effect. For any gender, use greasepaint or dark, flat eye shadow to make your skin look dirty.



Movie character castaway costumes

Here are some more DIY shipwreck costume ideas, if you're looking to emulate specific characters from popular movies.

  • Chuck Noland.​ If you're dressing as Tom Hanks' character from the movie ​Castaway​, follow the castaway basics for the outfit and then use red fingerpaint to decorate an old volleyball, copying the design used in the film. Carry the ball everywhere you go during the Halloween party.


For a ​Gilligan's Island​ halloween costume, pick your favorite character, such as Gilligan or Skipper, and dress in similar attire.

  • Gilligan​. Faded jeans, a red long-sleeve polo shirt and a white bucket hat.
  • Skipper​. Khaki pants, a blue polo shirt and a ship captain's hat.
  • The Professor.​ Beige dress pants and a blue or white long-sleeve, button-front shirt. Carry around random objects, such as a coconut shell, and explain that you're making a radio to call for help getting off the island.
  • Mary Ann.​ A red plaid dress or crop top and denim short shorts. Wear pigtails with that outfit.

The Howells and Ginger changed outfits regularly on the show, dressing as rich folks or a sultry movie star, respectively.



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