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Cheap Halloween costume ideas

Halloween is becoming more and more of a big thing in the UK and my kids now start planning their costumes months in advance.

However it can cost a lot to buy really fancy Halloween costumes so I try and make as much as I can myself or re-purpose existing costumes.

If, like me, you leave things to the last minute most of these ideas are things you can throw together to DIY some Halloween costume ideas.

— Looking for some scary gift ideas? Check out our 10 Best Spooky Kids’ Books for Halloween —

7 Top Tips for homemade Halloween Costumes

Fake Blood

A severed head here, a gruesome cut there and you have the start of a great creepy costume. To do this you need some good fake blood that will not drip off or fade.

To create this I use a pot of sticky golden syrup (which hopefully you have in the store cupboard — the classic tin of Lyle’s Golden Syrup is perfect) and some left over red food colouring. Simply mix the colouring into a spoonful of syrup until you have a rich red and then paint it on to skin to create a gory effect.

Because the syrup is nice and thick it sticks and holds its form, plus my kids ended up licking it off at the end of the night!

Make use of the onesies

My kids all have those ridiculous fluffy animal onesies that they flop about the house in and they have been really useful for dressing up.

The great thing about them is that they are really warm too so, with some regular clothes underneath, will keep your kids toasty when out trick or treating.

This cat one from John Lewis is ideal (and can be re-used for World Book Day for any number of literary cats – Carbonel, Mog, Tabby McTat).

This skeleton onesie is also fab (and again can go for a World Book Day option too – Funny Bones).

Cardboard Boxes

In the run up to Halloween save all those cardboard boxes as they may come in useful. A large oblong box can, with a lick of paint, become the basis for all sorts of costumes:

Lego Brick

Cut out the egg compartments from eggs boxes or use large bottle caps and stick them on to the front of a the box in two rows of three and you have the shape of a classic Lego brick. Paint the box a bright primary colour, cut out some arms holes and there you have it.


Use a small box to make a robot head and a larger one to wear as the body. Spray the boxes with silver spray paint (or wrap them in tinfoil) and draw on dials and wires.

Photo from of a DIY printable Minecraft head kit
A printable Minecraft head – from

Minecraft head

Use a square box to create a Minecraft Head. If you are super arty paint the face detail yourself, but if not this blog has a free printable Minecraft head plus instructions on how to create it.


If your kids have denim dungarees then you are halfway to creating a great minion costume! Just add a yellow hoodie (check out this one on Amazon) underneath, some goggles and suddenly you have a mini-minion!

Crime can pay (in sweeties)

Most people own a stripy top these days and one of these can be a great basis for a robber outfit. Add black trousers or leggings, use black face paint to add a mask (or re-purpose a superhero face mask) and then write a big “SWAG” sign on a plain tote bag.

Toilet paper mummy

So simple and so much fun to make! Simply wrap your kids from head to foot in white toilet paper and they become a spooky Egyptian mummy.

Be sure to layer it up (for warmth but also to cover any rips as they pound the streets in search of sweets!) and don’t go too tight… you want them to be able to move around comfortably.

Pro tip: Stick a spare roll in your pocket as you leave the house for running repairs!

Make use of an old umbrella

If you cut the fabric off an old black umbrella it is the perfect shape to create vampire bat wings!

Dress your kids all in black, pin the umbrella ‘cape’ to their arms, paint on some fangs with white face paint and then add a drip of fake blood (see above for the simple, effective, long-lasting fake blood formula we use!).

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