Ideas for the whole family

Family Halloween Costumes

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Costume Help

We're going to a family Halloween costume party this year and I need costume ideas for my spouse, our kids that range from teens to little ones, and me. Running out and buying "store bought" costumes for everyone is out of the question. Does anyone have any good ideas they can share? Thanks for your help!
Looking for Killer Costumes

Family Costumes Start with Sweat Suits

I have a large family, and in regards to Halloween costumes, I have tried to be creative and practical at the same time. One thing that worked for us was purchasing inexpensive sweats for each of the children and then building a costume from that.

For example, we purchased gray sweats one year. Then, I went to my eye doctor and asked for those plastic glasses that you get when they dilate your eyes. I bought wooden dowels and painted them white. Then, I made cut outs of mouse ears and I cut a piece of gray material and pinned it on the back of the sweats for a tail. My three boys were the three blind mice.

Another idea is to use black sweats with red and blue duct tape around each wrist. Then pin or sew metal washers, screws, alphabet magnets, etc. on the sweats and your child is a magnet.

With purple sweats and purple balloons with a green hat, you are a grape cluster. The ideas are limitless and the beauty of the sweats is that my children then use them as their winter pajamas.
Amy in New Mexico

The Mess under Your Bed Costume

One year, my daughter went as "The Mess Under Your Bed." The base was an empty pizza box. To that she added a strip of scrap fabric so that the box could hang easily around her neck like an oversized pendant. To the front of the box, she hot glued an empty soda can, candy wrappers, and a worn sock retrieved from the rag bag. Underneath, she wore mismatched pajamas with a fake spider pinned to her shoulder. Except for the glue and the spider pin, this costume cost nothing, and everyone in the neighborhood agreed that it was unique.
Elsie in North Georgia

For more ideas: Duct Tape Halloween Costumes

A Family of Robots Halloween Costume

Make everyone a robot. My husband did this for my sons one year, and we used tin foil trays, aluminum foil and a lot of cardboard. He is an engineer so they had lights attached as well, but this isn't necessary. All of the costumes were made from supplies that came from around the house.
Mom of Five in PA

Family Costumes From the Movies

My kids (ages 6 and 4) are going with the theatre theme this year. The oldest is going as a box of popcorn. All you need is a box the will fit around the child. Cut a hole in the top for the head to poke through and the sides for the arms to poke through. Paint the box white then paint red stripes. On a separate piece (maybe the piece cut out for the head), paint "Fresh Popcorn" and glue it on. Use some microwave popcorn to glue to the top to make the box look full of popcorn.

Our youngest is going as theatre trashcan. Use a cardboard box, but this time make it rounded by bending it and rolling it until it stays round. Paint it a gray color (the dollar store has these colors in spray cans and they work great!). For the top part, glue on some empty and clean soda cans, candy wrappers, napkins, straws, etc. Except for the boxes and paint, I bet we all have these items around the house somewhere, and if we don't, there's always a dollar store! And the boxes? Well, any grocery store would be happy to get rid of a couple of boxes!

Another idea I've seen along the theatre line is the theatre floor. It's quite a bit grosser than the trashcan but imagine the possibilities! And all you need are two flat pieces of cardboard that are attached together with some wide fabric on the shoulders, which can be covered up by the goop. I'm sure we can all remember the kinds of things you would find on the bottom of your shoes after a good movie!

Website for Family Halloween Costumes

I've used many times to get ideas for Halloween costumes for my kids. I've found them to be cheaper than buying at the store, providing you use free or inexpensive materials. Also, for next year, buy costumes after Halloween when they are clearance priced.

Related: Halloween Potions and Recipes

Fall Yard Clean Up Costumes

With some trash bags, gloves and basic yard equipment, you and your husband could go as gardeners getting their fall yard ready, and the kids could go as bags of leaves you've raked up. Put holes in the trash bags for arms and legs, then pack with wadded newspaper. Put some leaves around the top edge of the bag and tape a couple to the outside of the bag as well. A leaf or two in the hair would finish the illusion. You and your husband could put on yard clothes, gardening hats and maybe some gloves. If you bring a rake, it will complete the look.

Group Theme Halloween Costumes

I have two possible ideas.

  1. Make dad a brown felt M&Ms bag following the same front as the real bag. Then make everyone else a different color M&M. You can buy cheap felt and make large circles. Sew the sides, leaving a hole for the head and body. Glue on the "M." You can copy and enlarge the M from a bag of M&Ms. I actually bought a pattern years ago, but after opening and cutting it apart, I could have made the costumes without the $7.50 pattern.
  2. Make a family of Dalmatian dogs. Mom and dad are Pongo and Perty and the kids are all of the kids. You can buy white sweat pants and shirts at Wal-Mart fairly cheaply. Then you can tape or pin black felt dots all over the outfits. That way, you can take off the dots and use the outfits.


Family Christmas Costumes for Halloween

Here's a fun idea that my family did a few years ago. We were Christmas presents!

For each kid, get a box of the appropriate size, cut off the bottom, cut a hole in the top that is big enough to put his/her head through, and cut comfortable armholes in the sides or front. Then cover the box with Christmas wrapping paper, and neatly cut the paper around the holes. Add a stick-on bow or ribbon on his head. We used our Christmas stockings for goody bags.

Dad was a Christmas tree. We made him a silly star hat out of foil. We wrapped and safety-pinned a green sheet around him and pinned garland and ornaments to the sheet. As a warning, do not use breakable ornaments!

It was a fun group costume that got a lot of compliments. Best of all, it cost us nothing. We used stuff that we already had on hand.

Roaring 20's Costumes for Our Family

My family lives in an extremely rural area, where trick or treating for the little ones involves multiple stops along our driving route. Consequently, parents are needed to ferry the kids from one house to the next.

To create a fun atmosphere while driving, all of the "chauffeurs" go in costume, usually themed with what many of the kids are wearing. One of our best was the Roaring 20's theme. Guys wore dark pants, white shirts, vests, and fedoras. Gals were wearing flapper dresses (purchase enough $1 satin to make a tube dress, sew on some fringe, add ribbon straps to hold it up). The kids were prisoners in striped outfits holding "loot" bags! Have a fun and safe holiday!
Louise in M.O.N. (middle of nowhere) Montana

Reviewed October 2017

Take the Next Step

  • For clever costume ideas on the cheap, check out the TDS Guide to a Frightfully Frugal Halloween.
  • No time for a DIY costume this year? Shop the newest costumes available at!
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