I love making Halloween costumes for my kids! I’m no expert-crafter though. I just keep it simple. But I’ve gotten loads of compliments on the few costumes I’ve made. Here are a few tips for making a costume that will get noticed.
8 Tricks for a DIY Costume That Will Get Noticed
Use regular clothes as a “base”.
This has worked well for me for several years. When my oldest was very much into superheroes and wanted to be Batman, the base of her costume was simply black pants and a black shirt. Her then-2-year-old sister didn’t have a clue about costumes. So she went as Robin with black leggings, a green skirt, and a red shirt.
Solid color leggings work really well, are affordable and easy to find. And boys can use leggings too as a costume base or as an added layer under a costume.
Shop thrift stores with an open mind.
There’s no reason to buy brand new clothes just for a costume, and fabric for sewing costumes from scratch can get expensive. Shop thrift stores in search of clothing, sheets, and blankets that could be transformed into part of your costume. And keep an open mind, looking for the right fabric, not just the right piece of clothing.
For example, if you are making a police officer costume for a child, don’t just look for child-sized dress pants. Think about using adult dress pants and transforming them into child-sized pants using a pair of your kiddo’s pants as a pattern, keeping the original hem and using an elastic waist band. And old t-shirts can easily be turned into super hero capes!
And don’t forget that fabrics can be dyed and shoes, belts, and hats can be painted! (If you don’t want to make a trip to your local thrift store, check out ThredUp . It’s an online secondhand shop with TONS to choose from!)
Felt is fantastic!
Using thicker fabrics gives your costume a sturdier, higher quality look. Felt is so so so easy to work with! No hemming or surging or zig-zag-stitching required. It’s very forgiving. That’s what I used to make my daughter’s owl costume and fox costume.
The owl costume was super easy. I just used one of her sundresses as a pattern and cut out feather shapes to sew to the felt dress.
The fox costume was a bit more challenging, but still easy enough for a beginner. I read the instructions wrong and used orange felt instead of fleece, but it still turned out fine. The hat just wasn’t very stretchy. I used the Fleece Fox Hat and Tail tutorial from Camelot Fabrics.
Fleece is fabulous!
Fleece is also very easy to work with. It’s forgiving, sort of like jersey knit. It’s also warm, which is important around these parts!
If you want to try your hand at sewing a costume, I’d start with searching for patterns that use felt or fleece. These fabrics will give your costume a higher quality look and feel than that thin shiny stuff store-bought costumes are made from.
Go off trend.
If you really want your costume to get noticed, go off trend. It’s not likely you’ll be memorable if you are one of 100 Elsa’s. Even with a stellar homemade Elsa costume.
Witches, black cats, spiders – the classics tend to be pretty easy to dress up with your own creative spin. Here are a couple of examples.
A witch with a fun, colorful tutu.
A furry spider with googly eyes.
Think way outside the box.
Some of the most creative AND memorable costumes are the ones that are neither trendy nor classic! I LOVE The Thinking Closet’s Punny Halloween Costume posts! Here are a couple examples:
Here are a few others that are not so punny, but still cute and creative:
and this whole family of Mario Brothers characters!
Let the stores help you a little.
My daughter’s Batman mask is something I purchased. I’d normally attempt to make a simple one out of felt, but she specifically asked for a Batman mask for her birthday (which happens to be less than 2 weeks before Halloween). So I let the stores help me a bit on that part of her costume.
I’ve only had a few years of practice on DIY Halloween costumes, so I’m no expert. I’d love to hear YOUR favorite homemade costume ideas! Share in the comments!
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