14 DIY Costume Ideas

26 Oct

Although I start dreaming up Halloween costumes way in advance (I mean months in advance) I sometimes still can’t decide until the last minute. For couple’s costume ideas go here.

If there’s one thing the internet has given me, it’s limitless amounts of inspiration.


I don’t even know this kid, but when I saw him several years ago at a Renaissance Faire I had to take a photo. This was before Anthony and I were even planning to start a family, but the idea of crocheted chain mail was something I wanted to file away for future reference. How perfect is that chain mail? Answer: completely! It looks like chain mail but without the weight. I have no idea how to make this, but it looks pretty simple. I was just going to ask my friend Susie when the time comes. I suggest you do the same. (Or if you don’t know my friend Susie, just Google it.)

Fighter Accessories: crochet chain mail, sword and shield, swash-buckling hat, cuteness of an eight-year-old



I know a lot of people who’ve been Mario for Halloween. It’s a great costume, no doubt about it. But Raccoon Mario takes it to a whole new level of Geek-chic. (It’s an awesome hidden level, BTW.)

Raccoon Mario Accessories: red shirt, overalls, yellow felt button covers, hat, felt M logo, raccoon ears and tail



That’s my handsome husband right there. All kinds of ladies were swarming all over him when he wore this to work at the bookstore. I must have been feeling generous because I let them live. There are some very expensive items in this outfit: custom leather pieces aren’t cheap. That said, there were thrifty elements, too. The gray shirt and leather pants are from a thrift store, and the “boots” are from a cheap pirate Halloween costume: they attach to regular shoes to look all buccaneer-like. The sword was borrowed from David (we accidentally broke that sword later in the night while trying to slice a pumpkin in half—sorry, David!) and the bandolier belts were purchased at a yard sale. Since Anthony has used the leather braces and shoulder guards for many occasions in many different costumes I feel it’s a justified purpose. Many times Anthony will be some sort of fighter for Halloween and the years we can afford it we add another piece to his collection. The same goes with my faerie costume.

Swashbuckling Fighter Accessories: boots, leather pants, altered tunic/shirt, bandoleers, sword, bracers, shoulder armor, leather pouch with gold coins, thrifted belts, the good sense not to try to smash a pumpkin with a sword



As I was mentioning above, the faerie costume is my default costume that I add to every couple of years. It’s worth spending money on it as long as I add pieces slowly. But not all of my costume pieces are expensive. The earrings came from Claire’s (you can see the earrings in this picture), the dress I had in my closet, the belt is actually a ribbon, the fan was a favor from a wedding I attended, and instead of a purse I carried a basket that I got at a thrift store. The headpiece I bought online somewhere and the wings I got at a Ren Faire.
Faerie Accessories: dress, headband, ornate necklace and earrings, fan, basket, dress, wings, aversion to iron



David was an OG sexy vampire in the days before the Twilight phenomenon. He darkened his hair with inexpensive, temporary dye,  put in red contacts, and dressed up in a sexy red shirt and charcoal-gray trousers. David looked so hot. It really made me feel awful for breaking his sword. (Sorry, David!) He also put on vampire “fangs” that you glue on top of your canines.

Vampire Accessories: red contacts, temporary hair dye, fangs, nice outfit, tolerance for flash photography



Melynda channels Audrey Hepburn in this iconic costume. Plus, she just looks hot. I wonder where she got the cigarette holder…
Breakfast at Tiffany’s Accessories: tiara, necklace, glasses, gloves, black dress, cigarette holder, clutch


At Halloween the devil is always in style.

The Devil’s in the Details: sexy red dress, fishnets or tights, black lace gloves, horn hairclips, impish smile



John dressed as Rorschach from The Watchmen before the movie came out. There are probably commercial Rorschach costumes out now, but John’s was excellent and definitely easy to duplicate. I know John borrowed the hat, the trench, and maybe even the scarf from our friend Caleb, but I’ve seen similar items at thrift stores. John decorated an opaque white tight with a sharpie for the mask. He could see and breathe through it.

Rorschach Accessories : trench, scarf, hat, stocking, marker



Did you watch the cartoon Doug growing up? Remember the super hero Quail Man that was Doug’s alter ego? Scott nailed it.

Quail Man Accessories: belts for headband, red towel for cape, underwear worn outside of pants, homemade “Q” sweater vest


My sister is hilarious. Her costume was “going emo” but when people asked her what she was she would make a huge, heaving sigh and say, “I don’t caaaaaaaare.” It was perfect.
Emo Accessories: pale make up, black eye make up, black satin trench coat, black tulle skirt, black tights, endless apathy


Laurel obviously purchased this costume after the movie came out, but how freaking cute is this?
Silk Spectre Accessories: costume, ability to look hot and frolic


Doesn’t he look great? John does a really good Joker laugh. Unfortunately it woke a 6 month old Isobel up from her slumber and she screamed bloody murder. Great job, John! Your costume IS scary. To an infant.

The Joker’s Accessories: Dress clothes, purple shirt, cane, costume make up, hideous laugh



Anthony used to work at a large chain bookstore that dressed up for certain Twilight-related days. His manager, David, volunteered to be Dr. Cullen, the devilishly handsome vampire doctor. David just happened to have a real stethoscope. Handy.

Dr. Cullen Accessories: lab coat, hair dye, fangs, contacts, stethoscope


It helps if you have naturally long blond hair, but if not, you can braid a long, blond wig as well. This is my sister, and she braided her hair before winding it around her head like a Valkyrie’s halo. She’s wearing some thrifted fur. I don’t remember what she has one for pants or a skirt. This was a really long time ago, but I sure do like it, the thrifted fur especially. Very creative.

Barbarian Accessories: thrifted or faux fur, braided blond hair or wig, plastic battle axe, willingness to to ascend to Valhalla


Man, this costume looked really good in person. I should have gotten a close up of the faux fur vest he is wearing. Yes. You heard me. That entire vest is faux fur and was purchased at Macy’s as an honest-to-god serious item of clothing. When Justin recieved it as a birthday present from a well-intentioned family member, he decided to get Cro-Magnon with it for Halloween. Leopard pants were easily constructed out of fleece.

Cave Man Accessories: god-awful fake fir vest, leopard pants, tray of delicious flautas


16 Responses to “14 DIY Costume Ideas”

  1. Stefanie October 26, 2010 at 10:43 am #

    OMG I love that fur vest! I wish we could convince him to wear it more often. I remember the night they came next door and asked us to look at something. Justin came out in that vest we almost died. Scott is the master of DIY costumes.

    • LittleBig October 27, 2010 at 8:22 am #

      Doesn’t that vest make you wonder about the fashion industry in America? That vest had to get okay’d by A LOT of people before it even made it to the sales rack. And then Justy’s relative had to find it, look at it, and APPROVE it. Blows the mind.

  2. Windsor Grace October 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    I love that chain mail! I might just make a Joan of Arc outfit for me for next year, I have too many projects on the needles for this year.

    The rest of them are awesome as well.

    • LittleBig October 27, 2010 at 8:20 am #

      OMFG that is a FANTASTIC idea. Also I might have to order some chain mail for Isobel from you. If you do custom requests on etsy, that is.

  3. LaOrganista October 26, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    Aw these all bring back some awesome memories!

    • LittleBig October 27, 2010 at 8:20 am #

      Remember the year we had the huge party with the pinata? GOOD. TIMES.

  4. sarcasmically October 27, 2010 at 6:00 am #

    I can’t decide which of these ideas to steal; they are all so cute. Also, YOU GUYS ARE THE HOTTEST COUPLE EVER! Also also, with an adorable kidlet. Triple also, this comment makes me sound like an internet creeper.

    • LittleBig October 27, 2010 at 8:19 am #

      You’re not so bad yourself!

      I think we just sexually harrassed each other.

  5. TheScott October 27, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

    It’s a little long to explain on Twitter, but here’s how I made the Quail Man head belt:

    As anybody who has tried knows, folding the belt doesn’t work. You need to have a belt you’re willing to ruin for this.

    I wrapped the belt around my head, then poked a notch and cinched it where it fit my head (my pocket knife has a specific tool for it, but an ice pick or a nail and hammer will work). I then cut the remainder off past the buckle so the cut is hidden right behind the edge of the buckle.

    I then took that remaining part and slid it behind the buckle between the belt and the little metal thingy piece that goes in the notch (no idea what it’s called) and pulled it down until the quail “plume” above was at the right length, then trimmed the bottom so it lined up with the belt.

    The metal thingy should hold the plume in place, but if not, I’m sure a little bit of glue could help out.

    • LittleBig October 27, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

      Thanks, Scott! You are rad.

  6. sagemag October 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

    What great ideas, especially Quail Man!

    • LittleBig October 28, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

      Thank you! I’m lucky to have such creative friends.

  7. Mollie Katie October 30, 2010 at 10:57 pm #

    A friend of mine was Quail Man last Halloween! This is the first time I’ve seen that anywhere else, so that’s excellent.

    My Mom also made DIY red glitter flats when I was Dorothy from “The Wizard Of Oz,” handpainting them with red nailpolish then applying sparkles for hours and hours and hours when I was in grade school. She also made my dress when two of my friends and I collectively went as the witches from “Hocus Pocus.”

    Other DIY costume ideas…

    FACEBOOK WALL: White sweatshirt and sweatpants. Use blue and white felt to make Facebook’s logo on the chest. Have friends sign you with permanent markers all night.

    CARMEN SAN DIEGO: Red fedora, red scarf, red trench. Curly brunette wig if you don’t naturally have the hair yourself. My friend Leslie did this last Halloween and tonight @loather posted a TwitPic of her version and it reminded me to come over and comment!

    LEGENDS OF THE HIDDEN TEMPLE TEAM: Couples costume. Gold helmets, rollerskating knee and elbow pads, sneakers. Choose your team and use fabric paint to customize matching shirts.

    THING 1 & THING 2: Couples costume. Also good for kids like the last one. Modify a Dr. Seuss felt hat with blue felt strips of hair. Add white belly and “thing” labels to blue sweatshirts. Blue sweatpants to match. This is also good if you live in New England, like me, because it keeps you warm while Trick-Or-Treating. I was a success as a child with that one.

    I think that’s it! 🙂

    • LittleBig October 31, 2010 at 6:19 am #

      I bet those shoes turned out *amazing* and I bet you also loved them with all your heart.

      DIY costumes are the most fun.

      • Mollie Katie November 1, 2010 at 3:08 am #

        I have pics of my Dorothy costume somewhere but not scanned, or I would show you the gorgeousness that is the shoes.

        Ok, so for my B-52s and Isobel as the Rock Lobster, it’s based on a neighborhood kid’s outfit from a few Halloweens ago. I don’t think seafood is a “normal” Halloween costume so I took pics. Basically it’s a red sweatsuit with red plates for the body (with scalloped edges for the tail) and cups for the arms. Around here we have crab hats and lobster claw mitts for kids, kind of a kitsch touristy thing, but in the cold it works. Plus also? YOU GET A CRAZY-COLORED BEEHIVE AND THAT IS JUST LEGIT AWESOME. And Anthony should rock a key-tar. I don’t think that’s B-52s authentic per se, but also awesome.

        Lobstah photos (hopefully the Flickr links work…try to ignore Taylor’s face because she fell *up* the steps and hurt herself): http://flic.kr/p/8PNLLd and the back where you can kind of see the tail http://flic.kr/p/8PKGSp

      • Mollie Katie November 1, 2010 at 3:52 am #

        This blog has info on how to make DIY glitter flats that last longer than one Halloween night, in case you were thinking about it…


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