Got Your Halloween Costume Ready? Try These Five-Minute Hacks

Matt Brown
Mar 01, 2024 By Matt Brown
Originally Published on Oct 09, 2020
Animated characters wearing Halloween costumes which is inspiration for simple to make costumes at home.
Age: 0-99
Read time: 4.1 Min

Halloween costumes needn’t cost you an arm and a leg (unless you’re going as Frankenstein’s monster). You could buy one of these imaginative kids’ outfits. Or… try one of these simple ideas to create an inexpensive costume from materials you probably have lying around the home. All perfect for a socially distanced Halloween.

An Actual, See-Through Ghost

We all know the cliche of the white sheet cut with eye-holes, draped over the head. Thing is, kids love to dress up like this. It’s the simplest Halloween costume possible, and has been a winner for generations. But our generation can go one better…

A ghost costume is super easy to make for your child for Halloween.

Image © Sorapop, creative commons licence


How about making your child see-through? You’ll need two smart phones or tablets with front-facing cameras to achieve this astonishing effect. All you have to do is strap one device to the front of the body, and the other to the rear, with the screens facing outwards. There are many ways you could do this, but the simplest is to use bulldog clips that grip on to the phone’s protective case. 

Now, start a video call between the two devices, using whichever service you normally use (e.g. Zoom, Skype, FaceTime). The device strapped to the front will show the view from the rear-mounted camera, and vice-versa. Hey presto, you can see right through the body.

Winged Bat Costume

It’s a rare family that doesn’t have an old broken umbrella lying around somewhere. If you happen to have a black brolly, so much the better. All you need to do is carefully take it apart, and cut the fabric in two to make wings. (The bendy metal struts can be left in for added effect, though you might not want to risk this with smaller children.) These make remarkably good bat wings, when pinned onto a black cardigan or hoodie. Bat ears are easy enough to make from cardboard and an Alice band. Don’t have an old umbrella? Well, the old stand-in of a black bin liner is another lepidopteran option. Speaking of which…

5-Minute Vampire Costume

This simple vampire outfit can be put together quicker than you can say Nosferatu. The clothes are easy -- black trousers, white shirt… perhaps some old school clothes. Remember to turn the collar UP. For a cape, you can once again flap out a black bin liner, and pin it to the shirt, though a dark blanket or a long black skirt cut to shape would be better (if you have more time, line the cape with red material). The hair is important. Squidge on a good dollop of gel and shape the front into a V -- or else just comb everything backwards, Draco Malfoy-style. Then use face paint for the pale skin, bloody fangs and pointy eyebrows. 

(By the way, did you know that Madame Gazelle from Peppa Pig is a suspected vampire?)

DIY Skeleton Outfit

You can make a bare-bones skeleton top with an old white t-shirt. Simply mark out the ribs, sternum and other bones, copying an image from a book or online. Then, cut out the gaps. Wear this over a black top for the most striking effect. The tighter the shirt, the better. Then use face paint (or a mask) to complete the look.

Witch’s Costume

Witch’s hats are actually quite easy to make. You’ll need to find a large sheet of black card or paper. From this, mark and cut out as large a semicircle as you can. The semicircle will then roll up into a cone shape, which can be fixed with glue or tape. You’ll then need to make a brim. Cut short (3cm) slits into the base of the cone at regular intervals, then fold the resulting flaps outward. You now need to cut out a doughnut-shaped ring of black card, which will glue onto the flaps to complete the basic hat. You can decorate it with ribbons, tissue or spooky emblems.

For clothing, black is the witch’s friend. You can make a cloak as outlined in the vampire section. The broom is perhaps the toughest bit, but immense fun to make. Head to your nearest woods (or back garden if you’re lucky enough to have one with trees) and gather together a bundle of small twigs, and one bigger stick (all of which should be taken from the ground, not a living tree). Now, group the twigs together in a bundle and use either gaffer tape or a tough elastic band to grip them onto the larger stick. Note, always supervise carefully when children are handling or playing with sticks -- there’s a risk of splinters and scratches, and they should be prepared to encounter insect life (but, then, a witch should be able to handle a few spiders and slugs).

See also: Ideas for Halloween baby costumes.

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Written by Matt Brown

Bachelor of Science specializing in Chemistry, Master of Research specializing in Biomolecular Sciences

Matt Brown picture

Matt BrownBachelor of Science specializing in Chemistry, Master of Research specializing in Biomolecular Sciences

With a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and a Master's in Residency specializing in Biomolecular Sciences and roots in the Midlands, Matt has developed a passion for writing about London. As a former editor and prolific contributor to, he has authored several books exploring the city's hidden gems. In addition to his work, Matt enjoys spending time with his two preschool-aged children.

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