Trick or Treat! Easy Last-Minute Do It Yourself Costume Ideas

Parents Magazine Helps You Turn Household Items Into Fun Halloween Disguises


Oct. 29, 2009—

Halloween is just days away, and if you're still in search of a costume for your child, fear not!

"GMA" family and life contributor Lee Woodruff has tips from Parents magazine on how to make last-minute costumes on the cheap, from items you probably already have around your house. It just takes a little imagination to transform everyday household items into a fun Halloween disguise.

Each of these do-it-yourself Halloween costumes can be made in less than 30 minutes, costs less than $10 and uses only recycled materials.

Weatherman Costume, Parents magazine


You can make this costume in less than a half-hour, and no professional crafting skills are required. You probably have all these items in your house right now. And your child will be able to go trick-or-treating, rain or shine!


Blue and silver craft paper to make raindrops and lightning-bolts



Fishing line



Cut out two matching raindrop shapes and two matching lightning-bolt shapes from blue craft foam or paper.

Glue like shapes together with one end of a 12-inch length of fishing line sandwiched in between. Repeat to make additional shapes.

Tie fishing line to spokes of umbrella.

Octopus Costume, Parents magazine


Before you toss your child's old tights and socks into the trash, think about ways you can reuse them for this adorable and budget-friendly costume. The editors at Parents gave old socks a new look by turning them into an adorable octopus's eight legs!


4 pairs mismatched kids' tights

Cotton batting

Felt furniture tabs

Hot-glue gun


Adhesive backed Velcro strips




Cut the legs off 3 pairs of tights and stuff each with batting.

Fold the raw edges inward and hot-glue shut.

Hot-glue felt tabs onto the underside of each leg (including the fourth pair of tights for baby to wear).

Cut a 24-inch length of ribbon and glue the sealed end of each leg to the middle section, leaving no space between the legs.

Attach adhesive-backed Velcro to ends of ribbon belt to use as closure.

Last-Minute Do It Yourself Halloween Costumes

Judge Costume, Parents magazine


This judge costume can make a big impact but also leave a small footprint, because the costume is earth friendly! Save up your toilet paper rolls to create this judge's distinguished 'do and reuse cardboard packaging for her gavel. You can also paint the wig with glow-in-the dark paint so she'll be visible after sundown.


Toilet-paper rolls (about 30)

Hole punch

White yarn

White paint

Glow-in-the-dark paint (Glowz; for retailers)

White knit cap

Hot-glue gun

Wooden chopstick

Brown acrylic paint


Large cotton balls



Punch 2 holes in each roll, 1 inch from either end.

Then punch 2 holes 180 degrees around the roll from those.

Tie a large knot at the end of an 18 inch piece of yarn and thread nine rolls together, lining them up evenly, then repeat on the opposite side; tie the yarn together at the top.

Repeat for two more nine-roll sections.

For a fourth section, punch holes in two rolls, then thread together and tie a knot at the top.

Paint the four sections white, and, before it dries, paint with glow-in-the-dark paint.

Once dry, tie the four sections together and hot-glue to knit cap so the short section is in front.

Trim the excess yarn.

Add a dot of glue to cotton balls and insert into the ends of each roll; let dry.


Trace the end of a toilet-paper roll onto cardboard and cut out circle; repeat.

Attach circles to each end of the roll with hot glue.

Cut a small hole in the center of the roll and push a chopstick through.

Paint tube and chopstick brown; let dry.

Last-Minute Do It Yourself Halloween Costumes

Sushi Costume, Parents magazine


You don't need to sew a stitch to come up with this Halloween treat. Turning your baby into sushi is as easy as an orange pillow, white tape and a green ribbon sash!


Small orange pillow

White tape

4-inch wide-dark-green ribbon


Hot-glue Gun

Adhesive-backed Velcro strips


Working with the pillow vertically, tape strips diagonally down pillow, starting at the top middle edge, leaving about 2 inches between strips.

Repeat on the other side going in the opposite direction.

Cut at 24-inch length of green ribbon, and glue it crosswise to the middle of the pillow, leaving equal lengths of ribbon on each side.

Measure your baby's waist and attach adhesive-backed Velcro to each end of ribbon to use as closure

Last-Minute Do It Yourself Halloween Costumes

Crayon Costume, Parents magazine


Black felt can turn a pair of colorful pjs or a sweat suit into the perfect crayon! No sewing required!


Solid colored shirt and pants -- you can use pajamas or a sweat suit

Measuring tape

Black adhesive-backed felt


3-inch and 1-inch black adhesive-backed felt letters

Party hat (which you probably have left over from the last birthday party)


Measure the shirt and pant cuffs of clothing.

Cut two 4-inch tall strips of black felt that are about an inch longer than the circumference of the pant cuff (this will allow for stretch).

Cut two 3-inch tall strips of black felt an inch longer than the circumference of the wrist cuff.

On the back of each strip, draw a wavy line lengthwise (make sure the line begins and ends at the same height so it lines up when cuffed), then cut along line.

Peel off adhesive liner and position the larger strips around the ankles of pants, leaving a ½-inch gap between the strips.

Repeat with the smaller strips around the wrist cuffs.

Stick the 3-inch letters down the front of the shirt to spell "crayon" and spell the desired crayon color down the back of one leg using the 1-inch letters.

For more information on how to make these costumes, go to