Who are you going to call when you realize that Halloween is right around the corner and you’ve got no costume? It’s not Ghostbusters, I can tell you that.
We’ve all been there before, whether it’s your kid who always waits until the final second to decide what they want to be, or you just got that last-minute invite to a neighborhood Halloween party, the scramble to find a quick costume can feel scarier than the pile of candy wrappers you find under your child’s bed.
If you woke up this morning a little spooked when you realized you need to pull something together fast, don’t worry, we’ve been in the Halloween candy game a long time and have seen some of the best DIY costumes that you can make right at home with stuff you already have—no shopping, Amazon overnight orders, or quick trips to Spirit Halloween.
Check out these 10 sweet, spooky, and simple DIY Halloween costumes that you or your kids can pull together for the big night coming up!
1. The Nerd
A classic since I can remember, the nerd is always a go-to for the last-minute Halloween costume. All you need are a few items that most definitely are somewhere in your house.
It starts with a pair of old readers (preferably one’s dated before 2000 if you really want to get that nerdy effect), a button-up shirt (with pockets for an excessive amount of pens), and your choice of suspenders or bowtie (either of which emulates the iconic nerd look we all remember from our childhood. Don’t forget the most important part—the white tape on your glasses and a calculator to count up all the candy by the end of the night.
2. The Tourist
We’ve all got someone in our family who has that ugly vacation shirt—you know, the one dad used to wear every single night and day while you were on that trip to the beach? Usually, these shirts have a distinct aroma of sunscreen mixed with a few rum and Cokes, but you can count on it to deliver the ultimate tourist look this Halloween. Grab yourself an oversized beach hat, throw on some tube socks with sandals, don’t miss strapping on that fanny pack, and you’re looking like every single tourist there ever was.
3. The Glowing Stick Figure
This costume might be one of the most simple, yet best performing combinations out there. I will disclose, this does require some shopping (meaning a two-second trip to the dollar store) but nonetheless, this costume will have ghouls and goblins complimenting your look all night long.
First, you need to get a set of glow sticks—no specific brand, just any kind of glow stick you can get your hand on. Then, head into your closet, grab your favorite pair of black pants, they could be any kind of pants (jeans, sweats, joggers, we don’t discriminate), and combine that with a black hoodie. Once you’ve got your all-black outfit dialed in, go ahead and take those glow sticks and start attaching them to your outfit like a childhood stick drawing, and boom, you’ve got yourself an eye-catching costume.
4. The TP Mummy
If you didn’t do this once as a kid, I am questioning your dedication to Halloween. The Mummy is a Halloween staple, especially when it comes to DIY costumes at home.
All it really takes is a solid roll of toilet paper, a few pieces of tape, and some black and white eye makeup if you have it sitting around. The real key here is to get your hands on some quality toilet paper—we’re talking that Charmin or Cottonelle—the more ply the better as it will last longer throughout the night and act as an awesome absorption tool for any spilled food or drink on your costume.
5. Georgie from IT
If you are more of a scary than sweet fan, this costume is perfect for you. Chances are you can find a yellow poncho sitting somewhere around your house—probably from your last trip to Disneyland when it rained for three days straight. Combine that with a single red balloon and a paper boat (if you’ve got those origami skills) and you’re all set to start telling people, “we all float down here”. And if you’ve got yourself a little one without a costume, consider throwing them into the IT character to get that extra effect as our friend did above.
Now, if classic Halloween costumes don’t tickle your spooky senses and you’re looking for something a little sweeter, these next 5 costumes come from some of our favorite candy memories and can be concocted in a matter of minutes at home.
6. Charlie Bucket (Golden Ticket)
We all remember Charlie Bucket, right? The winner of the golden ticket in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. If you don’t, drop everything you are doing and go back to remind yourself what a classic that candy film is. For those who remember, this is the easiest costume to execute on this list. All you need to do is take your most ragged and beat-up set of clothes, then a sheet of tin foil paper. Give it a good spray with some golden paint (I find the easiest is spray paint) and give that tin foil a good shower in it. Now walk out your front door, and show the world who the real winner of the Willy Wonka Factory is.
7. Smartie Pants
This costume is almost as easy as Charlie Bucket, except it’s going to require some discipline while wearing—aka trying not to eat your pants. If you’re a fan of punny things and dry humor, the smartie pants costume is exactly what you should be rocking on All Hallows Eve.
The look is simple, take a handful of Smarties candy and cover your entire bottom half in them. If you’re really dedicated you can hot glue individual candies all over your pants, but I’ve seen others simply stick the entire stack on their britches and pull this look off. Throw on a pair of glasses, sling a few smart comments, and people will definitely know who you are at the party.
8. Gum Ball Machine
Everyone remembers the gum ball machine, but did you ever think about dressing up as one? Probably not until now. This costume requires a little craftiness, but if you have the tools, it’s easy to execute and can win you a few cute compliments too. Combine a collection of colored cotton balls (found at any craft store) with some glue and a white shirt.
Remember, the shirt is like the glass on the gum ball machine, so make sure you keep those gum balls collected in one area, not floating like they are possessed. Combine that shirt with a pair of red pants, shorts, a skirt, whatever feels the most comfortable, and just like that, you are officially a gum ball machine. My recommendation would be to carry at least a dozen gum balls to hand out when people ask who you are.
9. Candy Buttons
One could call this a sister costume to the gumball machine since we are using the same materials to build this outfit, but this classic candy goes way back in the history books and will most likely trigger some serious nostalgia for those who remember it. The Candy Buttons are one of the most simple candies ever made and the costume is quite literally the same. All you are going to need is a crispy white shirt and your choice of dots. These can be stick-on dots from the craft store, the same cotton balls we talked about from the gumball outfit, or even just some pieces of colored paper cut up to fit the circle shape—as long as you’ve got colors, you got an outfit!
10. Donny from Old Time Candy
If I’m picking the ultimate DIY Halloween costume, it’s got to be our Donny. First of all, he might be the cutest candy character of all time. Second, he takes the Where's Waldo look to a whole other level with the spinning hat, so how could you say no to a look like this? As you can see, the costume is pretty simple–a striped shirt (red and white, of course) paired with a red hat (if it can spin that’s an added bonus). The most important part of this costume though is not the look, it's the attitude.
If you’re going to rock the Donny look this Halloween, you’ve got to be obsessed with candy—I’m talking absolutely crazy! By the end of the night, everyone should know that you are the ultimate candy connoisseur and that your love for sweet treats is greater than anyone else’s in the world. Think you can manage that? I think you can!
So there you have it, 10 DIY Halloween costumes you can craft at home before the big night. If you’re thinking you’ve got the costume portion of the night covered, but still need to get your hands on some spooky sweets, head over to our Halloween candy aisles and sink your sweet tooth into all of your favorites!