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DIY Halloween costumes

If the rows of pirate, clown and cowboy costumes at the Halloween party store just aren’t doing it for you this holiday, MomsMiami has some ideas to set fire to your creativity.

If you want to make your own, look for inspiration from your child’s favorite TV show, book or game.

"Most parents will do a do-it-yourself costume to save money or be original," said Lenny Rapp, manager at Masquerade Costumes in Hollywood. There are ways to take everyday clothes and transform them into original costumes with a little piece of magic, such as a wig or make-up.

Masquerade Costumes stocks pieces like capes ($13 and up) and angel wings ($10) that can transform leotards, dresses or warm-up suits into superheroes, fairies or angels. Kits with headbands and bowties can transform kids into cats, devils or bunnies for $8 to $10. Mardi Gras-style masks are $3, and animal headbands that keep the face uncovered are $8.

"It’s always fun to see creative costume ideas based off recent movies, characters and pop culture icons," said Jo Pearson, creative expert at Michael's arts and crafts store.

" has step-by-step costume instructions based off popular movie characters that make it a breeze to look trendy for Halloween."

If you don’t sew, you can use a sturdy utility tape, like Duck Tape, apparel tape, stick-on Velcro or even a stapler to put a costume together, Pearson said.

"You can easily create a costume out of materials you already have on hand, such as felt, cardboard, fabric paint, headbands and pre-made accessories," she said. Cast-off clothing from mom or dad’s closet, or from thrift stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army, also can make a good base for a winning outfit.

And don’t overthink it.

"Put your own spin on it and get creative," Pearson said. "But remember to give yourself room to move, clear vision and always dress for the weather."



Start with a light blue, long-sleeved shirt, white pants, white mittens, and white shoes. Wear a white stocking cap – just stuff it with crumpled paper or cotton stuffing to give it a pointy top. Use make-up to turn your face blue. 

Easy Mac

Wear a yellow shirt. Cut leg holes in a round laundry basket to use as the bowl. Cover the basket with blue wrapping paper, and use yellow construction paper to make an "EASY MAC" label. Paint toilet paper rolls yellow to use as the macaroni. Arrange the macaroni in the bowl. Keep the bowl up with rope suspenders.


Use corrugated cardboard (the kind with the ridges) to make your cupcake holder. Cut a piece and form it into a circle, big enough to fit around your hips. Close the circle with tape,

paint it the color of your choice and attach it to straps (rope or ribbon) to hang over your shoulders.

For the frosting, gather pink shiny fabric into a poof. Use safety pins or tape to attach it around your upper chest. Sprinkle some glitter on top or make fake sprinkles out of felt.

Make a cherry hat by turning a red plastic bowl upside down and adding a fake stem.

Pac Man

Find a large piece of cardboard and cut it into the shape of Pac Man. Paint it yellow and add the Pac Man eye. Attach it to straps and suspend it over your shoulders.

Fruit basket

An easy costume for a parent and child to make together is a piece of fruit, said Jim Hammond, managing director of The Puppet Network in Fort Lauderdale. A simple way to do it is by using a sandwich board, with a board in the front connected over the shoulders to a board in the back.

For an apple, use two pieces of corrugated cardboard or foamboard. Cut out the shape of the fruit, and cover it with construction paper or paint with tempera paint. Make straps out of

ribbon or yarn and attach with duct tape or an industrial stapler. Attach a construction paper stem and leaf to a red hat (or paint one red) to top off the apple.

Make each child a different fruit, and you have a fruit basket, Hammond says. "What makes this idea special is the parent and child time of doing an activity together," he said.

If you want to take on a little more of a challenge, here are two costumes from Michaels, inspired by the movies Tron and The Hunger Games:

Tron boy costume.Tron boy

Cover a black T-shirt with horizontal strips of Midnight Madness (black) Duck Tape.

Cut small strips of lime green Duck Tape. Add the strips to the shirt in a geometric pattern. Cover pants with the black tape and add accents of lime green.

To create a wrist cuff, cut 8-inch strips of black tape and stick them together, back to back. Make the cuff 5 inches wide. Add lime green tape to create the same pattern as on the

shirt. Circle the arm and close with stick-on Velcro or tape.

Girl of Fire – Inspired by Katniss Everdeen’s costume in The Hunger Games

  • Shirt: Cut off neckline and make a "V" neck. Cut off sleeve hems. Cut sleeves into fringes.

    Katniss costume.

  • Vest: Have child wear a T-shirt that fits snugly. Cover the shirt with red Duck Tape to look like a vest. Once the front and back are taped, carefully cut off vest by cutting down front. Slide off vest.

    Tape over edges around neckline, sleeves and front. Add a row of tape to front to create a slight overlap. Punch holes in the front for lacing. Lace with ribbon.

  • Belt: Create a belt by taping two strips of tape back-to-back. Fit over hip area under the vest. Add a "V" of tape in the front. Accent with a square of gold tape. Close in back with Velcro or tape.

  • Skirt: Start with red, yellow and orange T-shirts. On each shirt, cut from the underarm seam up to a point at the center of the neck. The top of the shirts will become the fringed skirt bottom. The bottom of the shirts will become the waistline. Start with the waistline. Use Aleene's Fabric Fusion or a fabric tape to tape together the shirts and fit them snugly around the hips.

    Make the fringe by cutting strips into the necklines of the three T-shirt tops. The longest points of the fringe will become the front and back of the skirt. Attach to the waistline with tape. Wear over black leggings.

  • Hair tie: Cut three one-inch bands of T-shirt. Pull to stretch to long cords. Braid 8 inches of the middle of the bands and tie ends, leaving fringe.

  • Quiver: Roll a piece of poster board into a tube the size of a quiver. Tape closed. Tape up one end with Duck Tape. Tape over entire exterior. Create a strap with tape strips. Tape strap to quiver top and bottom.

  • Arrow: Tape over a 36-inch dowel rod. Make a square with tape strips. Tape to one end of dowel and cut into a point. For the feathers, make three tape squares and cut into a feather shape. Tape feathers to the other end of the dowel rod.