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Cheap, No-Sew Halloween Costumes for Kids

Wouldn't be lovely to be able to whip one of these for the kids this Halloween?

Unfortunately for most of us, there is not enough time (or let's be honest, skill) to whizz up on of these on a sewing machine! You could buy them off the shelf, but it's a lot of money to spend on something that's essentially a 'one-use plastic'. So if you're looking for something a little more environmentally-friendly that won't break the bank, keep reading! We've come up with 3 no-sew costume ideas that can be done in under half an hour, using mostly things you'll probably already have at home!

The Classics - Quick DIY Costumes

The Ghost - great to hide layers under!

You'll need:

  • A white bed sheet (an old worn one works best)

  • Fabric Scissors (or other reasonably sharp ones)

  • Measuring Tape

  • Cornflour (or other fine flour, not icing sugar though!)

  • Moisturiser / Vaseline

  • Optional: White hat and gloves

Measure your child's head circumference. Cut a hole roughly in the centre of the bed sheet that's just a little bigger than your child's head.

Place the sheet over the child's head so it now rests on their shoulders. Cut the sheet around your child to about ankle length. If you have a wiggly child who won't stay still for this, measure from their shoulder to their ankle then use that measurement to cut the sheet while it's laid out on the floor. (Fold it into quarters to save on the amount of cutting time and floor space)

Cut the edge of the poncho a little unevenly to give it that slight tattered look, or if you're feeling creative, try making knotted tassles! You could even add eyes and a mouth with black felt and some fabric glue if you've got the time!

The make-up is easy. Apply moisturiser or vaseline to your kid's face and then dab cornflour over the top with a make-up brush or sponge. Layer until you achieve the ideal pasty pallor.

You can then add a white hat and/or gloves for extra warmth if you have some. Alternatively, use a little hair serum or coconut oil in the child's hair (only a small amount!) and then apply the cornflour over that. The oil will help the flour stick, turning their hair a nice ghostly grey.

Make it extra creepy: Got a clip-on torch or lamp? Clip it to the neck of your kid's costume, pointing up. We all know an up-light face tells the best ghost stories...

Here's some internet takes on the ghost poncho for inspiration! We love the baby tutu poncho but not sure our babies would have stayed still long enough to keep it on!

The Vampire - School Uniform to the rescue!

You'll need:

  • School shirt

  • Black trousers

  • Bow-tie (red, if possible - look online or in local costume shops for this one!)

  • 1 metre of black fabric (for warmth look for a soft wool felt, velvet or other heavy but drapey fabric)

  • Black ribbon/yarn/string/shoelace

  • Optional: smart black jacket or waistcoat (black or red)

  • Cornflour and moisturiser (yes, this is my favourite trick)

  • Red lipstick (liquid lipstick is the easiest for applying that little trickle of fake blood at the side of the mouth, if you have some)

So this one is pretty self-explanatory, the only slightly tricky part is the cape. Follow the instructions for the ghost costume above but make the neck hem a little smaller though as it won't need to fit over the head. Then cut the cape circle up the 'centre-front'.

Then you'll need to attach the ties. At the top of the centre-front about an inch away from the edge of the fabric, make a small hole. Pass a length of the ribbon/yarn (about 6 inches long) through the hole and tie a knot to secure it, then repeat on the other side with a separate length of ribbon/yarn. If you're using a shoelace you may find it easier to just use one and knot it on the inside of each hole. Make sure you leave enough room for the cape to go over the top of the child's head.

Then make up is the same as for the ghost costume with cornflour and moisturiser or vaseline to help it stick, plus a little red 'blood' trickle at the corner of the mouth for that full vamp vibe. Hair should be slicked back with hairspray or hair gel and then, if long, left loose down the back. For extra warmth, layer up under the school uniform (you can use a long-sleeved top here as it will mostly be hidden by the cape) and add some black or white gloves.

As this is mostly a black costume it would be a good idea to add something to aid with visibility if you're going trick-or-treating. Try reflective strips on the edge of the cape or have them hold an LED candle.

No time for cape-making shenanigans? Go full DIY by using a long black or red cardigan without buttons instead. Just turn the sleeves inside out, then use a safety pin or similar fastening (bat brooch anybody?) to hold it closed at the neck.

The Witch/Warlock- Perfect 'throw on and go' costume!

You'll need:

  • A long black adult's cardigan (without buttons is best!)

  • A child's belt or a braided belt

  • A pointy hat

  • Black clothes

  • Optional: Staff/Broom/Wand for older children

  • Optional: Stars and moon accessories

  • Cornflour and hair serum/coconut oil

Get the little one all dressed up in black, then throw on one of your long black cardigans on them. Cross it over the front and belt it in place so that it looks like a robe. Give them some nice grey hair with that cornflour trick from the ghost costume, then plop on a pointy hat (make sure its well-fitted so it doesn't go in their eyes) and you're done. Add accessories if you wish!

For visibility: Add green glowstick necklaces and bracelets, not only will it help your child be scene in the dark it will also give their skin a green tint! Perfect for witches and warlocks!

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