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Halloween costumes, last minute, homemade, iStock

Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas For Kids

Costumes on the cheap—with many pieces you may already own

If you’re a Pinterest-perfect mom who has been planning her children’s Halloween costumes for weeks if not months, we seriously applaud you. For the rest of us, some last-minute help might be in order. We compiled some ideas that you can DIY for not much money and with pieces you may already have around the house. Need more inspiration? Visit our Halloween Pinterest board. (And if you really just want to rush order a costume, we’ve added a few links, too.)

RELATED: Adaptive Halloween Costumes for Kids with Special Needs

Zookeeper or Safari Guide

Outfit options

  • Khaki pants or shorts
  • Khaki or white top
  • Vest or shirt or hat labeled “zookeeper” (maybe Dad’s sun hat)
  • Hiking shoes or rain boots


  • Stuffed animals (hanging out of a backpack, or get creative and cut “bars” out of the side of a cardboard box and put the animals inside)
  • Binoculars (if you don’t have real ones for your kiddo, tape two empty toilet paper rolls together, punch a hole in the sides and tie on a string)
  • Set of keys on a belt

zookeeper safari guide, DIY a last-minute Halloween costume, iStock

Please, I just want to order it: Full outfit on Amazon // from $24; full outfit from Spirit // $39.99; T-shirt from Walmart // $16.95

Black Cat

Outfit options

  • Black leotard and tights
  • Black top and black pants
  • Black shoes


  • Cat ears (find these at most any store that sells Halloween accessories, or make your own: cut out two black cardstock triangles and glue them to a headband)
  • Tail (cut off a black feather boa, or make one out of felt)
  • Whiskers and nose (hello, black eyeliner)

Please, I just want to order it: Full outfit from American Girl (also great as loungewear after Halloween) // $60; full outfit from Chasing Fireflies // $59; full outfit on Amazon // $49.99; Ears and tail on Amazon // $11.99


Outfit options                                                     

  • Black dress, or black top and shorts
  • Tall socks or tights (purple, orange, black, orange-and-black striped …)
  • Black shoes (Mary Janes are good)


  • Pointed hat (you can make it yourself, but it’s so much easier to run up to a store and grab one)
  • Broom (a mini one or kid-size broom is best—and remember, you’ll probably end up carrying it during trick-or-treating)
  • Face paint (green face highly optional; consider red lipstick and darkened eyebrows instead)

Please, I just want to order it: 24-inch-handle broom on Amazon // $3.99; kids broom prop at Target (another style) // $10; full outfit at Party City // $10; full outfit at Spirit // $59.99; sparkly witch hat headband on Amazon // $15.99; purple striped tights at Party City // $5


Outfit options                                                     

  • All white everything (can be a dress, a top, shorts, pants), with white tulle over them
  • A white sheet over their head (check out this YouTube tutorial, and don’t forget cutouts for seeing/breathing!)


  • If you opt not to cover their head, you could add a white bow, headband, hat or wig, or the decorated items suggested below

iStock, ghost costume

Please, I just want to order it: Ghost cape on Amazon // $11.98; “Haunting Beauty” outfit at Party City // $34.99; ghost dress at halloweencostumes.com // from $24.99; friendly ghost costume on Amazon (look at the comments for tips on keeping eye holes in place) // $16.45; ghost beanie hat on Amazon // $15.95; ghost emoji headband at Spirit // $5.99

Mustard and Ketchup

Outfit options                                                     

  • Red or yellow shirt and pants (or shorts and tights)
  • Label the shirt if you want


  • White hat to represent the bottle cap

Please, I just want to order it: Mustard T-shirt on Amazon // $19.99; ketchup T-shirt on Amazon // $18.99; Newborn and toddler condiment bodysuits and T-shirts on Amazon // from $7.99; full ketchup bottle outfit at Oriental Trading // $15.28; ketchup packet outfit at Oriental Trading // $29.78

Mr. Rogers

Outfit options                                                     

  • Slacks (khaki, gray, navy)
  • Collared shirt (white, blue)
  • Cardigan (red is most recognizable, but other colors OK too); if you’re desperate, go for a hoodie
  • Tie (feel free to dip in Dad’s closet)
  • Tennis shoes (with laces if possible; Mr. Rogers’ shoes were navy)


  • Hair gel to get the authentic style

Please, I just want to order it: Red cardigan from French Toast (bonus: wear it for holiday photos; available in other colors too) // from $23.98; zip hoodie from Gap Factory // from $26.99; pull-on slacks at Old Navy // from $22; navy Sperry sneakers at Stride Rite; $38; navy lace-up shoes from Vans // $42

The Joker

Outfit options                                                     

  • Purple button-up shirt, or even a white button-up
  • Purple or green tie
  • Dark slacks (or tutu, as you prefer)
  • A vest
  • These items in any other bright, garish colors


  • Face paint (white for face, red for exaggerated lips, blue or black around eyes)
  • Green color spray for hair or green wig

Please, I just want to order it: Full costume on Amazon // from $27.70; purple shirt and tie from Walmart // $18.95; purple or light green (or another shade) vest on Amazon // $15.49; light-up purple, green or black (or another shade) tutu on Amazon // from $7.59; glow-in-the-dark green hairspray at Party City // $4

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Outfit options

  • Black dress (preferably sleeveless, as long as the weather cooperates)
  • Black shoes


  • Elbow-length black gloves
  • Tiara positioned in an updo
  • Pearls
  • Sunglasses (for photos only, unless you happen to be trick-or-treating in daylight hours)

Please, I just want to order it: Complete outfit at halloweencostumes.com // from $34.99; complete outfit on Amazon // $34.99; complete outfit at Trish Scully // $69.99; Holly Golightly accessory set on Etsy // from $10.50; sleeveless jeweled-waist dress at Dillard’s // $40

RELATED: Find Halloween events near you by visiting dfwchild.com/calendar.

Image: iStock