β˜… Homemade Fancy Dress Ideas & DIY Halloween Costumes β˜…

Ranked #15 in Holidays & Celebrations, #88 overall

Creative & Unusual Fancy Dress Costume Ideas

It's always a struggle to come up with quick and easy, or clever and imaginative ideas for your fancy dress costumes, so I'm here to help!

I've listed a whole range of costume ideas which you can make yourself, plus prop making tutorials and fancy dress inspiration in a variety of themes with varying levels of difficulty.
Don't worry if you can't sew or you've never made anything before, because there are plenty of ideas that don't require much more than cardboard and sticky tape, or just toilet roll!

Of course, you could just buy a costume, but that's often more expensive and much less fun - plus you run the risk of turning up in the same outfit as someone else (the horror!). I hope the following list of how-tos helps you out :-)

Mummy costume made by John Sumrow - Click here for photos of it being made.

Brilliant Illusion Costumes

Awesome Pre-Made Costumes

For If You Run Out Of DIY Time!

If you run out of time to make a costume from scratch, there is a great selection of pre-made outfits to choose from. Or you could just browse what is available to give you ideas for your own creations :)

Costume Making Introduction

I strongly believe that anyone is crafty enough to make their own costumes – all you really need is an idea – but if you aren’t going to enjoy doing it then maybe it’s not for you (unless the incentive is to save money, in which case homemade costumes are usually cheaper than bought ones, yay!)

When a Halloween party has a theme I find that it’s so much easier to think of a costume idea, but when you have the freedom to dress as anything in the world….that’s when it becomes tricky. So if you are struggling, think of:
- Your favourite movies
- Your favourite books
- Your favourite singers & bands (from any decade)
- Historical figures e.g. Napoleon
- Your favourite TV personality or celebrity
- Actors or actresses in the roles they are famous for e.g. Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffanys.
- Recent events and pop culture – you could parody a humorous news story or celebrity scandal
- Comic book characters
- A certain time from the past – and dress like a certain group of people from that time e.g. a Tudor King, a Viking, a Roman, a caveman, a pirate, 90s raver or 60s hippy.
- Infamous people from the past like Blackbeard or Dick Turpin
And failing that, go through the dictionary for inanimate objects you can become! The lists below should also give you plenty of inspiration too, as well as ideas and help for DIY techniques you can use.

Most ideas can be created with cheap everyday materials, methods and tools like: glue, tape, scissors, foam, paint, cardboard (a must-have), fabrics, Duct tape, paper mache, (news)paper, recycled packaging, plaster bandages, clay, faux fur and old/cheap clothes. You can also look at other more specialized materials on the market if you want to create more advanced costumes and props; such as electronics, resins, moldable plastics, latex and so on.

Imaginative Homemade Outfits

Weeping Angels
Challenging Doctor Who costume with awesome detail.
DIY Merida Costume
An elegant outfit just like the main character in the movie 'Brave'.
Mutant 3-Armed Baby Costume
Funny onesie outfit with a fake doll arm attached.
Mythological Phoenix
Seriously impressive sculpted costume.
School Mascot
Very useful tutorial for making a giant foam head.
Minion Costume
Cute and fun costume inspired by the movie 'Despicable Me'.

Impressive Mummy Costume

DIY Fancy Dress Costumes

Paparazzi Costume
Creative and awesome idea.
Alice in Wonderland
How to put an Alice costume together.
Gnome on a Toadstool
Very cute.
Ghostbusters
Insight on how to build the backpack and put the whole costume together.
Beetlejuice
With make-up how-to.
Chainmail
How to make a suit of armour.
Martha Stewart Favourites
Crafty handmade costumes for both kids and adults.
Spy vs. Spy
Such a cool idea for a pair.
Giant Sandwich
Random but fun!
Rubik's Cube
Fab for a retro theme.
Toilet Roll
Funny idea.
DIY Skeleton Costumes
With a twist - one is pregnant and one is a fast food junkie!

NYC Walk/Don't Walk Signals

Photo and costumes by Jesse Kirsch.

Mad Hatter DIY Costume

More Awesome Costume How-To's

Buzz Lightyear
Detailed step-by-step for the Buzz costume.
Steampunk Tutorials
Fun ideas for making Steampunk outfits for the whole family.
Frodo Costume
Lots of tutorials on how to dress like Frodo, from prosthetic ears to hair feet.
Duffman
From The Simpsons.
Headless Marie Antoinette
Fun spooky costume.
Headless Corpse Bride
Using duct tape.
Jenga
Mad and impractical - but hilarious!
Genius Idea
To turn Trick or Treat on it's head!
French Macaron
Perfect for a French themed party, and looks comfy to wear too!
Facebook Profiles
Particularly good for a conversation starter and getting to know people.

Gingerbread Man

Click here for details on how this costume was made.

Handmade Fancy Dress Costumes

Umbrella Bat
With fantastic wings made using a black umbrella.
Monk/Jedi Robe
With a hood and big sleeves.
Martian Yip Yip Costume
From Sesame Street.
Funny Beaker Costume
From the Muppets.
Ludo from Labyrinth
Impressive monster costume tute.
Transformer Fancy Dress
AWESOME costume.
Green Army Man
Classic idea.
'Operation'
Dress like the popular game.
Halloween Mummy
Mummy costume video tutorial.
Tooth & Tooth Fairy
I love the molar made of pillows!
Wolf Pup
Cute and snuggly all-in-one for little kids and babies.

How To Make Fairy Wings

fairy-wings-costume-diy A classic costume accessory for fairies and cute girl’s costumes.

What you will need:
* 12 gauge wire; any galvanized steel or artistic wire capable of holding it’s shape is suitable, and you could also use 14 gauge if you want something a bit easier to bend.
* Synthetic woven mesh fabric such as organza, which is semi-transparent.
* Wire cutter
* Pliers for shaping the wire
* Scissors
* Tacky glue capable of glueing metal and fabric (e.g. ‘Aleene’s all-purpose tacky glue’)
* Black electrical/duct tape
* Braided elastic (in a color to match the wings) OR wide ribbon
* Needle and thread
* Spray paint for painting the wire in a color that matches the wings (optional)
* Any decorative embellishments you want to use such as fabric paint, glitter, ribbons, fur, feathers, sequin, incense sticks to make holes in the fabric etc.
* Newspaper (optional)
* Long stick lighter (e.g. the ones designed to light candles with); not vital but would be very helpful
* Rotary cutter and cutting mat (optional)

- Starting about 4″ from the end of the wire, shape it with your pliers to create the upper part of one wing. It may help to draw your design out on newspaper beforehand to give you a template to work to. Also try and keep the wing shape flat as you work.
- When you have shaped the wing, cut the wire about 4″ from the end of your shape.
- Repeat the same for process for the lower part of the wing, making sure once again you have a spare 4″ of wire at each end.
- Now use these 2 shapes as the templates to copy them. This will give you symmetrical wings consisting of 4 parts.
- At this point you can spray paint the wire if you want to change the color to match your fabric for instance.
- Twist the 4″ ends of the wire together for each shape to close the wire frames securely.
- Before you start covering the wings in fabric, make sure that the wire frames lie as flat against your work surface as possible.
- Cut out a rectangular-ish piece of fabric which can be folded over the first wire frame and leave a few inches to spare on each edge. It doesn’t have to be too accurate, just make sure it’s over 2 times the size of the wire frame.
- Spread glue onto the top of your first wire shape and lay your cut-out piece of fabric onto the top so that it is flat and has no wrinkles. Be sure to position the wire shape so that it is on one half of the fabric piece only.
- Do the same for each wire frame and then leave them to dry.
- Flip the frames and fabric pieces over and now spread glue onto the tops and outside edges of the wire frames.
- Fold each piece of fabric in half so that there is now a fabric layer glued onto both the top and the bottom of each wire frame, sandwiching it in between. Do this for all 4 wing sections and leave to dry.
- Cut around the edge of each wire frame to remove excess fabric. You can re-glue any loose bits after this if necessary.
- To tidy up the cut edges of the fabric you can carefully hold the flame of a lighter near to the edges so that they melt. Obviously try not to burn the fabric! Test it on the edge of some of the leftover fabric first to check it works on your chosen material. The fabric should shrink as it melts, neatening the edges and removing any loose threads.
- Take the twisted wire section of wing part 1 (see diagram) and that of wing part 2 and twist those together to create one full wing. Do the same for the other side.
- Use black electrical tape to join these wing halves together by wrapping it around the twisted wire sections. You can hide this tape later with ribbon/fur or similar if you wish.
- To strap the wings to yourself, you can either tie the center of 2 lengths of ribbon to the central rod (which is the part covered in electrical tape), and then wrap each ribbon around each shoulder/arm and tie in a bow OR you can make 2 loops in braided elastic to fit around your shoulder/arm by sewing the ends together but with an inch or two of one end left free. This excess braided tape can be fed around the central rod and sewn in place to make a loop which holds the elastic in place on the wings.
- You can then decorate how you wish with glue+glitter spirals, fabric paint patterns or embroidery for example. If you want to put holes in the material, use a lit incense stick or your lighter to burn the holes. Practice on a piece of scrap material first though to make sure it gives the effect you want.
- Finished!

* Bear in mind that you can change any of the colors above to suit your preferred tastes :) *

Creepy Winged Raven

raven-halloween-costume Costume made by Walkabout WolfClick here for a close-up of the mask.

Tutorials & More Cool Ideas

8-Bit Gary
Pixellated man costume.
Dalmation
Cute dog costume.
Disco Ball
Funky costume in the shape of a mirrored ball.
Ladybird
Sweet kid's costume.
Tetris Group Costume
Great for a group effort.
Tea Bag
Fun idea.
Nike Trainer
Funny shoe design.
Where's Wally? Outfit
Dress like a Wally!
Creepy Toyman
Make a huge mask for a creepy animated character.
Inspector Gadget
Hilarious costume, complete with head fan!
Dark Crystal Costume
Unbelievable costume which took a year and $2000 to make.

Rollercoaster Costume

A fun idea – and you can act like you are actually on a rollercoaster too for added effect!
Photo by F. Delventhal.

Instructions for Impressive Makes

11 Costume Patterns
Sewing patterns for a snake charmer, an adorable monkey, and more!
20-Minute Gnome
Easy felt costume which can be a dwarf or a gnome.
Furry Wolf Costume
Excellent kid's costume which you could upscale to adult size.
Milk Jug Stormtrooper
Make an impressive Star Wars mask from a milk jug.
Ventriloquist Dummy
Hilarious idea for baby and dad.
The Lost Woodsman
Amazing detail including branch fingers and a moving eye!
Baby Dinosaur
Clever revamping of a plain grey jacket and sweatpants.
Last-Minute Mario & Luigi
Dungarees, caps and mustaches - and voila!
The Hamburgler
Funny female costume with novelty tie and towel cape.
French Chef & Croquembouche
Hilarious French pastry dessert dress and chef costume.
Light-Up Costume
Interesting technique for creating futuristic style costumes.

Transformer Costumes

If you fancy a mechanical challenge, you can make your own cardboard transformer costume – and if it’s anything like the ones in the video above, you’re bound to get some ‘oooh’s and ‘ahhhhh’s from your audience!

For mini transformer plans which you can use to scale up and form the basis of your plans, click here.

Halloween Costume Idea Books

Super Fun & Clever Costumes

Prince Charming from Cinderella
Amazing tutorial for an adorable outfit.
Halloween Contest 2010
Including the rest room sign people and headless Harry Potter!
Vintage Strongman
Awesome kids costume with fake weights.
Death Star
Funny paper mache costume.
Lego Man
Mini tutorial for making this cardboard fancy dress.
Sofa Suit
Random and hilarious idea!
Care Bear Costume for Babies
Adorable costume which is made from a real care bear.
Wall-E Costume
Fun cardboard fancy dress from the Pixar movie.
Death Star Dress
For a girly sci-fi geek!
Chewbacca Suit
Amazingly realistic costume which must have required a lot of patience.
Quick Kermit the Frog
Quick and simple costume for last minute panic!

Jellyfish & Skeleton

Halloween Costume Props

The following links are how-to projects that give instructions on making different props - from hats to claws - which you can incorporate into your overall fancy dress costume.
Skeletal Hand
Made from card.
Mad Hatter Hat
All about the Mad Hatter's hat and how to make one.
Paper Claws
Video instructional.
Mad Moody Eye
For your Harry Potter themed party.
Fairy Wand
Template for making yourself one out of card.
Witch's Hat
With a few different options.
Star Wars Style Helmet
Made from cardboard.
Feathered Angel Wings
An amazing project.
Articulated Wings
Impressive costume for the mechanically minded.
Werewolf Stilts
So you can move like a realistic werewolf!
Paper Wigs
Newspaper wigs are cheap, easy and fun to make.
Costume Gauntlets
Essential accessories for an armored knight - for less than a fiver!
Scary Mask
Get a great fit by using a mould of your own face.

Medusa Fancy Dress

medusa-halloween-costume Photo and costume by The Joy Of Fashion – Click here for more photos of this fun costume.

More DIY Props

Devil Horns...
..and other Halloween props.
DIY Fairy Wings
Made from coat hangers and stockings.
Mold Your Own Props
And see how to make them look like real metal.
Monster or Alien Feet
Using foam.
Knitted Wig
Fun addition to your outfit.
Fake Blood Squirter
Fun blood squirting effect.
Fake Glass
Sugar glass, used for special effects.
Diving Helmet
For adventures in the deep.
DIY Wig
Using a hat and a feather boa!
Ceremonial African Mask
Made using paper mache and paint.
Frankenstein Hat
Fun felt hat to make yourself into a monster in an instant.
Rapunzel Hair
How to make a super long braid out of yarn.
Bumblebee Antennae
Adorable pom-pom hair clips.
'They Live' Masks
Alien masks from the movie 'They Live' for under $15.

Nintendo Gameboy

nintendo-gameboy-fancy-dress A retro blast from the past!

Photo and costume by Todd Alperovitz@ The Daily Bubble Tea

More Awesome Costume Projects

Kidnapped Mermaid
Awesome costume project.
Windy Day
Fab windy costume.
Bigfoot Costume
Video tutorial.
Bin Costume
Great for making people jump!
LEGO Characters
Photos showing the making of Lego Minifigs.
Pirate Costumes
Including how to make a tri-corner hat and pirate boots.
Willy Wonkas
Both versions of Willy Wonka.
Girl's Pirate Costume
Video tutorial.
Lego Men Heads
Make your own giant yellow head with this fab how-to.
Masked Baby Owl
An adorable Martha Stewart creation.
Budget Baby Moose
Funny baby costume, made for only $4.
Rubber Foam Gauntlet
How to make exciting costumes using rubber foam and superglue.

Glow Stick Costumes

Glowstick costumes are possibly the most simple and ingenious of all costumes, because they are just so effective! You can buy pre-made suits, but I don’t see why you can’t just make a temporary one with glowsticks attached onto black clothes!
For more info, go here or here.

Collections of Costume Ideas & Inspiration

These websites have lists of fancy dress ideas and photos to inspire.
Amazing DIY Costumes and Props
With detailed instructions and photos.
20 Creative Ideas
For pure homemade humour.
Ideas for Couples and Groups
Huge lists of costumes for 2 or more people.
Last Minute Costumes
With funny results.
Cheap Fancy Dress
Using plenty of imagination!
Last Second Costumes
For when time is against you!
DIY Halloween Costumes
Lots of detailed how-to's.
10 Cool Last-Minute Costumes
I love the spine t-shirt idea!
Duct Tape Prom Outifts
The sky is the limit!

Desaturated Santa Costume

desaturated-santa-mob-costume This is probably my favourite costume idea ever – and no it’s not photoshopped!

Click here for an article written about this costume.

Photo by Andy Thomas.

Fancy Dress Idea Galleries

Costume Pop
Creative and funny homemade costumes.
Awesome Projects
Tutorials for really unique costumes and props.
Etsy Contest Winners
Photos of the homemade winning entries.
50 Unique & Weird Ideas
Funny and unusual fancy dress inspiration.
Pet Costumes
Funny and imaginative fancy dress pets.
A-Z of Costumes
Fancy dress ideas listed alphabetically.
Craft Costume Lists
In many different genres.
Easy Halloween Costumes for Kids
With links to costumes you can buy.
50 Funny Ideas
A huge list of quick ideas for some unique inspiration.

Umbrella Bat Wings

umbrella-bat-costume Photo and costume by Lenore Edman.

Click here for DIY details.

Knife & Fork

knife-fork-homemade-fancy-dress Makes total sense to me.

Photo and costumes by Neil Peach.

Oodles of Inspiration

Homemade Costumes
Including lots of kids ones.
9 Costumes Anyone Can Make
Awww-inducing kids fancy dress.
HUGE Resource of Ideas
Including homemade and shop bought ideas.
Halloween Instructables
Lots of DIY projects for Halloween.
Costume Idea Zone
Brilliant range of unique ideas.
Coolest Homemade Costumes
Lots of original ideas and photo examples.
The 15 Coolest
With many you probably won't have seen yet.
Halloween Fashion
Browse through for costumes including 'The Birds' and a mousetrap.

Knight of the Realm

homemade knight costume This fantastic costume is made with cardboard, altered clothes, paper mache and duct tape …and the wooden swords are bought :)

Photo and fancy dress by Lizette Greco.

Creative Homemade Costumes

Bulls & a Matador
Such an adorable idea for kids dressing up with their dad.
Geeky DIY Costumes
Lots of geek costume ideas - and all pretty cheap too.
Best of 2010
I especially love the 'Up' costumes - so sweet!
15 Awesome Costumes for Girls
Including classic princesses and less common ideas.
Cool Art & Photo Inspired Ideas
I love the 8-bit and desaturated costumes so much!
Cutest Handmade Kid's Costumes
Including an amazing sock monkey outfit.
Women's Pop Culture Icons
I love the Rosie the Riveter idea here.
Dia De Los Muertos
Fabulous examples that you can try and replicate.

'Little Mermaid' Fancy Dress for the Family

Photo by Jessica.

Fun Tutorials & Photos

Robot DIY
How to make a cardboard box robot costume.
Bluebird Cape
Lovely kids fancy dress inspired by Snow White.
25 Kids Costumes on a Budget
Including a funny 'raining cats and dogs' idea.
Starbucks
Creative idea based on everyone's favourite coffee place :-)
Viking
Awesome costume which is surprisingly easy.
Angry Birds
Fab pop culture family or group costume idea.
Crazy Celebrity Costumes
Including a dead body!
Pacman Costume
Giant Pacman costume step-by-step.
Tropical Bird Wings
Birds of a feather wings in lovely colour shades.
Pixelated Cosplay
This would be a fun cardboard DIY.

Nightmare Before Christmas Costumes

Photo by Jesse Draper.

Banksy Graffiti Costume

This amazing costume is based on some graffiti art by the famous Banksy, and the costume was made by George Schnakenberg.

DIY Costumes To Smile About

Cops and Robbers & More
A few funny and different ideas like a beekeeper and a hungry caterpillar.
Lego Indiana Jones
Funny adventurer minifig costume.
Rocket Man
Flaming jetpack for a kid's space party.
SLR Camera
That actually makes photos!
Wizard Of Oz House
One of favourite ideas, it's so original.
Bert from Mary Poppins
Amazing printed blazer idea from one of the best movies ever.
Washing Machines
Which even light up!
Super Mario Yoshi Rider
Amazing construction, although not exactly a cheap costume.
Pinata Dress
Clever and pretty costume using lots of crepe paper.
Victorian Hogwarts Students
Interesting take on the regular Hogwarts uniform.
Cardboard People
Make OTT shapes in card, maybe of famous characters and people.

Fancy Dress From a Comic Book

lichtenstein-make-up-homemade-costume I’m a massive fan of Lichenstein pop art and comic book graphics!

Photo and costume by V_a_n_e_s_s_a.

Click here and here for more photos and Lichtenstein inspiration.

And Some More Brilliant Ideas!

Birthday Cake
How to make your own piΓ±ata-style 3D cake outfit.
Little Mary Poppins
Amazingly spot-on details in this costume - I love the boot covers and frills!
No-Sew Bubble Wrap Jellyfish
A very clever use for an umbrella.
Thomas the Tank Engine
Excellent replica of the famous train character.
Marty McFly & a Delorean Push Car
Seriously impressive and amusing toddler costume and vehicle.
Ageing Showgirl
This is one of my all-time faves because the execution is so perfect.
Kit Cat Clock Costume
Inventive idea for dressing kids like the iconic cat clock!
DIY Donut with Sprinkles
Really effective use of an inflatable inner tube and foam hair rollers.
Pacman Couple
If you want a group costume you could add the ghosts too.
Sweatshirt Shark Costume
A really comfy child's costume with a dorsal fin inserted on the back.

Flying Spaghetti Monster Hat

spaghetti-monster Photo and hat by Lenore EdmanClick here for a tutorial.

More Costume Making Videos & Ideas

Other Fancy Dress Resources

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Fun Accessories For Your Costumes!

Extras, props and accessories are often more cost-effective to buy than make - such as latex masks, wigs, hats and specialized designs like these Quidditch goggles:

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