Our Handmade Halloween: Tips for Making Your Own Halloween Costume

Although I love the idea of homemade Halloween costumes, my talents don’t exactly measure up to my ambitions.

Luckily I have a sister who is as creative as she is capable, and she’s whipped up two of the most incredible Halloween costumes for my son (she’s currently working on costume #3). Using her as an example, here are some basic tips for anyone looking to DIY this Halloween. (And take a look at my son’s costumes from Halloweens past!):

  • 10 Tips for DIY Halloween Costumes

    10 Tips for DIY Halloween Costumes

    My son has been lucky to have two very special costumes made for him: a penguin, and The Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz. Read on for some basic tips I’ve learned by watching the process.

  • Use Old Clothes as a Base

    Use Old Clothes as a Base

    My sister isn’t a traditional seamstress, in that she can’t take your measurements and whip up a Project-Runway-worthy dress. But she can take old/thrifted clothes and sew fabrics on top of them.

  • When In Doubt, Go Bigger

    When In Doubt, Go Bigger

    Especially if you’ll be layering for chilly weather, it’s always best to go bigger in terms of costume sizes.

  • Use Items Around the House

    Use Items Around the House

    Like old burlap material, for instance. And I didn’t buy costume paint for his scarecrow nose — I just mixed two of my lipstick shades.

  • Get Inspiration on Etsy

    Get Inspiration on Etsy

    There are so many handmade costumes on Etsy — making it the perfect place to browse for DIY inspiration. Although this costume is very different from the one my sister made, she could have gotten some realistic inspiration — like the rope belt and straw details. (This costume also costs a whopping $150!)

    Costume from Magical Attic on Etsy.

  • Think About the Weather

    Think About the Weather

    When brainstorming costume ideas, consider the practicalities of the season. (You don’t want to cover up that beautiful costume with a coat!) Luckily for our New York Halloween, The Scarecrow costume required a stuffed, padded shirt (with plenty of layers underneath), gloves, boots, and a hat.

  • My Little Penguin

    My Little Penguin

    His penguin costume was also a warm one, thankfully.

  • Get Inspiration from Fabric Stores

    Get Inspiration from Fabric Stores

    I can’t tell you how many times my sister has come home with a new project, simply from seeing a soft/fuzzy/pretty fabric at the store. It might prompt a brilliant DIY costume idea.

  • Utilize Etsy

    Utilize Etsy

    Don’t just use Etsy for inspiration — use it to complete your handmade costume. Even though my sister hand-sewed this penguin costume, the penguin hat was crocheted by AmiAmigos on Etsy.

  • Considering Hiring a Professional Photographer

    Considering Hiring a Professional Photographer

    I’m also lucky in that my sister happens to be a photographer, but this is one of those times when a pro is totally worth paying for. After spending countless hours planning and crafting a one-of-a-kind Halloween costume, you deserve to have it remembered in its best light.

  • Give Yourself Plenty of Time

    Give Yourself Plenty of Time

    Or else you’ll be scrounging for the last store-bought Halloween costumes on October 28th.

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