5 DIY Costumes for Halloween

Get crafty this Halloween! 'Costume Queen' Mary Saba from Theme-Me shares some of her favourite DIY costumes you can make with items around the house for little cost! 

There’s no better opportunity to put your craft skills to use than Halloween, especially if you don’t want to fork out for an expensive hire costume or a cheaply-made variety store get-up that you’ll never wear again.

Happily, there are plenty of DIY options you can make in minimal time and for little money.

Last year, I put my crafty prowess to good use when I went as a unicorn for a friends party. I bought a Styrofoam cone from a craft store, decorated it with ribbons and sequins, and glued some ribbon to the bottom so I could tie it round my head. For the tail, I bought about a bunch of ribbon and tied to together, which I also tied in my hair. Then it was just a matter of some heels, leg warmers, tights, top and lots and lots of glitter!

But this year, I’m taking inspiration straight from a true expert.

‘Costume queen’ Mary Saba has just completed a challenge to dress in fancy dress for a whole year and documented the whole adventure on her blog Theme-Me.  

Amazingly very few of these costumes were bought or hired – many she made herself with items around the home such as plastic bags, cardboard and jar lids and clothes from her own closet. The whole experiment cost Mary only $450.

Here Mary shows us how to make four easy, but very effective Halloween outfits!

Day Of The Dead

This look is so easy – all you need is some make up, a bright dress, and fake flowers!

The Outfit: Bright Patterned Dress

The Make-Up: White Powder or white face paint: This will be your basg

Draw a spider’s web on your forehead with black eyeliner, fanning out and then draw a large scar across your lips.

Draw two large circles around your eyes and fill in with Black Eye shadow .Colour and then colour in the tip of your nose. Draw a scalloped edge around the large black circles with Red Lip liner and then draw a spiky edge on your chin and fill in with colour

The Hair: Pin your hair up with bright fake flowers that you can buy at any variety store at the front of your head, the bigger and brighter, the more dramatic.

Horror film victim

Halloween is the perfect opportunity to go grotesque and scary – here is a simple costume that is sure to make an impact!

What you’ll need

T-shirt, Paint Brush, Red Paint, Black Paint, Tyre, Red Food Dye, Scissors, Newspaper


First, rip your shirt by putting it on and make an incision with your scissors. Use your hands to extend the rip and get the look you want.  

Now, create the tyre marks. Lay the shirt down on newspaper, cover a third of the tyre with black paint and roll across the shirt from top left.

Leave to dry.

Next add some blood. Hang your shirt up on a washing line and be sure to have some newspaper underneath you to collect the excess paint and food dye. Use paint and red food dye to add blood splatter to the shirt by pouring red food dye into the cap of the bottle and then throwing it onto the shirt, and pouring red paint directly onto the shirt.

Now you have a shirt that will make you look like you’ve been through a horror scene chase!

More step by step instructions and how to photos on Theme-Me.com

Tutankhamen Tomb Poncho

“The Tutankhamen Tomb Poncho was possibly the most dramatic costume that I made throughout my year-long challenge,” says Mary.  “You’ll be surprised to learn that while simple, it is quite time-consuming due to the intricate hieroglyphic patterns.”

What you’ll need

Your height in gold material (from your neck to your feet), Sewing thread and needle (or sewing machine), Fabric Pens


  1. Fold your material in half lengthways so that you have the height you need to cover your body
  2. Cut the material so that you now have two long pieces
  3. Taking one length of the material, cut this in half lengthways, you should now have 3 pieces of material in your height
  4. Pin these 3 pieces of material together so that they sit on top of each other
  5. Sew across the top of the connection so that you have the front full width half and then two back flaps of material – this is the shell of your poncho
  6. Now using your fabric markers decorate the double width piece of material that you will wear on the front of your body with Egyptian hieroglyphics, this is the step that will take the longest as you will need to cover it entirely.
  7. Now you have a Tutankhamun tomb poncho!

More step by step instructions and photos on Theme-Me.com

Dilbert Head

Another easy. home-made costume idea for Halloween is Dilbert, no sewing skills required!

What you’ll need

Pink or flesh tone Poster Cardboard, Permanent marker, White Paper

Scissors, Glue, Sticky tape


  1. Cut your cardboard to the width of your head (with an added cm or two for comfortable breathing space)
  2. Cut a scallop edge across the length of your cardboard piece
  3. Cut two oval shapes from your white paper
  4. Glue these shapes in the middle of your cardboard to act as Dilbert’s eyes
  5. Trace around the white ovals to create the frame of Dilbert’s glasses and then add two straight lines from the middle point of the oval that will be the arms of the glasses
  6. Below the eyes, then 3/4 of a circle – this is Dilbert’s nose
  7. Fold the piece of cardboard around your head and tape comfortably into place
  8. You now have a cheap Dilbert head ready to be coupled with a white shirt and tie to complete your costume.

More instructions and how to photos on Theme-Me.com


This simple wig could suit many costumes! Best of all, the kids will have a ball making this look.

What you'll need:

White A4 paper (7 pieces), Pencil, Ruler, Scissor, Stapler, Sticky tape


1. Cut paper into strips, then bend into circle shapes. Staple into place. Continue until you have around 20 cylinders.

2. Now start to staple the cylinder pieces together. For the eighth piece stapled the pieces slightly at an angle so that you start to round around and cater for the shape of your head.

3. Once you have finished the skeleton of the wig, add the front curl shapes. Cut a 1 cm strip length ways of an A4 piece of paper.

4. Curl this strip of paper by angling a scissor blade against your strip of paper and then slide the scissor blade along the length of the strip, Make 20 of these, and staple in place.

5. You now have a home-made baroque wig that you can then pin onto your head and for virtually no money!

More instructions and how to videos on Theme-Me.com  

Crazy Surgeon

If you want to really scare everyone when you’re trick or treating, have a go at creating this gruesome look - bloodied intestines falling out of your body!

What you’ll need

Top/Dress, Tan or Flesh coloured stockings, Tissues or Toilet Paper,Red Food Dye, Thread and needle, Scissors


  1. Cut off one leg of your tan/flesh coloured stockings.
  2. Fill with cotton filling or tissues or toilet paper.
  3. Assemble the stocking across the top of your stomach with pins and then round it around and down so that it begins the pattern of intestines. Sew into place on the edges so that it is secured into place around all edges.
  4. For the bloodied effect, lay down some newspaper and pour red food die directly onto the top of the intestine area
  5. You now have a disgusting looking bloodied top or dress for all your Halloween needs!

For more amazing costume ideas and inspiration, head over to Theme-Me.com!

Watch Mary's amazing year of costumes in the video below, and check out photos of more of our favourite crafty costumes!

Want more? We thought you might like this video.


Sign Out

Join the Conversation

Please note, LifeStyle cannot respond to all comments posted in our comments feed. If you have a comment or query you would like LifeStyle to respond to, please use our feedback form.