Tag Archives: costume diy

10 Best Halloween Costume Hacks (+ Bonus Vid)

 

Be an emoji, a class photo…or even a “cereal” killer! Here are our EASIEST and coolest costume hacks to get you to the party in a hurry. 

1. Emoji

Image: ink361.com
Image: ink361.com

Make fellow partygoers LOL, cry, or just give ’em a big old smiley by painting yourself as an emoticon. Buy a Halloween makeup kit (be sure to choose one with vibrant colors), or use makeup you already have to create your look. Have a friend help you if you’d like. Since the face is the main part of the emoji, dress in basic black to complete the look.

2. Gumball Machine

Image: teen.allwomenstalk.com
Image: teen.allwomenstalk.com

 

This is so much fun – and so easy! For the female version, use a tank top and a red skirt. For men, choose a t-shirt and wear red pants if you can find them (jeans will do if you can’t). Glue dollar-store pom-pom balls all over the shirt. Cut felt pieces and glue in gray and black to make the bottom portion of the machine. If you’ll be wearing jeans, cut this bottom portion in a long rectangle and tuck into the front of the pants.

3. Walking Dead

Image: pixabay.com
Image: pixabay.com

Here’s another idea that can be created from throwaways you have around the house – in fact, the less perfect-looking the elements, the better! Rip up some clothing, add red costume makeup or red paint for blood stains, and muss your hair (use gel or hairspray to keep the look authentically gruesome throughout the night). Use very light or white makeup on your face, “hollow out” your eyes with black or gray makeup, and dab on some blood stains. Check out more zombie costume ideas here.

4. Wind-Up Doll

Credit: Hot Topic

This is a great choice for either men or women. Cut a “wind-up key” out of stiff cardboard. If you’d like, spray-paint it in gold or silver. Now get together a dollish costume (haunt your local thrift shop for great finds). Hot-glue the cardboard key to the back of the outfit. For both men and women: paint your face white. Add lipstick (sorry, guys – but this really is the finishing “dollish” touch). Men can brush their hair down into a more solid Ken doll look. For women, wear pigtails or big sausage curls.  BONUS: Get a super-creepy “haunted doll” look using this jaw-dropping tutorial:

5. Cereal Killer

Image: wholesalehalloweencostumes.com
Image: wholesalehalloweencostumes.com

It’s gruesome, but it’s definitely “punny” – and sure to get laughs all around. Buy single-serving boxed cereals; empty. Cut out sharp-looking knives from cardboard, sizing them to fit the boxes; spray with silver spray paint. Cut a slit in each box and insert a “knife.” Paint red blood stains. Hot glue to the shirt. Be sure to complete the look by painting a milk mustache on with white makeup. If you want to give it all away, write “cereal killer” across the front of the shirt in magic marker. Otherwise, let guests guess what your hilariously grisly costume is.

6. Catwoman

Credit: Instagram / beautydesignsbydenise

What makes this a hack is that you probably have all the elements at home. Raid your drawers to find black felt or construction paper and an old headband. Cut out the ears and glue to the band. Go for a smoky eye with black liquid eyeliner. For a slinky Catwoman outfit, wear close-fitting black jeans and a black tank top. For a finishing touch, paint your fingernails midnight black. Make sure to create a sleek hairdo, like a kitten slinking at night-time on the prowl.

7. The Mayor (Nightmare Before Christmas)

Credit: Pinterest

This clever hack utilizes that old lampshade that you never got around to throwing out. (Come on, you know you have one.) Spray-paint the background face color onto the lampshade. Then paint or use magic markers to create the Mayor’s happy face on one side and distressed face on the other side. Fold some ribbon into loops and glue together. Glue on a white circle of cardboard and write “Mayor” on it; glue this on top of the ribbon. Add a black hat. Wear a suit with this costume with the ribbon pinned on with a safety pin to get the full effect.

8. Movie Theater Floor

Image: teen.allwomenstalk.com
Image: teen.allwomenstalk.com

Wear either a black or red shirt to imitate a movie theater carpet. Glue pop corn boxes, candy wrappers, empty cups, straws and old movie theater tickets to the shirt. Have fun having people guess what you are – you’re sure to get laughs with this clever costume.

If you want to get saucy about this (grown-ups only!), Write “now showing” on a piece of paper and tuck it into the waistband so it hangs over the front of your pants.

9. Crazy Cat Lady

Image: buzzfeed.com
Image: buzzfeed.com

This is such an easy hack because you probably have most of the components already – or can borrow them from friends. Wear a puffy robe and put your hair into curlers. Borrow your child’s (or someone else’s!) stuffed cats. Quick tip: if you won’t be giving the stuffed kitties back, glue a few to the robe so you won’t need to be carrying them around all night, leaving your hands free for eating, drinking and being merry on Halloween night.

10. High School Yearbook Photo

Image: buzzfeed.com
Image: buzzfeed.com

Raid your closet for an old prom or bridesmaid’s dress (or buy one on the cheap at the local Goodwill or consignment shop). Or borrow a cheerleading or jock outfit from a friend. Purchase an extra-large size construction paper rectangle and cut out the center so that it looks like a photo frame. Write your name if you wish or write “Best Dressed,” “Most Likely to Succeed,” etc. on the frame. This is even more fun if you go as friends, with each of you choosing a “type”: the jock, the nerd, the prom queen and so on.

Secrets of a Great Do-It-Yourself Halloween Costume

Jealous of your friend down the street who always seems to come up with the most creative and unique Halloween costumes? Looking for the “wow” factor in your Halloween costume this year rather than going as the color green (again)?

If you’re ready to dive into the costume venture of your life and catapult yourself into fame and fortune with the best do-it-yourself Halloween costume in the world (or at least get a few compliments at the Halloween party), there are a few things to consider before you begin.

  1. Consider your audience. Will you be going to a costume party with some close friends, or just trick-or-treating door to door? Do you need to keep it kid-friendly? What are the interests of those around you? Going as the main character in your favorite show to a party where no one has seen it won’t earn you the recognition your efforts deserve. You can save yourself a little trouble by thinking about what your audience will appreciate.
  2. Seek inspiration from the world around you. Be observant as you walk around during the day and ask yourself, “How could I turn this into a costume?” as you look at everyday objects. Inspiration can strike at any time!
  3. Be prepared to put in some time and effort (and maybe a little money too). Even if your DIY costume ends up being relatively inexpensive and easy to put together, you’ll probably end up putting in some hours on this — if not on the actual costume assembly itself, at least in the thought and creative process.

Elements of an Awesome DIY Costume

So, now that you know a little better what you’re getting yourself into, let’s look at some of the characteristics of the most successful DIY costumes. The best DIY costumes are:

  • Creative: In order for your DIY costume to be a hit, you have to be unique in some way. I’m sorry, but the whole witch or black cat routine isn’t going to work here. Think outside the box. Or maybe think differently about the box—cardboard boxes make for some great costume possibilities. (Love Rubiks Cubes? Dress up as one!) Your costume has to be something people don’t see on every other street corner while they’re trick-or-treating in order for you to stand out from the ghoulish crowd.
  • Easily Identifiable: If you’re going for something a little off-the-wall, you have to make sure it’s still in the ballpark as far as recognition value goes. How will people recognize your genius if they don’t know what you’re supposed to be? The most effective DIY costumes are those that others can identify immediately or within a minute or two (for costumes that are more subtle in their meaning). “DIY” doesn’t have to mean “elaborate,” but the costume has to be faithful to what you’re trying to represent in order for people to recognize and appreciate your costume masterpiece.
  • Resourceful:It’s great if you have the money to rent a costume or buy all the expensive supplies for a detailed costume, but generally people appreciate the clever use of readily available resources. Paint and cardboard and a little ingenuity go a long way. How about a clear plastic garbage bag with some colored balloons? Voila! A bag of jellybeans! Use what you have on hand and get creative.

    DIY Halloween Costume King Kong
    Photo: Ericka McConnell/Halloween Celebrations
  • Timely: Capitalizing on current pop culture crazes or current events can score big laughs and lots of “That’s so cool!” comments and pictures with smartphones. For example, dressing up as the lady on the Progressive Insurance commercial has been popular these past few years.

Think of a Theme

Now that we’ve named some characteristics of great DIY costumes, let’s look at some of the categories that they seem to fall under to really get the creative juices going.

  • Technology: Some of the most brilliant/clever DIY costumes I’ve seen fall into this category. For example, what about being a Facebook wall or YouTube channel? You’ll get some comments for sure—especially if you have a marker handy for that purpose. If you have a little tyke in tow, why not outfit their car seat with this iPhone getup? iLove it.

    ipone baby costume
    Image credit: IngaMun on Flickr
  • Food:This category provides some great fodder for DIY costume ideas. I love this DIY deviled egg costume—a food and a pun all in one!

    food costumes deviled egg
    Image credit: txkimmers on Flickr
  • Everyday objects: Salt and pepper shakers are a little bit cliché, but it’s going down the right track. How about Pepsi and Coke cans? Or a washing machine with clothes inside?
  • Puns: Love wordplay? Transform it into a brilliant costume that will dazzle and amaze your friends. Or at least it will make them snicker. Hi-ho the dairy-o; what about the Farmer in the Dell?:

    farmer in the dell costume
    Image credit: Coolest-homemade-costumes.com

One of the greatest things about Halloween is that it provides so many opportunities to be creative, even for the normally non-creative types. So don’t delay—get out there and make yourself a Halloween costume to remember.

About the Author

Emma Rae Curtis researches and writes about everything Halloween, from costumes, to party ideas, to makeup and more.

Scary Scars and Wrinkles Made with Collodion

 

Guest contributor David Lay always makes us laugh…and sometimes, scream. Here’s an EASY and fun tutorial on creating your own faux scars.

 

Okay, moms and dads, push the children from the room and close the door. We’ve gotta talk. Done? Good. It’s about scarring the kids. Not scaring the kids, though that would be fun, but scarring the kids. Not for life, mind you, but just for Halloween.

I think I have a pretty good idea how you’ve been doing it up ‘til now: You’ve been going to the corner store and buying that cheap Halloween makeup to try to make your kids scary.

But this year it’s time to graduate, inexpensively, to the big time, like the professionals use: In one word, collodion.

Collodion has been around a long time for theater and movies. It comes from the Greek word meaning “glue.” It is a material called pyroxylin that is dissolved in ether and alcohol, and was originally used in the early 1800’s as a primitive band-aid.

When exposed to air, the ether and alcohol evaporates off, leaving the material that was dissolved to harden and shrink – which is why we want to use it to make scars. It temporarily shrinks and wrinkles the skin, making it look eerily like scar tissue.

A Word of Caution – VERY FLAMMABLE

CAUTION: Remember, this stuff is for professionals, and there is a reason: Collodion is extremely flammable. And PLEASE, PLEASE don’t let children use this stuff themselves. Make sure you use adequate ventilation. Don’t use it near the eyes, and don’t get it in the eyes.

Where to Buy Collodion

You’re going to have to buy some somewhere – try Amazon. DO NOT buy the “flexable collodion”, as it does not shrink when it dries. You want “rigid collodion,” which is the theatrical stuff.

How to Create Your Custom Scar

  1. What Type of Scar?

    First, decide what kind of scar you’re going to have. A few choices are:

    • short scars
    • long scars
    • pockmarks
    • wrinkles
  2. Prepare the Area

    Prepare the skin area by washing it with soap that has no oils or lanolins. This stuff works even when the skin is oily, but better if it is not. Make sure the skin is dry before application.

    collodion-before-scarTo make the scar even more gory, “draw” the scar with red, or purple ink first, and then lay the collodion down over it. The ink will show through.

  3. Apply the Collodion

    I use a small paint brush, but you can use cotton swabs or, if you are making a large area wrinkled or scarred, you can just pour it on. Use a larger brush, and you get a larger area (this is how they make people look old in the movies or on stage), or keep re-applying it to the same swath with a small brush to make a nasty scar.

    You can make “pock” marks by dabbing in one spot. The more layers you lay down, the deeper the scar.

collodion and brush collodion-first-application
ANOTHER CAUTION: This stuff, as it dries, pulls the skin in tight, and that is why it looks so much like a scar. However, that also means it can be uncomfortable after a while. Little kids may not like having this on their skin, so be aware of this.

collodion-scar collodion-scar-2

Removing the Scar

The instructions on the bottle say to peal it off, but from my experience that can be a bit painful. Better to use fingernail polish remover. Again, needless to say but I’m going to say it anyway, make sure there is adequate ventilation and don’t get this stuff in your eye!

Okay. Order it. Use it. Scare people. Or just make people feel sorry for you and put money in your tin can. Simple.

Happy Haunting!