Even more precycled / recycled Halloween costume ideas

The Buy Nothing New Halloween Costume Challenge continues! Several readers have sent in photos of past children’s costumes they’ve cobbled together from existing clothing or costumes in an effort to avoid buying new. These photos and the commentary just reminds me that kids are so easy when it comes to costumes. They don’t need the new, expensive costume to be happy — it’s the parents who choose that route. Plus, many of these recycled costumes can be worn as regular day-to-day clothing!

BatFirst I want to show you this costume, which wasn’t submitted by anyone, but I found it and just had to share it. Granted, this is a grown-up, but it would totally work for an older kid. I love it! A bat costume made from a black umbrella. The complete instructions can be found at the Evil Mad Scientist Laboratory (don’t let the name scare you).

LeopardcostumeHere’s an idea from Kristi: “About 8 months ago my 3 yr old saw a child sporting a leopard costume (WITH A TAIL she reminded me frequently) and decided right then that she would be a leopard for Halloween. She’s stuck with that choice and I’ve had a nice amount of time to scout out the options. While searching Craigslist and Ebay for costumes I found out that Gymboree had a “line” of leopard-themed clothing last year and many people started selling their outgrown outfits around back-to-school time. So we scored some great barely used things for not much $$: top, pants, tights (which I turned into a tail), sweater, raincoat, and rainboots all in this leopard print. And she loves it so much she’s getting MUCH more than 1 wear out of it, she has barely taken it off this week and now that the rain has started, the leopard rain coat is her go-to outerwear choice. It’s a bit much for my taste, but I guess if she loves it…”

Diego_2From Erin: “Last year, our son wanted to be Diego. I used an old pair of kids cargo shorts and an old pair of Dad’s khaki pants, and made a vest. The kid sized cargo pockets created perfect ‘safari’ looking pockets on the vest. We downloaded the official Diego emblem from the Nick Jr website and made a badge for him. The rest of the costume was “diego-like” shorts and tshirt, complete with binoculars that our son already had from the dollar store. OK, it’s wasn’t anything too amazing, but our son was really comfortable, we didn’t spend any money, AND he was original and cool.”

Ingrid sent in three photos of her kids:


Check out the hat on this darling cupcake. It started out as a hat from Goodwill, and it looks like white felt with glitter was added for frosting, and the whole thing tied on with a filmy scarf. They already had the pj’s (which probably inspired the whole costume). Great idea for a baby! Ingrid made the penguin costume from an old black velour sweater and a chunk of fabric from an art supply reuse shop.

The sabre-toothed tiger on the right is wearing an old lion’s costume, but made his mask out of paper-mache. And face paint goes a long way, doesn’t it?


Along with the Batman and Incredibles recycled costumes, here are a couple of photos of my daughter from years past:


This witch costume (and yes, that boa is a bit much, but she insisted) was made using two adult-sized black skirts from a resale shop. For the dress, I used an elastic-waist skirt and just cut two armholes on the side. It just pulled on right over her head, and she wore a black shirt underneath. The cape is made from a velour skirt, just cut apart, and I added a ribbon to tie it on. The hat, I’ll admit, is store-bought.

One year she wanted to be a cow girl after seeing Toy Story 2 and falling in love with Jesse. This skirt was a hand-me-down, but any brown skirt would do. I cut out the cow-patterned vest from a remnant of non-fray fabric (no sewing involved!). We had the hat, boots and bandanna.

So are you feeling inspired? Visit your local thrift and resale stores and scrounge around your closets to see what you already have! You can do this, and your kids will love it!