My Messy Mom Life

DIY Halloween Costumes

Halloween is upon us! If you are looking for costume tips from the perfect Pinterest mom, I may not be your girl. But if you are looking for tips from the mom who is tired of spending $60 on thin, polyester costumes (I have bought way too many), has kids requesting outlandish characters that don’t actually exist, or wants to think a little outside of the box, than you have come to the right place! I am the queen of throwing things together at the last second, which sometimes makes for the greatest costumes. Kids usually change their minds a million times before Halloween anyway, so be open to last-minute masterpieces. Here are a few DIY tips I have learned over the years.

Amazon Prime is your best friend. One year my daughter asked me if she could be a blue whale. Go ahead and Google blue whale costumes for toddlers and see what you find. A lot of sharks and ugly fishes will populate. I thought a blow-up whale would be the cutest solution, but I had no idea how to make it work. I found a pool toy for $8.99 on Amazon; we cut the leg holes and worked our duct tape magic for straps. She wore a blue sweatsuit from her closet, and we opted for a ‘90s eyeshadow palette from Walgreens for $3.99. Everyone thought it was great! More importantly, my girl’s dreams came true for less than $20.

Be resourceful. Chances are you have an old wig or funny hat lying around your house. Start there, and then think of ways it could work. I found a blond wig that screamed ‘80s at the bottom of the toy bin. We used a dance leotard, cut old socks for leg warmers, and cut the neck out of a sweater from the giveaway pile. Voila! An ‘80s workout girl. Everyone at the neighborhood parade flipped out. Start with items from home, and add store-bought pieces if needed.

Get a hot glue gun. If you have a hot glue gun and a junk drawer (who doesn’t?), anything is possible. One year my friend bought the most beautiful Cinderella dress for my daughter. Obviously, she needed a prince. I was not about to spend $100 on Etsy, nor did I have two weeks to wait for delivery. I found red pants at Target and an old white polo with stains at home and then went to work finding things in my junk drawer. The only thing I had to buy was a 99-cent piece of red felt. I hot glued everything in place, and the li’l guy transpired in less than an hour. Note: HeatnBond is the best for gluing fabric.


Say yes to resale shops. If you have never stopped in to your local Goodwill, now is the time. They are basically a vault of epic costumes and weird accessories that can be pieced together to make sure you or your kids win the contest this year.

Make it personal. I love when costumes have a personal twist so that every other kid isn’t wearing the same thing. My kids and I have a YouTube cooking show called The #Crumblycrew, and our logo is a unicorn. It was only fitting to recreate our favorite little character for one trick-or-treat session. And hey, free marketing!

More than anything, just have fun and be creative. And let your kids help! They will be extra proud of the result. If you try DIY and hate it, there is always the day after when you can score the very best deals on costumes for next year. My personal favorite is Pottery Barn Kids. Email me your DIY costumes this year so I can feature them on my blog!

Katelyn Young  is a local mom of two (her #crumblycrew) who shares real moments of motherhood as it relates to fashion, food and fun! Follow her on Instagram at @_katelynyoung_ or follow her blog at