Three thrifty Halloween costume ideas

Three thrifty Halloween costume ideas

Last October, we put together three DIY Halloween costumes with reused materials and people loved the garden fairy, cupcake, and skeleton costumes we made. So this year, we’re going to do it again! This time, we’re making a baby octopus, genie with a lamp, and bacon with eggs. We hope this inspires you to create memorable, affordable Halloween costumes with reused materials on your own. Check out the KATU News video where Education Program Manager Lisa LeDoux shows the Problem Solvers how to make these awesome costumes.

Baby octopus costume for under $5:

Materials needed:

  • Long sleeved t-shirt
  • 8 old socks or unfinished knitting scraps
  • Stuffing
  • Plastic Easter egg
  • Elastic string
  • Needle and thread
  • Fabric paint or bingo dotters
  • Cotton fabric scrap (approximately 20” x 20”)

Tools needed:

  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors

Constructing the hat:

1. Measure the circumference of the child’s head.
2. Fold the fabric scrap in half and with a pencil, draw a U-shape. The size of the U is determined by the head measurements (the open end of the U should be equal to half the circumference of the child’s head).
3. Cut the shape out (you will then have two half ovals equal in size)
4. With a thin line of hot glue around the edge, glue one piece on top of the other. Do not glue along the flat end (this is the opening of the hat). You will now have a pocket shape.
5. Turn the pocket inside out.
6. Decorate the hat with bingo dotters, fabric paint, and little circles of felt. 
7. With a permanent marker draw eyes on each half of the sides of the Easter egg.
8. Hot glue the eggs to each side of the hat.
9. Add a thin piece of elastic to the bottom of the hat for a chinstrap.
10. Add stuffing to the inside of the hat to help it stand up.

Constructing the body:

1. Dye socks (or tentacles) with acrylic craft paint and water. Pastel colors look best. Add drops of paint into a shallow tub of water until the desired color has been achieved. Add socks, let soak for a few minutes then ring out and put in your dryer to heat set the color.
2. To create the look of suckers, use bingo dotters to make a line of dots down each sock.
3. Fill socks with stuffing.
4. For half finished knitting projects or old sweaters; with a needle and thread or hot glue, shape the pieces into tube- or sock-like shapes and fill with stuffing.
5. With a needle and thread sew the tentacles around the bottom of the shirt.
6. Camouflage the area where the socks attach to the shirt by adding more felt circles.
7. Decorate the neckline of the shirt with bingo dotters, fabric paint and glue on felt circles for added texture.
Genie costume

Genie costume for under $10:

Materials needed:

  • Option 1: Royal blue long sleeved T-shirt and pants OR Option 2: Royal blue gown
  • Red sash or strip of fabric
  • Scrap of gold fabric
  • Two strips of gold paper
  • Velcro
  • Foam
  • Old t-shirt
  • Plastic container, cap and spool
  • Mask print off
  • Scraps of fake fur
  • Gold colored earring or hoop
  • Elastic string
  • Gold spray paint

Tools needed:

  • Hot glue gun
  • (Option 2 requires a sewing machine)

Constructing the mask:

1. From your computer print the image of the mask on card stock and cut out.
2. Cut holes for the eyes. Then glue fake fur for beard and hair, and gold hoop for earring.
3. Hole punch each side of the mask and use elastic string to keep the mask on.

Constructing the outfit:

1.Glue layers of foam to the chest area of an old shirt (this will be worn under the costume and fill it out).
2. For option two, you will need to sew the bottom of the gown into pants.
3. Cut gold paper into strips the size of your wrist and add velcro to each end to create cuffs.

Constructing the shoes:

1.Cut gold fabric into two squares that are at least 3” longer than your shoe size.
2. Gold each square in half and glue one end shut.
3. On the opposite end, tuck the folded corner in and attach with glue. 

Constructing the genie lamp:

1.Check your recycling bin for a plastic container with a lid
2. Using hot glue, attach a small plastic cap in the center of your lid.
3. Next attach a plastic spool or tube for the spout of the lamp. Once the glue has dried, spray paint the lamp gold.
4. Add plastic jewels for added embellishment.

Bacon costume for under $5:

Materials needed:

  • Large piece of foam
  • Large piece of white felt or fabric
  • Red and brown felt scraps and/or deconstructed holiday bow
  • Red cellophane
  • Elastic string

Tools needed:

  • Hot glue gun

Constructing the costume:

1. Cut the foam to the appropriate length (depending on the height of the person). Then cut out the shape of a bacon strip, making the sides appear wavy.
2. Cover the front of the foam with white felt.
3. Cut an appropriate sized face hole a few inches from the top of the costume.
4. Cut long slender strips of red and brown cellophane felt, fabric or ribbon. 
5. Arrange your shapes on the foam base and glue down.
6. Attach two elastic strings to the back of the costume (one around the face hole to secure around the head and one near the center to secure around the waist).
7. If you’d like your bacon to glisten, add some spray glitter!

Make a quick side of eggs for your bacon!
Bacon and eggs

Materials needed:

  • 2 pieces of foam core
  • 2 large plastic lids
  • 2 yellow fabric scraps
  • Stuffing
  • String

Constructing the costume:

1. Reuse white foam core left over from a school project. Cut the foam core into the shape of two fried eggs.
2. To create yolk, find two large plastic lids from food packaging. Place a small amount of stuffing on top of the lid then cover with yellow fabric. Tightly gather fabric under the lid and secure with hot glue.
3. Glue the yolks to the center of each egg. Slightly later the eggs and attach together with hot glue.
4. Punch small holes on each side of the costume then tie a string through the holes to create a strap that goes around your shoulders.

2 Comments Bookmark and Share


  • 1.where is the store where u got clothes by the pound for costumes.. Thanks Roxanne

    Roxanne | October 2012 | pdx

  • 2.Thanks for asking Roxanne! It was Vintage by the Pound, which is just across the street from SCRAP.

    Sanne Stienstra | October 2012

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