Three thrifty reused costume ideas

Three thrifty reused costume ideas

These thrifty costumes were featured KATU Channel 2’s On Your Side segment, showing strategies for making low-cost Halloween costumes for kids. Watch the video of these fantastic (and affordable) costumes being assembled.

Garden Fairy

The accessories for the garden fairy outfit consist of a tutu, wings, a wand, a crown, and a trick or treat bag. Here’s a list of things you would need from around the house: shirt, tights, shorts or a skirt, shoes.

The tutu is one long ribbon, and I tied other ribbon scraps and fabric scraps to the long ribbon to form an ethereal skirt. Add tons of fabric strips to add fullness, and then just tie on to wear it! The wings were made from broken toy wings from The Bins, a giant purple ostrich feather dyed purple, 2 thin metal strips from hanging file folder, and a big purple flower.

I cut the ostrich feather in half and hot glued a piece to the bottom of each of the pink sparkle wings. I duct taped the metal file folder pieces into an X shape, then glue the pink wings with the purple feathers on top to add stability, then used the big purple flower to cover up the construction pieces. I just found a super long ribbon and wrapped it around the girl to make straps, and tied it on. That way it’s easily adjustable, but if you had an old backpack that was ready for the garbage, you could cut off the straps to fashion make a comfy way to wear the wings.

The wand was a plastic stick from The Bins, accentuated with ribbon and flowers that fit the color scheme, and the treat bag was a sparkle purse from Goodwill - glued hot glued the butterfly to make it seem like she had just hurried in from the garden to trick or treat! Her crown is made from sparkly wire leftover from someone’s gift wrapping, accentuated with a bow and fabric strips left over from making the tutu. This is an easy costume to wear over warmer, possible bulky clothing if it is cold or rainy on Halloween!


The costume consists of 4 pieces: the “icing,” the cupcake wrapper, the cherry head topper, and the trick or treat bag. You would also need a shirt, pants or leggings, and shoes.

Cupcake Costume The red cupcake wrapper was made out of a scrap of corrugated cardboard leftover from some teacher’s bulletin board. I cut a shape that can be best described as a rainbow - I traced 2 parallel arcs onto the cardboard and used a utility knife to cut it out. I added adhesive Velcro where the edges overlapped to fasten it into the cup shape, and stapled the Velcro as well as used the adhesive it came with for added strength. I stapled on 2 strips of athletic ribbing from SCRAP to be the shoulder straps, and it fits on the child like those old cartoons you see of a guy wearing a barrel. The icing portion is based on a fabric version of what I would describe as a very full skirt. I found an odd long strip of white fabric at SCRAP, folder over an edge and sewed a casing, and then put elastic through it and gathered it so it was full. I then folded and stapled coffee filters in rows all over it to it would look full and delicious! I hot glued tiny cardboard circles spray painted in bright colors to be the sprinkles, and then coated the whole thing in a coat of clear acrylic spray meant for finishing craft projects, just in case it rained - it doesn’t make it totally waterproof, but it will ward off sogginess. The headband has a cardboard circle duct taped to it to use as a base, and then I hot glued more coffee filters on top and added more cardboard circle sprinkles. The cherry is a plastic red glitter Christmas ornament with a brown pipe cleaner stem, hot glued to the cardboard base as well. It’s lightweight and adds to the cupcake illusion! The matching cupcake treat basket is a basket from The Bins covered by a lampshade (also from The Bins!) and then I hot glued more coffee filters around the rim for cupcake-osity.


Skeleton Costume 1You will need black pants and a black shirt, socks and shoes. Skeleton gloves from the dollar store help make the costume awesome! I used paper plates to cut out the bones for the skeleton, and safety pinned them on. This way you can use you child’s regular clothes and not wreck them for future use. Again, I coated the paper with clear acrylic finishing spray to make it more waterproof in the case of a Halloween downpour. If the child doesn’t have a plain black shirt, flip one with printing on it inside out. For the spinal cord, I used a spiral book binding we had here at SCRAP. 

Skeleton Costume 2For shoe covers, I found 2 black shoulder pads at SCRAP, then used white acrylic paint to paint foot bones on them. I poked a small hole in the corners of each pad, then threaded thin black elastic through them. They slide right over any shoes the child wants to wear. For a treat bag, I used a wine tote someone donated to SCRAP and cut up a spooky foam collar from some old costume I found at The Bins; I hot glued it on to cover the logo. The kid was excited to see how he could sort his candy by type into the six slots!  Note: hot glue on some reusable bags doesn’t work well - they are actually made of thin plastic and it kind of melted through. Lesson learned! For the skeleton mask, check out this video tutorial to see how I made it.

SCRAPpy Halloween!

2 Comments Bookmark and Share


  • 1.reminds me of the year I was a tomato. it was awesome!

    If you can get a hold of this book, it has fabulous simple-to-extravagant costume ideas based on a few basic shapes. An excellent costuming resource.

    Tess | October 2011

  • 2.Reminds me of the year my mother turned me (a super tall, super skinny, gawky pre-teen) into a May Pole with a long tube adorned with streamers and paper flowers. With hind sight it was a thing of beauty stuck on the top of my head with me in tights. It was well crafted and very creative. But it was not much appreciated by me at the time.
    These kids are lucky that their folks are creative and reasonable :)

    Karen Ertel | October 2011 | Portland, OR

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