Try One of Our Last-Minute Halloween Costumes for Kids

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Photo: Heather Mildenstein

Suddenly, it's October 31 and the question remains unanswered: What will your child be for Halloween? Back away from the old sheet-ghost standby. Here are four adorable kids' costumes you can assemble using basic household supplies and a little ingenuity.

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Heather Mildenstein

You've been staring down invitations to Halloween parties and trick-or-treating festivities for weeks, but you still haven't had the chance to actually get working on your little one's costume. Don't lose your head! There are many ways you can dress all the ghouls and goblins in your life without resorting to cliché costumes you'd find in nearby Halloween superstores. Using the materials in your DIY toolkit, you can create unique and adorable looks for preschoolers and school-aged children through pre-teens and young adolescents.

We're breaking down four different costumes that can be made in an hour or less; each are so easy that they can be assembled on Halloween eve if need be (a quick way to salvage any accidents!). They're perfect for boys and girls of any age, as the base of each costume is anchored by clothes that are most likely hanging in their closets. In most cases, you can remove the alterations you made just as easily, making these ideas much more eco-friendly than entirely new costumes altogether.

First, we use Martha's collection of acrylic paint-available at Michaels, a nontoxic and water-based option that will simply wash off with water-to face paint life-like webs on the cheeks to go alongside our spider costume. If you can't source these festive webs, don't worry; our adorable sailor outfit comes together with toolkit staples like duct tape and Sharpie markers. If you're fond of painting at home, you'll probably have all the necessary materials for our roving masterpiece costume as well, which is a fun option to actually make with your child's help as well.

Whichever costume you choose to make will scare up as much candy as your little one can get their hands on. If the whole family is in need for a costume, take a peek at other last-minute costumes for adults and a few ideas for your pets, too.

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Super Spider Kid

Heather Mildenstein

Alison Faulkner of The Alison Show turned a tangle of leftover faux webbing and a few pretend spiders into the creepy-cute Super Spider Kid costume.

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What You'll Need

Heather Mildenstein

Here's what you'll need to get started on this costume:

  • Thin paintbrush
  • Spider web (Fun World Super Stretch Spider Web, $10.49,
  • Plastic spiders (Muzboo Realistic Plastic Spider Toys, $9,
  • Black and white acrylic craft paint (Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paint, $15.48 for 16-ounces,
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Step One

Heather Mildenstein

Dress your child in all black. Stretch the web around your child by having them put their arms and legs through openings in the web as if they were putting on a shirt and pants.

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Step Two

Heather Mildenstein

Stretching the web as you go, tangle a few plastic spiders into the webbing.

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Step Three

Heather Mildenstein

To create a spiderweb on your child's cheek, use a selection of acrylic face paints. These products are nontoxic and water-based and wash off with water. Paint concentric circles on your child's face with a thin paintbrush, then paint lines out from the middle of the center circle.

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Step Four

Heather Mildenstein

Use a dollop of corn syrup to stick a spider to your child's cheek or hair. They'll be ready to take part in the night of trick-or-treating.

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Nutty Professor

Dream Photography Studio

Kimberly Sneed of A Night Owl blog raided her stores of craft for materials to create this adorable costume on the fly.

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What You'll Need

Dream Photography Studio

Gather these materials before you start making this costume:

  • Felt or other scrap material
  • Assorted pencils
  • Duct tape of your choice, and a small amount of white tape-such as washi tape.
  • A pair of suspenders; alternatively, some elastic bands and your choice of ribbon.
  • Fabric tape (Peel'n'Stick Fabric Fuse Tape, $12.04,
  • Fake glasses (GrinderPUNCH Costume Glasses for children, $9,
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Step 1

Dream Photography Studio

To create the bow tie, simply cut a rectangle of felt or stiff fabric, and gather material at the center.

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Step 2

Dream Photography Studio

Wrap with fabric tape or stitch in the middle.

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Step 3

Dream Photography Studio

Cut a smaller piece of the same felt or fabric-then, wrap it around the center and pin to the top of a button-down shirt.

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Step 4

Dream Photography Studio

For a pocket protector, cut a pocket-size insert out of duct tape or thick paper.

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Step 5

Dream Photography Studio

Cut pencils down so that they fit perfectly to the size of the pocket insert and will stick out of the pocket.

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Step 6

Dream Photography Studio

Tape pencils down onto the insert for a quick and easy pocket protector.

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Step 7

Dream Photography Studio

If you have kids' suspenders, great! If not, grab some elastic banding or ribbon and pin to the inside of the child's jeans for a quick and easy suspender look.

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Say "Trick or Treat!"

Dream Photography Studio

Last but not least, grab those lensless glasses. If all you have are children's sunglasses, simply pop the lenses out and wrap the center with white tape and you're done.

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A Mini Masterpiece

Jenny Batt

Jenny Batt of Hank+Hunt used a few leftover art supplies to create a simple "Work of Art" costume-perfect for kids who don't like to change out of their favorite jeans or T-shirt (even for candy).

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What You'll Need

Jenny Batt

Source these essentials before you begin working on this project with your child:

  • Art canvas, 16 by 12 inches
  • Ribbon, 18 inches
  • Stapler
  • Acrylic craft paint (Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paint, $15 for 16-ounces,
  • Paint brush set (Martha Stewart Crafts Basic Brush Set, $17.06,
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Step 1

Jenny Batt

Place dots of paint, as large as a dime if not larger, all around your canvas.

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Step 2

Jenny Batt

Spread out dots of the same color using your paintbrush. (This would be a great step to get the kids involved.)

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Step 3

Jenny Batt

Continue with the other colors, blending slightly where the colors touch if desired. Clean brush between colors to get a clear patch of color.

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Step 4

Jenny Batt

Once done, let the painting dry.

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Step 5

Jenny Batt

Measure the ribbon around your child's neck for hanging. It should go from their upper chest, around the neck, and back to the other side of the upper chest. Trim ribbon as desired.

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Step 6

Jenny Batt

Staple the ends of the ribbon to each corner of the painting on the wood frame.

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Say "Trick or Treat!"

Jenny Batt

Hang the artwork around your child's neck and go trick-or-treating. Later, you can hang the work of art in your child's room. For a group costume, make one for everyone in the family to create an instant traveling gallery.

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Speedy Sailor

Alexandra Hedin

Alexandra Hedin of created a charming sailor costume for her son using materials she swiped from leftovers in her crafting toolbox.

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What You'll Need

Alexandra Hedin

You can easily create this unisex Halloween costume using the following materials:

  • Navy-blue duct or painter's tape
  • Sharpie in red ($4.39 for two,
  • Scissors
  • A pair of blue pants
  • Spare, used newspaper
  • White t-shirt (Gildan Short-Sleeve Youth Teeshirt in White, $3.99,
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Step 1

Alexandra Hedin

Draw red stripes across the top "V" of the shirt using the Sharpie as pictured.

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Step 2

Alexandra Hedin

Cut duct tape in two strips across the length of the entire shirt. Use half of the tape to create lines across the front of the shirt, and leave the remaining tape to create stripes on the back. Allow the tape strips to cross in the front creating a "tie." Repeat on both sides.

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Step 3

Alexandra Hedin

Bring the remaining piece of tape across the shoulders and lay it down flat on the back of the shirt. Repeat on both sides. Then, cut a strip of tape to connect these two pieces across the back. For more detail, add an optional second, thinner strip of tape on the inside of the thicker line as pictured here.

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Step 4

Alexandra Hedin

Cut two strips of tape to wrap around the sleeves in varying sizes. Repeat on both arms.

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Say "Trick or Treat!"

Alexandra Hedin

Fold a paper hat from newspaper using this template and add a toy boat. Ahoy!

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