Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids

When it comes to Halloween, I am the queen of procrastination. As my kids get older, I have learned that it is possible to throw together a pretty decent costume with items found around the house. Last year involved my daughter wearing her dance leotard with the addition of a cat mask from a party store. The year before, my son made a Minecraft head out of a box, pulled together with a glue stick and a few printouts from the copy shop. For a few hours of trick-or-treating, we have learned we don’t have to spend a lot on the occasion to have a great time.

If you have waited until the last minute, don’t despair!

Here are a Few Fun Ideas for Creating Costumes Within Minutes

Consider a fast trade

Trading costumes with other families can save a lot of money, and it’s a quick way to snag the perfect costume. The easiest way to find a person to trade with is by posting on Facebook to see if anyone might have something in your child’s size that you can borrow for the night. Not only do you get a cool new-to-you costume, but you also don’t have to store it when the Halloween season is over.

For a few hours of trick-or-treating, we have learned we don’t have to spend a lot on the occasion to have a great time.

Embrace the costumes of your childhood

Think back to your childhood and what costumes used to look like then. Children were often ghosts (made out of sheets), cowboys (wearing a cowboy hat and bandana), and ballerinas (a tutu and leotard). Our moms really had a knack for using what we already had!

Take a look around at what you already have and make that the costume. Does your daughter love to play dress-up? Use one of her dresses and add a tiara. Ta-da! Instant princess! Does your son run around with a firefighter hat on? Add a rain jacket and some boots, and tell him he is a firefighter this year. There are probably many items in your home that you can use in creative ways without spending a dime.

Raid your closet

Don’t forget to check your own wardrobe and items in your home as possible costumes. Maybe your daughter would love to be a chef? Offer to let her borrow a mixing bowl, spoon and an apron. Younger children love to raid their parent’s closets, so this is a perfect opportunity to use that to your advantage. If you’re coming up short, visit your local thrift shop for heavily discounted items that make perfect costume accessories.

Focus on the Face

Embrace your inner artist and paint your child’s face instead of purchasing a costume. With a few ingredients that you probably already have in the pantry, you can create a festive face that will be the perfect Halloween costume all on its own. Just search on YouTube to find loads of tutorials about Halloween face painting.

Halloween Face Paint


  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cold cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon water
  • Food coloring
  • Small makeup brush


  1. Combine starch and cold cream until well blended.
  2. Add water and stir.
  3. Add a couple drops of food coloring and stir.
  4. Using the makeup brush, paint designs in desired patterns.
  5. Store in an airtight container, and to remove, use soap and water.

Halloween Grease Paint


  • 2 teaspoons white shortening
  • 5 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon white flour
  • 2-3 drops glycerin
  • Food coloring or cocoa for brown


  1. Mix the ingredients in order above and apply to the body.
  2. Remove with soap and water.

Halloween costumes are limited by your own imagination, so look all around you to find inspiration for creating your child’s very own last-minute version that will make the holiday a festive, fun success.

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