No-sew Halloween costume ideas

Girl with Halloween pumpkins
No need for complicated patterns or topnotch sewing skills – get ready for Halloween with these easy costume ideas. Ghosts, wizards, witches and more can be created in less than an hour and the kids can help, too. Emily Organ waves her wand and shows us how.

Halloween is a great excuse to dress up and there’s nothing like a home-made outfit to give your child some individuality. It can be customised in any way you like and it won’t be made out of that nylon material which makes children hot and bothered after a while.

But what if your crafty skills aren’t up to scratch? Don’t worry, we’ve come up with five Halloween outfits you can make at home, and they will only cost you a few pounds. None of these costumes require sewing. If you want to stop the fabric fraying use iron-on webbing to iron hems in. Even easier is cutting the fabric with pinking shears; they create a zig-zag cut which reduces fraying and also looks quite decorative.

Ghost

Probably the easiest Halloween costume to make!

You'll need: a piece of white fabric (approx 1.5m square), ankle-length to look as though it's floating.

Method: Obviously you’ll need to cut some eyeholes, and some arm holes will help the fabric stay in place.

Very simple, very spooky and perfect for a chilly October evening as your child can be fully clothed and coated underneath the sheet.

Witch

Halloween’s the only time of year when girls want to make themselves look as ugly and nasty as possible, so make the most of the opportunity!

You'll need: a piece of black fabric (approx 1m x 1.5m), iron-on Velcro, two cereal packets, black paint, glue or sticky tape, a ball of wool (optional), a large stick, a collection of twigs around 20-30cm long, a ball of string.

Method:

  • The fabric can be draped around your child to make the cloak; cut it to fit if you need to. Iron on the strips of Velcro so it will fasten at the neck and cut two arm holes in the sides. 
  • Hat: open out the cereal packet, trim off the flaps and roll it into a cone (blank side facing out) which is wide enough at the base to fit your child’s head. Glue or tape in place and then trim the base of the cone so it stands flat. Place the cone onto the second cereal packet and draw around it. Then draw another circle around it about 3-5cm from the base of the cone. This will form the hat brim. Cut out this ring of cardboard and attach it to the cone with tape or glue. Paint the hat with black paint and leave to dry. 
  • If you’d like to add witch’s hair to the hat then cut some lengths of wool and tape them to the inside brim of the hat. 
  • Broom: gather the twigs around the base of the stick so they form the brush section of the broom, wind wool or string around them to tie them firmly into place.

To add some finishing touches you could apply some green face paint and draw on a gruesome ‘wart’ or two with eyeliner. Stripy tights look good with a witch's outfit if you have some, and black school shoes complete the effect.

Wizard

Thanks to a certain boy wizard we all know wizards aren’t always evil, but yours might have a few nasty spells up his sleeve!

You'll need: a piece of dark coloured fabric (approx 1m x 1.5m), iron-on Velcro, two cereal packets, dark coloured paint (to match the colour of the cloak), black paint, glue and sticky tape, coloured bits of card, an old book, a sheet of coloured paper or wrapping paper to cover the book.

Method: 

  • Make the hat and cloak following the Witch hat and cloak instructions above. Cut out some star and moon shapes from the coloured card and stick them onto the hat and cloak. If you’re feeling artistic you could paint the shapes on.
  • Roll up some leftover card or cardboard into a wand shape and tape into place. Paint it black (or use black card) and use white paint or paper for the tips of the wand.
  • Cover the book with the coloured paper or wrapping paper and write ‘Wizard Spells’ or similar, in a fancy font, on the front.

Wizards can be colourful so add your own decoration to the outfit if you’ve got the time. Use some eyeliner pencil to draw on a way-out wizard moustache.

Witch’s cat

Every witch needs a wily cat but this one looks super cute too.

You'll need: two pairs of black tights, old socks / scrunched up newspaper, black top, piece of cardboard (from a cereal packet is fine), black paint, pipe cleaners, piece of string / ribbon / elastic.

Method:

  • The tights and top will form the main part of the costume. Use the second pair of tights to make the tail. Cut one leg off to the desired tail length and stuff it with some old socks or scrunched up newspaper, attach it to the back of the top with a safety pin.
  • Draw a cat face on the piece of cardboard and cut it out, work out where the eyes will be and cut those out too. Paint the mask black and when it’s dry you can decorate it with pipe cleaners for whiskers. Add a piece of card for the nose, too, if you like. Attach the string or ribbon so you can tie it into place.

Zombie

Definitely one of the scariest costumes and you can let your imagination run wild with the painted mask.

You'll need: black top and trousers, a piece of black fabric (minimum 0.5m square), piece of cardboard (from a cereal packet is fine), green / red / black / white paint, piece of string / ribbon / elastic.

Method:

  • Use the black fabric to make a headscarf. If you have a larger piece of material you could make a cloak like the Witch and Wizard outfits.
  • Draw a scary, ghoulish face onto the cardboard – it could be a skull or a zombie face. Cut it out, work out where the eyes will be and cut those out too. Paint it white for a skull face, green for a zombie and add some red 'blood' if you like. Whatever takes your fancy! Attach the string or ribbon for tying on.

After you've chosen a costume, top if off with a fun face paint design from our step-by-step guides!