12 DIY Halloween Costumes You Can Make With Things You Already Have at Home

"You can make these costumes in minutes with things you already have on hand!"

Even though it’s only September, we’re all beginning to think about Halloween… which means we’re also thinking about DIY Halloween costumes.

According to a past survey, 76% of Americans plan on buying their Halloween costumes. Aside from being expensive (it adds up to billions of dollars every year!), store-bought options are also pretty wasteful. People typically only wear costumes once, and it’s not uncommon for them to wind up in landfills.

If you’re looking to incorporate more eco-friendly fashion practices into your life, why not make your own? There are plenty of DIY Halloween costumes that can be assembled with things you likely already have at home. And if there’s anything you’re missing, you can thrift it.

From pop culture references to plants, here are some fun ideas to get you started.

12 Easy DIY Halloween Costumes for 2021

1. DIY Houseplant

diy halloween costume
Photo: A Beautiful Mess

This adorable costume can be made with a few cardboard boxes and some paint. After you assemble your plant pot and swipe on a bright terracotta color, you can upcycle whatever paper you have on hand to create the plant of your choice. Put on a green shirt to blend in, and you’re good to go!

2. Black Cat


The cat costume is a Halloween classic that can easily be dressed up or down. Just pair some homemade cat ears with something casual like a black sweater, or something a little fancier like a black dress. It’s a classic look that never disappoints.

3. Mermaid

Photo: Oh Happy Day

Have a shimmery skirt on hand? Pair it with a plain white tee to make this mermaid costume. All you need to do is stencil a couple seashells onto it, then paint it the color of your choosing. It’s simple, quick, and fun.

4. Velma from Scooby-Doo


Whether you’re going as the whole Scooby-Doo gang with friends or dressing solo, Velma is the easiest character to recreate. If you have an orange sweater, red skirt, and a pair of glasses, you’re good to go. You can also elevate this costume by adding some knee-high socks and Mary Janes. (And, of course, by including your pup!)

5. Eleven from Stranger Things


With fans anticipating the delayed fourth season of Stranger Things, this is a great time to bring the costume back to life. All you need is a pink dress, some knee-high socks, and an oversized jacket. With that alone, you’ll be good to go. To take it to the next level, grab a box of Eggo Waffles and create a fake nosebleed.

6. Cactus

diy halloween costumes
Photo: Studio DIY

It doesn’t get easier than this DIY cactus costume. Start with a green dress, then add some white yarn for the spiky spines. While that works as-is, you can also become a flowering cactus by attaching some yarn blooms.

7. Britney Spears

diy halloween costumes
Photo: A Beautiful Mess

There are so many ways you can dress as pop icon Britney Spears for Halloween. Wear a form-fitting, all-red ensemble for an “Oops I Did It Again” costume; a skirt, white knotted blouse, and grey cardigan for her classic “Baby One More Time” video; or all the denim you have to replicate her most famous red carpet look.

8. Umbrella Bat


Have a broken umbrella? Instead of throwing it out, upcycle it into this easy DIY Halloween costume. First, create some bat ears using whatever you have on hand. (Pro tip: The removable foam inserts in bikini tops work great for this!) For the wings, cut an old umbrella in half and use safety pins to attach it to the arms of a black hoodie.

9. Violet from Willy Wonka

Photo: Everett Collection

While many of us remember Violet as a swollen blueberry, you can also recreate her pre-blueberry look pretty easily. To make the DIY Halloween costume, simply grab a blue tracksuit (or a blue sweatshirt and sweatpants) and a pack of your favorite bubble gum.

10. Rosie the Riveter


When it comes to easy DIY Halloween costumes, it’s hard to beat Rosie the Riveter from the famous “We Can Do It” poster. All you need is a red bandana and a denim shirt to become the 1940s icon in a flash. Add some bright red lipstick and flex your arm, and you’ll be unmistakable.

11. Detective

diy halloween costumes
Photo: Lauren Conrad

Creating a classic detective look only requires a trench coat, a hat, and a magnifying glass or a notebook and pen. Bonus points if you get into character and walk around your Halloween party all mysterious, jotting down any “suspicious” activity you see.

12. Flower Child

diy halloween costumes
Photo: Melissa Marano

With ’70s style making a comeback, there’s a good chance you could assemble a hippie costume pretty easily. Throw on some flared jeans, a flowy top, a flower headband (make it with what you can find outside!), and some sunglasses. See? Finding DIY Halloween costumes is easier than you think.

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You can make these costumes in minutes with things you already have on hand!

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