Easy-to-Make Adult Halloween Costumes

Dressing up on Halloween isn't just for kids -- you'll be the best-dressed at any Halloween party with these creative (and simple!) Halloween costume ideas for adults. Keep reading for great costume ideas and costume-making tips.


Fall Leaf Bag Costume

Match the look and feel of your fall front yard with this colorful Halloween adult costume that's easy to put together.

Materials:
  • 30-gallon paper bag for composting yard waste
  • Cardboard rectangles (optional)
  • Faux-leaf garland or real leaves
  • Stapler and staples
  • Hot-glue gun and glue sticks
  • Stocking cap in orange, red, or brown
  • Safety pins
  • Transparent duct tape or clear packing tape
Instructions:
  1. Cut the bottom from the bag. If needed, reinforce the bag by taping cardboard rectangles inside it.
  2. Remove faux leaves from garland (or gather a bunch of real leaves) and staple them along the inside and outside of the bag top; hot-glue another layer of leaves on top of the first layer, positioning them to hide the staples.
  3. Hot-glue leaves to the stocking cap. Use safety pins to attach leaves to your pants and shoes.
  4. To make the straps, cut four pieces of tape long enough to reach from the top front of the bag, over your shoulder, and to the top back of the bag; allow about four inches extra for each piece.
  5. With sticky sides facing, adhere two tape pieces together; repeat for second strap. Put the bag on, and ask a helper to hold it in place while you adjust the straps, taping them to the inside of the bag.

Editor's Tip: If you plan on using real leaves, test the stapling, gluing, and pinning; brittle leaves may not adhere well.

Walking Fish Bowl Costume

Turn yourself into a walking goldfish bowl or a carnival-style fish-in-the-bag prize in just a few easy steps.

Materials:
  • Blue Bubble Wrap
  • Two 10-gallon self-sealing plastic bags
  • Sewing needle
  • Fishing line
  • Two small plush goldfish
  • Transparent duct tape or clear packing tape
Instructions:
  1. Tear the Bubble Wrap into large pieces; place in the bottom of each plastic bag to resemble water.
  2. Thread the needle with fishing line and then through the fin of a goldfish, leaving enough line so the goldfish appears to be floating on the Bubble-Wrap water when adhered from the top of the bag. Repeat for other goldfish.
  3. Place a goldfish in a bag. Tape the fishing line to the inside of the bag to hold the goldfish in place; seal the bag. Repeat for other goldfish in a bag.
  4. Thread fishing line through each bag's precut holes in the upper corners to connect the front and back (if your bags don't have the precut holes, cut your own), or connect the front and back of the bowls with duct-tape straps.
  5. To make the straps, cut four pieces of tape long enough to reach from the top front of the bag, over your shoulder, and to the top back of the bag; allow about four inches extra for each piece. With stick sides facing, adhere two tape pieces together. Repeat for second strap.
  6. Put the fish bowl on, and ask a helper to hold it in place while you adjust the straps, taping them to the inside of each bag.
Pencil and Notepad Two-Person Costume

You can cross "make a clever Halloween costume" off your to-do list with this cool couple costume that pairs a notepad with a pencil.

Materials:
  • Two large easel pads
  • Gray permanent marker
  • Transparent duct tape or clear packing tape
  • Scissors
  • Design for No. 2 Pencil, available below
  • Transfer paper for T-shirts
  • Iron
  • Yellow T-shirt
  • Yellow pants or sweat pants
  • 8-inch round metal start collar designed for HVAC ductwork
  • Felt cloche hat, dark red
  • Two 8-1/2x11-inch pieces of tan felt
  • 8-1/2x11-inch piece of brown felt
  • Fabric glue
  • 1/2 yard of 3/4-inch-wide elastic
  • Safety pins
Instructions:
  1. To make the notepad costume, use the marker to write a to-do list on one or both pads.
  2. For the straps, cut four pieces of tape long enough to reach from the top of one easel pad, over your shoulder, and to the top of the other easel pad; allow about four inches extra for each piece. With sticky sides facing, adhere two tape pieces together. Repeat for second strap.
  3. Thread straps through the handle openings on the pads, and tape them to the pad backs.
  4. To make the pencil costume, print our No. 2 Pencil design, available below, onto the fabric transfer paper. Following the manufacturer's instructions, iron the design onto the yellow T-shirt.
  5. To make the pencil eraser, push the felt hat into the metal start collar; attach with duct tape.
  6. To make the pencil point, cut two same-size triangles from the tan felt. Cut one of the triangles from the left-hand bottom corner to 2 inches below the top right-hand corner. Cut the other triangle from the bottom right-hand corner to 2 inches below the top left-hand corner. Place the triangles side by side with points pointing outward.
  7.  For the lead, cut two triangles from brown felt large enough to cover the points. Use scissors to cut jagged edges on the long edge of each triangle. Using fabric glue, adhere the lead to the tan points. Attach elastic to each pencil point using safety pins; pull the points over your shoes and secure to pant legs using safety pins.

Get the pencil design.

Fashion Disaster Duo Costume

Make the rounds on Halloween as a couple blissfully unaware of fashion faux pas with this creative adult Halloween costume idea. Dig through closets and thrift stores to come up with the whacky, mismatched articles of clothing, and play up the role of "fashion don't" seen in lifestyle magazines with an identity-saving black bar over your eyes. To make the black bar, cut eye slits in an 18x3-inch strip of black foam-core board and hot-glue it to old sunglasses with the lenses removed. See the next page for more easy Halloween costume tips.

Making your Halloween costumes doesn't always require a ton of time and commitment -- follow these tips from Ann Blevins, editor of Halloween Tricks and Treats, to put together a costume for you, your spouse, and a couple of friends in no time!

  • Get inspiration from household items. When deciding on a costume, look around your house first to see what items you can use. With a chef's hat, a mixing bowl, and a spatula, you can be a master chef. With a T-shirt and other paraphernalia from your favorite team, you can be the ultimate sports fan. You'll even get pity from fellow partiers when you're dressed in your pajamas and robe with a thermometer in your mouth.
  • Think in multiples. Designing costumes for two people or a large group can help streamline the creative process. For a quick-as-a-flash group costume, grab some colored poster board and black markers to turn you and your friends into life-size crayons.
  • Use cheap (or free) foundation pieces. Turning an old bed sheet into a ghost costume is a classic free and easy costume idea, but thinking outside the box with cheap foundation pieces can lead to creative costumes. Solid-color sweat suits, black garbage bags, and matching bath towels provide adaptable costume foundation pieces for last-minute planning.
  • Try a retro theme. Dressing for a specific time period usually requires little effort -- get your inspiration from 1950s and 1960s kids' costumes and dress up as a jewelry-draped gypsy; a hippie with a headband, beads, and a vest; or a lone traveler toting a bandana bundle on a stick.
  • Make your costume comfortable. There's nothing worse than a costume that itches, drags on the floor, or makes it hard for you to breathe. Keep your hemlines manageable so you can move easily, choose fabric that's breathable and comfortable (especially if you'll be going to a Halloween party), and consider using face paint or costume makeup instead of a mask.  

Last-Minute Adult Halloween Costume Ideas
Last-Minute Adult Halloween Costume Ideas
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