IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

DIY your Halloween with easy-to-make costumes

Instead of competing with crowds and waiting in line for a store-bought costume, why not try a DIY Halloween look this year? Today Style Editor Bobbie Thomas shares easy, semi-handmade costume ideas for the whole family.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Instead of competing with crowds and waiting in line for a store-bought costume, why not try a DIY Halloween look this year? Today Style Editor and Bobbie Thomas shares easy, semi-handmade costume ideas for the whole family.

Big-Screen Spoof
Take inspiration from recent hit movies like "Bridesmaids" and "The Hangover": Befuddled wedding parties make the perfect last-minute costume theme for large groups. If you can't get ahold of matching, colorful gowns, any assortment of taffeta or satin frocks will do — the more ruffles and shine the better! Each gal can choose her preferred personality, from confused, bruised and tattooed to a regretful "geek gone wild." If you don’t happen to have something in your closet, check the sale racks at discount department stores like for special occasion dresses. The best part is that elements you may need can come from your closet or from a local discount store like TJ Maxx. Add a touch of makeup (a blacked-out tooth or a facial cut) and some out-of-control hair, and you're good to go. is a great resource for not only make-up, but tougher-to-find accents like geeky glasses, masks, temporary hair color and more.

Perfect Pairs
For couples, BFFs, siblings or any other duo, consider a two-part costume, like "Celebrity & Fan." One person can dress as their favorite A-lister, while the other can don a shirt embellished with a "fan." You can create a simple paper cut-out, or opt for something a little more elaborate (I fashioned mine from cardboard). For those with a sweet tooth (or a knack for painting), you can dress up as Nerds Candy, famous for its dual-flavor carton: Just pick your favorite flavor and decorate a box or posterboard accordingly.  Finish off your design with the appropriate colored T-shirt, "nerdy" glasses — and then plan to stay by each other's side all evening long.

Clever Concepts
Consider a play on words for fun. For instance, a man can transform himself into a "Peeping Tom" by adorning a large picture frame with peek-through curtains or blinds (I used a few yards of basic red fabric and tacked it in place) and a stick-on label reading "Hello My Name Is TOM." For the ladies, get a laugh as a "Mail Order Bride": All you need is an old wedding gown or white dress and a few Fed Ex or UPS shipping labels to complete the look. Techy teens can be ‘web’ surfers: All they’ll need is a wet suit and a net to drape over their head, and a foam boogie board.

Fun for the Family
The movie "The Smurfs" was huge in theaters this past summer, so now's the perfect time to "get the blues." With the help of a little washable body paint and some basic sweatpants and tees (American Apparel is a favorite), you can turn your whole gang into the cute and lovable cartoon characters. And here's a fun option for parents of little boys: Try a "deviled egg." A white pillow can be turned into a wearable egg (just make a few slits in the fabric and add yellow felt for the yoke): then let your little one have fun toting around a plastic pitchfork and red devil ears. If you're looking to let your daughter get creative and have a hand in building her own costume, the movie "Black Swan" can actually provide you with the inspiration. Head down to a craft store like Michaels ( and let your budding ballerina pick out feathers, sparkles and gems to be placed on a onesie or tutu. Before you know it, you'll have pint-size, stage-worthy couture!

Baby ‘Boos’
Who can resist a precious parent-child ensemble? For those who love a play on words, you can be a "holy cow," while your tiny tot is a "pig in a blanket." For the cow, add black felt patches to white sweats and top it off with a homemade halo (white pipe cleaners work well). For the pig, dress your babe up in pink and accessorize with pink felt ears and a snout (a decorated pacifier works too). For the finishing touch, wrap them up in a blanket. This year you can also channel your inner child with a fun twist on the classic board game "Operation." I decorated flesh-colored PJs with stickers and assorted trinkets modeled after the toy (don't forget the red clown nose!). Your little one can accompany you as the doctor in a small white jacket or coat; bonus points if you can get your hands on a tiny stethoscope! And because nothing is more attractive than a handsome dad and his newborn son, why not do a Chippendale Dancer duo? Men will finally have that excuse to run around shirtless, and baby can do the same! All you need are black pants, black ribbon for bow ties, white cloth for wrist cuffs and a camera, because you'll surely want to capture that moment forever.