20 DIY Cardboard Halloween Costumes

DIY Cardboard Minecraft Head

Whether you’ve got a little kid who just changed their mind about what they want to be for the five hundredth time, a big kid who just decided that maybe they’re not too old to trick-or-treat, after all, or it’s you who’s just discovered that the get-together you already RSVP’d yes to is actually a costume party, sigh, I’ve got you covered!

And so has your recycling bin (especially if, like me, you’ve already started doing a little Christmas shopping, ahem…)!

Cardboard is one of my favorite crafting supplies because it’s so accessible and so versatile. It’s easy to cut with a craft knife or a sturdy pair of scissors, it holds great with hot glue or duct tape, it takes paint like a champ, and it’s got great structure to support all kinds of weird, costume-y elements and accessories.

Check out my list, below, of my favorite cardboard Halloween costumes that you can DIY. Use a little of your time and a lot of your imagination, and then go get yourself a ton of candy!

Accessories

30 DIY Halloween Party Ideas

  • cardboard and newspaper witch hatThe brim of this hat is cardboard, and the peak can be either thin cardboard, poster board, or newspaper. I suggest stuffing the hat with newspaper, too, as the weight will help hold it in place. This is a great costume accessory for kids to embellish for themselves with poster paint or acrylics. Doing so teaches them the value of DIY and lets them take pride in their artistic efforts.
  • battle axeIt’s just as lightweight and realistic as a plastic toy battle axe, but without, you know, the plastic! After Halloween, let this battle axe live in the dress-up cabinet, and when it’s worn out, toss it guilt-free into the trash.
  • corrugated cardboard Mandalorian helmet. Polish up your painting skills and make this Mandalorian helmet look super realistic! Depending on how much Disney you’ve been watching, you’ve got a few style choices to mimic.
  • cardboard jet pack. Here’s the costume accessory to make when you’ve got a lot of mailing tubes, paper towel tubes, or oatmeal canisters on hand. Pro tip: to make something look like it’s from outer space, add aluminum foil!
Horns image via Oishari
Horns image via Oishari
  • cardboard hornsDIY horns are a brilliant use of cardboard. For even more detailing, papier mache the cardboard structure.
  • fedoraYour Indiana Jones dreams just got real.
  • Hawk helmet. This cardboard helmet is suitable for all of your bird-themed costumes! I’m VERY intrigued by the author’s instruction to use wood glue for the joins. I’ve never tried wood glue on cardboard, and now I must!

Just Add Clothes To Finish These Costumes

Cardboard Halloween Costume Minecraft Head

  • cardboard box Minecraft headThis is just about the easiest costume to DIY! The head is a cube, making measuring simple, and the painting is just squares of various colors.
  • airplane. Because who wouldn’t want to trick-or-treat as an airplane?!? The tutorial uses only Amazon boxes, but you can substitute any cardboard boxes that you have on hand.
  • Beeker the MuppetTo accessorize this costume head, just wear a lab coat.
  • beetleI don’t love the extensive use of vinyl in this costume–replace that with paint or paper–but I DO love the idea of using cardboard to turn myself into my exact favorite type of beetle!
  • wearable cardboard rowboatJust add a (cardboard) oar!
  • X-wingFor the ultimate Halloween costume, first put the wearer in the costume of their favorite X-wing pilot, then wow them with their very own X-wing to wear on top of it!

Complete Costumes

Carousel Costume via A Joyful Riot
Carousel Costume image via A Joyful Riot
  • carousel costumeHere’s a costume idea that works solo or with a group–can you imagine how cute a whole group of carousel horse costumes would be?!?
  • food truckThis is another costume that would be so fun in a group. Everyone can be a different food truck–bonus points if it’s spooky!
  • cardboard box dinosaurI love those blow-up T-rex costumes, but that’s a LOT of plastic. This cardboard dinosaur is also a full-body costume, but it’s much more sustainable… and you can be any color dinosaur you want!
  • Elmer the ElephantLittle kids love to dress up as their favorite book characters, especially when that character is a colorful elephant!
  • Optimus PrimeThis is such a detailed and realistic costume! The tutorial spends a lot of time showing you how to size the costume, as well, to make it comfy to wear.
  • rocketThis is the EASIEST cardboard costume! Step 1: Get a box. Step 2: Draw a rocket on it. Step 3: Put it on a person.
  • suit of armorPaint on realistic details, and combine with lots and lots of cardboard weapons.

What’s your favorite homemade Halloween costume that you’ve made for yourself or for someone else? Tell us about it in the Comments below!

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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