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!
- cardboard and newspaper witch hat. The 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 axe. It’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!
- cardboard horns. DIY horns are a brilliant use of cardboard. For even more detailing, papier mache the cardboard structure.
- fedora. Your 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 box Minecraft head. This 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 Muppet. To accessorize this costume head, just wear a lab coat.
- beetle. I 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 rowboat. Just add a (cardboard) oar!
- X-wing. For 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!
- carousel costume. Here’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 truck. This 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 dinosaur. I 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 Elephant. Little kids love to dress up as their favorite book characters, especially when that character is a colorful elephant!
- Optimus Prime. This 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.
- rocket. This 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 armor. Paint 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!