Homemade Halloween costumes that are scary cute

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Updated: Nov. 1, 11 a.m.

For the record, there’s nothing wrong with buying a Halloween costume. But there is something special about a costume you were able to make with the help of craft supplies, thrift store finds and a whole lot of creativity.

Here are a few families who, when confronted with a costume request that couldn’t be found in a store, took Halloween into their own hands.

Frank the Combine

A child dressed up as a cartoon combine.
Emily Colaizy's son wanted to be a character from the "Cars" movie franchise, Frank the Combine.
Courtesy of Emily Colaizy

My son wanted to be an obscure character from the “Cars” movie! Frank the Combine. Hardware store for the win — spray paint, plumbing tubes and joints and ducting! — Emily Colaizy

Brave Little Toaster, and friends

A family dressed in Halloween costumes to look like cartoon appliances.
One-year-old Nahla went as the "Brave Little Toaster," with her parents coming along as other characters from the movie: the radio and the AC unit.
Courtesy of Ashley Notsobad LeMay

My daughter Nahla as the Brave Little Toaster when she was 1. I went as the radio and her dad went as the AC unit. — Ashley LeMay

Homer Hankies

Two children dressed in costumes to look like handkerchiefs.
Elizabeth Cisar dressed as Homer Hankies on Halloween, 1987.
Courtesy of Elizabeth Cisar

My mom used pillowcases to turn my sister and I into Homer Hankies in 1987, the year the Twins won the World Series. This was back when you had to use a projector and transparencies to enlarge images for tracing.

We always walked up and down our grandparents' street trick-or-treating. But this was the only year grandpa, a long-time Twins fan, took us. — Elizabeth Cisar

We see you, salamander!

A child walks across a parking lot, dressed in a lizard costume.
Heather Pearson's experience as a community theater costume designer came in handy for her son's tiger salamander costume.
Courtesy of Heather Pearson

I make costumes for community theater, so it's been a natural transition for me to make Halloween costumes for my kids. This year my 6-year-old asked to be a tiger salamander, so he now has a salamander costume complete with removable tail.

His little brother is a snake, so I guess we've got a bit of a theme going on. — Heather Pearson

Sweet costume

A young girl in a vending machine costume.
Michelle Schmidt Salfer's daughter made her own costume with a candy theme.
Courtesy of Michelle Schmidt Salfer

My daughter wanted to be a candy machine so she made her own costume. — Michelle Schmidt Salfter

Who ya gonna call?

A group of people dressed in Ghostbuster costumes.
Jessica Teitelman and her family went as characters from "Ghostbusters" thanks to "some excellent finds at Goodwill."
Courtesy of Jessica Teitelman

My dream Halloween costume was to be “Ghostbusters,” and my wife and kids and I made this dream come true with help from some excellent finds at Goodwill.

We found old Northwest uniforms, a Stay Puff Marshmallow costume and handmade other pieces and it turned out awesome! — Jessica Teitelman

Going up

A child dressed in a box made to look like an elevator.
Dana Gilbert's son wanted to express his love for elevators in this homemade costume.
Courtesy of Dana Gilbert

My son is obsessed with elevators. So two years ago my husband made him an elevator costume, taking his input on the shape of the buttons, what the “in case of fire” sign looked like and said ( both of extreme importance). — Dana Gilbert

Berry nice

A child with balloons pinned to her shirt to look like berries.
Clare Shirley's daughter wanted to be berries, but not just any berries: mountain ash berries.
Courtesy of Clare Shirley

She wanted to be mountain ash berries! This is after the carnival where we lost a few balloons. — Clare Shirley

Happy little Halloween

A child dressed in a wig and beard. Holding painting supplies
Aaron Skogen's son is going as Bob Ross this year, complete with hand-painted trick-or-treat bag.
Courtesy of Aaron Skogen

We helped our son with this rendition of Bob Ross, this year! The trick-or-treat bag was hand-painted by my bride while watching one of Bob Ross' videos. — Aaron Skogen

John Deere dream come true

A child dressed in a box made to look like a tractor.
Sara Smit's son wanted to be a John Deere tractor at age 3. He got his wish.
Courtesy of Sara Smit

When he was 3, my son insisted on being a John Deere lawn tractor... so I got to work! — Sara Smit


A child dressed up to look like a tardigrade.
Nicole Heaton makes a costume for her daughter almost every year, so she wasn't about to shy from the challenge when she requested to go as a tardigrade this year.
Courtesy of Nicole Heaton

I have made a costume for my daughter almost every year she’s gone trick-or-treating. She’s now 10, and this year she wanted to be a tardigrade. It was a tough costume to make. And it was a lot of fun! — Nicole Heaton

I speak for the treats

Two photos side by side. A child dressed as a wolf and a mummy.
Laura Kamin-Lyndgaard and her son start early when planning each year's Halloween costume.
Courtesy of Laura Kamin-Lyndgaard

I love making costumes for my son. We usually start designing and planning during the summer. I can't pick a single favorite.

The Wolf costume for my son Miles was hands down a favorite. It became the prize dress-up costume in the costume box. He continued to wear it for every day play for years!

A child dressed as the character the Lorax
Here he is as the Lorax, made with the cold weather in mind.
Courtesy of Laura Kamin-Lyndgaard

One final favorite, the Lorax. I always tried to make something that would be really warm for Minnesota trick-or-treating. This was the last year I got to pick his costume. He started choosing his own. I read the book to him daily to fully indoctrinate him to his role. — Laura Kamin-Lyngaard

Have a costume you want to share? We’ll keep adding to this feature through Nov. 1! Submit your favorite homemade costume here.