Last-minute Halloween costumes using common household items

Witch, cat, mummy, zombie and pumpkin Halloween fancy dress

Halloween costumes don't have to be an expensive part of your yearly budget, just follow some simple guidelines to create a cheap, fun and easy Halloween costume to scare all of your friends.

Wicked Witch

You don't have to splash out to create the perfect wicked witch. A few household items are all you need.

You will need the following:

  • A black top
  • Several long skirts, either black or dark colours
  • A large, sturdy black bag
  • String
  • Talcum powder
  • Green and black face paint
  • Stripy socks or tights
  • Black boots
  • Optional extras: black wool and a cotton wool ball

To make your wicked witch outfit you need to create the outfit by wearing a black top and layering up a couple or more dark skirts to create volume.

Put on the stripy socks/ tights and boots-you can show off your stripes by pinning up your skirts in places with a safety pin.

Make two holes at either side of the bottom of the bin bag. Thread the string though and allow enough to tie around your neck to create a cheap (and waterproof) cape.

Pat some of the talcum powder into your hair. This will make it look more white or grey (depending on your natural colour) and give it more volume for a crazy witch look.

Paint your face and hands green using the face paint. Once dry, use the black face paint to pick out any creases or wrinkles and to circle your eyes. You can also use the black paint to paint your lips and add some large, unsightly moles.

No witch is complete without a familiar or pet, so try making your own spider! Cut four long pieces of black wool (about 10cm long) and while holding them together, tie a knot in the centre creating an easy-peasy spider. Use another piece of wool to attach it to your costume.

You can even make a home for your spider by taking a cotton wool ball and stretching it until it looks like a cobweb.

To see how this costumes looks, watch my Eden Project video.

Cute Cat

The cute cat costume is just as easy to make. A cat is a classic Halloween costume that's perfect for adults and children.

You will need the following:

  • Black top
  • Close-fitting trousers (leggings or skinny jeans are perfect)
  • A thin plastic hair band
  • Black felt
  • Needle and thread
  • Old pair of black tights
  • Wadding/scrap material
  • Black eyeliner or face paint
  • Black fingerless gloves
  • Black nail varnish

To make the cat costume you will need to cut two large diamonds out of the black felt (approximately 4cm wide and 8cm long). Fold the diamonds around the plastic hair band to create two triangles (two little cat ears) and sew them in place using the needle and thread.

Take the old tights and cut off enough of one leg to make a long cat's tail (length depends on how tall your cat is). Use the rest of the tights, along with any other old scraps of material or wadding to stuff the tail.

Once fully stuffed, sew up the top of the tail and attach it to the trousers, either by sewing or by using safety pins. To complete the look, paint your fingernails black and put on fingerless gloves (or old gloves with the fingers cut off) to create the look of paws.

*Using a thin hair band and some felt is an easy way to make ears for a range of animals, including big cats dogs and bears.

Mesmerising Mummy

A mummy costume is cheap, easy to make and looks great-it just takes a little time. The easiest way to create this outfit is with the help of a friend.

You need:

  • An old white bed sheet.
  • Close-fitting black long-sleeved top
  • Close-fitting trousers (leggings or skinny jeans are perfect)
  • Black eye shadow or face paint
  • Black lipstick

To make just tear the old bed sheet into thin strips. About 3-4cm is just about right. Once you have put on the top and trousers, start winding the strips of material around your body. Tie the ends of the material together or tuck it in securely. Remember to leave a few strips to wrap around your head!

Wrap each of your arms and legs separately from your body so that you can still move freely. Keep going until the majority of your body is covered. Don't worry about it being too untidy or about bits of black showing through.

Before moving on to the head, make sure that any long hair is tied back.

Use black eye shadow or black face paint to circle around your eyes and all over your eyelids-the bigger the circles the better! Colour your lips black using lipstick or face paint.

Carefully wrap the remaining strips around your head, making room for your eyes and mouth.

Try not to unravel too much throughout the night!

Zany Zombie

This is one of the simplest costumes to make and easy to personalise.

You need:

  • Old clothes
  • Scissors
  • Red paint
  • PVA glue
  • Black and white face paint.

To put the outfit together just chose any clothes you like-it could be some old, torn clothes, or you may wish to go for a theme, such as a zombie cheerleader.

Using a pair of scissors, cut small holes and then tear by hand to make the holes in the clothes so they look more authentic.

Mix red paint with PVA glue to make fake blood that will look shiny when it dries. Splatter or drip the paint over the clothes to make random patches of blood.

Use the white face paint to make yourself look pale and then mix some of the white and black paint to make grey bruises. Use grey or black face paint to emphasise your nose, the hollow of your cheeks and your eyes.

The Perfect Pumpkin

This fun-filled costume is a great alternative to gory outfits and is brilliant for kids. This costume needs help from a friend.

You need:

  • Green or dark trousers
  • Large orange T-shirt
  • Two cushions
  • Needle and thread
  • Black marker pen
  • Green face paint
  • Thin plastic hair band
  • Green felt
  • Optional extra: pipe cleaners.

To create your pumpkin outfit use the black marker pen to draw a large scary (or friendly) pumpkin face on the front of the orange T-shirt.

Draw on a few vertical stripes to make your T-shirt look more like a pumpkin. Before putting the T-shirt on, use the face paint to paint your face and arms green.

Put on the T-shirt and stuff it with a cushion on your front and back. Get a friend or parent to stitch around the bottom of the T-shirt. This doesn't have to be neat, but needs to be tight enough to stop the cushions from falling out.

To complete the look, cut a leaf out of the green felt (whatever shape you like about 10cm long). Fold the end of the leaf (the bottom couple of centimetres) around the hair band at an angle and sew in place with the needle and thread.

If you've got time, you can make some pumpkin tendrils out of pipe cleaners (you can buy coloured ones at craft shops, or you could just paint them green).

Curl one end of the pipe cleaner around the hair band and bend it into a curly tendril. You can use more pipe cleaners to create tendrils around your wrist too.