24 last-minute Halloween costumes for kids

Story highlights

Make last-minute Halloween costumes from cupcake liners and coffee filters

Star-shaped stickers and colored tape can transform regular clothing

Never underestimate the power of felt and pipe cleaners on Halloween

Real Simple —  

October 31 seems to creep up on us every single year. Still set on treating Junior to that one-of-a-kind disguise? Frightened by the idea of making your own costume from scratch?

Don’t be. Get into the spirit with creative ideas that can be pulled together with cupcake liners, coffee filters, and more household items.

Real Simple: Last-minute Halloween costume ideas

Race car driver

He’ll go from zero to race-ready in a jiffy by decorating an everyday track suit with a few strips of tape (get the how-tos).

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    Yellow duckling

    Here’s an idea that’s sure to quack your little one up. A bunch of faux feathers and a pair of bright orange boots will have your lucky duckling ready to waddle around the ‘hood. Get the how-tos here.


    This ferocious guy will be terrorizing the neighbors—for an extra handful of candy, of course. Only a few supplies are needed to create this shark’s tough skin. Is the suspense killing you? Get the how-tos here.


    Think strawberry season is long gone? Think again. This sweet disguise starts with a ripe red shirt and a pair of matching leggings. Complete the fruity look with a stem made from felt, pipe cleaners, and more (get the how-tos).

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    A novel idea for the kid who always has his nose in the books. Pull the disguise together with felt, styrofoam balls, and more (get the how-tos). Wondering who’s behind those oversized specs? This cute little dude (who you’ve probably spotted on his mom’s blog joined our cast to show off his squiggly (and scholarly) style.

    Wise owl

    Whooo needs a last-minute costume idea? This night owl’s getup starts with brown leggings and shirt and calls for cupcake liners, faux feathers, and more (get the how-tos).


    Is everything really better down where it’s wetter? Make a splash out of water with this easy-to-create costume that requires streamers, cupcake liners, and more (get the how-tos). Our little aquatic friend from nicolephoto.com emerged from under the sea to debut her loveliness on land.

    Ice cream sundae

    This costume calls for the works: vanilla ice cream, strawberry syrup, chocolate fudge, and a cherry on top (get the how-tos). For super sundae cuteness, the littlest lady at Oh Joy! modeled this sweet disguise. (Cue the screams of delight.)

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    Fairy godmother

    Once upon a time there was a mommy who wished a Halloween costume could be made with the wave of a wand. Wish granted. This easy and enchanted disguise requires a tutu, star-shaped stickers, and a few more magical accessories (get the how-tos).


    The doc is in. And he’ll be mending and repairing the stuffed animals, bath toys, and robots. Getting dressed for surgery requires an oversized button-down shirt, shower cap, and more (get the how-tos). When this guy is not on-call, you can find him in the playroom spending quality time with his patients.


    What’s blaahk, white, and fluffy all over? This sweet little lamb. To create a fleece as white as snow, you’ll need to dip into the cotton ball stash (get the how-tos).


    Mary Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With a pipe cleaner stem, petals of felt, and a smile that will make your heart melt (get the how-tos).

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    Prepare for takeoff. Imaginations will soar when your kid steps into this clever disguise made from a sweatshirt, tape, and more (get the how-tos). Yes, goggles are required.

    Love bug

    Hooray for the pink and red lady who just landed in the garden. Her cuteness is off the charts and she’s dressed in a disguise that’s made from tulle and felt hearts (get the how-tos).

    Turquoise peacock

    Spotted on the front lawn: An exotic (and adorable) little birdie with feathers bursting in a bright shade of blue (get the how-tos).

    Cobalt peacock

    Here comes little miss magnificent with her vibrant blue feathers (get the how-tos) and her chipper disposition.

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    Rainbow fish

    One fish, two fish, red fish, rainbow fish! Create these multicolored scales from that stash of cupcake liners in the pantry (get the how-tos).


    A Roaring Twenties revival: Dancing her way around the neighborhood with a bob cut, strands of pearls, and a hot pink dress that, well, we made for twirling (get the how-tos).


    This seafarer is sure to reel in compliments (and candy!) with this low-maintenance disguise. There’s no catch—but there are a few household items required (get the how-tos).


    Free to hit the streets on Halloween night, this guy’s disguise comes together with faux feathers, white tape, and more (get the how-tos).

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    Lightning cloud

    When Halloween strikes, this fierce dude will bolt from house to house making a serious dent in the neighborhood candy supply. Create the disguise with a few household essentials (get the how-tos).


    A sweet twist on a classic costume that requires a few frilly strands of ribbon to make those funny bones at home (get the how-tos).