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From drab to fab: repurposing old Halloween costumes

Get a jump-start on going green this Halloween by repurposing your child’s costume from last year into something new this year. Not only will it save time and money, reusing an old costume is eco-friendly and is a great way to get creative this year. It’s perfect for busy parents and those who want a unique costume for trick or treating. Here are some simple tips that will turn last year’s classic costume into this year’s brand new Halloween costume.

Princess to Angel or Fairy

If you have a princess costume, you’re in luck because this one can easily be transformed.  The first option is to turn your princess dress into an angel costume by ditching the crown for a pair of angel wings and a halo. The second option is to make it into a fairy costume by adding fairy wings and a wand. Check out your local thrift stores to find classic costume accessories like wings and halos, or go to a craft store and make your own. You can have your child add personal touches with glitter and by gluing on “jewels” or colored feathers.

Capes for Vampires, Wizards and Superheroes

A nondescript cape can be used for a multitude of costumes. Create a vampire costume by putting a cape with dark clothing and adding vampire fangs  with non-toxic or home-made face paints. Make your own magician or wizard costume by adding a top hat or pointed wizard hat and a magic wand. You can even use the cape for a superhero costume. Have your child wear matching shirt and pants and create their own unique superhero logo out of fabric scraps. Then sew or pin the logo onto the front of their shirt. Go a step further and stuff the sleeves of your child’s shirt to create a “muscular” appearance.

Ghost to Mummy

If you happen to have a ghost costume, aka a white sheet, cut it up into strips and wrap/tie the strips around your child’s body and you’ve got an instant mummy costume! You can take this mummy costume to the next level by soaking the strips in dark tea for a stained appearance. This will make your child look like a mummy who’s been in the tomb for a long time!

Wicked Witch to Kitty Cat

Don’t feel like being wicked this year? Turn your witch costume into a cat costume with these simple steps. Shorten the length of the witch dress and add a pair of cat ears and a tail. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, go ahead and shorten it that way. If not, you can make a nice hem with some fabric glue. You’ll be the cat’s meow!

Creating a Zombie Costume

Lastly, you can make almost anything into a zombie costume by cutting holes, ripping the costume, and adding zombie makeup. Become a zombie bunny rabbit, a zombie cheerleader, or a zombie pirate! Get creative with the details and let your child’s imagination run wild.

Costumes as Decorations

What about costumes that your child has completely grown out of? Reuse an old scarecrow or skeleton costume by stuffing it with newspaper and setting it up in your yard as a decoration. You can also hang old Halloween masks around your home or on your front door like you would a wreath. You’ll add a creative touch to your Halloween decorating.


This post was written by Tonja Thompson, a writer who loves Halloween costumes, being thrifty, and anything creative. She has a degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and currently writes for

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