There are countless retail Halloween costumes that you can purchase for your adult Halloween party, but why not make your own instead? With a few supplies and a bit of creativity, you can come up with something that no one else at the party will likely be wearing.
Maybe you’re looking for some gothic Halloween costumes, or maybe you’re wanting to channel your inner fairy-princess. Either way, we’ve got you covered.
There are even some DIY Halloween costumes for couples if you’re looking for something to wear with your other half!
All of these Halloween costume ideas are for adults. If you have children looking for ideas to wear during trick or treating, be sure to check out our post with kids Halloween costumes.
Make your own Halloween costumes
These DIY adult Halloween costumes make great last minute costume ideas, because they are based around clothing you probably already have. For anything a little unusual, we’ll provide a link to purchase it, so you can complete your outfit.
Some of the links below are affiliate links. I earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you if you purchase through an affiliate link.
Here are a few of our favorite ideas for adult DIY Halloween costumes. If you’re interested in learning why we dress up for Halloween you can learn more in this guide to Samhain traditions.
Gothic costume ideas
Nothing says Halloween like setting a spooky mood! There’s something so eerie about gothic dress, that it makes the perfect choice for adult Halloween costumes DIY idea.
Gothic costume ideas give an air of mystery, to the wearer, while at the same time being filled with gloom and and a splash of horror!
Whether you prefer American Gothic costumes, Victorian costume ideas or monochromatic gothic Halloween costume ideas, we’ve got a DIY costume idea for you!
American gothic Halloween costume
Jump back in time and recreate the iconic American Gothic painting, created by artist Grant Wood in the 1930s, depicts a man and woman looking forward in front of a farmhouse. The farmhouse’s style of architecture is called Carpenter Gothic architecture.
When describing the type of people who would live in this home, Grant Wood came up with the term American Gothic. That became the name of his famous painting, and the style of this DIY Halloween costume for adults.
To recreate this American Gothic costume, you’ll first need to grab a friend, or a spouse!
The man’s costume consists of a white collarless button down shirt, under a pair of denim overalls, with a black suit jacket. Put on round, wire framed glasses and a toy pitch fork and you’re all set.
The woman’s costume needs a white oxford button up shirt, worn under a long sleeved black dress, with a sleeveless brown scoop neck layered on top.
Put your hair in a low bun with a middle part, and complete the look with a cameo pin attached to the neck of your American Gothic dress.
DIY Victorian costume ideas
A Victorian costume DIY idea is one that is sure to impress. This picture frame costume will turn you into a Victorian era painting.
Everything about this DIY Halloween costume idea says vintage, from the picture frame to the accessories.
To make this Victorian costume idea, start with a long sleeved black top and add a detachable lace collar. Accessorize the outfit with a long pendant necklace, lace gloves and a top hat.
For hair and makeup, aim to do natural face makeup, and draw attention to your hair. Gather your hair into a ponytail on the side, and curl it, making sure to curl some face framing layers.
To complete the look, get either a vintage oval mirror or large ornate picture frame. Thrift stores commonly have these items.
Remove the backing and glass, and you’ve got the last piece of this picture perfect Halloween costume for adults!
DIY gothic Halloween costumes
If you’re running short on time, there’s nothing easier than assembling Halloween gothic costumes. The only real guidelines here are that they should be all black.
In terms of last minute costume ideas, this look is great, because it really leans into the ominous feel of the holiday.
To make this gothic Halloween costume idea, get out your all black clothing. If you have black clothing that’s lace or velvet, those would be great options to pick.
There really is a lot of flexibility here, but if you’re looking for something to put this look over the top, accessorize with a black choker necklace and a crystal pendant.
Finish this look with dark eye makeup and a dark lipstick. You could do a deep red, like the one pictured above, but black lipstick would be even more dramatic!
Easy Halloween costumes for adults
If you’re short on time, or energy and need some easy adult Halloween costume ideas, check out the ones below.
You probably have most of the items in your closet. Each of these DIY Halloween costumes for adults has a prop that goes with it that enhances the outfit.
You could channel your sporty side, and be a football player, or go incognito in a DIY ghost costume.
Maybe you’d like easy Halloween costume ideas that channel your favorite animal – a cat. Or maybe you want to practice your spell casting as a witch.
No matter which of these DIY adult Halloween costume ideas you choose, they are all quick to put together, and while they have additional props, you could forgo them if you’re super short on time.
DIY cat costume
Cats are a huge part of Halloween, so it’s only fitting that we include an easy cat costume in this list. During the holiday season, you’re bound to see cat pumpkin carvings, and cat themed halloween decor.
Black cats are practically a symbol of Halloween. Depending on who you ask, they’re either revered or feared during this time. If you love black cats, make sure you check out these Halloween black cat quotes!
The great thing about this DIY cat Halloween costume is that there’s a lot of versatility, depending on the type of animal print clothing you already have.
You could be a tiger, a panther, or the leopard pictured above. If you don’t have any animal print, you could make this cat costume easy by being a black cat, and wearing all black clothing.
Accessorize the homemade cat costume with a pair of cat ears and you’re done with this cat Halloween costume DIY project! If you’d like to add more to the look you can always draw on whiskers and a triangular cat nose with eyeliner.
Homemade ghost costume
This list of ideas for Halloween costumes wouldn’t be complete without a DIY ghost costume. Ghosts represent all things spooky at Halloween, and appear in many ways during this holiday.
Ghosts are the theme of many decor ideas like these ghost porch decorations. They also show up in Halloween cocktails, like this ghostbuster cocktail with a whipped cream ghost garnish.
They’re also frequently the subject of Halloween snacks. If you’re looking for your own ghost snacks, try these peanut butter and ghost sandwiches or these banana ghosts and orange pumpkins,
This DIY ghost Halloween costume is probably the easiest in this list of Halloween costumes for adults. All you need is a plain white bedsheet and a pair of scissors!
Put on the sheet on, and pinch the areas in front of your eyes, and secure them with hair ties. Take off the sheet, lay it down and remove the hair ties. Draw circles where they were, and cut out eye holes.
If you’d like to make this easy ghost costume even more special, get a hanging sign that says boo, and wear it like a necklace! In terms of last minute costume ideas, this one couldn’t be easier!
Football player costume DIY
If you’re a football fan and love the game more than the commercials during the Super Bowl, this DIY football player costume is for you!
If you’re going to a party as a group, this is a great option because everyone can wear their jerseys and dress up in these easy adult Halloween costumes together!
All you need for this DIY halloween costume is a football jersey! If you want, you can add an actual football to your outfit, and put some black eyeliner under your eyes.
If you don’t have a football jersey, this would also work for other sports. Basketball, soccer, hockey, baseball, and volleyball sports jerseys would also make great last minute costume ideas for adults.
You could accessorize any of these sporty costume ideas with their respective prop (basketball, football, etc), or even a trophy to show you’re the winning team.
DIY witch costume
This easy witch costume is perfect for Halloween. The only question is, will you be a good witch or an evil one?
If you decide to be a good witch, you can whip up a love potion cocktail for your beloved. If you want to be an evil witch, check out this witches brew cocktail.
The first thing you need for this DIY witch costume is a black dress. Then you can accessorize with all kinds of witchy props.
Tie a cape around your neck, and put on a pointed witch hat to finish this easy witch costume. From there, you can accessorize with anything else you like.
Use what you have around your house. You could carry an old book, and pretend it’s your spell book.
You could go outside and gather materials to make your own magic broom. Get a large stick and tie several little twigs to it stick to make your broom.
If you liked this homemade witch costume and want more witchy content this Halloween, check out these witch legs decor ideas.
Just a reminder that some of the links below are affiliate links. I earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you if you purchase through an affiliate link.
Spooky Halloween costumes
If you’re looking for some DIY Halloween costumes for adults that are spooky, but not terrifying, we’ve got some ideas for you.
Some scary Halloween costumes take the terror too far, but these spooky Halloween costumes are the perfect mix between being too innocent, and too scary.
Any of these Halloween costumes for adults would be fun to put together. Maybe you want to channel your inner monster and trick or treat in a DIY Frankenstein costume or in an easy vampire costume.
If you’d like to maintain some anonymity this Halloween, you could try a homemade mummy costume. Don’t skip looking at the homemade scarecrow costume below too, it’s one of our favorite spooky Halloween costume ideas!
DIY scarecrow costume
During Halloween and the fall in general you’re bound to see plenty of scarecrows in fall decor, everything from scarecrow wreaths to scarecrow pumpkin carvings.
One of the good things about this spooky scarecrow Halloween costume DIY idea, is that it has several layers. This makes it a perfect adult Halloween costume to wear on a crisp autumn night.
To make this DIY scarecrow Halloween costume, you’ll probably need to purchase a couple of items, but the finished look is so spooky that it’s worth it! Let’s start with the base items, which you probably already have.
You’ll need to layer a black long sleeved turtle neck under a long sleeved flannel. Add a pair of denim overalls, a frayed straw hat, and you’ve got the basics of this scarecrow costume DIY idea covered.
Get some orange face paint and cover your face. Then use black eyeliner to line your eyes, and black face paint to draw on a triangular nose, a jack o lantern smile and the ribs of the pumpkin face pictured above.
Accessorize this DIY scarecrow costume with black gloves (either latex gloves or winter gloves would work). Fill a plastic jack-o-lantern with candy. Top it off and fill your sleeves with raffia grass.
Easy vampire costume DIY
Nothing that says spooky more than a creature who wants to suck your blood, whose only weaknesses are wooden stakes and garlic.
Even though dressing up for Halloween is just pretend, after you put on this DIY vampire costume, maybe you should stay away from the garlic, just to be safe!
The basics of this vampire Halloween costume DIY project are easy! Grab a pair black shoes, black pants and a black button down shirt from your closet. Accessorize with a red bow tie, a cape, and vampire fangs.
If you’d like to add some makeup to look especially undead, put some shadow around your eyes, and under your cheekbones. Finish the look with dab of fake blood on the corner of your mouth.
If you’re wearing this easy vampire costume DIY idea to a party, make a batch of our vampire cocktails to take with you. You’ll be the hit of the party!
Frankenstein costume DIY
If you want to recreate one of the most famous literary monsters, then this Frankenstein costume DIY idea is for you!
It is modeled after Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, written in 1818. The novel depicts an 8ft tall monster created from scientist Victor Frankenstein’s failed experiment.
In order to truly transform into the creature of Mary Shelley’s novel, you’ll probably need to grow a foot or two. However if you’d like to skip the science experiments, you can just wear what the creature wore.
Put on a pair of black shoes, black pants, a black sweater and black suit jacket. To give the appearance that you’re 8 ft tall, roll up the sleeves of the jacket, and cuff the pants to make yourself appear taller than the clothing.
Cover any exposed skin (ankles, hands, and face) with green body paint. Add some fake scar tattoos and you’re all set!
Now it’s time to practice your monster growl. If you want to make a monster themed snack to bring to your next Halloween gathering, make sure to check out these monster mouth apple snacks.
DIY mummy costume homemade
Practically everywhere you go this spooky season, you’re bound to see a mummy or two! They make great fall decor ideas, from mummy door decorations to car decorations – and everything in between!
There’s a few ways to make this mummy Halloween costume DIY project. You can either use fabric bandages as pictured above, gauze, or you can create your own fabric strips from sheets to create your own mummy wrapping.
To start, you need a base layer consisting of a white or cream long sleeved shirt and sweat pants. We recommend that these items be loosely fitted. You’ll also need a hot glue gun.
Note: Hot glue guns, and heated glue can burn. Please use extreme caution when using a hot glue gun. Learn to use your tool properly before you start any project.
Lay the base layer flat, and glue the strips of fabric/bandages/gauze to them. If you notice that the glue is bleeding through your base layer, you can always put scraps of cardboard inside until it dries, to prevent the base layer from sticking to itself.
Once you glue this wrapping, your DIY mummy Halloween costume will only stretch as far as the wrapping does. This is why we recommend that the base layer is loose.
When it’s time to wear this homemade mummy costume, finish the costume by wrapping some bandages or gauze around your hands and your head.
The photo above has very full coverage mummy wrapping. While it looks cool, we recommend using less bandages to make sure you’re able to breathe comfortably, because after all, safety is the most important thing!
If this costume seems like too much work, you can skip it, and enjoy some mummy cookie pops or mummy cake balls instead. We won’t judge you, even though this DIY mummy costume is impressive, it’s definitely the most difficult on this list.
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Couples Halloween costume ideas
Do you have a special someone you’d like to do a couples Halloween costume with? We’ve got some Halloween costume ideas for couples for you below that are easy and fun.
Try putting together a homemade zombie costume. You probably also have all the items to make an easy skeleton costume DIY project. These couples costumes for Halloween are great if you’re short on time.
You could try out a pirate costume DIY idea, just make sure you don’t get in trouble and have to walk the plank!
If you’re looking for a Halloween costume for couples, you’re in the right place. From spooky to classic, we’ve got a costume for you.
DIY zombie costume for couples
Want to try on a spooky costume with your spouse? This homemade zombie costume is pretty creepy, and would be easy to put together.
To turn into a zombie bride and groom, first you need your bridal attire.
For the man’s zombie DIY costume, put on a pair of slacks, and layer a button down shirt under a suit jacket. Pin a red carnation to your lapel, and you’re halfway there.
For the woman’s DIY zombie costume, put on a white dress and a veil. You can either buy a veil, or attach sheer fabric to a barrette and pin it to your hair.
To complete these Halloween costumes for adults, get some white face paint and use a dark shadow or bronzer under your cheekbones.
Use eyeliner to draw the tears on the zombie bride, and the stitches on the zombie groom.The fake blood on her dress is optional, but a fun addition.
Easy pirate costume DIY idea
Pirates have been around for centuries. They’ve done everything from plundering and pillaging on the high sea, to creating the earliest version of the pina colada!
If you’d like to take a page out of their book, try making this homemade pirate costume. It’s a great choice for a couples Halloween costume because while each costume is unique, they both match each other.
This DIY pirate costume for couples has a lot of flexibility, and you can use a lot of standard wardrobe pieces to make it. Both of these pirate Halloween costumes for couples start with the same base: black pants, and black boots.
The woman’s easy pirate costume has a nautical striped tank top, and a red belt. Complete the look with a piece of black fabric tied around one arm, a pair of hoop earrings and a pirate hat with a skull and crossbones on it.
The man’s homemade pirate costume has an oversized white button up shirt, a black vest, and a black belt. Accessorize the look with a fake earring, a red bandana, a pirate hat and you’re done.
If you want to take this couples Halloween costume even further, you can wear an eye patch and hold a treasure map.
Roll up an old map and secure it to your belt like the man has done in the photo. Make sure there’s an X marking the treasure on it, and your DIY pirate costume will be complete!
DIY skeleton costumes for couples
If you’re looking for a do-it-yourself costume, this homemade skeleton costume for couples couldn’t be any easier! All you need are a couple of t-shirts and some scissors.
For the clothing portion of these DIY Halloween costumes for adults, each person would need a black shirt and a white shirt.
In the photo you can see there are two ways to style this skeleton costume homemade shirt combo. One way is with the black shirt underneath, and the white skeleton “bones” shirt on top and the other is the reverse.
Take your pair of scissors and cut out ovals, to give the appearance of skeleton bones. The only other thing you’d need to complete these DIY skeleton costumes would be black face paint and white face paint.
Beautiful Halloween costumes for adults
There are so many scary Halloween costumes, but if you’d like to dress up as something prettier, we’ve got some options for you!
These beautiful DIY Halloween costumes for adults are sure to put a smile on your face. Maybe you’d like to try making a homemade fairy costume, or maybe you’d like to personify the beauty of a rainbow.
If you’d like to travel back in time, visit the 1920s by wearing a DIY flapper costume. Check out the beautiful Halloween costumes below to get some ideas.
DIY flapper costume
If you’d like an adult Halloween costume that is equal parts beautiful, classy, and historical, check out this flapper costume DIY idea.
It could also double as an outfit you can wear to any 20s themed party. Many New Year’s Eve parties are 20s themed, so this is a good option to have in your closet!
For this DIY flapper costume, you’ll need a tiered fringe dress. It can be in any color you’d like! Black is a staple color, but there are lots of fun colors you could wear instead if you prefer.
For accessories, wrap a long, beaded necklace around your neck. Put on elbow length gloves, and wear a feathered headband. Get ready to step into the 1920s, because now your DIY flapper costume is complete!
If you’d like to pair some optional props with this easy flapper costume, you could grab a flute of champagne (as pictured above). You could also hold a vintage cigarette holder, as smoking was in fashion at the time.
DIY fairy costume
There are few things more awe inspiring than faeries. They appear in many tales of European folklore and mythology, and possess magical powers.
Faeries probably make their clothing by magic, but since we are mere mortals, let’s go over how to make this fairy costume homemade idea.
To make your own DIY fairy costume, get your needle and thread ready! You’ll need a floor length dress, craft flowers, and tulle to match the color of your dress.
Sew the tulle to the waist of your dress, so it cascades down. You can sew it to the sleeves of your dress as well, to make a mini tulle shawl. If your dress already has an outer tulle layer, you can skip this step.
Then sew the craft flowers to the tulle, placing them wherever you like. Other than accessorizing, you’re now done making your own homemade fairy costume.
For accessories, you can get a flower crown and fairy wings. The crystal ball pictured above is an optional embellishment, but it would be fun to divine fortunes all evening long with it!
DIY rainbow costume
There’s nothing more beautiful than joy, and this DIY rainbow costume is sure to bring just that.
This rainbow costume DIY project is easy to customize. The photo above has some solid pieces mixed in with rainbow clothing, and you can swap pieces for whatever you have on hand.
As long as you have the rainbow socks and rainbow sweater, it doesn’t really matter what color the other items are. If you want to swap the red skirt and shoes for a bright blue skirt and shoes, go for it!
Maybe you have a bright red shirt instead of a yellow one, that’s fine! The sky is the limit with this costume.
Iconic Halloween costumes
If you’re looking for some classic Halloween costumes for adults this year, you might like the ones below!
If you want some iconic Halloween costume ideas, you can channel your inner strength with a DIY Rosie the Riveter costume, or embrace your artistic side with a Girl with a Pearl Earring costume.
If you want to travel back in time, take a journey to the 1940s with a pin up girl costume DIY idea. No matter which one you choose, these iconic Halloween costumes are sure to impress!
Rosie the Riveter costume DIY
During World War II, there was a push for women to enter the the workforce. Rosie the Riveter was the symbol of this movement as well as a symbol of women’s independence, and working women.
If you want to embrace her strength, with a one of the easiest last minute costume ideas, get ready to put together your own DIY Rosie the Riveter costume.
First, start with a denim shirt (a dark blue button up shirt would work too). Then pull your hair into a bun, leaving a piece in the front out.
Using the piece in the front, make a pin curl, and then wrap a red polka dotted scarf around your head. If you don’t have a red polka dotted scarf, you can always use a red bandana.
Whenever you need to embody this iconic Halloween costume, just flex a bicep, like in the photo above.
Girl with the Pearl Earring costume
If you’d like to add another option to your DIY Halloween costumes for adults list, you’ll love this Girl with the Pearl Earring costume.
It’s modeled after Johannes Vermeer’s 1665 painting titled Girl with a Pearl Earring, which is housed in the Netherlands at the Mauritshuis.
The Girl with the Pearl Earring Halloween costume pictured above deviates from the painting with her clothing.
To replicate the image above, start with a checkered strapless dress. To stay closer to the image of the Johannes Vermeer’s painting, layer a brown jacket over it.
Pull your hair back and layer a cream head wrap and a blue head wrap over it. Then finish this DIY adult Halloween costume with a pair of pearl earrings.
Pin up costume for Halloween
The 1940s is calling with this pin up costume. It’s one of the classic Halloween costume ideas that transports us to another decade.
Plus, it’s cute, flirty, fun, and easy to throw together!
The easiest way to recreate this pin up Halloween costume with a bikini swimsuit. Start with a high waisted black bikini bottom. Pair it with a black and white polka dotted bikini top.
No DIY pin up girl costume would be complete without accessories! Accessorize with red t-strap heels, a chunky red belt, and a red head scarf. For jewelry, pick out a red bangle bracelet, and a chunky red necklace.
The hair and makeup is one of the most important parts of the DIY Halloween costume. For makeup, choose a bright red lipstick, and draw on winged eyeliner.
Take the crown of your hair and curl into pin curls, or a large pompadour on your head. Pull the rest of your hair into a ponytail, and curl the ends with a curling iron to finish this adult Halloween costume.
Halloween recipes for your Halloween party
Now that you’ve got your DIY adult Halloween costume picked out, you can relax! If you’re going to a Halloween party and need to bring a dish, we’ve got you covered there too because no one wants to show up empty handed.
Below are a list of our favorite Halloween recipes. All of these sweet treats are crowd pleasers!
- Halloween dirt cups (pictured above) – These adorable graveyard themed dirt cups are easy enough to make that your kids could help, but also delicious enough for everyone to enjoy!
- Candy corn recipes – If you love candy corn, try making these candy corn pudding pops, or a batch of candy corn pecan fudge (there’s a pretzel version too, for people who don’t like pecans).
- Halloween themed desserts – If you want to impress, try making pumpkin shaped truffles, no bake owl cookies, or peanut butter eyeballs!
- Caramel apples – Everyone loves caramel apples on Halloween! Learn the best caramel apple toppings, and find out about their national day so you can share some fun facts with your friends.
- Pumpkin recipes – Pumpkin themed everything is a hit this time of year, from salted pumpkin fudge, to pumpkin cheesecake muffins!
- Halloween cookie exchange – If you’re going to a cookie swap this year, we suggest bringing these pumpkin haystack cookies.
- Spiders for Halloween – If you’re taking cocktails to a party, be sure to bring a couple trays of spider ice cubes to make them extra scary! We’ve also got a spider lollipop tutorial that is equal parts craft, and dessert.
All of these Halloween recipes are devilishly good. You’ll be sure to make an impression when you show up to you Halloween party carrying one of the recipe above, while wearing one of the DIY adult Halloween costumes ideas from the list!
Pin this post with DIY Halloween costumes for adults for later
Would you like a reminder of this post with DIY Halloween costumes for adults? Just pin this image to one of your Halloween boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.
You can also watch our Halloween costumes video on YouTube.
Admin note: this post for DIY Halloween costumes for adults first appeared on the blog in October of 2013. I have updated the post to add all new photos, more costumes to make with directions, and a video for you to enjoy.
About the author
Since graduating from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Jess has been living and working in Los Angeles, CA. She is a freelance writer, specializing in content related to fashion, food and drink and film industry topics. Find out more about Jess here.