It’s almost Halloween! And by almost Halloween, I mean it’s time to start planning DIY Halloween costumes. Because Halloween will be here before you know it, and, as a sewist and generally crafty, creative, and handy soul, you need time to bring your art to life.
That’s why we’re chatting DIY Halloween costumes more than a month before Halloween. You can’t start early enough, especially if you want to make some or all of your costume. Sewists have an advantage when it comes to executing amazing Halloween costumes. If we can dream it, we can stitch it.
Just for you, I wanted to come up with original Halloween costume ideas — disguises inspired by what’s been hot in 2019. Topical costumes get people talking — sharing their experiences and opinions, and topicality demonstrates that you’re up on what’s going down in the world. I went into major research mode for these DIY Halloween costume ideas, poring over search-engine trends and news stories.
Following are mood boards for 2019-themed DIY Halloween costumes. These collages show elements than can pull together a costume, and below each board, I share which sewing patterns might work best. I know making every.single.detail for a costume isn’t for everyone, so I tried to craft boards and explanations that give a lot of leeway to make these ideas work for whatever you’ve got going on in terms of skill, budget, and time. You do you, and have a happy Halloween!
And if you go as any of these costumes, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me about it! I’ll share your costume on my socials!
2019 DIY Halloween Costumes for Sewists
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You know who’s had a big freakin’ year? Billie Freakin’ Eilish. People in the know (haha, not me) were aware of Eilish before 2019, but I feel like she exploded this year. Case in point: her song, “Bad Guy,” topping the charts. This young lady (she’s not yet 18!) is an iconoclast, and iconoclasts make fab Halloween costumes.
If you’re going as Billie Eilish, keep your clothes oversized and hip-hop inspired. I suggest Jalie 3355, a mini capsule of sweatshirts and sweatpants. (Size up, natch, for Eilish’s aesthetic.) Add a ton of punky jewelry, high-top trainers, vividly colored hair, and you’re golden.
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Humanity saw the first photo of a black hole this year! An actual image of the bending of space and time! 🤯 This massive scientific accomplishment inspired me to brainstorm a black hole costume. Here’s my vision: You wear opaque black tights, black shoes, and a black turtleneck. Then, as a bottom (I wasn’t going to suggest wearing tights as pants!), you wear a circle skirt that’s black with an orange/red/yellow border. (I photoshopped the above pic to add the orange border, BTW.) When you give the skirt a little twirl, the orange represents the disc of material orbiting the black hole. And the black, of course, is the event horizon — the center of the black hole. What I like about this costume is:
- You easily could wear a me-made black turtleneck for non-Halloween purposes.
- The costume is black and orange, the ultimate Halloween color combo.
- You can tell everyone that no candy escapes the event horizon of a black hole — and demand more candy!
For a turtleneck pattern, I suggest True Bias’ Nikko top or Victory Patterns’ Frances top. For a skirt pattern, I suggest checking out By Hand London’s circle skirt calculator.
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Have there been a bunch of CBD oil stores popping up in your town? Mine too! I swear, the regulation of this substance is a moving target. It’s fascinating to watch (says the business nerd in me). Anyhoo, you don’t have to search long to find stories about the apparently amazing properties of CBD oil (I’ve never tried it). This substance, which does not contain THC, the drug that gets you high, allegedly relieves pain and anxiety, among other ailments.
To dress as CDB oil this Halloween, start with a brown body-con dress to mimic a brown bottle with a dropper. For the dropper, don a black hat, turban, or headband. Finally, it’s accessory time: CBD stickers/decals/labels and molded CBD gummies. The previously mentioned Nikko is perfect for this costume, and there are many turban-sewing tutorials on YouTube. (A turban also would be a good scrap-busting project.)
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White Claw hard seltzer. Have you tried it? I’m a La Croix drinker (big fan of apricot and Key lime), so when I saw a can of White Claw at my sister’s house, I thought I’d give it a go. Not bad; not much of an alcohol taste, which is dangerous. When White Claw came up in trend searches for 2019, I was intrigued. How can I make the canned beverage into a costume? Like, a costume that a sewist would make? Constructing a cylinder for a can seemed too on the nose.
When I started poking around Amazon for lobster costume ideas and found those oversized rubber lobster claws (image No. 5 above), the White Claw costume came to me like a vision: Wear all white and spraypaint those big claws white, too. LITERAL WHITE CLAWS. Kinda like the waiter wearing the lobster claws in the “Say a Little Prayer for You” scene (at the veeeery back, waving them back and forth) in “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” On a whim, I started searching “white lobster” on Google and came up with the magnificent beast pictured above (No. 4), which inspired the iridescent sunglasses as a costume component.
You can wear any sort of white ensemble you’d like for a White Claw costume, but white overalls felt right to me. Maybe the notion of painting lobster claws got me thinking about painter’s white bibs? Who can say. But white bibs definitely are cute and can be worn year-round, IMO. My pattern suggestions include Helen’s Closet’s Yanta, Sew House Seven’s Burnside, and New Look 6446 (which is jumpsuit-ish but still bibs-y).
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Weighted blankets are such a thing now that you can buy them at Target. They’re supposed to help ground you if you’ll feeling anxious or can’t sleep. And they’re not super heavy; the heaviest ones I saw on Amazon after some brief research maxed out at 20 pounds. For this costume, take an unwanted comforter — something with lift and quilting to it — and basically turn it into a poncho, a la this poncho tutorial from our friend, Melly Sews. You’ll wear your “weighted” blankie for Halloween; a real weighted blanket probably would destroy your back if you walked around in it for hours on end.
To complete this DIY Halloween costume, pair it with your favorite jammies (Halloween theme optional), eye mask, humorous anxiety mug, and relaxing essential oil mix. Aaaaahhhhh… feel more chill already.
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With the release of Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” there’s been renewed interest in Sharon Tate. Margot Robbie portrays Tate in the film, and she certainly looks the part of the fashionable ’60s actor (see pic No. 4 — wow, right?). Should you be interested in re-creating this groovy look, stitch yourself a sleek black turtleneck and crisp white mini skirt. Possible turtleneck patterns include: Itch to Stitch’s Hepburn, Seamwork’s Neenah (modified to shirt length), and Kwik Sew’s K4069. Possible skirt patterns include: Grainline’s Moss, Sew Over It’s Ava, and New Look’s 6106. IMO, you could sew any white skirt you please, as long as it’s mini length. What I think is especially cool about this costume is that the skirt and turtleneck definitely can find a place in your regular wardrobe after October 31.
Now, slip into those white boots, tease up that hair, and make sure you’re practiced at negative space eyeliner!
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Scrunchies, the hair accessory that refuses to die. I was teenager in the ’90s; scrunchies and I go waaaay back. Scrunchies are a great way to use fabric scraps (knit and woven). They’re quick to make, and you can sew them to coordinate with any outfit. So why not go as a scrunchie — or at least a scrunchie enthusiast — for Halloween? I suggest making a dress or skirt with a bubble hem, because bubble hems look like giant scrunchies. You’ll never look at a bubble hem or balloon skirt (as they’re sometimes called) again the same way! Try this bubble hem tutorial, or search for a site or video that works better for your learning style.
The costume-y part of this costume comes from going over the top with scrunchies. You’ll need to wear them in your hair, around your wrists, around your ankles — anywhere you can wrap a scrunchie, wrap that scrunchie! Heck, make oversized scrunchies for your waist! If you’re feeling like a ham, hand out scrunchies to trick-or-treaters or fellow party guests. You’ll be a hit!
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Robin Buckley, ‘Stranger Things 3’
Robin, my favorite character from “Stranger Things 3”! What a breakout role for Maya Hawke. I found myself wanting to hang with Robin, to talk about band nerd things and act smug about our superior tastes in music and film. She’s smart (hello, translating Russian!), funny, and true to herself. Even with her Scoops Ahoy uniform, she’s got that alt-’80s teen vibe going strong, with punk-inspired jewelry and well-loved Chuck Taylor sneakers. I suggest sewing Closet Case Patterns’ newish Pietra shorts in a sailor theme. The knit top with the puff sleeves is a ringer for Tilly and the Buttons’ Agnes top (with the puff sleeve variation, natch). Watch this DIY detachable sailor collar vid for how to add that naval neck flair.
Finish the look with a sailor cap [SPOILER] and this sweet rainbow popsicle enamel pin (No. 2 above) to prevent the Steve Harringtons in your world from making awkward romantic advances.
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‘Old Town Road’
Could “Old Town Road” have been any bigger this year? This tune came up with my third-grader, a niece in her early twenties, and at my husband’s workplace. It’s got something for everyone. I personally love the over-the-top, rhinestone cowboy look of a Nudie suit, which is why I think this costume could be my favorite option in this post.
Here’s how I would approach it: I’d sew the fitted Tilly and the Buttons Rosa button-up shirt and modify it to have pointed yokes in the front and back (like a classic Western shirt). Then I would add fringe and many, many appliques and patches and embroidery. On the back — and this is the best part — the shirt would say, “I Got the Horses in the Back.” No, I will not apologize for that pun. I’d also make coordinating pants and tart up a pair of thrifted cowboy boots with painted Western designs (I say thrifted because cowboy boots can get expensive).
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Super Blood Wolf Moon
Think back to January of this year and the hullabaloo around the super blood wolf moon. It was the first total lunar eclipse to be seen in its entirety in North America in three and a half years. (For the record, the next total lunar eclipse to be seen in the U.S. will be in May 2021.) People in the U.S. were freaking out over it (in a good way). I mean, how cool does a SUPER BLOOD WOLF MOON sound? That’s what makes a super blood wolf moon a great DIY Halloween costume. Blood. Wolves. Moons. It’s got it all. Ya combine something wolfish (like fuzzy ears and paws) with something moony (like a T-shirt) and throw in a splash of blood (ANOTHER intended pun — no regrets).
I think a red skirt would set off bloody accessories, and you could sew any skirt pattern you please in red fabric of your choice. Wolf costume elements could be a fun way to test sewing with faux fur. As for a moon shirt, I do really like the one above (No. 2), or you could do an iron-on moon transfer. It’s your prerogative if you want to howl as you wear this costume. But does that mean you’d be howling at yourself? 🤔🐺🌑
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Not unlike Billie Eilish, those in the know (again, not me!) were hip to Lizzo long before she conquered 2019. This woman is a force of nature, a bonified super star and 100 percent THAT bitch (by her own admission, so now you know). I came to know Lizzo through her infectious track, “Juice.” The video has a channel-surfing theme/vibe, and it includes an ’80s workout sesh that’s too accurate for words. Eat your heart out, Jane Fonda. As a babe born in 1981, I remember stuff like this, guys! The spandex. The sweatbands. The spandex. The legwarmers. The spandex. Attending a Halloween shindig in retro workout regalia and showing off your juice, maybe providing some pointers on proper weight-lifting form, would be a hoot.
For patterns, check out activewear powerhouse Jalie; they’ve got leotard and one-piece swimsuit patterns. I also think Megan Nielsen’s Cottesloe swimsuit would be a perfect leotard. As for leggings/bike shorts, I’m over the moon for my Made-to-Measure leggings from SewHere.com.
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This probably is the most conceptual DIY Halloween costume of the bunch: the keto diet. How might one personify the ketogenic diet? I knew keto was hot in 2019, but I didn’t really know what it was. Something about eating a lot of fat? Upon further review, a keto diet is 70 percent fat, 25 percent protein, and 5 percent carbs. (I think there are more rules about when you can eat and how many meals, but I didn’t get any more into the weeds than the percentages.)
Seventy, twenty-five, and five. What can a sewist do with this? How about… make a color-blocked ensemble that’s 70 percent one color, 25 percent another color, and 5 percent a third color? That’s how the above color-blocked looks are fundamental to a keto Halloween costume.
One could label the different macros on a maxi dress, as I did in image No. 1 above, or you could forgo the labels and make people guess what the heck you’re supposed to be based on your costume props (avocado, meat sticks, etc.). I think with the right audience, this 70-25-5 keto diet costume would REALLY crack people up.
I hope you got a chuckle out of these dozen DIY Halloween costumes for 2019. Which one is your favorite? Which one is NOT working for you? Which one would you be most likely to try out yourself or recommend to a friend, family member, or co-worker? Please sound off in comments! Thanks for reading.
P.S. Here are some more resource-type posts that might do it for you:
- 12 Rainbow Clothes Ideas That Won’t Make You Look Like a Child
- 53 Gifts for Sewists: The Ultimate Guide to Gifts for Sewing Lovers
- Sewing for Depression and Anxiety: 24 Sewing Ideas to Improve Your Mood
- Sew with the Flow: Sewing for Your Period
P.P.S. Here’s the previous post: Easy Fabrics to Sew: 8 Forgiving Fabrics.
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This list is too funny! Also, now I know about a new seltzer, hmm! I have one student going as Robin from Stranger Things, and I’m helping her remake a skirt into giant sailor shorts. I’m excited. 😀
Be careful – White Claw could be trouble (it doesn’t taste boozy AT ALL).
I think Robin is going to be popular this year!
Thanks for reading!