5 Easy DIY Halloween Costume Ideas for Women

"Halloween is coming soon coming soon coming soon"...(sung in best creepy sing song voice!)

I admit since I moved to Scotland, I haven't had as much cause for Halloween costumes - it's just not that big of a thing here as it is in the States (saying that of course there is a bloggers Halloween party this year I can't attend because I will be in full blown pre-holiday madness by that stage). We will be in Florida for Halloween this year, and Floridians go enjoyably overboard for all holidays. More often than not I have ended up dressing up the past few years when I've been over, and I have mostly just thrown something together.

Plus, let's get real, most pre-made costumes for women nowadays fall into the depressingly sexist category am I right? It's anyone's prerogative to be vampy or cute on Halloween if they want, I just wish people who made costumes you know, considered that maybe women have other ideas about dressing up, too.

But that's ok, because being women we are actually pretty great at being inventive and smart with coming up with our own ideas, who knew? (grr!). So, just putting this out there, maybe reconsider if being sexy is your only option - being geeky or scary or funny are all valid and exciting Halloween costume choices, too! Besides, what is going to stand out more at a party, another sexy cat/sexy whatever, or you know, something a bit more adventurous? (Feminist soapbox packed away, until we inevitably meet again patriarchy!).

Being a Gen X kid I was raised with mostly D-I-Y costumes anyway, I must have been a witch several times over, that green food dye on the face/Wicked Witch of the West is always a winner! So throwing something together comes naturally to me, and I think maybe people forget how much fun it is to think up an idea and then gather the bits of a costume together. Here are some suggestions I think are pretty easy for anyone to put together, some I have done, a couple I really fancy doing!

1. Mrs. Mia Wallace (from Pulp Fiction)

Ok so this is probably considered vintage now...oy. But it is surprisingly iconic/most people recognize it immediately, and it's darned simple. It would be a great couple's costume too as the man's version, John Travolta as Vincent Vega, is basically just a suit and bolero and slicked back hair. (yeah I could not convince husband to do this when we went to our friend's 40th b-day party, he is a brat and went as Rick from the Young Ones!).

Ok so this was 4 years ago, and my camera got accidentally put on the macro setting so all of the ruddy pictures are blurry, but you get the gist. This is what the character looks like for anyone who hasn't seen Pulp Fiction! What you need:

-One white button down shirt

-One pair of black trousers (preferably cropped/7/8th if you are ocd obsessed with detail like me!)

-Black fringed/bangs wig (I went for one on ebay called "Cheerleader" as I wanted the length to be perfect, it's a bit long but often the bob wigs are much shorter than Mia Wallace's actual bob (as I said, I am a little detail obsessed!) 

-Red lipstick

-Syringe taped to the chest/ blood droplets coming from nose if you want gore factor (I really wanted to do this but the logistics were tricky with my scar and also it was a birthday not a Halloween party. If I did it again though I would go for post o.d. Mia though ;-0).

And if you bump into another Uma Thurman Tarantino character at your party, well that's just a bonus!

 2. Victorian Ghost

I think the ghost costume idea is an underrated one that seems to have fallen out of fashion. If you dress in a period theme it makes it even more ghoulish, and the makeup is something I had a lot of fun playing with. I wanted to look old timey/Victorian (ish!) as it's inherently spookier the older looking the costume is I think.

Ok I'm just playing around with some fun PicMonkey Halloween filters, we didn't look quite this spooky in real life...

I had a lot of fun looking at Pinterest makeup pictorials, I went for a subtly greyed/ghoulish ghost using grey and purple eyeshadow and white makeup. My Mom was a flapper ghost so I thought we looked pretty coolly spooky together!

I found my dress on ASOS Marketplace, it was actually a modern dress someone had already used for a costume and destructed. I wanted to do it myself but this was the only lacey Victorian looking dress I could find at short notice so I went for it. I think you could achieve a similiar effect with tea and coffee and a few burns, etc., it's just a little bit tricky as you need to find something cheap you don't mind destroying.

What you need for a Victorian Ghost:

-Lacey or old fashioned looking white or cream dress (or nightgown, this is what I was thinking I would use) or high necked ruffled type top you don't mind destroying. Or if you can sew I think a bit of cotton cloth or muslin could be turned into a vintage looking nightie quite nicely, maybe just find a bit of lace scrap for accent if you can't find a real lacy thing. I do love when people go all out and do bustles and silk/proper Victorian fancy dress, but I can imagine it's not cheap to do.

- Distress dress/costume (there are a bajillion Halloween Pinterest tutorials for stuff like this!)

-Grey and blue/purple eyeshadow, white/pale foundation or makeup, white hairpsray if you want

-Vintage style jewellery (I wore a cameo of my Mom's and some jet earrings also of my Mom's - you could also raid your local charity shop!)

That's it! I toyed with the idea of adding spiders and cobwebs, I think they would be a nice, crawled out of the crypt touch! I also think this outfit idea could be recycled to do a great Miss Haversham/ghost bride type character, just add a veil and some black roses and bob's your uncle!

3. Carrie White

(Stephen King film, original version of course!). I have wanted to dress up as poor misunderstood telekinetic Prom Queen Carrie for a loooong time. It is a super easy, effective and iconic character costume idea I think. All you need is:

-Cheap full white slip (unless you have a slip dress you don't mind destroying!)

-Fake Blood, LOTS OF IT! (actually it would probably be easier to do a kool-aid/jello stain for really getting the dress saturated with colour, and less messy hopefully. Here is a tutorial of many different ways to make fake blood on Wiki How)

-Straightened 70's hair (this is problematic for me, I would probably need a wig!)

-A Prom queen crown/tiara and sash/maybe a homemade fake corsage too if you want to win that party prize!

-Wide eyed stare to convince everyone you can move things with your mind!

Other characters I am deeply interested in trying to recreate: Tippie Hedron in The Birds (just add vintage looking outfit and a few fake birds!), Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, Linda Blair in The Exorcist, the list goes on and on - I am very inspired by film when it comes to costumes in case that wasn't obvious!

4. Christmas Tree! (or other random thing that strikes you!)

Ok so this one is a bit "out there" but it is one of the few times I have ever done "Dress as a random weird object", and it was a lot of fun, even though my costume was not great at all, people, I fully admit!

The decor in our student's farmhouse was out of this world - each room had a different more garish wallpaper than the last!
I mean, I took a green sheet and chucked some tinsel on it - this was college, in my defense! My friends LJ (Sally, Nightmare Before Christmas) and Carrie (cowgirl) looked so awesome. But I think you could do this idea up really nice with a bit more effort than I put in! You could use cardboard or a bit of foam or a hoop to bulk out the Christmas Tree shape, and add some cheap ornaments too.

What you need for a Christmas Tree costume!:

-Green base to cover body (cheap sheet or green fabric, or painted cardboard would probably be easier to attach stuff to/decorate!)

-Decorations (tinsel, ornaments, etc!)

I am mainly including this to say "Just think of something easy and goofy and do it", because sometimes you have a lot more fun that way! :-) This costume probably got more attention than anything else I have done, I guess because it was sort of weird and unexpected. Don't be afraid to think outside of the box on Halloween, it's the one night of the year that anything goes!

 I feel like maybe Brits are a little bit less inclined to be kooky or overly experimental on Halloween, which is understandable, Halloween really only became a thing here in the 70's from what I understand (they call trick or treating "Guising" - kids don't even say Trick or Treat, how weird is that!).

I am glad Halloween being fun for grown ups too seems to be catching on a bit more in recent years because I do think they are missing a trick here (and a treat - ba dum bum!) by leaving all of the spooky fun and geekery of it just to the kids - Halloween is fun for everyone, as I learned growing up watching my Dad get his kicks scaring the bejeezus out of all of the kids in the neighbourhood with his masks and haunted house music!


So last year was thrown together, I really had not planned on dressing up, but then my Mom and Aunt were and I felt like a party pooper so I threw together a little Flower Child costume. (It helps that I basically dress like a hippie on holiday anyway!).

Ok ok so this is totally a cute, not scary or weird look. But it's from the 60's so it's historical yeah? ;-0 And most importantly, SO EASY!

All you need is love. I don't know how to smile in a selfie without looking crazed, so I go for po faced instead!

I look faintly ridiculous next to these proper Halloween ghouly girls!

Women's Hippie Costume: You will need:

-Embroidered or other floaty top that could have been worn at Woodstock (*cough* most of my tops fall in this category), long floaty skirt or denim bellbottoms (I wore some palazzo pants)

-Flower garland (I got this beauty at Walmart! It's a bit...large, a little daisy chain would have been nicer but I had a day to put this together)

-Funky jewellery -these chunky beads had an authentic 60's vibe I thought - thanks Mom! Anything with peace signs, wooden or beaded baubles ideal!

 -A bit of face art - optional but I think it adds a nice touch. I drew this flower with a Wet n Wild aqua eyeliner pen, and of course it had killer staying power/I still had traces of it the next day even after using makeup remover!

-Braid/Plait or pigtail your hair if you don't have naturally long straight hippy hair to swish around like Cher!

I hope some of my ideas come in handy/maybe help inspire you this Halloween. Are you a Halloween costume person? What is your favourite costume you ever wore?

*Bizarrely as I was editing this post yesterday I noticed Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb had put up her very own post on 4 Easy Cheap Halloween Ideas for Women - I had already made my little Pic Monkey poster and everything and couldn't be bothered changing it. Great blogging minds think alike/tis the season etc. DO check out her post, she has some fabulous costume ideas!


  1. I haven't 'done' Halloween for years, but I'm totally bookmarking these ideas in case I get invited to a fancy dress party in future.

    1. You never know! I think you would make a fab Mia Wallace, you could probably even skip the wig, your hair is perfect!

  2. I love all your costumes, particularly the Victorian ghost outfit. I can't believe you aren't going to be around for the Halloween blogger party :( Hopefully catch up with you before Christmas xx

    1. Aw thanks! I would love to go but it will be a couple of days before we leave and I can't see myself being organized to do a costume. We'll see!

  3. I usually DIY my costumes because store bought just fit awfully, and are usually not exactly what I have envisioned. I guess that could be in part that growing up, we did home made costumes! My mom is a whiz at sewing, too bad I did not learn, nor do I have the patience for it (i've tried!), so I have to buy all the pieces. Normally I try to go with a base of something I already have and build off of that.

    I think your ghost one is my favorite!

    1. Yeah, building on something you own is the best way definitely. We have been in Florida the past few Halloweens so that limits me a bit! I was thinking this year I might just get a really tacky men's Hawaiian shirt and be a "Florida tourist" ;-0

  4. You look amazing in your Victorian ghost costume, very ethereal.

    1. Thanks Elinor, I hope you have a fun Halloween in London! x

  5. Great ideas they all look so good! Gemma x

  6. I used to get dressed as a gypsy old lady or a Hawaiian dancer for years, mainly because it is so cheap to make a costume out of your wardrobe for these themes. But now reading your post I am intrigued to get dressed as Mrs. Mia Wallace! Just need to find a black wig!

    1. Oh gypsy was my Mom's favourite, I think I was one once too! I think you would make a fab Mia Wallace! :-) x