This Halloween, go all out with a wild costume—literally.

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slowpoke snail young girl standing diy halloween costume
Credit: Timothy Smith

Channel your kid's kindred creature spirit (slowpoke snail? extroverted peacock? stinky little skunk?) and have everyone howling. These creative DIYs go way beyond a pair of cat ears and whiskers.

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funky skunks toddlers diy halloween costume
Credit: Timothy Smith

1. Funky Skunks

What You'll Need

Make It

  1. Cut a strip of white fur that's about as wide as the top of child's head. The length should reach from the top edge of the hood to the bottom of the hoodie.
  2. With the fur draped over the hoodie, make a mark in the center of the fur, about where the shoulders begin. Cut out a narrow triangle from that point downward to the bottom edge, forming two strips.
  3. Hot-glue the fur, starting under the center edge of the hood and letting it trail down the back of the hoodie, tacking down all the edges.
  4. Cut a circle of white fur; attach to front of hoodie with Velcro.
  5. To make the tail, cut a rectangle of black fur that's about as wide as the back of the hoodie and reaches from halfway down the back to mid-calf. Then loosely roll fur, and glue it into a tube-like shape.
  6. Cut two thin white strips of white fur and glue them to the black fur.
  7. Glue top opening of the tail closed and pin to the back of the hoodie.
sparkly jellyfish glowing wearable umbrella young girl diy halloween costume
Credit: Timothy Smith

2. Sparkly Jellyfish

What You'll Need

Make It

  1. Unravel two light strands over the top of umbrella. Tape battery packs inside umbrella hood; tape down light strands in three places.
  2. Cut eight to ten 2x2-in. pieces of cellophane, crumple gently, and tape over lights. Continue until entirely covered.
  3. Cut a few 16-in. pieces of blue mesh ribbon and use Glue Dots to attach one end around the neck and the other end under the bottom edge of the umbrella, wrapping around the cellophane.
  4. Cut 3-ft. pieces of teal and purple wired ribbon (about 12). Knot one end of a ribbon and pull one of the wires in ribbon to create a ruffled look. Trim excess wire, and attach knot to underside of umbrella with an adhesive dot. Repeat with other ribbons.
  5. Cut five 3-ft. pieces of paracord, knot one end of each; attach with an adhesive dot to underside of umbrella, spacing them out among the ribbons.
  6. Tape two to three light strands and battery packs to underside of umbrella, taping middle of light strands up to double them.
over-the-top peacock blue green girl diy halloween costume
Credit: Timothy Smith

3. Over-the-Top Peacock

What You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • 7 sheets of 22x30-in. green paper
  • Hot-glue gun
  • 9 dowels (3/16x36 in. each)
  • Pliers (optional)
  • Blue and turquoise feathers
  • Turquoise, blue, and yellow craft paper
  • Cardboard
  • Matching canvas belt

Make It

  1. Cut six sheets of green paper into 18 strips (you should get three strips per sheet). Trim each strip to about 24 in. long.
  2. Hot-glue a dowel between two green strips, right down the center. Press down on the paper around the dowel. Trim off the dowel ends with pliers, if using. Repeat with the remaining eight dowels and 16 strips.
  3. Round the tops of the green strips, and cut fringes at an angle down the sides of each "feather."
  4. Glue real blue and turquoise feathers to ends of paper feathers.
  5. Cut the peacock-feather eye shapes from colored craft paper as shown (download a template here). Glue them over the real feathers.
  6. Lay paper feathers out in a fan shape, making sure to overlap them along the bottom; apply hot glue between each feather until they are securely connected. Trim bottoms of feathers straight across. (Use pliers to get through the dowels, if needed.)
  7. Cut a semicircle of cardboard, 1 or 2 in. wider than your child's back. Cover using the remaining sheet of green paper.
  8. Flip feather fan facedown and glue belt along the bottom edge. Glue the cardboard piece from Step 7, centered on the back bottom edge, over the belt. Secure belt around child's waist.
prickly hedgehog mushroom bucket young boy diy halloween costume
Credit: Timothy Smith

4. Prickly Hedgehog

What You'll Need

  • Hot-glue gun
  • Whole-wheat rigatoni
  • Tan hoodie sweatshirt
  • Scissors
  • Brown felt
  • Tan faux fur
  • White and red felt
  • Small plastic bucket (about 8-in. in diameter)
  • Cardboard Pillow batting

Make It

For the hoodie:

  1. Hot-glue the tips of rigatoni to the back of the hoodie in staggered lines. Continue adding rigatoni up the back of the hood, stopping about 2 in. from the opening.
  2. Cut two round-edged triangles out of felt for ears, and hot-glue a small tuft of fur in the center of each. Hot-glue ears to hoodie at the top of hood.

For the mushroom bucket:

  1. Wrap white felt around bucket, cut to fit, and hot-glue it to outside of bucket.
  2. Cut a 12-in. round piece of cardboard. Cut a hole in center a bit smaller than top of bucket. Place bucket inside donut-shaped cardboard so it slides up halfway; hot-glue in place.
  3. Cut a 6x31-in. strip of red felt. Cut wedges along one long edge about every 3 in., stopping about 2 in. from edge (download a template here).
  4. Hot-glue uncut edge of felt to underside of cardboard, overlapping in places for fit.
  5. Cover cardboard with batting, fold red felt up over batting, and hot-glue the cut edge onto inside rim of bucket.
  6. Cut various-size white circles and glue onto red felt. Cut a strip of red felt; glue to inside for a handle.
slowpoke snail young girl sitting diy halloween costume
Credit: Timothy Smith

5. Slowpoke Snail

What You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Roll of brown butcher paper
  • Orange masking tape
  • Hot-glue gun
  • Neon-orange paracord, cut in half
  • Stapler
  • Roll of 1-in.-wide elastic
  • Safety pins
  • 2 chenille stems
  • Headband
  • Black marker
  • 2 Styrofoam balls (2 in.)

Make It

For the shell:

  1. Cut butcher paper into a 3x8-ft. piece. Apply a long strip of masking tape down the center.
  2. Hot-glue 1 length of paracord along the center of the tape.
  3. Flip paper over. Crumple and roll the left and right edges of brown paper in toward the center tape line, and staple rolls together to form a long tube.
  4. Roll tube into a spiral, making sure the tape line is visible in the swirl. Staple layers together as you roll. Repeat Steps 1 to 4 to make a second half-shell.
  5. Hot-glue the two shell halves together so that the orange swirls are visible on both sides.
  6. Measure the shell against your child's back, and mark where the straps should go. Cut elastic and attach with safety pins so shell is flush against the child's back.

For the eyes:

  1. Fold a chenille stem in half and twist around a headband.
  2. Cut a 3x8-in. strip of butcher paper and wrap it around chenille stem, folding under the headband. Hot-glue in place.
  3. Color a black pupil onto a Styrofoam ball. Crumple butcher paper around the back half of the ball; use tape to secure.
  4. Press the eye onto the end of chenille stem, adding a dot of hot glue to hold it in place.
  5. Repeat to make other eye.

This article originally appeared in Parents magazine's October 2021 issue as "Party Animals." Want more from the magazine? Sign up for a monthly print subscription here

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