My Top 10 DIY Halloween Costumes
As a kid, Mom made me a handmade costume every year until I asked her to stop (so I could make my own). Here are ten of my favorite DIY Halloween costumes I’ve made and worn over the last decade or so. From simple put-together outfits to full on electronics projects, I hope you’ll find some inspiration here!
10. Anthropologie Vampire
I put together this wearable look for a day at the office. I was told this look is also reminiscent of Tilda Swinton in “Only Lovers Left Alive”.
- Jacket: vintage
- Dress: Anthropologie
- Boots: Frye
- Sunglasses: vintage
- Striped stockings
- Ribbed knit beanie hat pattern
9. Dana Scully
For a special Halloween episode of our web show Make: Live, Matt Richardson and I dressed up like Agent Scully and Agent Mulder from X-Files. Matt really sold the costume better than me, since when he parts his hair in the middle, he looks like David Duchovny.
8. EL Wire Animal Masks
While not my original idea (credit: Tom Newsom), I was really pleased with how these turned out. The bike helmet base makes the whole thing very wearable, though it’s important to note that the inverter attached to the helmet does bring its high-pitched squealing noise pretty close to your ear. It’s not an issue if you’re actually riding a bike or at a loud event.
7. Ellie Jackson from La Roux
I found out about Elly Jackson because people in the YouTube comments kept saying I look like her. I stitched up a lookalike jacket. The year was 2010 and I was still on crutches from a recent knee surgery. See how I’m not quite standing on my left leg in the above photo?
I laser cut a faux cameo necklace. I got my first (and so far only) C&D for those files I put on Thingiverse.
I commissioned a pair of custom leggings on Etsy to complete the look.
- Tutorial on Instructables
- Jacket inspiration: Mondrian by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac
- Necklace inspiration: Neo Cameo by Sylvie Markovina
- Leggings by Zelis Nanette
6. Iron Man Arc Reactor
This project was a fun experiment in etching and layering acrylic.
5. LED Galaxy Makeup
This project burned my face because I didn’t insulate the backs of the pixel circuit boards well enough. It felt like hot ants on my face.
4. Skeleton in White
For the NYC Resistor Halloween Party, our friend Blair Aycock did mine and Smokey’s skeleton makeup.
3. Mystical Hood with Glowing LED Eyes
I first made this costume in 2015—it’s simple enough to pass for several different glowing-eyed creatures depending on what color you program the LEDs to be and what fabric you use to make the hood.
In 2018 I re-hashed this project for another NYC Resistor Halloween Party. This time I added wireless control by way of a small 315MHz remote control keyfob transmitter/receiver pair. This way the two costumes could change animations in sync with one another.
2. Emoji Ghost & Emoji Poo
These costumes were so fun to make! Both are based on backpacks, and the ghost is like a giant hoop skirt. Smokey broke a rib in this costume before we had the view ports situated properly (standing on the hoverboard without a horizon line is a bad idea).
1. Cyber Tank Girl
My old job had me whipping up LED costume accessories all the time, so one year I decided to try to combine as many as possible into one costume: Cyber Tank Girl. I had LED goggles, studded choker, 3D printed bandolier, and my dog wore a pair of laser goggles.
For the Halloween Parade, I outfitted a wheelchair as a cardboard tank, complete with a built-in sound system.