top of page

A-Z of Fancy Dress IDeas

I thought I'd veer away from my usual topic of crafts (briefly) to make a video listing a LOAD of fancy dress ideas. I made this list years ago but just thought I'd put it into video form just in time for Halloween!

The video starts with a huge list of ideas, and then I pick a few topics to expand on - and these subjects are all a great source of costume design inspiration.

You can buy costumes of course, but since I love crafts I would naturally encourage a DIY creation :) So I really hope this boatload of ideas will get your imagination going and help you think of a creative and unique outfit this year!

If you want to see the Lichtenstein character costume I talked about in the video, please follow this link:

Big thanks to Pixabay and The Met for copyright-free images, as well as to:
Chris Gent:
Karl Stanton:
Savannah Tully:
Heather Miller:
Tyron Francis:
And Juska Wendland:

Thanks for watching!

Photo of a funny homemade witch prop - by Rozanne.



An Introduction To A Homemade Halloween


Halloween is a fun holiday where for one day only it's completely normal to dress up like a living corpse and demand sweets from strangers (which is kind of weird if you think about it!)

Also called All Hallows Eve, the holiday falls on the 31st of October and is the amalgamation of Christian and Pagan festivals from the past, although the origin is not known for sure because Halloween seems to have been influenced by many different rituals and celebrations.


Fancy dress, trick or treat and home/garden decorations are the 3 most popular ways to celebrate Halloween, although my favorite thing to do as a kid was go to a local event which combined fancy dress, a disco, a bonfire, fireworks and toffee was fantastic, and it made Halloween into a much-loved holiday for me, especially as it falls very close to my birthday.


This page focusses on making decorations at home from scratch, which is great fun as well as (usually) being cheaper. For people with young kids, the decor is usually kept family-friendly, with cute ghosts and inoffensive designs, but if you don't need to worry about scaring children senseless you can really go to town with the blood and horror! The style of your haunted abode can be anything you like, including sophisticated (think gold leaf pumpkins and blood cocktails), silly (funny props) or downright terrifying (bloodied handprints, fake corpses and flickering candles) - just pick what suits you best and run with it.


The usual themes for Halloween are: black and orange colours, bats, zombies, vampires, skulls, skeletons, spiders, witches, Frankenstein, blood & gore, horror and monsters. You can stick to one (e.g. transform your house into a witch's coven) or you can mix them all together for an overall spooky effect. The tutorials below usually incorporate one of these theme ideas, although don't be afraid to invent your own project from scratch and simply use the how-tos on this page for inspiration.


Even if you're not into crafts, I think that everyone should carve their own pumpkin, right?! The humble Jack 'o' Lantern is the symbol of Halloween, plus it's relatively easy and quick to cut out a face, and it looks fantastic in the dark when you put a flickering candle inside. If you're up for the challenge, you can also take on much more advanced carvings - examples of which you can find below.


With regard to decorating the garden, any props are usually made from wood or other durable materials so will require more heavy-duty tools to make, but on the plus side they will last for years so it's totally worth the extra effort! Popular ideas include: a fake graveyard with funny names on the gravestones, and pumpkins placed in the porch area. Sound effects coming from hidden speakers in the garden are lots of fun for trick-or-treaters too, as are fake skeletons and scarecrow-like figures you can make yourself to look like a witch or other scary beast.


If you are a fan of electronics and/or invention and you want to go the extra mile, I have seen a few awesome ideas for making moving puppets, ghosts and other creepy characters in the garden so that they move at regular intervals or are controlled from inside the house - this often involves a motor but you could also rig up an effective prop using just a rope or string to provide the movement. Whatever you decide to do, just have fun with it!

Photo and gold foil pumpkin by Le Living and Co. 



Spooky Ideas & Creepy Crafts:


Martha Stewart Halloween

Fanged pumpkins, paper bats, glittered skulls and much more.

Creepy Candles

Dripping black and red wax creates a gory effect.

Milk Jug Skeleton

Fun hanging porch decoration made via recycling.

Trash Bag Webs

Cheap and quick spider webs to hang all over the house.

Pacman Garland

Pacman has turned evil!

Recycled Cardboard Chandelier

Temporary chandelier made of card, a plastic bottle and some paperclips.

Bat 'O' Lanterns

Straightforward makes using mini ornamental pumpkins.

Glue & Wire Spiders

Elegant spiders you can also use for place settings.

OTT Haunted Facade

Go all out for Halloween by making the front of a haunted house!

Yarn Wrapped Pumpkins

Pretty pumpkins and gourds for Fall.

Sinister Ceramics

Easy and creepy ceramic cat revamp.

Cute Kawaii Ornaments

Adorable felt decorations to hang up.

F i n d   H a l l o w e e n   D e c o r a t i o n s   o n   A m a z o n   U . S . :

Photo and concrete gravestones by Lenore Edman.



DIY Halloween Props:


Spider Web Balloons

Amazing effect made with latex balloons.

Mold Your Own Props

In a fun and economical way.

Rusty Shackles

Impressive wall prop.

Special Effect Props

Browse this website for amazing how-tos and ideas.

Bat Mobile

Paper bat shapes hanging from twigs.

Shrunken Heads

An engaging activity for kids, and they make cool props.

Wooden Coffin

Fun vampire themed DIY project which can double as a bookcase!

Paper Mache Bowls

Ideal for putting the Halloween candy in.

Squishy Eyeball Doorbell

To give trick-or-treaters a laugh!

Googly Eyed Blobs

Silly green blob creatures that are so easy to make.

Ghost Fairy Lights

Make little ghosts using ping-pong balls and plaster gauze.

 Photograph and fun outdoor scene by The Crafty Hag.

Photograph of hanging plastic pumpkins by Mike Spasoff.



How to Carve a Pumpkin:

Cannibalistic Pumpkin

With a large pumpkin eating a small pumpkin!

Dalek Pumpkin

Funny replica of the famous robot.

27 Carving Templates

To help you create a successful carving.

Carving 101

Traditional pumpkin carving.

Pumpkin Carving With Stencils

Print out your design beforehand.

Photo Portrait Pumpkin

Transferring a photo image onto a pumpkin.

Pumpkin Carving Advanced

Great video demo.

Extreme Pumpkins

Funny ideas and helpful instructions.

Google Images

The best examples and inspiration.

3D Carving

Amazing artwork made by Villafane Studios.

Free Pumpkin Stencils

Many patterns to choose from including bats and skeletons.

Brainy Pumpkin Design

Clever design made by combining 2 pumpkins together.

Funny Pumpkin Geek

Amusing idea for adding a brace with staples and wire!

Disney Pumpkins

Nice choice of free Disney templates.

Photograph and hacked Lego minifigs by Windell Oskay.



Halloween Decoration Tutorials:


Paper Bag Luminaries

Create some spooky mood lighting.

Giant Spider Web

Made from just clotheslines.

Giant Halloween Tree

Built up using paper mache and chicken wire.

Zombie Baby Head

Seriously freaky!

Doily Spiderwebs

Easy and effective idea.

Garage Door Silhouette

This backlit plywood scene looks really effective.

Fang Collection & DIY Mummy Hand

A few brilliant tutorials for props and ornaments.

Black Bat Doormat

Made using the simple reverse stencilling technique.

Halloween Instructables

Fun variety of projects.

Decorations For The Home

Gallery of imaginative Halloween ideas.

Broom Parking Sign

Funny plaque for your driveway.

Batty Bunting

Paper garland for quick and easy décor.

Photograph and cheesecloth-covered mummy head by Kinwart.


Make Your Own Halloween Ornaments:


Halloween Ghost

Great centrepiece made using plaster.

Eyeballs In a Jar

Creepy Halloween prop.

Papier Mache Pumpkins

Brilliant results for creating pumpkins from scratch.

Papier Mache Skulls

Realistic end result.

Ghostly Wire Figures

Chicken wire silhouettes for the garden.

Spooky Skeleton Hands

Made from rubber gloves!

Ghost Garland

Perfect for putting over your mantelpiece.

Bottle Brush Trees

In shades of orange and black.

Specimen Jar Labels

How to age labels to put onto jars of eery potions.

Crystal Ball Candlesticks

A really effective and spooky table display.

Photograph of Halloween Piñatas by OscarFalcon.


More Fun Halloween Projects:


Paper Pumpkins

Quick-to-make pumpkin decorations.

Angels of Death

Spooky skeletal angel figurines.

Halloween Votives

Pumpkin-inspired candle lights.

Glowing Eyes

Made with just cardboard rolls and glow sticks.

Canned Halloween Monstrosities

Plastic toys + jars + food colouring = gross.

Glow-in-the-Dark Ghosts

Make little hanging ghosts with cheese cloth and glow sticks.

Witch's Kitchen

Brilliant kitchen set-up plus free printables.

Pumpkin Book

Shape and color an old book to make a pretty decoration.

Ideas For Outdoor Decorations

Including a grave and a scarecrow.

Disgusting Preserved Organs

Make clay specimens and sotre them in jars for a horror themed centerpiece.

Halloween Severed Head

Totally creepy ornament made from cheesecloth and a display head.

DIY Cauldron Centrepiece

Make a sturdy stand for your prop cauldron.



DIY Halloween Lanterns:

How to Carve a Pumpkin with a Stencil:

Build a Giant Spider Prop

Make Your Own Gravestones

Glowing Ghost Balloons

Terrifying Tutorials!:


Floating Ghosts

Made by moulding cheesecloth into shape.

Bat Mobile Lampshade

Spooky hanging decoration made from a lampshade frame.

Jack 'O' Lantern TV

Unusual idea to make a spooky telly.

Webbed Table Runner

Cut-out felt runner inspired by spider webs.

Mini Felt Pumpkins

Cute ornaments you could make a few of for a display.

Halloween Fabric Art

With free scary designs to download.

Fishbowl Pumpkins

These look great with candles in.

Paper Halloween Village

Make by cutting out and painting sheet music.

Soda Bottle Bell Jars

Clever way of making bell jars without spending lots on the real thing.

Origami Ornaments

Print out these designs to make your own hanging ornaments.

Life-Size Mummy

Using a family member or friend as the model!

Halloween Paper Lanterns

Create flickering silhouettes of skeleton, pumpkins, cats and more.

Arrr...walk the plank!

Photograph by Kinwart.



Even More Petrifying Props!:


Spooky Mirror

DIY Halloween wall decoration.

Salt Dough Bones

So easy to make with just flour, salt and water.

Flying Bat Wall Art

Simple shape but very effective.

Glowing Eye Portraits

Effect made using just a silver gel pen.

Spooky Disney Crafts

My favourite idea is the Jack Skellington string garland.

Plush Velvet Pumpkins

Classy decorations with a lovely texture.

Orange & Black Cake Stands

Fabulous ideas for Halloween food displays.

Door Monster

Funny wig monster to hang on your door.

Glowing Spider Balls

Yarn wrapped creations painted with glow-in-the-dark paint.

Haunted House

Build your own house prop with cardboard.

Ghostly Projects

Including an easy pop-up ghost book idea.

Table Runner

Spooky print on a burlap runner.

Photograph of an awesome Dalek pumpkin by Windell Oskay.



Haunted & Homemade:


Eyeball Wreath

Funny door decor which is really easy to make.

Spider Sacks

Hanging decorations made of yarn.

Rhinestone Crystal Skull

Who says Halloween needs to be dark and moody...go glam instead!

Glow Stick Lanterns

Temporary glow stick lanterns which are perfect for a spooky party.

Haunted House Silhouettes

Free templates to easily transform your home for the holiday.

Best Simple DIY Ideas

I love the cut-out bats and skeleton boneyard.

Creepy Trees

Spindly tree decorations created using wire and paper tape.

Halloween Silhouette Lamp

Easy way to 'spookify' all of your lampshades!

Haunted House Bell Jar

Make your own spooky cardboard house covered in black glitter.

Muslin Mummies

Mini mummy monsters to display all over your home.

Batty Chandelier

A spectacular and inexpensive centrepiece.

Martha Stewart Roundup

I love the idea for using a hot glue gun for cobwebs.



I really hope you enjoyed this roundup and found some ghoulish projects to try!

bottom of page