Ideas & tools to create your own Halloween spirit

Easy crafts & creations to make Halloween your own

happy girl in colorful costume

Day of the Dead inspired kid’s costume

Halloween has become the second largest holiday for decorations, costumes and treats. Maybe that’s because this is the time when we are allowed, even encouraged, to let our imaginations go wild.

Many of the commercial decorations and costumes are really very creative and usually very expensive. If you’re more of a DIYer why not let your own creative imagination go a little crazy? Have a lot of fun. Save a lot of money and make this Halloween the best ever.

Jack-o-lanterns on ladder shelvesI love Halloween and really enjoy looking at all the products online and magazine articles, with pictures. The party foods made to look gruesome, realistic creepy creatures for the yard, costumes with wit and sometimes beauty are all around. Using these as the sparks for your own personal Halloween is the real magic.

Creativebug (free with your library card) is an excellent resource for video tutorials on decorating, costumes and even treats. Of course, we also have great books with inspiration and directions. I’ve highlighted some of my favorites at the end of this article.

A little spooky, a lot of fun

Mummy Kids' Costumes

I want my mummy! Friends getting all wrapped up for a party.

There are lots of options if your Halloween is all about the kids. Costumes can be funny and just a little creepy. Think back to your favorite childhood costumes and toss in current kid culture characters. Cartoon creatures like Casper and Peanuts classic images from “The Great Pumpkin” can be your inspiration. Paw Patrol and Spongebob are giving Scooby Doo a run for his money (or Scooby snacks?). Updated classics like dreadlocked pirates, Disney princesses, teenage witches and space cowboys still show up for bobbing apples, hayrack rides and pumpkin decorating contests.

I look to fun but creepy films that are favorites with my family like “Hocus Pocus” and “Beetlejuice” for costume ideas. Playing the wicked witch or haughty sorceress while handing out  treats is one of the best parts of my Halloween. 

Boy dressed in strong blur dress shirt and fedora of same color. red bow tie. Half of his face is painted with bold squiggly shapes in blue, white, yellow and red. A little dark blue on the natural side of the mouth and light blue on the eyebrow of that side.

Am I Blue? Paintings can be inspiring.

Colorful, clever and comfortable costumes using sweatshirts, tights and other altered clothing are fairly easy to put together. You can use water-based non-toxic make-up to replace hard, vision obscuring masks (that end up discarded or worn as hats). A little glitter goes a long way and fabric markers make it easy to add scales to a t-shirt dragon.

You don’t need to be an expert at sewing to make a great costume. With a little planning and imagination your kids won’t beg for those cheap itchy costumes off the rack. Below are some fabulous Creativebug online classes I recommend. Log in with your library card and search the class name.

No sewing or limited sewing costumes on Creativebug

  • Quick and Easy Bird Costume class by Courtney Cerruti
  • Last-Minute Halloween Costume: Felt Beards
  • Frida Kahlo Inspired Headband
  • DIY Halloween Masks
  • Halloween Trick or Treat Bags (not exactly a costume, but an accessory)
  • Magic Wands (another accessory)

Costumes that need some sewing skills on Creativebug

  • Simplicity Sewing: Cosplay Costumes
  • Simplicity Sewing: Make Furry Animal Hats

Horror & fantasy

Makeup using black, dark blue, teal and turquoise colors. Pattern on the skin mimics scales. Dark blue lips and eyeliner give a glamorous affect.

Goth black + turquoise texture = fantasy feel

Maybe you see Halloween as the time of year when you can let your inner ghoul roam free. You can find lots of inspiration for costumes and decorations in horror movies and fantasy art. Express your alter-ego using surprisingly easy techniques for creating eerie atmospheres and dramatic costumes.

Scary Nun Adult CostumeMake-up can be the most important part of creating truly scary and gruesome characters. In addition to strong colors and fake blood some simple techniques to get the textures of rotting flesh, gore, scales and more use mostly everyday ingredients. The Creativebug online class (less than 30 minutes) Kids Halloween Face Painting includes directions for zombies and vampires that can be modified for scarier creations.

Take care with those essential candles and ethereal flowing costumes. Read full directions if you use anything on skin or disburse it in the air.

Imaginative crafts & decorations

If you’re like me you find yourself somewhere in the middle. I like the eerie effects using black lace, silhouettes and dripping candles. I’m also drawn to period costumes and mythical creatures, as long as they aren’t bleeding. Pumpkin carving is a tradition in our family and there are so many amazing new takes on this these days. Like carving other veggies and building creatures or castles with them. Decorating pumpkins with paint, sparkles and even geometric designs can really get you in the spirit, and they last longer.

Some of the creepiest (and easiest to clean up) affects can be achieved with dim/colored lights, black paper and silver spray paint and yards of translucent material. Even mundane, mismatched objects can be transformed into occult, elegant and macabre decor when all are painted black.

Whatever your taste, style and talents there are tons of cool crafts and projects to choose from and adapt. Your library has online classes and a great collection of books to get your brains and bones busy making this your personal best Halloween ever!

Halloween crafts and decorations on Creativebug

  • Cricut Crafts: Make Halloween Shadow Puppets
  • Halloween Party Decor
  • Halloween Pumpkin Carving
  • Halloween Paper Doll Witches

View complete list

Jayme Lyons has worked in the library Bookmobile department for 20 years. Her energetic style and deep desire to connect with others helps her bring her subjects to life.