11 ‘Homemade’ Costumes: Or, Sew Like The Wind Because Halloween Is Here

You should always be yourself. And yourself should always be a World War I Flying Ace.
Three Amigos Sew Costumes
By  · Published on October 31st, 2017

If I’ve learned one thing from this, it’s that you should always be yourself. And yourself should always be a World War I Flying Ace.

Happy Halloween! Do you do an apostrophe in there? That’s cool. Happy Hallowe’en! That’s a contraction for All Hallow’s Eve. And we’re learning. And we’re moving right along. I dig a homemade costume. I don’t have a crafty bone in my body. That’s all right, I’ve got crafty friends. I had a friend make a Frank’s Head costume from the movie Frank. You know, the one where Michael Fassbender wears a giant paper mache head for the majority of the movie. It was legit. When I take my kids out trick or treating these days, I mostly see store-bought costumes. Which, as a parent of three kids, I’m like as long as they’re smiling it’s all good. Also, I’m not casting stones. I see those store bought costumes on my kids, too. Like any craft project, a homemade costume tells us volumes about who you are and what you’re all about. Me? My mom once made me a Spaceman Spiff costume because I love me some Calvin and Hobbes. Whether your homemade costumes are intricate or MacGuyver’d out of whatever is around, or complete debacles: respect.

Today, on All Hallow’s Eve, I wanted to take a look at some of the homemade costumes we’ve seen at the movies. As discussed, that’s harder than you’d think. So, these are the ones I’ve seen at the movies. Hit us up on Twitter with your favorites that I missed!

Charlie Brown as Ghost? in It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

Look. We’ve all had problems with our homemade costumes. Sometimes scissors are a problem. Poor Charlie Brown is so full of aspiration and imagination. Everybody decided to dress up as ghosts. Everybody else understood that when it came to eye-holes, the proper amount was two. One for each eye. Alas. Charlie Brown wound up with many eye holes. I tell you what though, he still shows up and goes trick or treating. The travesty of his experience is that the adults in his neighborhood apparently think it’s funny to hand out rocks. This Halloween, Charlie Brown is the many-eyed Ghost Who Gets Rocks.

Lily and Jarrod as Shark and Eagle in Eagle Vs. Shark

Eagle Vs. Shark is a movie about some socially awkward folks coming out of their shells. Jarrod throws a Come As Your Favorite Animal party to try and impress a woman. Lily, who works in the same shop as the woman and has a bit of a crush on Jarrod herself, decides to come along. On the prowl to make a move, she comes as a shark. Ready to impress. Jarrod considers himself more eagle material. In It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Lucy declares that the perfect costume is the exact opposite of who you are as a person. In this sense, these two have picked animals that represent who they want to be in that moment. Dress for the job you want, right? Plus, these are legit, simple homemade costumes where it is immediately apparent what animals are their favorites. Shark. Meet Eagle. Good luck.

Jenny Dennison as Madonna in Hocus Pocus

Dani: “Mom? What are you supposed to be?”

Jenny: “Madonna. Well. Obviously. Don’t you think?”

Hocus Pocus was a childhood favorite. It’s a scary story with re-animated cats, singing witches, and dumb virgins who play with fire. The costume party is the first scene I recall. I mean, I dig the skeleton-clad Sinatra cover band vibe and Bette Middler’s song is legit fun. But, in particular, I come back to this costume. It’s clearly referencing one of Madonna’s costumes during her Blond Ambition world tour. Express Yourself, come on people! You have this movie lightly referencing the power of virgins and teenagers and kids trying to fight a coven of witches. And then, here’s this moment. Jenny is fully embracing her independent-woman identity and is suddenly met with her kid’s withering stare. “Mom.” Ugh, kid statements. “What are you supposed to be?” Imagine all those hours she put into that costume. She’s grooving on the dance floor right before Dani walks up. She is Madonna. And, then that kid statement. Jenny questions it for a second and then leans into it. She’s Madonna. The only improbable thing about the whole scene, witchcraft included, is how literally all of the guests have amazingly well-crafted homemade costumes.

E.T. as Ghost in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Okay, so you’re an extraterrestrial. That don’t impress me much. I like 90s era, Shania Twain. Deal with it. But, you can’t go out on Halloween dressed as yourself. I mean, if you’re a three foot tall alien with a body shaped like an upside-down capital L, it’s going to be hard to make a case that you’re just dressed up for the day. This is not a friendly werewolf scenario. Well, let’s say you’ve made friends on the third rock from the sun, but they’re all children. How would they solve this problem? Classic ghost costume moment. Now, your ten-inch glowy fingers can stay under mom’s destroyed guest linens and the gang can go out in search of the mythical full-sized candy bar houses. Everybody wins!

Daniel Larusso as Shower in The Karate Kid

Daniel Larusso wants to be invisible. He’s moved to a new coast, state, town, and school. For his trouble, he’s made a couple friends and a karate dojo’s worth of enemies. Fortunately, his friend Mr. Miyagi is looking out for him. Mr. Miyagi hears there’s a school Halloween dance and asks if Daniel will go. Daniel sarcastically agrees so long as he’s invisible. Mr. Miyagi, truly a master of pragmatism, puts on his thinking cap on and, presto chango, Daniel is a Shower. Like a magic trick, suddenly Daniel has enough confidence to go to the dance. He isn’t hiding, but he doesn’t have to stare down all the strange faces or worry about Kobra Kai Jerk Johnny spying him. Ali, who has a bit of a crush on Daniel, is delighted by his costume. Daniel even feels confident enough to flirt back when she comes over. Success! And then, too much success. Feeling super confident, Daniel pours water all over Marijuana Smoking Johnny and promptly gets chased down by the Kobra Kai Jerk Squad for a no holds barred beat-down.

Scout Finch as HAM in To Kill A Mockingbird

Poor Scout Finch is dressed as a Ham for her school’s Halloween pageant. In classic homemade costume style, it conveniently features a label, HAM. This way, we can’t mistake her for a jug of moonshine. See how that works? What are you? Oh, it says right there you’re a ham. Now, what would obviously be social suicide in every other way turns out to be a boon for her. This HAM costume was designed to withstand stress tests worse than elephants on a trampoline. When she’s walking home with her brother, they are attacked. Due to the ridiculous over-construction of this costume, she’s practically the Juggernaut. In terms of filmmaking, it’s an upsetting scene. Once the attack happens, we’re as limited by her view as she is. Every time I see this scene, it makes me concerned for her safety. She’s being knocked around and she can’t keep her balance. It’s tense. But, still. That HAM costume is strong. Hip hip hooray for the classic over-constructed, homemade costume.

Cady Heron as Ghost Bride in Mean Girls

Cady’s mistake was to be herself in high school. Never be yourself. Okay, that’s terrible advice. But, I’m pretty sure her nemesis had to get hit by a bus after a rumor war escalated to a schoolwide riot. Which, I guess, made the point about being yourself a pretty good one. The truth is, you gotta do you. And, yeah, sure. I think we’ve all had that moment where we’ve anticipated a party will have a certain kind of vibe and we were totally and wildly off base. That’s okay. As long as you’re being you, it will probably be fine. If you are, in your heart of hearts, a murdered bride with Hillbilly teeth, then by god. You be the best damn murdered bride with hillbilly teeth you can be.

Zoe as Picasso’s Blue Period in Fanboys

You need to understand one thing about me. And I don’t care what you think about it. Puns are awesome. This is, by far, my favorite costume in a movie. No. I’m not talking about the stormtrooper. Although, I’d love a dope suit like that. I’m talking about Zoe. What’s that she’s wearing? Tampons. Dyed blue. What is she? Picasso’s Blue Period. It’s an art joke wrapped around base humor and served up on a pun. It’s homemade and clever. More importantly, it’s simple. So, you need a costume quick. What can you do? Tampons. Blue water. Tape. Bangarang. And, you know what? It’s totally fine if people don’t get it because holy shit the ones that do will love it.

Christopher as Cardboard Knight in Murder Party

Much like Charlie Brown, Christopher is an oddball. He gets pushed around. Occasionally, even, by his cat. When he sees an invitation to something called a Murder Party, he decides what the heck-fire? And, much like Charlie Brown he goes to work on constructing a costume. However, he’s got some crafting skills. His Cardboard Knight looks solid. Plus, he makes a pretty sweet cardboard broadsword for himself. He even thinks to bring along a loaf of pumpkin raisin bread to offer his fellow Murder Party attendees. Unfortunately, it isn’t a friendly gathering. It’s an actual Murder Party. Don’t go to parties on fliers you find on the street. Especially if they’re called MURDER parties. It probably isn’t ironic. My man has some legit homemade costuming skills. But, that isn’t all it takes to have a happy Halloween. Be safe. Make good choices!

Wednesday Addams as Homicidal Maniac in Addams Family

I really can’t recommend that just anyone try the “Oh, this is my costume. I’m a person who likes to wear sports shirts.” Or, whatever. However, in very rare instances, strong personalities can pull off a moment like that. In The Addams Family, when asked what she’s dressed as, Wednesday declares that she’s dressed as a homicidal maniac. They look just like everyone else. That look. Those eyes. Her already slightly unusual get up that approaches the deranged. She crushes it. And she might crush you. Besides, homicidal maniacs do look just like everyone else. Get the wrong haircut. Buy some awkwardly sized glasses. You might yourself looking like Jeffrey Dahmer. I’m not saying that happened to me. I’m just saying. It can happen.

Snoopy as World War I Flying Ace in It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

My man Snoopy. Always at ease. He knows who he is and what he’s about. Live in the moment. Imagine greater fun. If there’s anyone you’d personally want to listen to for advice regarding costume choice, Snoopy is your guide. He’s got a doghouse. A cap and goggles. And a boss scarf. GAH GAH GAH GAH GAH, PHEWOMMMMMM. World War One Flying Ace! You can do so much with a good cap and goggles set. Honestly, if you want to be prepared to costume on the fly, invest in your imagination. I told you. I like puns. Even mediocre ones. Be like Snoopy, my friends. Happy Halloween!

Writer for Film School Rejects. He currently lives in Virginia, where he is very proud of his three kids, wife, and projector. Co-Dork on the In The Mouth of Dorkness podcast.