Easy-to-do fancy dress costumes

Updated April 17, 2017

Costume parties are among the best kinds of parties, but some people are intimidated by the idea of making a costume. It can be especially daunting when time is short or cost is a factor. Keep in mind that simple costumes are often the most effective. Focus on outfits that can be created from items that you already have at home. Children often have dress-up boxes that can be raided for props and accessories.

Create a ghost costume from a white sheet. The sheet size depends on the wearer: A crib sheet might be the right size for a child, but if you need a king-size sheet, you can find one at a thrift store. Fold the sheet in half lengthwise and place it over your head. Mark pen where your eyes and mouth are. Remove the sheet and cut out eye and mouth holes where you marked them. Grab a pillowcase for treats, draw a spooky face on it with the marker, and you are ready to go trick-or-treating.

Make a Greek toga costume by folding a white sheet in half widthways. Throw it over one shoulder and wrap it around your body, gathering the material in a way that looks natural and sufficiently covers your body. Secure the sheet in place with a leather belt or a bright cord. Add leather sandals. Intertwine a length of real or imitation ivy in a circle to make a wreath for your head.

Use a white sheet to create an angel costume. Fold it in half lengthwise. Cut a hole at the fold line large enough to fit over your head. Cinch in the sheet at your waist with a belt or a strip of sheeting. Pull a wire coat hanger into a wing shape and wrap it with silver tinsel or foil. Repeat for the other wing. Attach the wings to the back of the sheet by sewing them in position using strong thread. Secure each wing at the top and bottom tips and at a middle point. Use a circle of silver tinsel as a halo. Make a wand by affixing a star-shaped cookie cutter to the top of a chopstick using a hot glue gun.

Create a pirate costume by raiding your closet for old trousers. Cut off the legs just below the knees, making jagged points with the scissors. Add a striped shirt and a vest. Wear leather boots or shoes. Cut large buckles for your shoes out of tinfoil. Accessorise with an eye patch, toy sword and bandanna. Stipple on beard stubble with a black kohl pencil.

Dress as a princess in a long evening dress. Add lots of costume jewellery. Fashion a crown or tiara out of gold cardstock--adding glitter is optional. Place a toy frog on a small cushion and carry your Prince Charming with you.

Things You'll Need

  • White sheet
  • Pillowcase
  • Black marker
  • Belt or cording
  • Sandals
  • Ivy
  • 2 wire coat hangers
  • Silver tinsel or foil
  • Star-shaped cookie cutter
  • Chopstick
  • Hot glue gun
  • Old trousers
  • Striped shirt
  • Vest
  • Foil
  • Eye patch
  • Toy sword
  • Bandanna
  • Black kohl pencil
  • Long evening dress
  • Costume jewellery
  • Gold cardstock
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Toy frog
  • Cushion
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About the Author

Based in East Sussex, Caroline Repchuk has been writing and editing children's books and art and craft features since 1990. Her classic Christmas book, "The Snow Tree," is published by Dutton and her features have appeared in "Art Attack" and "SpongeBob SquarePants." Caroline holds a Bachelor of Arts in fine art from Leeds University.