Making your own Halloween costume is an inexpensive alternative to purchasing a costume at a Halloween supply store. The lifeguard costume idea uses things you probably have in your closet or can find at your local charity shop. These costumes require little more than a red swimsuit. The finished product requires little time and energy to create, making a homemade lifeguard costume a simple choice for your next Halloween or costume party.


Bathing suit basics

Cover your work surface in plastic bin bags or newspaper. Use masking tape to secure the covering of your choice to the work surface, around the edges, to hold it in place. This protects the work surface from possible damage from decorating your costume.

Place a red swimsuit on your work surface. If you cannot find red, use a white swimsuit and dye it red using fabric dyes, which can be found at your local craft store. Different fabric dyes recommend different instructions for use. Follow the directions included with the dye you choose. Allow the dye to dry completely before proceeding. Choose either a one-piece women's swimsuit or a pair of men's swim trunks.

  • Cover your work surface in plastic bin bags or newspaper.
  • Place a red swimsuit on your work surface.

Tape a stencil spelling out the word "lifeguard" on the front of the swimsuit using masking tape. For a woman's swimsuit, place the letters across the chest, centred. For the man's costume, place the letters around the circumference of the left leg of the swim trunks.

Spray paint the letters using white paint. Allow the paint to dry overnight.

Wear the costume with a pair of white flip-flops and sunglasses. Place a silver whistle on a chain and wear it around your neck. If you don't have a chain, you can also hang the whistle on an 18-inch piece of ribbon and tie it around your neck.

Apply white face paint to your nose and cheekbones to simulate sunscreen.


Adding lettering

Draw the word "lifeguard" in block letters. Make each letter 5 cm (2 inches) tall and 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide. Alternatively, use a word processing program to write the word and print it out on your printer. If desired, add a "+" sign in between the "e" and "g" of lifeguard.

  • Draw the word "lifeguard" in block letters.

Place the drawn or printed image on a cutting board. Tape the edges down using masking tape.

Place a 23 by 30 cm (9 by 12 inch) piece of stencil film on top of the taped-down word. Tape the edges of the stencil down, as well. Look for stencil film at craft shops.

Trace the outline of the block letters on the film using a craft knife or utility knife.

Remove the tape from the film. Punch the letters out of the film and discard the punch-outs.


If possible, tan for several weeks prior to the costume party. The tan gives you a more authentic look. For an added detail, carry a life preserver.