How to Rock the Family Halloween Costume

Tips and tricks to rock the family Halloween costume with minimal effort, cost and awkwardness. Lots of creative costume ideas included. 

By Celeste

I honestly never would have guessed that Halloween costumes would have become our family’s “thing.”  It just sort of happened.

We had one good costume (the chicken costume year) and then the bar was set and people sort of expected it of us every year.  Then, when our Christmas Story costume went viral on Pinterest.  Well . . . the bar has become pretty high.

But its fun.  And actually, it has become something that strengthens our marriage.  Rich and I actually look forward to the late nights in October constructing our family’s costumes.  Because we do it together and because it’s fun for us.

People often ask me for advice or ask me how to come up with family Halloween costume ideas.  So I thought I’d answer some FAQs of Halloween costumes below.

How to ROCK the family halloween costume with minimal effort, cost and awkwardness. Lots of great costume ideas and pictures in this post. #familyhalloweencostume 

How do you come up with an idea?

Usually our ideas are based on personal preferences and one good idea.

Decide on your own personal preferences

In order to come up with an idea- it’s helpful to first decide on what you like.  That will give you a good base to work off of and then you can make your Google and Pinterest searches more specific.

Personally I prefer costumes that are either people or animals instead of things, ideas or inanimate objects.  I don’t like huge, bulky outfits (things that involve paper mache or cardboard) and I don’t like costumes that look so intricate that someone quit their day job to create it.

Rich happens to disagree with all three of my costume preferences 😉  And that’s fine- you can too.

So what do you like??  The Halloween classics (witches, vampires, zombies)?  Puns?  Movie costumes?  Quick and easy?

Start with one good idea and go from there.

All of our costumes have started with just one good costume idea and we’ve elaborated from there.  For instance, when we were the Huxtables, we had some great matching sweaters and thought, “What’s the best costume that would involve ugly sweaters?”  Cliff Huxtable came to mind.

Davis family halloween costumes. Lots of great ideas here.

Here’s a collage of our family’s Halloween costumes for easy reference. 2008- Gandolf and Treebeard. 2009- the Huxtables. 2010- Star Wars. 2011- Col Sanders, chicken and KFC worker. 2012 – bald eagle, Rosie the Riveter, Statue of Liberty and Uncle Sam. 2013- Christmas Story. 2014- Three Amigos.
Before I had kids, I went to a church Halloween party where a little one year old was a big fluffy chicken.  It was just hilarious watching her toddle around with the feathers flouncing around with each step.  I just knew that when my first child could walk, I wanted him or her to be a flouncy chicken.  So we thought, “what’s the most creative group costume that involves a chicken?”  Rich came up with Col Sanders and I was a KFC fry cook.
After the very flattering KFC fry cook costume, I thought I might want a costume a little more . . . . feminine?  So our Americana costume was conceived because I wanted to be Rosie the Riveter.
Rosie the Riveter and Uncle Sam Halloween costume. Lots of great costume ideas in this post. 

So for a great family costume, all you really need is one good costume idea.  Let the creative juices flow from there.

How do you make costumes cheaply and easily?

Don’t think you need to know how to sew

I do tend to sew some every Halloween, but know that I only have the most basic of sewing skills and the only costume where sewing was really necessary was the pink nightmare bunny suit and even that could have been done with just a pink sweat suit and bunny ears.  Most all other costume sewing can really be done by cutting and hot gluing and safety pins 🙂

RIT dye and thrift stores are your friend

We don’t have a ton of money to waste on costumes.  So we get all our needed items almost exclusively from Salvation Army or GoodWill.  Its much harder to get the item you need in the color you need, so we try to get the clothes white so then we can dye them whatever color we want with RIT dye.

Can I rent your previous costumes?

I never would have considered this, but this year, I’ve received two requests to rent our three amigos costumes, so we thought sure! Why not?  If you’re willing to pay shipping and handling to you and back to us- we’re willing to send!  All costumes are available except the three amigos one.  Also, I don’t think I’d ship my lamp because it’s just huge, but I’d ship all the other costume items associated with the costume.  Shoot me an email if you’re interested in any of them.

Why don’t you just tell me what to be?

Well ok.  How about this, why don’t I include some of my favorite costumes I’ve come across that I don’t think I’d ever replicate (which takes away a lot of my best ideas- sorry about that). All images are linked to their pin on Pinterest, so click on through:


This is just one of my favorites ever. So, so clever.

he he he he. There are SO many fantastic Ghostbusters family costumes out there. This one just might be my favorite.

Someone with all girls please copy this Madeline costume.

Forest Gump??? Classic!

Russian dolls. So creative. Also could be very easy to put together.

I’m not usually the biggest fan of pun costumes, but this one gets me every time.

I’ve always thought the Golden Girls would make such a great family costume. Any time babies dress as old people it’s funny.

This one would require sewing, but Captain and Maria Von Trapp with kids in some ugly curtain costumes? That would be one great family costume.

I love the idea of an Annie themed family. Miss Hannigan? Such a great costume. Also, orphans, Sandy the dog, lots of great material here.

And someone with all boys – this Queen of England and her guards is so great.

I love this cartoon and I’ve always thought Spanelli would make a fantastic costume. Also the kindergartener here is a great touch.

Jurassic park?? Awesome.

Lady from Mulan. Love it.

Baby Dalai Lama??? EEeeeee!!

Ok and are you ready for my most favoritest Halloween costume I’ve ever come across?



First watch this:

It’s a stupid, sexy Flanders costume.  The very height of costume creative genius.

So there you go.

One last tip:  Own it. 

Family Halloween costumes are actually fairly awkward by nature (posting a montage of your family’s costumes is even worse!!), so you just have to own it.

4 thoughts on “How to Rock the Family Halloween Costume

  1. So fun! The first year we were married, we went as puns. My hubs was pumpkin pie (orange shirt with pi symbol) and I was a ceiling fan (pom poms and a shirt that said Go Ceilings!) Love the family costume.

  2. Oh! Three Amigos! That’s an awesome costume. I showed my kids the Taco Bell one too the other day- so funny, right!? I keep wanting to do family costumes. They all agree at the beginning and falls apart by Halloween. Oh well.

  3. Last year my coworker and his wife dressed like pirates and their baby girl was a parrot. ADORABLE. My favorite of yours is definitely the Christmas Story. That is sheer genius! Also, I might just have a bunch of kids, ONLY so I can do the LotR costume. That is incredible.
    My best costume was a halfsies. I pulled all my hair to one side and curled it all pretty, and then drew a beard and thick eye brow on the hairless side and did glamour makeup on the side with all the hair. It freaked people out when I turned from side to side. They all said, one side is your brother, the other is you. It’s scary!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *