May 29, 2024


General Evolution

DIY Costume Ideas for Teachers—On the Cheap!

DIY Costume Ideas for Teachers—On the Cheap!

The school year has begun, and the calendar pushes on towards Halloween. And while many public schools don’t participate in the ghoul and goblin-laden holiday, teachers rarely need a reason to get dressed up and be part of the fun!

Growing up in a family that creatively cobbled together costumes, and enjoyed a good dress-up costume on occasion, I feel qualified to share these ideas. I’ve sifted through a Pinterest board or two, and found some inexpensive and DIY costumes that’ll help you rock your next dress-up opportunity!


Dollar store for name tags- Boom. You’re an identity thief. Level up and grab a burglar’s mask for a believable “thief.”

You can also hit the dollar store to look for multicolored round “dot” stickers. Put them on a gray sweatshirt, and you’re a disease! Go the extra mile and put stickers on colleagues and students to “infect” them.



Hawaiian Punch: grab your favorite Hawaiian shirt and find some boxing gloves. 

“Bee”yonce: a little more involved if you duplicate this costume, but find a yellow shirt and black electrical tape (or the reverse), add a tiara (or a tinfoil covered Burger King crown) and you’re Queen Bee- the bee OR Beyoncé. 

Keep the bee look, put letters all over and carry around a trophy: Spelling Bee!

Ceiling fan: grab a team jersey and tape copied photos of a ceiling fan to it. Add pom poms, beads, and other favorite sports accessories (the giant #1 would be great!). 

The white haired gent in the photo above is supposed to be “fantasy football”…I suggest adding a wizard hat (make your own out of black construction paper) and a wand made from a dowel.


Be a Sneech from Dr. Seuss’ The Sneeches. Wear yellow and put a green star or 2 on your belly. Encourage colleagues to wear 1 or 2 stars upon thars.

Want to be Big Bird? Purchase a yellow boa, and put feathers on the top of your head and on your sides. Find a yellow beak (or make one with cardboard), and orange and pink striped socks. 

One more yellow shirt idea: add blue cat ears and 4 buttons to become Pete the Cat.


I’m a fan of this idea for its simplicity! Pick your favorite emoji, then cut a circle out of cardboard. Paint it yellow then decorate accordingly. Use pieces of duct tape to secure it to your clothing.

Cardboard circles can be used for many different ideas: M&Ms, balloons, The Dot, a sign, or words as a part of your costume. Smaller circles of red, yellow, and green on a yellow or black shirt could be a stoplight.


Grammar Police(definitely my costume this year!):

Note the pad of paper and Liquid Paper in the toolbelt. You could have variations on this costume with Kindness Police (distribute heart stickers), Humor Police (tell bad jokes, carry a clown horn)- so many great options for this one!



Other notable ideas:

Black-eyed Pea: Black makeup around an eye, and tape (or fabric paint) to put a “P” on your shirt.

Mario: Red shirt, blue overalls, an M taped to the front of a repurposed red hat.

Rock, Paper, Scissors: Red shirt with red “D”s on each sleeve, black leggings (scissors), tape a few pieces of wide-ruled to your shirt (paper), put on a black or brown garbage bag and stuff full of newspaper (rock).

Literature characters: Try bringing it back to some of the old classics along with the popular contemporary characters: Scout or Atticus Finch, Hardy Boys, Ramona Quimby, Superfudge…a large variety of choices!  Put on a cape (bedsheet) and crown (see “Bee”yonce), get a handful of plastic or construction paper flies= Lord of the Flies!

Dress up as your teaching buddy/hero: Students love this, especially when they can figure out who’s who!

I’ve saved the best for last: my all-time favorite costume to knock the socks off your colleagues and students:


I saw this costume once “in the wild,” and can honestly say it was stunning. Go to the Almost the Real Thing blog post for easy-to-follow directions.

No matter what your creation, embrace your creativity and challenge yourself to find a way to suit your personality or the energy of your group. Share photos of your costume with us on social media!

Tag us @LearnersEdge on Instagram!