Back to Basics — DIY Halloween Costumes from Your Favorite Films


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The only part of the Halloween experience that shouldn’t be scary is the process of finding your costume. There’s a reason why they say the best solution is often the simplest. A few key pieces can be all you need to pull together something great! We’re getting inspired by classic movie characters and secondhand finds, so check out these great starting points for your soon-to-be favorite (and simplest) costume yet.

Vintage Wedding Dress = Bride of Frankenstein

It’s your turn to be everyone’s favorite undead wife brought back to life. Start with a long, vintage wedding dress (the bigger the better), and trim away any excess details until you have your desired look. As long as you have the signature teased hair and dramatic makeup, this will be both recognizable and totally customizable. Undead green husband totally optional.

Shop all wedding dresses on Krrb.

Leather Jacket + Hat + Whip = Indiana Jones

Wanna feel a little more adventurous this year? Style your way into a starring role by scoring a secondhand brown leather jacket and pairing it with a neutral shirt and pants. But then you say, “without the whip, it’s just a monochromatic man!” I hear you, which is why I sought an easy braided bullwhip DIY that will duct tape your way to authenticity.

Shop all leather jackets on Krrb.

Blue Dress + Long-Sleeved Shirt + Sheer Fabric = Elsa

I can’t think of any movie in recent history that kids have gone more nuts over (or found more inventive ways to replicate costumes from) than the movie Frozen. Start by finding a secondhand dress like this one. Can’t find the exact shade of dress you need? DIY some dye! Just remove the straps, do some minor sizing alterations and wear it over a plain white long-sleeved tee. Your local fabric shop should have a range of fabric samples, and an icy blue gauzy one is perfect for Elsa’s cape.

Shop all formal dresses on Krrb.

Vintage Clothing + Old Props = Characters from Clue

If you’re going out with a group for Halloween, the cast of Clue is the best and cheapest way to go. Necessities like a stylish dress for Miss Scarlett, a jacket for Colonel Mustard and Mrs. Peacock’s signature glasses can all be found for a bargain. Likewise, all of the “weapons” can probably be found on the same thrifting trip: a brass candlestick, a wrench, some rope etc. But when it comes to things like the revolver or knife, we’re gonna strongly suggest some plastic alternatives.

Shop all secondhand clothing on Krrb.

Gingham fabric + Wig + Socks + Basket = Dorothy Gale

Right photo:

Right photo:

We’d never forget about your furry friends who’d like to join the group. The cast of the Wizard of Oz is another classic group costume, but the eternal question is who gets to be Dorothy. Do the unexpected, and assign this honor to your pet! Rather than covering them in something restrictive, create a few small touches to pull the look together. Simply braid a tiny little yarn wig, cut gingham fabric scraps for bows and grab tiny red socks as the cozy alternative to ruby slippers. If your pet is small enough, you can even add a vintage basket to carry them in. Dog-othy Gale might just steal the show this Halloween!

Shop all baskets on Krrb.

We hope you’ve been inspired to take the simple & secondhand route this Halloween. And if you have your own fool-proof costume DIYs you’d like to share, let us know in the comments!

  • Vanessa Londono

    That dress is everything.
    I once used a vintage petticoat as part of my “angel” Halloween costume.

  • Chrissy

    Yes!! Halloween is my favorite time of year to go shopping in secondhand stores!! I use to always go to the Garment District in Boston and can’t wait to find my new spot in New York this year. I have my eye on this dress on Krrb. I think I’m ready to have a major 90’s/Cabaret moment!!