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Family Costumes for Halloween

Brainy Bunny is a mother of two. Together they read, craft, and play games for fun.

Halloween is a time for kids and parents to let loose, dress up, and have fun. Why not do it in matching costumes for the whole family? Whether you're hosting a costume party or just going trick-or-treating in style, there's a theme that's just right for your family.

Some coordinating costumes are easy to find in sizes for the whole family (Star Wars, anyone?), but for others you may need to make some or all of the costumes. Raid your kids' dress-up bins, reach into the back of your closet, and fetch the musty boxes from your attic to find the best costume-worthy clothes for the whole family. Accessorize with hats and wigs from a party store as necessary to make fantastic, inexpensive family costumes.

Sitcom or Movie Families

You're a family, the Simpsons are a family; why not dress up as them?

There are tons of instantly recognizable families in sitcoms and movies that you can dress your family as.

  • For a dark, Halloweeny theme, try the Addams family. This classic favorite is easy to accomplish with some dark clothing and extra hair (a LOT of extra hair if you include cousin Itt!). The Munsters are another classic choice in this vein.
  • Draw from cartoons for your family: the Simpsons, the Flintstones, the Jetsons. You can buy costumes for these guys, but making them at home is cheaper and more fun. Splurge on yellow body paint if you're going to be the Simpsons, or hit the fabric store for leopard-print fabric for the Flintstones.
  • Want to portray a wholesome family? How about the Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie or the Brady Bunch? (You need a lot of kids to pull that last one off, so it's a good choice if you've volunteered to take all the kids on your block trick-or-treating.) And don't forget the Huxtables from The Cosby Show — perfect if you've got a multi-colored patterned sweater hiding in the back of your closet!
  • Do you have a large, red-headed family? Then you're perfect to portray the Weasleys, from the Harry Potter series. Give everyone a wand and dress them in shades of brown. Even better if you can figure out how to arrive at your party in a flying car!

Natural Groups

Some natural groups make great family costumes, with little or no purchasing necessary.

  • Rainbow: Ideal for a large family — dress each member up from head to toe in one color of the rainbow, and then stand in order whenever anyone asks you what you're dressed as.
  • Candy: Choose a type of candy, and then dress each family member in one color of that candy. My husband and I dressed as M&Ms for Purim (a Jewish holiday that also involves costumes and merry-making) way back when I was pregnant with my first child (I was a "peanut" M&M!). We made our simple costumes from cheap felt on a roll, fusible interfacing (to iron the "M" shape on the front of the felt tunic), and white cotton gardening gloves. Skittles and Reese's Pieces work, too. Don't forget to bring along mini-packs of your namesake candy to hand out!
  • Spices: I confess, Mr. Salt, Mrs. Pepper, and their kids Paprika and Cinnamon from Blue's Clues inspired this costume idea! Make spice shaker costumes from cardboard boxes and label them appropriately for inexpensive and creative family costumes. Choose any spices — do you have a redheaded child with a temper? Make her Cayenne! Mom could be Mrs. Dash or Molly McButter. Be creative and have fun.

Pop Culture Group Costumes

If you can't decide on a famous family to dress up as, or your family looks different from the standard sitcom family, try a group pop culture costume. This consists of a group of characters who are not relatives, but nonetheless go together. (These can work if you're just a couple, as well.)

  • Superheros: You can all dress up as variations of Superman, for example, or each choose a favorite superhero (even dare to mix DC and Marvel!). You and your spouse could be Wonder Woman and Wolverine, and your kids could be Spiderman and Elastigirl. Why not?
  • Each pick a favorite character from the same book, movie, or TV show: This works especially well with the Harry Potter series, Disney princess movies, The Smurfs, and Star Wars.
  • Athletes: Are your family die-hard Yankees fans? Put on your baseball jerseys and caps for an easy, inexpensive family costume. Add baseball pants for authenticity, but leave the cleats at home; you'll ruin the shoes and whatever floors you're walking on!
  • Music lovers: Dress up as your family's favorite band. (Yes, even if your toddler's favorite band is the Doodlebops!) Lots of bands have distinctive looks — get some face paint and dress up as classic KISS, or opt for jeans, t-shirts, and leather jackets and go as The Ramones. Is there anything cuter than a baby in a Ramones t-shirt?
  • Go with the zeitgeist: Zombies have been a huge pop-culture phenomenon in recent years, and all you need is some old, torn clothing, a little face paint, and a vacant stare. In fact, if you've got teenagers, they may already look like that much of the time!


Brainy Bunny (author) from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania on September 19, 2012:

Twins, thank you for sharing the photo with me. Your family is too cute for words!

Karen Lackey from Ohio on September 19, 2012:

Both. I will try to find a picture.

Brainy Bunny (author) from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania on September 19, 2012:

Adorable! Did you make them wear cone-shaped hats like the point of a crayon, or just dress them in the color?

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Karen Lackey from Ohio on September 19, 2012:

Brainy- When the 4 older ones were smaller, I dressed them up as crayons. They each wore their favorite colors so they were happy!

Brainy Bunny (author) from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania on September 18, 2012:

Thanks, Twins. You know I was thinking of your family when I came up with the rainbow idea!

Karen Lackey from Ohio on September 18, 2012:

Fun read, Brainy. I enjoyed the cool costume ideas! Voted up.

Brainy Bunny (author) from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania on August 23, 2012:

Thanks, Trish. I hope your sister likes my ideas. With four little girls they could make an adorable rainbow, or if she has a ballgown they could hit most of the Disney princesses in one shot!

Brenda from Springfield, MO on August 23, 2012:

M kids are past the age for this. If I tried they would just roll there eyes at me and call me a dork lol, But when they where younger they would have loved it. I wish I thought about it back then. Thanks for the post I'm going to go tell my sister who has 4 little girls that might love this idea.

Brainy Bunny (author) from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania on August 21, 2012:

Judi, you'll have to send me a picture if you guys dress as the Ramones for Halloween; they've been my favorite band since I was a kid. When I was in high school I took a photo in the alley behind CBGB's with my hair brushed in my face like the Ramones' early publicity shots. So much fun!

Judi Brown from UK on August 21, 2012:

Great ideas. My husband has a horror of us dressing alike, he thinks it's naff, but I think that he could be persuaded that we would look good as the Ramones - we went to seem them a few times many, many years ago!

Brainy Bunny (author) from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania on August 21, 2012:

Thanks, Bookmom. I'm all about being easy and cheap! (Hey, wait . . . that came out wrong. . .) ;-)

thebookmom from Nebraska on August 21, 2012:

Super fun hub! I love the rainbow idea, easy and cheap :) Well done.

Penelope Hart from Rome, Italy on August 21, 2012:

Yea!! Great Hub with tons of fantastic ideas! I'd get us all dressed as The Beatles I think!

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