Creating Halloween Costumes~ from what you already have ~


Anything look familiar in this photo above of me as Cyndie Lauper in 1984?

me-mom-Easter-1977-one-shoulder-striped-top  one-shoulder-top

Mom : 1977 | Me : 2009

You guessed it. The infamous red and black striped one-shoulder top!

Sometimes it is more fun creating costumes from what you already have than going out and buying one. In fact for me, it’s always more fun! {but I’m kinda into authenticity too …as I walked around making that Cyndi Lauper face all day}

It’s no secret that I like getting dressed up and/or may lean towards costume dressing on a regular basis, but Halloween is one day where really anything goes. Yes, in recent years, it seems it has become more about who looks the sluttiest in their tiny-made-for-bedroom-only costumes, but there was a time where Halloween really was about costumes and not about bodies …and I think it’s time we return to that.

Since I was a kid my mom has been making my costumes {see my mom’s version of Tinkerbell 1980} but it was out of necessity more than anything because it was less expensive to make a costume than to go and buy one. And also, when I was a kid, the only costumes you could really buy were those weird plastic ones.

Now, my mom knew how to sew {and taught me the basics pre-pattern-making-draping-sewing classes in my early 20’s} and that helped but there are plenty of costumes you can create by just going through your own closet.

For instance, one of my all-time favorite costumes was my 80’s Madonna from 2003 where every single thing I was wearing I already had.

80's Madonna

80's Madonna

…and there’s a bit of pride that goes along with it when someone asks you where you got your costume and you get to say “I MADE IT!”

So get creative this year and save yourself some money by looking through your own closet for your Halloween costume. Check out Jennine from The Coveted @ Independent Fashion Bloggers who tends to feel the same as I do when it comes to dressing up. She’s got tons of ideas and is taking submissions for more!


Tweet This!


LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.


  • Jacqueline

    October 7, 2009 |

    You look so gorgeous in that Madonna costume you made =) Very pretty photos! I also like the one of you as a kid, so adorable.


  • Iva

    October 7, 2009 |

    your awesomeness continues forever to infinity and beyond. Your coolness factor obviously began at birth, I’m guessing you had the coolest onesie in the maternity ward immediately after being you probably had panted some baby spitup directly on your onsie, on some premeditated, creative spot, making it absurdly fabulous.

  • J-Diggety

    October 7, 2009 |

    Haha, I LOVE the Cindy Lauper!! L.O.V.E. I.T.!! I’m right there with ya in the making costumes thing… it’s fun, they’re unique and you don’t look like all the other cookie-cutter hoes at the party 😉

    xoxo J

  • Moomby

    October 7, 2009 |

    too cute! your mom passed down some major creativity genes to you!

    i too, can supply an army of 80s costumes any day!

  • anhesty

    October 7, 2009 |

    madonna was my fav too! and the easiest cos i had everything i needed in my closet too! its great isn’t it?!?! and i also have stuff for so many diff costumes. i and def wearing whatever i already have too!

  • J.

    October 7, 2009 |

    LOVE this post. It is inspiring me to go dig through my closet to see what I can find…
    And I agree with your post last year about slutty costumes. I am not into the skanky costumes… I especially can’t STAND how some women will pair their ‘unmentionables’ with ears and a tail and say they’re costumed!
    If you think of any great costume ideas please share!!

  • MIA Style Fiend

    October 7, 2009 |

    Looooooove this post! Though I’m curious about one thing (maybe you could make a post about it ^_~). The red/black striped shirt has definitely gotten a lot of use throughout the years, and I’m dying to know; HOW do you care for clothing so they last that long? It looks like it’s in such great shape, and any articles I have that are older tend to pill/fade etc. Is it quality? Dry-cleaning? What’s your secret?! Thanks hon!

  • Stacey B

    October 7, 2009 |

    Fantastic costume! What are you going to do this year? I think I’m going for lady in pj’s that passes out candy…at home :o(

  • Hollie

    October 7, 2009 |

    the madonna pics were awesome!

  • the Mrs Hinz

    October 7, 2009 |

    girl i just want you to know that you are a total inspiration!!! i just started following your blog and just love your creativity! thanks and def keep it up im a HUGE fan of the gatuitous outfit posts.

  • Meghan

    October 7, 2009 |

    I love love love the Madonna costume. You MUST work the fingerless gloves into an outfit post.


    October 7, 2009 |

    You really are you own live Avatar!

    …and I truly believe that you ought to take a portrait sitting with any one of your favorite artist to seal the deal. Make it real.

  • bananas.

    October 7, 2009 |

    seriously, you are my blog god! i love your costumes and your mom rocks!!! i am all about the handmade costumage vs. the shitty crap at the stores. and i’m kinda OBSESSED with halloween. the last two years i’ve gotten way creative…i just hope to live up to the hype so any costume ideas would help 🙂

  • Sher

    October 7, 2009 |

    God bless you girl! You still fit into that top? LOL!

  • Hanako66

    October 7, 2009 |

    love that you have so many photos of that top!!! you made such an amazing madona….love it!!!!

  • RW @ TrueBeauty

    October 7, 2009 |

    How Fun! I loved Cindy Lauper back in the day…ok, maybe i still do 🙂

  • Annie Spandex

    October 7, 2009 |

    Fuck yeah! Cyndi Lauper! I love it

  • Amy

    October 7, 2009 |

    I agree. I miss the days where creativity ruled. It’s so easy to walk into a store and pull “sexy nurse”, “sexy cop” or “sexy nun” off the rack. Putting a little thought and planning into your costume is so much fun!

  • CC

    October 7, 2009 |

    i love the Madonna dear

  • Summer

    October 7, 2009 |

    Totally over the sexy maid/sexy anything costumes!!! I love the madonna, amazing.

    I’m going for Rachel Zoe….and Jimmy’s going to be a banana. Get it? 😉

  • drollgirl

    October 7, 2009 |

    so you are going as lady gaga this year, RIGHT?!?!??!?! RIGHT!!!

  • Chessa!

    October 7, 2009 |

    I die over that red and black striped top…you are amazing. My mother got rid of so many things that I see in photos now and want to cry. This is why I save everything…but I don’t have the space!

  • vitaMinn style

    October 7, 2009 |

    You are very, very creative! I’ve bought all of my halloween costumes coz I don’t think I can pull a DIY… but this year, I will surely try!

    Thanks for the inspiration!!

  • Nicole Marie

    October 8, 2009 |

    i’ve always made my own costume. even if it wrapping some tulle around me add some wings and call me a butterfly {last Halloween}
    but really making them is so much more fun and personally i think store bought ones are usually ugly

  • ash

    October 8, 2009 |

    so creative!

    i am a victim of the ever slutty costumes on halloween. yet last year i made my own still wearing lingerie though, ha.

    this year i am going as sookie from trueblood, with everything covered for once. making it all on my own :).

  • anotherfishinthesea

    October 8, 2009 |

    Ha, there you go, solving all my problems!! Thanks, you are wonderful!

  • Hilary

    October 8, 2009 |

    I love making costumes for Halloween too! Your costumes are great! i think it’s so much more original than sluttin’ it up and wearing practically nothing.
    I was Princess Jasmine last year and made my costume too! I even had random people taking pictures with haha. Maybe I’ll post some pics….

  • K.Line

    October 8, 2009 |

    FUCK – that Madonna costume is genius!!!

  • la

    October 8, 2009 |

    Love it! I think its way more fun to put together pieces in your closet & be {creative}!

  • glitterdice

    October 8, 2009 |
  • Pretty Little World

    October 8, 2009 |

    I totally remember those plastic costumes! You got a plastic mask and then plastic smock, and you just were whatever was printed on both. I had one for one halloween only (I was Rainbow Brite’s horse, Starlight), and then it was back to thrift store dresses and home sown frocks — you’re completely right that that’s always the cooler way to go!

  • Kapaali Design Love

    October 8, 2009 |

    Woah, that’s a badass Madonna costume!

    I agree with you about the slutty Halloween costumes…completely unimaginative and boring.

  • Dane

    October 8, 2009 |

    Im loving the Madonna costume, its fantastic! I agree, there is nothing better than being able to say that you made your costume, which is why I usually make mine. I cant wait till halloween, my dress is on my mannequin and ready to go!

  • Belle de Ville

    October 8, 2009 |

    The Madonna costume is just spot on! I love the creativity of home made costumes..I used to make them for my kids. And I’m so over the Halloween slut thing…there is no cleverness in those costumes.

  • Feelmore

    October 8, 2009 |

    Love it! Just made me realize my costume: Cassandra from Wayne’s World! Yaaaay!

  • OceanDreams

    October 8, 2009 |

    Wow, I love how creative you are. I think I am going to do the same, I am either going to be a Pirate or something else, and I don’t want to spend sixty bucks on a costume at a store….I think I will create my own!

  • Lyndsy

    October 8, 2009 |

    This is AWESOME! Totally right on and so rockin’! I went as Madonna in 2003 as well and wore a similar outfit but yours is WAY cooler 🙂

  • Quincifer

    October 8, 2009 |

    That is one amazing hand-me-down job! It looks ace in all guises!
    And you totally pull off 80s madonna.

  • Charles

    October 8, 2009 |

    i love your madonna! amazingggggg! i agree totally with ur costume philosophy…my best was a DIY edward scissorhands (i used a broken umbrella for the hands) and this year i’m going to be a vampire slayer =D

  • Dirty Slipcover

    October 9, 2009 |

    ahahahaha! that’s awesome!

  • kathleen

    October 11, 2009 |

    Love this!

  • Selmyra

    October 14, 2009 |

    so cute , so cute ….
    I heart this picture
    dont forget to do a picture like this with ure(future?) daughter.

  • Conversation Pieces

    October 21, 2009 |

    Love it… I tend to do a bit of a mixture… buy a few bits but most of it tends to be something I already have. This year I’m having an 80s themed halloween party and I’m going as Jem… sad to say I already owned the pink tights, dress, shoes, wig and eye makeup! Just working on making my flashing earrings! 😉

Leave a Reply