6 DIY Sensory-Friendly Halloween Costumes

By Amanda Morin
Email Email
Chat's logo Chat's logo

Halloween can be tricky for kids with sensory processing issues. Itchy seams, tight collars, and the smell of a mask or face paint can make wearing a store-bought costume unbearable for some kids.

Avoid sensory meltdowns this Halloween by making simple sensory-friendly Halloween costumes. You can use comfortable basics or even your child’s everyday clothes. The best part? You may already have what you need lying around the house.

Sweatshirt Costumes

Start with a soft sweatshirt in a style your child finds most comfortable. That could mean a hoodie, a plain pullover or a zip-up. Once you choose the sweatshirt, add details to transform it.

Glue or sew additional material under the arms to create a creepy bat. Hot-glue felt triangle “spikes” down the back of a hoodie for an easy dinosaur. You can also stuff old knee socks or balled-up pairs of tights and hot-glue them to dangle off the sweatshirt. This makes your child into an octopus. Or let your child use black marker to color a jack-o’-lantern face on a basic orange sweatshirt.

Pajamas Costumes

You can’t go wrong when you start with the pajamas your child already loves as a costume base.

You could start with a pair of black, fitted long-sleeve and long-pants pajamas. Then use white fabric paint or masking tape to create a stick-on skeleton. Or you could use glued or sewn felt scraps to turn solid-color footie pajamas into Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Dr. Seuss. .

Soft-Washed Scrubs or Lab Coat Costumes

Scrubs and lab coats are often soft to start with, and they’re big enough to wear regular clothes underneath them. Scrubs and lab coats don’t just have to be medical costumes, either.

Use a lab coat to make your child into a pharmacist or scientist (evil or otherwise). Hot-glue wisps of cotton onto blue scrubs to make your child into a partly cloudy day. Or turn your kid into an astronaut by using white scrubs paired with a belt, a felt patch on the pocket, a pair of boots and your child’s bike helmet.

Hooded Bathrobe Costumes

A hooded bathrobe is the perfect base for your budding wizard or aspiring Jedi. Your child can wear it right over his clothes. Simply pick a robe in the right color and then cut or glue the bottom and sleeves to the right length. Then add accessories and props as needed.

If your child doesn’t want to be magical or discover the Force, you can add googly eyes to the top of the hood. Glue or sew on felt scraps to turn your child into his favorite animal or monster.

Cardboard Box Suspender Costumes

Most kids use their imagination to make cardboard boxes into all sorts of exciting things. For kids with sensory processing issues, you can harness that instinct to make a costume that barely touches them at all.

Using scissors or a box cutter, take off the top and bottom of the box. Then staple long pieces of wide, heavy ribbon to each inside corner of the box, to use as shoulder straps. Next, help your child paint and decorate the box. He can make it into a race car, a train or a horse.

Everyday Clothes Costumes

If dressing up isn’t for your child, pair jeans with a red and white horizontally striped shirt, some fake glasses and a winter hat, to make your child into Waldo. You can even use painter’s tape to add stripes to a plain red or white shirt.

With a whistle, a black-and-white striped shirt, and pair of athletic pants, your child can be a referee. Add a pair of elastic band wings to your child’s dress to create a fairy. And a pair of overalls paired with a red or green shirt can be a Super Mario Brothers costume.

Get more ideas for sensory-friendly clothes. Try these clothing solutions for kids with sensory issues.

About the Author

About the Author

Amanda Morin 

worked as a classroom teacher and as an early intervention specialist for 10 years. She is the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education. Two of her children have learning differences.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Keri Wilmot 

is an occupational therapist who works with children of varying ages and abilities in all areas of pediatrics.

Did you find this helpful?

Up Next

Stay Informed

Sign up for weekly emails containing helpful resources for you and your family.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Please wait...

By signing up, you acknowledge that you reside in the United States and are at least 13 years old, and agree that you've read the Terms and Conditions. Understood.org does not market to or offer services to individuals in the European Union.