Family Themed Costume Ideas For Halloween

One of my family’s favorite things to talk about is Family Themed Costume Ideas for Halloween.  It doesn’t even have to be anywhere near fall for this conversation to pop up and take hold of our imaginations. The kids plan costumes for every person in the family; from the baby up to us parents.  That’s not to say us parents always dress up; sometimes it’s all I can do to complete the kids’ costumes, but we all enjoy the fun.

Halloween Costumes on a Budget

We can’t afford to buy the coolest costumes available for the entire family (or even just the kids), so we’ve found ways to cut corners.  Basically, we do the “Almost from Scratch” concept: we buy a few foundational pieces, and craft the rest.

family themed costume
“Avengers” costumes purchased at the thrift store; accessories from the toy department.

We base our costume ideas on our current interests:

  • TV Show
  • Movie
  • Book
  • Activity
  • Game
  • Pop-Culture
family themed costume
Plants vs. Zombies Game: Plants in pots on the left, various Zombies on the right.

Criteria for our family themed costume ideas include:

  • Enough “characters” in the theme
  • Relative ease of making the costumes
  • Price of accessories to complete the costumes
  • Will anyone on the street recognize who we are?
  • Can I actually find the skill and creativity needed to pull it off?
family themed costumes
“Lego Ninjago” costumes weren’t popular yet, so they settled for regular Ninjas. Everyone got a different color, and that was good enough for them.


First we pick up as much of our Halloween costume as we can from our local Thrift Store.  The store organizes according to size and color, so it’s always easy to find what we are looking for.  They also sell shoes and Halloween costumes for a great price.  If we’re lucky, we end up with a cool pair of boots or other items that are able to be worn more than once!

family themed, mom of seven
“Blades” from Rescue Bots Cartoon. Thrift Store: White Shirt, Orange Pants (cut into shorts), Gray leggings, and White Boots.


What accessories we can’t find at the thrift store, we either make (hello, Hobby Lobby) or buy.  The Dollar Tree has surprising finds for just a dollar, so we check out their stock first.  Toy stores/departments and Halloween stores are the most expensive options, so we save those for last.  Often, our recyclables bin contents, hot glue (or duct tape), and a little paint do the trick!

Last year, “Sugar Skulls” (Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead) became incredibly popular in our area.  Party City and many other Halloween stores carried awesome accessories, as well as beautiful outfits.  We love walking through the aisles looking for a special piece to complete a costume, or at the very least, looking for ideas we can do on our own.

family themed costumes
“Sugar Skull” Accessories: Face Paint and Headband, plus various items from home.

When the kids were younger, we dressed up with them for our family Halloween parties.  Our smaller family managed to work in a family themed costume, too.  As the years have gone by, we’ve noticed that adult and couples costumes are getting increasingly popular; I guess my generation had a hard time growing out of the dress-up stage!

family themed costumes
Hot glued felt circles on a red shirt; Hot glued plastic leaves on a green shirt… I’m better at glueing than sewing.

We don’t only get dressed up in a family themed costume for Halloween

There are opportunities to suit up all year:

  • Cos Play for San Japan (a.k.a. “Nerd” Conventions)
  • Book Character Parade (for my Elementary school kids)
  • San Antonio Wookiee-Walk (Star Wars hike downtown)
  • Movies we are absurdly excited about, and have waited for since we were four years old and wearing underoos…
family themed
Final Fantasy Mage Rods for San Japan: Styrofoam shapes on wooden poles, duct-taped in different colors. Red trim on white robe is also duct tape.
family themed
Star Wars Characters carrying dollar store Light Sabers.
family themed costume
1st Annual Wookiee Walk (We are way in the back) – Photo Credit: Facebook
family themed
Wonder Woman Movie Event: Sometimes all you need is a good shirt and matching shoes!
family themed costumes
Wasn’t kidding about rockin’ the Underoos

Additional Benefits from Cos Play

The girls, especially Number 2, have become increasingly creative and resourceful when planning their costumes.  Number 2 has combined her love for fashion with her skills at sewing (that she obviously inherited from her grandmother) to create more costumes than I can picture here.

Time/Motivation Limitations

There have been years where I devoted all sorts of time to sewing a costume with my own two hands (and grandma’s machine). There have also been years where I don’t have two minutes to rub together, so I buy everything from the store.  Truly, the kids have fun if they have input and opportunity to get involved; no one has ever complained either way.

Have Fun and Be Creative

We all enjoy comparing ourselves and each other to the characters in our favorite shows.  Sometimes, we can even make it happen for Halloween!

family themed costumes
Minions: Cut up blue t-shirt decorated with permanent marker, and long sleeved yellow or purple shirt and hat from the thrift store. Goggles from the party-favor store.
family theme costume
Minions and Purple Evil Minions Pro Tip: Body Paint doesn’t always pay off… especially if the kid gets all excited about it and hugs you before the paint has had a chance to dry.

“Dad, you be Gru!”

Share your Family Themed Costume Ideas for Halloween (or whenever you dress up) in the Comments section below!  Tips and tricks always welcome!!


I'd love to hear what has worked for you!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.