8 Spooky Halloween Costumes from Self-Storage Boxes

Jon Fesmire |
Halloween is almost here! That means it’s time for costumes, and while store-bought costumes are fine, it’s always fun to make your own. One way to do so on the cheap is to use cardboard. If you’ve just moved some boxes out of your self-storage space, they will work great. Cardboard-based costumes don’t cost much to make and can be especially impressive. You can make a cardboard version of just about anything, and are limited only by your creativity and crafting skills. Fortunately, basic cardboard costumes are easy to make. You can find many such costume ideas on the Internet, and you can find links to some of those at the end of this article. I discovered that most of them though just aren’t scary. This is Halloween! Where are all the cardboard monsters? Now, most cardboard costumes work best for kids, so I’ll be talking about making them for children in this article, but larger versions for adults work, too. I have not created these costumes myself, so these are just ideas based on non-frightening ones I’ve found. I think all these would be fairly easy to design. I recommend using plenty of references of actual cardboard box costumes and any other appropriate visual aid. Some supplies you may need are different sizes of cardboard boxes, poster board, a box cutter, a hot glue gun, duct tape, and paints. Two types of paint I found include a thick non-water based paint or Livos Salis finger paint with extra water so that it will work with a paint brush. Here are 8 Halloween costumes you can make with your discarded self-storage boxes (or any other cardboard boxes) that I would love to see. The links go to either images of people wearing the existing costume, or to the costume that inspired my idea.
  1. Minecraft Zombie - Use a square cardboard box for the head with rectangular eye holes, box arms, and even box legs. This creature has green limbs, a tattered blue shirt, and purple pants, all pixelated, of course. Mix various shades of the colors for each section, and your child can be a brain-eating zombie from one of his or her favorite games. A different paint job on the costume can create any variety of scary characters.
  2. Lego Vampire - Like Minecraft, box costumes based on Lego figures have a huge range of possibilities. For a Lego vampire, make a pattern on a large cardboard box, with a trapezoid front and back for the torso connected by rectangular sides, and paint it like a tuxedo. You can add accessories like a cape and collar plus vampire fangs. With Lego and Minecraft costumes, you can find many references of the actual figures online.
  3. Killer Robot - Robot costumes made from cardboard boxes for the body and head, and large cardboard tubes for the arms, are an obvious choice, so why not make a killer robot? Think along the lines of Roberto from Futurama with an angry face and a toy knife or cardboard gun  turrets on the arms.
  4. Vampire Bat - Wings are easy to design with cardboard pieces. Some cardboard costumes have fairy or butterfly wings, but why not bat wings? This could be a great accessory to a vampire bat costume, maybe even a Minecraft inspired vampire bat. They would also work well for all manner of demon wings.
  5. Skeletal Horse Rider - Your child could go as the grim reaper riding on a pale horse. Make the body from a box and the head and tail cardboard cut-outs. Make shoulder straps to keep the costume on, and paint the cardboard sections with appropriate bones. Create horse legs the same way along the sides. Dress your child in a black cloak and paint a skull for his face, and give him a toy scythe.
  6. Death Card - On the grim reaper theme, how about the Death card from a Tarot deck? For this, you’ll need the aforementioned cloak, face makeup, and scythe. Cut out two large cardboard panels for the cards, and pain one with a card back, and one after a Death Tarot card. There are plenty of examples online. Attach straps to the top of each so that the card will hang over your child’s shoulders with the card face in front.
  7. Zombie Box - One fun costume I found was a box of puppies. This is basically a shallow box with a hole through the center and shoulder straps. The child’s legs go through the hole and his arms through the straps. The costume I found was filled with stuffed puppies, and the child wore a puppy costume. For this scary alternative, dress your child as a zombie and inside the box portion, glue or tape in papier-mache severed limbs. This costume is not for the squeamish!
  8. Box of Poison - For a simpler costume that would basically be a cardboard box with arm holes, how about a box of poison? You can paint it like an actual brand of perhaps rat poison, or come up with your own design.
These costumes are all very much in the macabre spirit of Halloween, are sure to impress, and won’t bust your budget! These ideas will take time to create, but if your child is into it, perhaps they’d like to help. If anyone creates these costumes, we’d love to see the results! Please share in the comment section below. Have a happy and safe Halloween!