The school year has begun, and the calendar pushes on towards Halloween. And while many public schools don’t participate in the ghoul and goblin-laden holiday, teachers rarely need a reason to get dressed up and be part of the fun!

Growing up in a family that creatively cobbled together costumes, and enjoyed a good dress-up costume on occasion, I feel qualified to share these ideas. I’ve sifted through a Pinterest board or two, and found some inexpensive and DIY costumes that’ll help you rock your next dress-up opportunity!


Dollar store for name tags- Boom. You’re an identity thief. Level up and grab a burglar’s mask for a believable “thief.”

You can also hit the dollar store to look for multicolored round “dot” stickers. Put them on a gray sweatshirt, and you’re a disease! Go the extra mile and put stickers on colleagues and students to “infect” them.



Hawaiian Punch: grab your favorite Hawaiian shirt and find some boxing gloves. 

“Bee”yonce: a little more involved if you duplicate this costume, but find a yellow shirt and black electrical tape (or the reverse), add a tiara (or a tinfoil covered Burger King crown) and you’re Queen Bee- the bee OR Beyoncé. 

Keep the bee look, put letters all over and carry around a trophy: Spelling Bee!

Ceiling fan: grab a team jersey and tape copied photos of a ceiling fan to it. Add pom poms, beads, and other favorite sports accessories (the giant #1 would be great!). 

The white haired gent in the photo above is supposed to be “fantasy football”…I suggest adding a wizard hat (make your own out of black construction paper) and a wand made from a dowel.


Be a Sneech from Dr. Seuss’ The Sneeches. Wear yellow and put a green star or 2 on your belly. Encourage colleagues to wear 1 or 2 stars upon thars.

Want to be Big Bird? Purchase a yellow boa, and put feathers on the top of your head and on your sides. Find a yellow beak (or make one with cardboard), and orange and pink striped socks. 

One more yellow shirt idea: add blue cat ears and 4 buttons to become Pete the Cat.


I’m a fan of this idea for its simplicity! Pick your favorite emoji, then cut a circle out of cardboard. Paint it yellow then decorate accordingly. Use pieces of duct tape to secure it to your clothing.

Cardboard circles can be used for many different ideas: M&Ms, balloons, The Dot, a sign, or words as a part of your costume. Smaller circles of red, yellow, and green on a yellow or black shirt could be a stoplight.


Grammar Police(definitely my costume this year!):

Note the pad of paper and Liquid Paper in the toolbelt. You could have variations on this costume with Kindness Police (distribute heart stickers), Humor Police (tell bad jokes, carry a clown horn)- so many great options for this one!



Other notable ideas:

Black-eyed Pea: Black makeup around an eye, and tape (or fabric paint) to put a “P” on your shirt.

Mario: Red shirt, blue overalls, an M taped to the front of a repurposed red hat.

Rock, Paper, Scissors: Red shirt with red “D”s on each sleeve, black leggings (scissors), tape a few pieces of wide-ruled to your shirt (paper), put on a black or brown garbage bag and stuff full of newspaper (rock).

Literature characters: Try bringing it back to some of the old classics along with the popular contemporary characters: Scout or Atticus Finch, Hardy Boys, Ramona Quimby, Superfudge…a large variety of choices!  Put on a cape (bedsheet) and crown (see “Bee”yonce), get a handful of plastic or construction paper flies= Lord of the Flies!

Dress up as your teaching buddy/hero: Students love this, especially when they can figure out who’s who!

I’ve saved the best for last: my all-time favorite costume to knock the socks off your colleagues and students:


I saw this costume once “in the wild,” and can honestly say it was stunning. Go to the Almost the Real Thing blog post for easy-to-follow directions.

No matter what your creation, embrace your creativity and challenge yourself to find a way to suit your personality or the energy of your group. Share photos of your costume with us on social media!

Tag us @LearnersEdge on Instagram!




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