By Carla Olivo, Marine Spouse

There is definitely no shortage of boxes following a military move! In fact, after a military move, many families offer them for free to the first taker. But before you head to the recycling center, check out this list of creative ideas for making an easy, eco-friendly D I Y Halloween costume.

D I Y Halloween Costumes

Food Costumes

Popcorn – Use a dish pack box for kids or a wardrobe box for an adult. Cut out bottom, top and arm holes. Paint red and white stripes on the box. Use rope or belts for shoulder straps. Blow up yellow balloons for popcorn

Chinese Take Out – Use a square box – requires some painting skill – paint white with red writing – utilize tin foil and paper towel rolls to craft the box handle

Juice Box – Take a rectangular box. Cut arm and head holes. Use a pool noodle or paper towel tubes to craft the straw. Enlarge your favorite juice box graphics or use your paint skills to cover the box.

S’more – Use a rectangular box. Cut arm and head holes. Paint white and dark brown for marshmallow and chocolate.  Take 2 flat pieces of plain cardboard (cut slightly larger than your box) and paint thin circles and line down the center for graham crackers. Attach to box in front and back.

Appliances: Refrigerator, Washer, Oven etc.

Refrigerator – Use a wardrobe box – Paint the box white or silver- cut out the bottom, arm holes and a hole for the head – Paint paper towel or toilet paper rolls silver and glue on for door handles – Slit the top and side so the doors open and to separate the fridge and freezer doors. Adventurous painters can paint “food” on shelves inside the fridge.

Washer or Dryer –Cut out the bottom of  a dish pack box. Make holes for the arms and head. Cut a round hole in the front. Use markers to draw the control panel knobs. Glue an empty soap container or dryer sheet box to the top.

  • For the Washer: Take a large Ziploc bag and add a little bit of water and soap to make it bubbly. Add a bright colored sock or two. Secure the bag tightly on the inside of the box around the front hole.
  • For the Dryer: Take a large Ziploc bag and add a piece of clothing and a dryer sheet. Secure the bag around the front hole.

Oven – Cut arm and head holes in a dish pack box. Paint box white. Cut a door on the front. Pipe cleaners can be rolled for the burners. Paint knobs on the front and the “glass” on the door.

Kids’ Stuff

Rubik’s Cube – Cut the bottom and arm and head holes out of a square box. Use tape to mask off squares. Paint each square a different color. Use black tape to outline each square

Thomas The Train engine – Use a box about the same size of your child. Cut out bottom and top . Take additional cardboard and bend to the shape of Thomas. Use foam board to create a lip around the bottom. Take a round container such as an oatmeal cylinder for the front. Place a paper towel roll as a smoke stack in a cut out hole. Cut up a toilet paper tube to create the buffers in the front and attach two circles made from cardboard or the left over foam board. Cut wheels from cardboard or foam board or use plastic coffee can lids. Use a belt or rope to wear costume over the shoulder. Print a picture of Thomas’ face, attach and paint!

Lego Blocks – Cut out arm and head holes in a rectangular box. Paint your favorite Lego color. Paint round cream cheese or yogurt containers.

A Trendy Halloween Costume

Tardis  – Use a dish pack box for a kid or a wardrobe box for an adult. Cut out holes for arms and head  and the bottom. This D I Y Halloween costume requires some painting skill!

Voting booth/Ballot Box – Use a book box or medium box and cut holes for arms, head and the bottom. Cut a slit for ballots. Paint VOTE or opposing candidates’ names on the box.

The Overachiever of D I Y Halloween Costumes

Hot air balloon – Take a small box and cut off the top and bottom. Paint the box in in different shades of brown to give it a woven look. Take 3 or 4 brown paper bags, stuff with paper and label ‘SAND’. Attach with twine, rope or string to the sides of the box. Secure one large balloon or a bunch of small helium filled balloons to the box.

Dice – Take a square box and paint white. Cut out arm and head holes. Paint black holes on each side.

Aquarium – Paint a small box black. Cut out a hole for the head and cut out the bottom. Paint the inside of the box blue. Cut an opening in the front and cover with clear plastic, vinyl or cellophane. Glue some pebbles or rocks to the bottom. Glue plastic fish or fish stickers. Wear a blue, green, or turquoise shirt. Add a battery operated light on the inside of the box.

Claw Arcade Game – Cut a window in 3 sides of the box, plus a head hole. Paint silver. Add small toys. Make a claw using tin foil.

Traffic light – Take a rectangular box and paint (either yellow or black). Cut arm and head holes. Cover three LED battery-operated push lights in red, yellow and green cellophane wrap. Attach to front of box . Take cardboard and bend on the top of each push light and attach.

Other D I Y Halloween Costumes made from boxes and paint: Crayola Crayon Box – Kleenex Box  -Milk Carton – Xray Machine – Tin Man – Sponge Bob – Vending Machine – Slot Machine

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Author: Carla Olivo has garnered numerous TV industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel, and their two children.

Carla Olivo

Director of Strategic Communications