DIY Halloween costumes are easier than you think! Bring out the scares, laughs, and wows by making your own festive attire with stock assets.
Move over store-bought disguises and off-the-shelf ensembles! DIY Halloween costumes are fun, unique, and surprisingly easy to make—especially when you bring stock assets into the mix.
Whether you’re looking for a super-easy costume (perfect for those last-minute party invites) or want to embark on the project of all projects this All Hallows’ Eve, stock assets are a costume creator’s superpower.
Here’s why and how to make a Halloween costume with stock photos—plus 10 creative ideas to try for yourself.
Why Stock Photos Are a Halloween Costume DIY Must-Have
Never thought of using stock photos to create your DIY Halloween costume? You’re not alone. But once you give it a shot, you won’t go back!
By starting your costume planning within the Shutterstock library, you’ll get:
- Variety: Find inspiration and/or printable assets for any Halloween look, from nostalgic slasher to fairytale princess. With over 600 million assets to choose from, you’re sure to find multiple angles and aesthetics.
- Versatility: Use stock assets in whatever way suits you! For example, license a single image and take it shopping with you for reference, or create a fully fledged Halloween mood board to help you narrow down your costume design.
- Customization: If you’re printing stock photos to incorporate into your DIY Halloween costume (see tons of ideas below!), then take advantage of Shutterstock’s super-quick on-page edits like cropping and photo filters.
- Imagination: Take the “DIY Halloween costume” concept to the next level by DIYing the photo, too! With Shutterstock’s AI-powered image generator, you can create anything you can dream up.
- Sharing: Create an Instagram carousel of your costume for a ready-made Halloween post! Or, if you’re leveraging Halloween to market your small business, make a whole series of Insta posts to drive holiday sales.
5 Ways to Use Stock Assets in a DIY Halloween Costume
1. As Inspiration
Stock photos are the perfect reference material for any costume. Try searching “Halloween costume stock photos” if you want some general food for thought, or go deeper with a specific concept like “Barbie outfit.”
Start right now by searching top stock photography for Halloween inspiration! If you have something particular in mind, use the search filters to narrow down your results by color or file type.
2. As Part of the Costume
Go beyond reference material by using stock assets as part of the costume itself.
From printable cut-outs to handheld props, there are so many ways to incorporate stock assets into your Halloween garb. (And, since all it takes is to find and print, you’ve got a super-easy costume ready in minutes.)
Check out 10 specific examples at the end of this article!
3. As an Easy Mask
Just license, print, cut out eyeholes, and complete the ensemble by digging through your closet for a few matching wardrobe pieces.
4. As a Costume Backdrop
Turn yourself into a work of art, a meme, a photo strip, or a famous movie scene by using a blown-up stock asset as your costume backdrop!
Simply find the right background and then print it out poster-sized.
This extra step can take a DIY Halloween costume from cool to completely unforgettable—see some examples below.
5. On the Trick-or-Treat Bag
Extend the Halloween fun for your kids by turning their trick-or-treat bags into a fun craft activity.
Print out some Halloween cartoons like these and then paste them onto brown paper lunch bags or plastic pumpkin buckets. Use generic Halloween elements or find others that match their costume theme.
Bonus: As Photo Booth Backdrops
Hosting a Halloween soiree? Then you should know that stock assets make some of the easiest props for photo booth costumes, as well.
Print out some hilarious masks, speech bubbles, and other festive accessories to stock your photo booth with ghostly fun—perfect for Halloween flash sales, pop-up store event advertising, or family-friendly company festivals!
P.S. If your Halloween bash is part of your marketing strategy, get other essential tips in our Small Business Brand Kit.
10 Creative Ideas for a Halloween Costume DIY Project
With the help of stock assets, your DIY Halloween costume options are truly endless. Here are 10 easy ideas to inspire you.
1. Barbie Costume
Feeling extra creative? You can build the whole box!
2. Meme Costume
Put yourself into a viral meme by printing out the meme photo and inserting yourself as one of the key characters.
For example, print out the famous “distracted boyfriend” image (at a large scale), add your own meme text, and then dress up as the woman in red.
Stand in front of the poster for the perfect Halloween photo op.
3. Photo Strip Costume
Here’s a costume idea that’s great for friends.
Grab a photo strip asset, print it out on poster paper, and cut out the center squares. Then stand in a line with each person making a hilarious face as part of the photo strip.
Bonus points if you all share a common theme with your costumes and facial expressions!
4. Picture Frame Halloween Costume
Always wanted to be the Mona Lisa? Or perhaps Vincent Van Gogh? Paint your face in character and then print out an ornate picture frame to hold in front of your face.
A museum-worthy costume in minutes!
5. Ironic Costume
Stock assets make it easy to create a fancy DIY Halloween costume, but low-effort works just as well!
Here’s a costume idea that’s perfect for the most sarcastic one in your friend group. Just print it out and stick it on a t-shirt.
6. Old Picture Costume
Looking for a sepia-toned or black and white photo costume idea? Print out a beautiful photo at poster or banner size and then paint your skin in matching tones (and dress accordingly, too!).
Choose any old photo for a cool look, or go with something iconic like Picasso in stripes.
7. DIY Photographer Costume
Are you a photographer? Show some love for the trade by dressing up as your most important piece of equipment—whether that’s an iPhone and an Instagram frame or an old folding camera.
Download this rotating image from PixelSquid on Shutterstock.
To make a quick folding camera, print out some images of a folding camera from different angles and paste them onto a large cardboard box. Fold the sides like an accordion and stand inside!
8. Iconic Poster Costume
Recreate a famous poster, such as Rosie the Riveter, by printing out the background of a stock asset and then dressing up as the main character.
Other fun options include:
- The Casablanca movie poster
- The Matrix movie poster
- Barack Obama’s Hope poster
- Uncle Sam’s “We Need You!” poster
- Edvard Munch’s The Scream
- Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss
- Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe
For a low-effort but equally iconic effort, print out a Pollack-esque paint splatter pattern or a Modrian-inspired geometric design. Stick it on an all-black outfit and you’re done!
9. Lego Pirate
Print this lego face, paste it on a box, and put the box over your head. Done! Throw on a cheap pirate’s hat for some extra “Shiver me timbers, matey!”
For something even more lego-like, skip the angular box and instead use a cylindrical cardboard tube.
10. Easy Pop Culture Costume
Do a quick search in Shutterstock for your favorite hit TV shows. Use these photos as reference material or print stock assets to use directly in your pop culture-inspired costume.
- The square, triangle, and circle of Squid Game (just paste onto a black mask under a pink hoodie!)
- The scrawling Christmas letter font from Stranger Things (stick it onto a sweatshirt!)
- The famous Central Perk sign from Friends (hold up for photos!)
Get Designing! Start Your DIY Halloween Costume Here
You’ve got the ideas, we’ve got the assets! Sign up for Shutterstock’s most flexible plan and get everything you need for a show-stopping DIY Halloween costume (or three).
With Shutterstock Flex, you’ll have all-in-one access to our massive library, plus the FLEXibility you need to bring your Halloween vision to life.
License this cover image via popcorner.