Gruesome Costumes

Gruesome Costume Ideas for Halloween.


Many kids, particularly older ones, want to dress up in scary or gruesome costumes. These are fun to create and leave plenty of room for error.

Be sure to use our face paint recipe, bruises and fake blood here.


  • white sweatsuit
  • white sheets or gauze
  • tea bags

Tear white sheets into long strips. Gauze will look the most realistic but sheets work just as well. Wash and dry the pieces once or twice using plenty of bleach. Afterward, soak the pieces in watered down tea to stain slightly. Allow the strips to dry, then rub a little dirt on them for the finishing touch. Children can wear white clothing underneath their bandages. Give everything a dried out, dead look by applying plenty of baby powder to the sheets. Wrap each body part separately, secure the ends with white or clear medical tape. Apply light-colored make-up where skin is showing. To give it a rotting effect, smudge dark make-up around the eyes, mouth, along fingers, under fingernails, and so on. Using make up and fake blood, a scars and a few gash marks.


  • black sweatshirt
  • black skirt
  • cape or black material or shawl
  • witch’s hat
  • broom
  • black shoes
  • white calf socks (dyeing green is optional)
  • red tape or craft paint
  • black lipstick
  • black nail polish

If weather is on the cold side, have child wear black or green tights under outfit. A cape can be fashioned easily from black material or a black sheet. Put socks on, then wrap red tape around from bottom to top, to create a striped sock effect. Socks can be dyed green first if you prefer. You may also use craft paint for the stripes, but tape is faster and easier. Carry broom and wear witch’s hat. Paint face green and add dark smudges around eyes and mouth. Use black lipstick and nail polish to finish the look. Adding a wart is optional!


  • black satin or black material for cape
  • black suit coat or sweatshirt
  • white shirt
  • black pants
  • black shoes
  • red scarf or neckerchief (red material strip will work)
  • fake fangs

After child is dressed, tie red material around neck as a neckerchief. Slick child’s hair back, paint face white. Put teeth in then apply fake blood around corners of mouth. Smudge dark circles around eyes. Carefully tie cape around neck.


  • red sweatsuit (hood optional)
  • red satin or material cape (can be fashioned from sheet)
  • red or black shoes
  • plastic or cardboard pitchfork
  • plastic headband
  • horns cut from white posterboard

Make a pitchfork out of cardboard and spray paint red, or purchase a plastic one. Glue horns on to headband. Tie on cape, paint face and hands red. Use black paint to create a mustache and goatee, smudge dark marks near cheek bones and eyes.


  • old green coat
  • ripped shirt
  • black pants
  • large black boots

Slick hair upward with gel and hairspray. Black hair paint is a plus. Paint face green and add scars and stitch marks. Walk with arms extended and legs completely straight.

Note: If you can find a cardboard cylinder that you can cut to fit your child’s head, create the flat head from Frankenstein by painting it black!


  • orange, green or brown hooded sweatsuit
  • large orange pumpkin leaf bag
  • newspaper
  • silk leaves

Cut arm holes and head hole in the pumpkin bag. Have the child put the bag on and stuff it with newspapers. Seal it at the bottom with tape. Attach silk leaves around shoulders and neck.

For infants: Use an orange onesie and a piece of green felt. After child is dressed, cut the green felt in a circle. Take another piece of felt and make a small stem, glue it on top of the circle with a glue gun. Attach a piece of elastic and put on baby as a hat.


  • black sweatpants
  • black turtleneck
  • bones, cut out of white contact paper
  • white gloves

To create the bones, draw out three or four ribs for each side of rib cage, draw out simple limbs, no need to get extravagant. Apply to clothing. Paint face white and apply dark smudges around eyes, nose and mouth. If you don’t have gloves, paint hands white.

Variation: Add bones to sweatsuit using white felt or fabric paint.


  • old white sheet
  • scissors

Probably the easiest costume on Earth! Simply cut holes for eyes and arms and you are all set! To add a little whimsy, you can finish it off with a top hat.

Road Kill

  • gray sweatsuit (hood optional)
  • white tape
  • old stuffed animal

Cut 2 inch pieces of white tape and run up shirt as the center of a highway. Cut up stuffed animal and pin various parts to the shirt. Use dirt or mud and fake blood to “decorate” the stuffed animal.

Grim Reaper

  • oversized black hooded sweatsuit
  • black material, enough to cover whole body
  • black shoes
  • scythe, made from cardboard and aluminum foil

Fashion a scythe from cardboard. Wrap the blade in aluminum foil. Paint child’s face white and smudge black around eyes, nose, and mouth. After child is dressed, wrap black material around like a cape, but encompass the whole body. Close with safety pins. Hood should have been oversized so that much of the face will be hidden.

Copyright 2000, Amanda Formaro


❖ Similar Categories: Autumn Crafts, Halloween Crafts, Holiday Crafts & Special Days
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