When done well, family Halloween costume ideas are hard to beat. It’s a group effort, in which every member of the family is dressed to reflect one part of the larger theme. Who can roll their eyes at a mother, father, and kids all dressed as Where’s Waldo? characters or the cast of Mushroom Kingdom? It’s cheesy, sure. But it’s so damn charming. And you don’t have to run out to Spirit Halloween and cough up $100 on plastic-packed costumes sets to make it happen. In fact, the best family Halloween costumes ideas allow you to cleverly utilize cheap items from the craft store or from your home. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are a few family Halloween costume ideas to use as thought-starters.
The Cat in the Hat and His Many Things
When Theodor Geisel unleashed the Cat in the Hat back in 1957, he armed a generation of families with multiple kids with a quick, cheap go-to costume. Parents can go big with full-blown costumes, and kids can go in a miniature version, but honestly, all it really takes is a striped hat, some whiskers, and as many sets of blue wigs, red pajamas, and handmade “Thing” tags as necessary.
Pick a smarter family Halloween costume, I’ll wait. There are five characters to choose from. Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. But you only need Homer and Marge to get the ball rolling. Get creative like this cute family and if you need supplies to fuel your imagination, you can find a ton of them here.
The Sun the Moon and the Stars
This family Halloween costume idea is a no brainer. Dad and Mom take their pick between the sun and the moon, while the kids get to dress up as little shiny stars. You could go all-in with a full-blown customized outfit, or, get creative with craft paper and some glitter.
The Adams Family
Yes, you could go all-in with Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, and Pugsly costumes. But show up as John, Abigail, John Quincy, and the others and you’ve got a head-scratcher that could turn into an impromptu Drunk History episode once the kids go to bed.
We know you don’t have 101 kids running around the house. But that shouldn’t stop you from getting your groove on this Halloween. Dad goes as Roger, mum goes as Cruella de Ville and the little ones can take on the dalmatian role with these adorable onesies.
The Bad News Bears
This one can go two ways and include as many family members as necessary. The more obvious choice would be to dress all the kids up in baseball uniforms and let dad be a less-racist version of Coach Buttermaker. The punnier version would be to dress everyone up as bears and have them go around delivering bad news, like “you’re fired.”
Grab yourself a couple of red coveralls jumpsuit and you have yourself a simple, timely family Halloween costume. For more hilarity, your kid can wear this miniature version while dad swaps the overalls for a tweed suit and tortoise glasses. That makes him – The Professor.
The kid is dad. Mom is the kid. Dad is mom. Pandemonium! Also, hilarity.
Those simultaneously adorable and obnoxious decals people put on the back of their vans to show everybody how many people are in their family are pretty milquetoast. But dress every family member in black and don the clothing with stick person-shaped glowing tape or sticks and you’ve got a costume that’s at once simultaneously cool and safe in the dark.
Nobody’s saying an entire family should necessarily dress up like the Staten Island crew in honor of the 25th anniversary of 36 Chambers, though if your kid can pull off a solid U-God costume, more power to you. Just slap a bee costume on every family member, hit it with a little Wu emblem, and draw some angry eyebrows on everyone’s face. Bam. Wu-Tang Killer Bees. Tical!
The Cast of Sabotage
If you need evidence that it’s a fantastic idea to dress small children up as ’70s cops while blaring the classic Beastie Boys anthem, look no further than this legendary video. Children in mustaches and bad wigs will never not be funny. The biggest challenge here is deciding who gets to be Cochese.
The Cast of Wet Hot American Summer
Mom and dad can scratch their itch to wear poorly fitting ’80s clothes while also participating in the joyous practice of dressing a small child as a sentient can of green beans. Everybody wins.
The Rockford Peaches
Boy bears aren’t the only ones who should get to do the baseball thing. This can also go two ways. Dad can dress up like Tom Hanks with the girls donning the uniforms from A League of Their Own, which would require a little crafting. Or the girls could just be dressed up as peaches. If they complain, tell them there’s no crying in baseball.
A Salad Bar
Each kid dresses up as a different kind of fruit, or perhaps some bacon. Dad plays bartender, with a tuxedo and a shaker. Everybody looks puzzled until they realize that this is more clever than they thought. Friends are finally made with salad.
Other Holiday Characters
Santa, the Easter Bunny, leprechauns, pilgrims, and Cupid (perfect for a baby) walk into a party and begin acting extremely confused about what day it is. Any of these characters are out of place at Halloween. Together, it’s like a family-wide piece of performance art.
Fun with Chest Carriers
When a kid’s still in a carrier, it’s a chance for dad to have a little fun with the costume without the kid’s say, and there’s endless fun to be had. Baby can become a chestbursting alien to dad’s space marine, or the clairvoyant mutant Quatto from Total Recall, or Krang the talking brain from Ninja Turtles. Basically, do it before the kid can protest… or be scarred.
Two Chefs and a Lobster Pot
Another chest-carrier classic, this family Halloween costume is just scary enough and works especially well for parents with babies in tow. You and your partner are the chefs, and your little one is the lobster in a carrier or stroller outfitted to look like a lobster pot.