Geeky DIY Halloween Costumes: 2017 Edition

There are so many things to love about Halloween, but the thing that warms my geeky little heart is the costumes. It’s the one time of year that cosplay is acceptable in more mainstream environments. If you’re a fellow costume enthusiast, you’ll likely fall into one of two camps. The first contains those who plan and work on their costumes year-round, devoting all their spare time and energy into it. God bless you, you passionate lunatics, I envy your skill, creativity, and free time. The latter are more like me; we love costumes but don’t have much in the way of time, money, talent, or all three. If you fall in this camp, you might think it’s too late for you. Well, as my favorite Lex Luthor ever once said…

In general, the best Halloween costumes are easily recognizable for what they are and specific to the year you wear them in. Of course, there are time-honored classics, but if you’re going to do it, I say make it count. The best costumes for people like us are easy to make and affordable. And even though it’s October already and the costume shops are likely all sold out of the “good” options, there’s still plenty of time to make something cool yourself.

Closet Cosplay: Snag yourself a WW logo tee (available at Kohls, Walmart, and Amazon) and pair it with navy leggings or jeggings. Slap your most ass-kicking calf-high boots and as many gold/bronze bangles as you can find. Complete the look with a take-no-shit expression.


  • If your leggings are expendable, do some white stars up the sides with fabric paint.
  • Or swap out leggings for a No-sew tutu, search pinterest and take your pick of tutu-orials. (wear over short-shorts, these tutus usually don’t provide modesty)
  • Take a cue from fellow Geekader Sam Ahearn, who custom-made a tiara and wrist gauntlets for my daughter using felt, hot glue, glitter, elastic, and velcro. This would also work for a belt.
  • If you’re feeling really ambitious, boot covers really add something special to your look and aren’t too hard to make.

Closet Cosplay: This long sleeve fitness shirt is a decent approximation of the Spidey’s look in this year’s cinematic offering. If you’re feeling too bashful for tights, go with blue workout pants. A red gloves and ski mask combo can finish off this one, especially if you’re willing to use a little black marker to add detail.


  • Have the confidence? Wear the tights, my good man, and more power to you
  • Boot covers aren’t just for ladies, some red ones will work for this look too.
  • If you’re into building things, check out tutorials to make your own wrist web shooter, like this one.

Closet Cosplay: Both characters have a lot of costumes in this year’s Breath of the Wild, but the simplest to recreate is the basic look. For either, start with a long sleeve shirt and pants in white, tan, or brown. For Link, top with an oversized teal tee shirt and a brown belt over the shirt at your waist. For Zelda, go with a more feminine cut top. Add a white tank over top of it and tuck the straps and upper third under to mimic a corset and complete with the widest brown belt you can find. Finish off either look with brown boots and some DIY cardboard weapons. Bonus points if you do this as a couples costume.


  • Strap it up. Do a google image search, these costumes actually involve a bunch of straps crossing the body, so if you can find some extra belts or scraps of brown fabric, all the better.
  • Elf ears from a Halloween store will give you that subtle Hylean look that sets you apart from Peter Pan.
  • Use some white fabric paint on your blue layer to recreate details from the in-game looks.

Closet Cosplay: This is one is especially great for kids, but works for any age. The inklings in the game all tend to dress in fairly casual, slightly oversized skater gear or athletic wear. With a parent’s permission, have fun with some funky spray-on hair color and some wacky styling. If you have one, use your biggest most ridiculous water gun as a prop. If not, check if any stores near you have any summer toys on clearance.


  • A neon colored wig from a Halloween store can really bump up this look.
  • DIY an ink tank like this one to wear on your back and hold extra candy in.
  • Grab some pals, color coordinate your outfits and weaponry, and show up as a team!

Closet Cosplay: Not only has Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s classic has been a huge hit, but the costumes have been widely seen in public, as some have taken to wearing them as a form of political protest. Therefore, this is definitely a highly recognizable and very current costume and it’s also ridiculously easy to pull off. The basics are a drapey red garment that covers the whole body and a white bonnet. The former can be achieved by making a cape from any large red piece of fabric you can get your hands on or by wearing a long sleeved modest top and long skirt, both in red. Check your closet or your local thrift shop. Create the latter by attaching some white posterboard (the bigger the better) to a white painters cap, available for cheap at most craft and hardware stores. Complete with a dour facial expression.


  • DIY your bonnet for a more authentic look using a pattern like this one
  • Halloween stores everywhere mean you can find a proper red cloak pretty easily this time of year.
  • Add a plain canvas bag. Stitching up a totebag is one of the easiest sewing projects there is.

Closet Cosplay: Once GoT’s costumer revealed her source for the Night’s Watch furry capes, it became an instant meme and a DIYer’s dream. The key to taking the black is, unsurprisingly, wearing lots of black. Black pants, black shirt, black belt, black cape, black gloves. (No hat though. Anybody else notice that? People in the north rarely cover their heads. WTF is up with that?) You don’t have to use the officially sanctioned IKEA product, use any shaggy rug you can find, spray it black if need be, and throw it around your shoulders. This look goes best with five o’clock shadow and a surly expression.


  • If you’re willing to make the investment,  here are IKEA’s official instructions on making the furry cape.
  • As with the Link/Zelda costume, the more straps, the better.
  • As Adult Halloween is mostly about costumes and drinking, make sure to get yourself a fun tankard or drinking horn to carry around/clip to your belt.

Closet Cosplay: If the Season 7 malarkey surrounding the death of SPOILER didn’t put you off watching the show, this one may be for you. It’s easy to put together from existing pieces in your wardrobe but iconic enough to be reconizable. Jeans, leather jacket, and a red scarf (or even a bandana) around the neck are the key pieces. Don’t forget Lucille! DIY some barbed wire using dark yarn and this tutorial and wrap it around any old baseball bat you have.


  • If you’re not going to need the bat again, might as well bloody it up with some fake blood from a Halloween store.
  • This is one where a group costume can work well. If your friends are into it, check out images from Season 7 to have your friends find their lookalikes in the cast. Bonus points if anyone can pull off a Glenn or Abraham look.

Closet Cosplay: Season 5, which aired this summer, definitely went outside the norm for this show and the costumes ran the gamut, so there are lots of options to choose from. Start with the basic khaki look (you can a set of khaki scrubs anywhere pretty cheap) and make your own ID badge, or go without. Accessorize with a gray or white undershirt (long or short sleeve) or gray hoodie. This is really one of the easiest, comfiest costumes out there.


  • Modify the look based on any of the character’s variations on the uniform. For sexy, try Flaca & Maritza’s schoolgirl looks. Add glasses and go for Alex’s sleeveless Rosie the Riveter version. Crazy short hair and thrift store glasses on a chain can turn you into Red. The possibilities are endless.
  • For another variation, use black pants, a blue button down shirt, and your own accessories to make a modified C.O.’s uniform like Cindy or Allison.

Closet Cosplay: It couldn’t be easier to recreate the look from Rick & Morty’s most popular season 3 episode. All you need are green clothes, green face paint, a green ski cap, and a bad attitude. For true authenticity, you’ll have to lay on the ground and only move by rolling around, so it’s a great choice if you just wanna be lazy.


  • You can go as nuts as you want with the mods on this one and they’ll all work, since Pickle Rick’s existence went through multiple stages. Try Halloween stores for fake bones and blood to dress up your costume. Various crafting scraps can help with the look of his repurposed vermin limbs. Use gray/pink socks and gloves for the hands and feet.
  • Don’t forget his accessories. You’ll need a brown belt with a couple of holsters containing giant batteries and his shoulder mounted laser cannon. Use your imagination and a lot of cardboard and spray paint.
  • Extra bonus points if you get a teenage kid to follow you around wearing a yellow shirt and jeans.

Whatever you choose to go as, have fun this Halloween. I’d love to see what you dress up as, so tweet me pics!

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