How to Make a Ghost Costume

A basic ghost costume can be made in minutes.

Ghost costumes are some of the quickest, easiest, and least expensive to make. Whether you're budget-strapped this Halloween or just want to dabble in the creative world of homemade costumes, these frightening ideas are sure to put a new spin on a Halloween classic.

How to Make a Basic Ghost Costume

Before you start planning your ghost costume, you'll need to decide what type of ghost you want to portray. The most common ghost costume is made from a simple white sheet with small eye holes. This costume idea takes minutes to create, and can easily be removed for ease of wear. While there is certainly nothing wrong with this beloved costume style, it isn't the most unique method for spooking!

If you would like to have a ghost costume that actually frightens people on Halloween night, you'll want to add a few more ghastly details and special effects to your costume idea. Start with the basic ghost costume and then add accessories as needed, depending on the type of ghost you've chosen.


  • Old and rumpled white clothing, the more tattered the better
  • White face paint
  • Black face paint
  • Long artificial nails
  • Long, white wig
  • Shoes, preferably in white or nude
  • Red fabric paint

ghost costume


  1. Add a few tears to the white clothing.
  2. Add some red paint to the clothing to look like blood stains.
  3. Use white face paint to create a pale face. Apply white paint with a moistened sponge for a light, believable finish. Reapply as needed until you have the desired look.
  4. Apply black face paint lightly on the apples of the cheeks and on the crevices of the eyelids to create a sunken and ghastly appearance.
  5. Long wigs are the best choice to create the appearance of matted, unkempt hair. Since artificial hair costume wigs can't be styled without creating a stringy mess, a simple stroke through the wig with the palm of your hands will break up the sleek style while beginning to tangle and mat the wig.
  6. While you can wear any color pair of shoes, a lighter shade will help create the appearance of "floating." Women can pair white or nude ballet flats with dresses to create an other-worldy look.
  7. Apply long artificial nails (preferably in a neutral polish).

Variations on Ghost Costumes

There are a lot of different directions that a the wearer can take with a ghost costume.

Shakespearean Ghost

Ghosts were a reoccuring theme in Shakespearean literature.

  • Banquo- Banquo is the ghost of Macbeth's friend and can make for the perfect variation on the traditional ghost costume. Wear britches, a waistcoat and ruff. These items can be easily found or contrived from thrift store items, and can then be stained with blood and powdered dead-white.
  • The ghost of Hamlet's father- The ghost of Hamlet's father has always had a variety of looks. You can even use the standard sheet, but you'll need to add some bits of armor such as a helmet and sword. Both can easily picked up at a costume shop or rented for a nominal fee, and these accessories should be enough to let everyone know who you are. If your head is showing, add to the fun by having blood drip from your ear where the poison was deposited!

ghost costume

Dickens Ghosts

If you want to know how to make a ghost costume for a group, look no further than the Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol. There are four ghosts in this story that can be made into a costume:

  • Scrooge's former partner Marley - Wear a suit and vest, covered in chains. To complete the look, carry a money box.
  • The ghost of Christmas Past - Wear a long, white robe or flowing white dress. This ghost had a candle on its head, so you'll need to wear a bright, shiny headpiece. If you can find a crown or wig with a light attached, that is ideal.
  • The ghost of Christmas Present - Wear a long, green, fur-lined robe. If you don't have naturally curly hair, wear a curly brown wig and a wreath on your head. Carry a fake torch.
  • The ghost of Christmas Yet to Come - Wear a black, hooded robe similar to a Grim Reaper costume.

Additional Variations

The basic ghost costume is easy, but can be a little boring.Try some variations to make it unique and interesting.

  • Consider pairing your ghostly suit with an evil clown mask.
  • Men can search for old tattered suits or military uniforms to portray fallen officers and gentlemen.
  • Add props like chains to do better haunting.
  • Wear an old bridal dress and be a dead bride ghost.

Have Fun

No matter what style of ghost costume you choose to make, you're sure to have a great time trick-or-treating or attending a Halloween party when you wear your outfit. Your costume will be fun, comfy, and creative, and you'll be glad to know that you made the costume yourself without having to spend a fortune.

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How to Make a Ghost Costume