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Design a Historically Inspired Halloween Costume

Students will brainstorm ideas for a historically inspired Halloween costume and draw a picture illustrating their ideas.


  1. Have students imagine that they decided to go trick-or-treating at the last minute this year. It's too late to get a costume from the store, so they have to make their own.
  2. Tell them that they already know several friends who are dressing up as Dracula, Frankenstein, goblins and ghouls. They want their costume to be different, so it's time to think outside the box.
  3. The best solution, they decide, is to design a historically inspired costume. How they interpret this theme is up to them. They can design a costume steeped in the history of Halloween or they can pick someone famous in history and model their design after that person.
  4. Give students time brainstorm ideas. Then encourage them to draw a picture showing what their historically inspired Halloween costume would look like.


Invite students to share their drawings with the class. Challenge classmates to identify the historical inspiration for each design.


Grades 3-4:
As a class, brainstorm a list of potential ideas. Then divide the class into small groups. Encourage each group to select one idea. Have group members work together to design a simple costume to wear on Halloween.
Grades 5-6:
As a class, brainstorm a list of potential ideas. Then divide the class into pairs. Encourage partners to select one idea and draw a design for a simple costume to wear on Halloween.
Grades 7-8:
Have students complete the activity in pairs. Instruct them to conduct research to learn about the history of Halloween. Then give them time to brainstorm ideas for a costume based on the history of the holiday. Encourage each partner to design and draw his or her own costume. Compare and contrast the results.
Grades 9-10:
Have students compete the activity on their own. Encourage them to select a famous person in history and conduct research to learn about that person's life. Then challenge them to draw a simple, cost-effective design for a costume that reflects that person's personality. Encourage students to include at least three accessories that add to the design.