DIY Grim Reaper Costume

Learn how to make an easy DIY grim reaper costume. Make a simple black cloak, wear black clothes, and add a DIY scythe for a quick costume.

My son asks to be a scary, classic Halloween character almost every year. He’s been a ghost, a vampire, and a werewolf. He has mentioned wanting to be a grim reaper, and I realized it’s one of the easiest costumes to put together.

A DIY grim reaper costume is a black cloak, either purchased or handmade, black clothes and shoes, and a DIY scythe that I made from a broom. I love easy costumes like this!

DIY Grim Reaper Costume

I actually made this black cloak for a Harry potter costume last year. It was nice to reuse it again this year! I just removed the felt patch, and it was the perfect black cloak.

The great thing about a grim reaper is that it works well with a mask! My son tie dyed and drew on this one, but a black or skeleton mouth would look really great too.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

DIY Grim Reaper Costume with mask

Carrying around the scythe would be a little annoying while trick-or-treating, but it’s definitely needed to see what the costume is.

Do you need some Halloween costume ideas? Check out these lists:

DIY Grim Reaper Costume

DIY Grim Reaper Costume


  • 2 yards of black fabric
  • 2 yards of dark red fabric
  • Aluminum foil
  • Gluestick
  • cardboard
  • Stick or broom with brush removed
  • sewing tools
  • sewing machine

Measure your child from wrist to wrist and then from shoulder to floor. Add a couple inches for seam allowance and adjustments that might be needed. (I did the exact measurements and mine turned out smaller than I thought it was going to be).

These are the measurements for a giant rectangle. From the rectangle cut a “T” shape which created the body and the sleeves. The sleeves can be wide and loose. The body can also be wide and loose.

Cut two “T’s”. Cut one on center front. Do the same to the lining.

cut out large t shape

Cut two squares for the hood. I cut mine 12 inches by 12 inches and wished I had made it just a little bit larger.

Cut a hood from the lining fabric.

cut square hood pieces

With right sides together sew the side seams and the shoulder seams with a 1/4 inch seam allowance and a straight stitch. The shoulder seam will stop about an inch past the body. Do the same to the lining.

With right sides together sew two adjacent sides and pivot at the corner. Do the same to the lining.

With right sides together pin the hood to the neckline of the cloak. The front of the hood should match up with the center front of the hood. The seam in the back of the hood should match up with the center back of the cloak’s neckline. All the seams should be open.

The shoulder seam might need to be sewn in closer or opened more so that the hood fits into the neckline. Sew the seam at 1/4 inch with a straight stitch. Back stitch at both ends.

sew lining and add hood

With right sides together pin the lining to the cloak. Match up the center fronts, the hood, and the hem. Make sure the sleeves are out of the way.

I started sewing along the hem at the side seam, up the center front, around the hood, down the other other center front, along the hem and ended at the other side seam. I left part of the hem open to turn the cloak right side out.

sew center front edges together leave hole

Turn the cloak right side out. Pull the arms right side out just like when they’re worn. Put your arm into the cloak and grab the sleeve hem.

Pull the sleeve out through the hole and sew the edges right sides together. Do the same to the other sleeve.

turn right side out through hole

Press all the edges. Topstitch around the sleeve hems. Topstitch the hem closing the hole, the center front and the hood.

Now that the cloak is finished check the fit. I had to add some cuffs to the sleeves to make them long enough for my son’s arms.

topstitch hole closed

To make the scythe gather your supplies. I had an old broken broom to reuse for the long stick I just had to removed the broken brush at the end.

get stick and cardboard

Cut two pieces of a curved knife shape from the cardboard. I found it easiest to cut one, and then trace another the same shape and cut it so they would be the same size.

cut two pieces of curved cardboard

Glue a layer of aluminum foil to the outside of each cardboard piece.

cover cardboard with aluminum foil

Tape the back end of the blade together. Wrap is around the end of the stick and tape in place.

tape faux blade onto stick

Wrap more aluminum foil around the blade to fully cover it and to give it a used look. You could even add some rust or blood to the blade if you want.

add some more aluminum foil

Put the costume together with the black cloak, the scythe, and some black clothes and shoes underneath!

If you make something using this sewing project, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!

DIY Grim Reaper Costume

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My other son wants to be a grim reaper, which is how I landed here. It totally gave me the idea to repurpose my old graduation robes and make our own scythe. Thanks for the inspiration!

I love this idea and appreciate the time you took to put this together. However, I just can’t follow the directions, as it seems like there are some steps missing. Couldn’t figure out when sleeves were sewn, and it’s hard to tell what is outer fabric and what is lining from the directions. A little more detail would have made this do-able!