DIY Grim Reaper Costume

heather handmade sewing

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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

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

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

What fabric should I use to make a costume robe?

The best fabric to use is any woven apparel fabric like lawn, chambray, gauze, satin, rayon, and linen. Lawn, chambray, and gauze are great for cotton robes. Satin, rayon, and linen are lightweight fabrics with a lot of drape. They also have a slight sheen so they would make a great dressy robe.

You can also use quilting cotton to make a robe. It will have to be ironed but it is the easiest to find and the easiest to sew. The brown robe is made from a polyester cotton woven fabric blend. The black and red robe is made from two different quilting cottons.

What sizes does the pattern come in?

The pattern comes in child sizes 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. That’s eight sizes so you can find the best fit. The pattern also comes with a rounded hood and a pointed hood to work with lots of different costumes.

DIY Grim Reaper Costume with mask

What is a PDF sewing pattern?

A PDF pattern is a sewing pattern designed on the computer and organized so that it can be printed on several letter or A4 size pieces of paper.

I love using PDF sewing patterns because if the pattern gets ruined or if my children or I changed sizes, I can always print it again. It’ll never be destroyed since I have a digital version!

How do you use a PDF sewing pattern?

Open the PDF on a computer and click print. When printing make sure that the scaling is set to 100% or no scaling so that the pattern prints at the correct size.

Once the pattern is printed it can be taped together to get the full size. Then the pattern can be cut for each pattern piece size or individual sizes can be traced so that the pattern can be used again and again. Learn how to use PDF sewing patterns.

DIY Grim Reaper Costume

DIY Grim Reaper Costume


  • Free costume robe sewing pattern – get it at the end of the post behind the locked content box
  • 3 yards of black fabric
  • 3 yards of dark red or black fabric fabric
  • Aluminum foil
  • Gluestick
  • cardboard
  • Stick or broom with brush removed
  • sewing tools
  • sewing machine

Cut out these pieces from both fabrics:

  • 1 back on the fold
  • 2 fronts mirrored
  • 2 sleeves on the fold
  • 2 hoods mirrored
cut out all the pieces

Match up the shoulder seams right sides together and sew. Backstitch when you start and when you stop. Press the seam allowance towards the back. Do both the outer fabric and the lining.

sew the shoulders

Match up the hoods right sides together and sew the top and the back. Backstitch when you start and when you stop. Do both the outer fabric and the lining.

If you are doing the pointed hood make sure to pivot at the corner and trim the seam allowances. If you are doing the rounded hood just sew a nice curve.

sew the hood and clip the corners

Match up the hood to the neckline of the robe with right sides together. The center fronts and the center backs should line up. Sew the seam and backstitch when you start and when you stop. Do both the outer fabric and the lining. Press the seams up towards the hood.

sew the hood to the neckline

Match up each sleeve to each armscye with right sides together. Sew the sleeves in and backstitch when you start and when you stop. Do both the outer fabric and the lining. Press the seams towards the sleeves.

sew the sleeves to the shoulders

Match up the side seams and the sleeve seams with right sides together. The sleeve seam allowance should point towards the sleeves. Sew and backstitch when you start and when you stop. Do both the outer fabric and the lining.

sew the side and sleeve seams

Turn the outer robe right side out. Slide it inside the robe lining so that the right sides are facing. Match up the hems and the center front up around the hood. Sew the hem and the front. Leave a 10 inch hole for turning and backstitch when you start and when you stop.

sew the hem and the front

Trim the corners at the bottom front corner to reduce the bulk.

clip the corners

Turn the robe right side out through the hole.

Push the sleeves in place. Grab the sleeve hem sleeve allowance through the hole and sew the sleeve ends together. Do the same to the other sleeve.

sew the sleeve hems

Push the sleeves back in place. Edgestitch the hem to close the hole and up the center front and around the front of the hood. This will keep the edges nice and crisp, and it will help keep the lining in place.

edgestitch the front edges and hem to close the hole

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!

Get the Free Sewing Pattern here!

DIY Grim Reaper Costume

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!

heather sewing

I believe small sewing moments can create great joy. Find your own “right” way to sew. -Heather

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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!