A DIY Group 'Hey Arnold' Halloween Costume That Is Perfectly Nostalgic

If you're looking for a fun, retro, '90s kid approved Halloween costume, look no further. There's a few reasons why I'm an expert in this arena, and it isn't just because I won a bottle of vodka for exacting a '90s group costume based on a cartoon before. No, it's because I have done a Hey Arnold group Halloween costume myself and it was as fun to parade around in as it was easy to create. Plus, it was a huge hit. The costume was the envy of Halloween lovers all over NYC. At least, that's what some very nice drunken party-goers made me believe with all of their ego boosting compliments.

You know what else I am fairly good at as a twenty-something writer drowning in student debt? Not spending a lot of money on things. Yes, this is a public admittance that I am, at least when it comes to myself, cheap.

So, let's rehash. If you're looking for an A+ group costume that'll get you lots of cred with your similarly aged peers and you don't want to spend a lot of money, pay very close attention. I see your Halloween needs and I raise you a perfect solution to all of them. (Except on how to find a good party that isn't also so crowded it doubles as a sauna. Still working on that part, for sure.)

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The Hair (Aka The Things You And Your Pals Can Chip In For Together)

Adhesive Felt, $1 per sheet, Michael's

Adhesive felt from Michael's is only $1.53 per sheet. For Helga and Arnold, buy yellow felt. For Gerald's hair, buy black felt. Basically, this task doesn't require much artistic talent. Outline and then cut the shape of your character's hair on two separate sheets, so that it can ultimately be three dimensional. So, for Gerald, front and back. For Helga, two sides for each pig tail and one sheet for her bangs. For Arnold, two for each side of his wacky, spaced out hair.

From there, take a bit of toilet paper or tissue paper and crumble it up. You're going to stick it in the middle of each hair pieces and stick the ends of both sides of the adhesive together, so it becomes three dimensional. Make sure to leave enough room on the edges of the felt so that you can use the hot glue gun to fasten the hair to the headband. For example, here's me as Helga in 2013:

If you don't have a hot glue gun, you can get one from Michael's. This one's only $5.99.

And, a three-pack of Scunci headbands from Walmart. One for each of you.

Scunci Headbands, $5, Walmart



It's lucky for us that plaid is all over the damn place, isn't it? Grab a red or orange plaid shirt from your closet. If you somehow don't have one, you can get one from H&M for $12.99.

Orange Plaid Shirt, $13, H&M

Or, this one from Old Navy

Orange Plaid Shirt, $30, Old Navy

And, obviously, a green sweater and/or shirt big enough to throw over the plaid shirt, like this one.

Green Sweater, $10, Forever21

Or this one from Target for $12.

Don't forget to to put the plaid shirt collar over the neck of the sweater... V. important!

Also, get yourself a nondescript blue hat. This one from Walmart works just fine and it's only $3.99. Glue the edges of the hat onto the top of the headband, right smack dab in the middle of Arnold's felt hair gap.

Adjustable Baseball Cap, $7, Walmart

Other than that, Arnold is pretty simple. Throw on a pair of jeans you undoubtedly have and a pair of black shoes. Sneakers are preferable, but honestly, anything short of flip-flops could work.



First things first, you'll need a plain, white undershirt. You probably already have one. If you don't, borrow someone's, anyone's. A guy, a girl, your ex... just don't waste your money on one. They're too easy to come by otherwise. The main aspect of the Helga costume other than, of course, the hair? The dress. A short, pink dress, specifically. You can get one cheap, like this one from H&M:

Pink Short Jersey Dress, $8, H&M

And this one from Forever 21:

Dusty Pink Dress, $18, Forever 21

You'll also need white sneakers. Whether they're the old Keds you have in your closet or your sister's Converses, don't spend extra to get them. In fact, if you have a pair of white flats lying around, those could work, too. Just wear 'em with socks.

You will need to buy a pink ribbon, though. One, that once you tie it, is big and floppy enough to pack the right punch. You can get this type of ribbon at Michael's.

Pink Ribbon, $4, Michael's

Glue it onto the top of your headband hairpiece, above the faux bangs.



If you're Gerald in this group costume trio, you are undoubtedly the luckiest. Not only because Gerald is my fave, but because his costume is just. too. easy. Get yourself a long-sleeved, red shirt.

For instance, this one from Walmart:

Crew Neck Long Sleeve T-Shirt, $5-$10, Walmart

Being that the shirt is cheap, you can go at this one of two ways. You can either use that handy dandy felt you chipped in on and draw out the number "33" and paste it onto your shirt. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, you can get white Scribbles fabric spray paint from Michael's and paint the numbers on.

White Scribbles Fabric Paint, $1, Michael's

The rest of the outfit? Throw on a pair of jeans and if you have red sneakers, wear 'em. If you aren't in possession of red sneakers, cause let's be honest, that's a bold color, you can get these red Levis sneakers from Walmart for $17.99:

Levis Sneakers, $18, Walmart

There you have it. You'll look like a rag tag group of '90s city school kids in no time. See? Not too bad, right?

Images: Nickelodeon; H&M; Walmart; Target; Forever21; Michael's; Old Navy