Last Minute Ugly Halloween Sweater from a Thrifted Sweatshirt

Get your Ugly Halloween Sweater game on by transforming a thrifted sweatshirt into a seasonal "craftcore" gem. Ugly sweaters don’t just come around once a year anymore.

If you don’t have a good idea for a costume this year, consider turning your thrifted sweatshirt into an ugly Halloween sweater instead of wearing a costume. It’s a great last minute alternative to a costume. 

According to Nylon magazine, Craftcore is fashion’s most influential “subculture” this year. Crafting is about giving your clothes a homemade feel.

Thrifted sweatshirts are a great place to start. They’re begging for personalization. Here’s five steps to make a thrifted sweatshirt from Goodfair into a DIY crafted Halloween design.  

1. Thrift a sweatshirt

It all starts with a tough decision: crewneck or hoodie? Shop our sweatshirts here. 

Man wearing Goodfair thrifted crewneck sweatshirt

2. Prep your sweatshirt 

Did you know 100% Acetone nail polish remover (it costs about a dollar) can actually remove vinyl lettering from a sweatshirt? I know, right? This is the thrifter’s dream come true. 

Even if you’re not removing any of your sweatshirt’s flair, just pop it in the wash to freshen up your find.  

3. Pick a theme 

Whether you want to make it spooky or make it cute, it helps to have a concept. Get inspiration from pop culture sources such as scary movies or old death metal bands. You might want to watch footage from these classics to get you in the mood:  

- Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video

- Marilyn Manson’s anything

- Nightmare on Elm Street

- The Shining

- Alien (the movie) 

- Beetlejuice

- Edward Scissor Hands

- The Addams Family

- Scream

- Texas Chainsaw Massacre

- The Ring

- Hitchcock films

- Gremlin films


skull and crossbones spray paint stencil

4. Use iron-on lettering for words.

If you’ve ever watched anything DIY on Tiktok, you’ll know that you can print out letters on iron-on paper, cut them out, and iron them on to clothes. Search for HeatnBond EZ Print Sheets. “Boo” is a good place to start, but I think you can do better. 

5. Add (or subtract) ugly details.  

Here are a few ways to personalize your sweater:
  • Get out the glue gun for 3-D additions. You can attach thrifted Halloween decor like plastic spiders or bobbly eyes directly onto the sweater. 
  • Use stencils and spray paint for repeated patterns. Cut out your ghost, bat, pumpkin or witch design with cardboard and spray up your sweatshirt for an all over design.
  • Add embroidery. For a crafted approach, embroider your design into the top right corner or onto the collar of your sweatshirt. This is best for those with patience.
  • Personalize with scissors. You can crop it, add horizontal “slashes” to the sleeves, or fringe to give your ugly halloween sweater its own unique look. 
  • Make orange and black yarn pom poms and sew rows of them down the sleeves.
  • Add patches in Halloween shapes like Jack-O-Lantern cut outs.  

Embroidery of insects

Once you’ve gone down the rabbit hole of craftcore to make your Halloween Sweater, snap a photo and post it on IG. Don’t forget to tag us: @goodfair. 

Have more Halloween sweater ideas? Tell us in the comments. 


Article written by Erica Eller

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