Nerd Costume Ideas: How to Make a Homemade Nerd Costume

Updated on October 28, 2019
emmaklarkins profile image

I love making my own costumes for Halloween and other dress-up events.

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This is me in my completed DIY nerd costume!
This is me in my completed DIY nerd costume!
This is me in my completed DIY nerd costume!

Your One-Stop Nerd Shop

I heard you wanted nerd costume ideas to satisfy your hunger for an awesome outfit this year, fellow Earthling. That's excellent because I've got some nifty tips for you right here! Jeepers, isn't that swell?

As far as qualifications go, well, I was on the math team and in the chess club for eight years. I hope that's enough to establish my "nerd cred!" To all you nerd-lovers out there ready to get up in arms: yes, this costume involves stereotypes, but that's what costumes are all about! And if you want to explore the other end of the spectrum, check out my punk costume article.

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Glasses bought for $2 at Goodwill. Time to modify: 5 minutes.Place on a cloth to cushion, and apply pressure to lens.If that doesn't work, use a screwdriver or awl on the lens edge.Got it! Glasses with a collection of tools.Both lenses out.
Glasses bought for $2 at Goodwill. Time to modify: 5 minutes.
Glasses bought for $2 at Goodwill. Time to modify: 5 minutes.
Place on a cloth to cushion, and apply pressure to lens.
Place on a cloth to cushion, and apply pressure to lens.
If that doesn't work, use a screwdriver or awl on the lens edge.
If that doesn't work, use a screwdriver or awl on the lens edge.
Got it! Glasses with a collection of tools.
Got it! Glasses with a collection of tools.
Both lenses out.
Both lenses out.

The Glasses

No nerd costume is complete without big geeky eyeglasses. I found mine at a local Goodwill thrift store.

Time to modify: 5 minutes.

  1. Buy a pair of cheap glasses at a thrift store or drug store. I got mine for $2 at Goodwill.
  2. If you have a mini-screwdriver, you can use this to loosen or remove the little screws keeping the lenses in place.
  3. Heating the glasses with a blow-drier or warm (not boiling!) water can also loosen the lenses.
  4. If that doesn't work, use a screwdriver or awl on the lens edge to pry out the lenses.

Pro tip: To truly make these glasses scream "Nerd!" just like a gaggle of high school bullies from the 80's, hell-bent on making life miserable for anyone not in the cool kid clique, you need to add the good ol' tape, a la "a jock broke my glasses and I took it upon myself to fix them." Masking tape, duct tape, scotch tape - the tape world is your oyster. This is how you express your nerd personality!

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Clip-on ties work great for nerd costumes because you don't have to struggle to put them on correctly. Had to take a break for some serious cuteness. The most adorable little nerd ever!
Clip-on ties work great for nerd costumes because you don't have to struggle to put them on correctly.
Clip-on ties work great for nerd costumes because you don't have to struggle to put them on correctly.
Had to take a break for some serious cuteness. The most adorable little nerd ever!
Had to take a break for some serious cuteness. The most adorable little nerd ever!

The Tie

I found this cute little clip-on tie at Goodwill for about $3. It's a little plain for a nerd tie, but I think it works with the rest of the costume. Alternately, you can use a bow tie or even a regular tie. If you can find a particularly goofy or obnoxious tie, even better.

It's worth noting, however, that a nerd will not always wear a neck ornament: see Revenge of the Nerds for an example. It all depends on what kind of a nerd look you're going for; let your logical mind assess the best possible tie configuration.

A short or long-sleeved button-down shirt works best.
A short or long-sleeved button-down shirt works best.

The Shirt

The stereotypical nerd (whom we see in movies, often sporting a pocket protector sprouting out of a shirt pocket) usually wears a button-down shirt. It helps to set him (or her) apart from the regular masses in their tees and polos.

I was lucky enough to have a white button-down in my closet (although, unfortunately, I didn't own a shirt with pockets). If you don't have an appropriate button-down shirt, preferably one with a loud pattern, you can easily find one at your local thrift store. Make sure to button your shirt all the way to the top (another hallmark of nerd style!).

Pants, Socks, and Shoes

It's important to get something epic for the nerd costume pants. Again, loud patterns that you wouldn't usually wear are good, and again, you'll probably have no problem finding these kinds of pants at your local thrift store. You can also just wear khaki pants, but don't forget to make sure they're SHORT! Pants that hit at or above the ankle are a signature nerd calling card. The reasons for this are unclear - perhaps there's a correlation between intelligence and height? Or perhaps nerds can't find pants that fit because they're too busy studying quantum physics? If you need to, you can always roll up or pin the pants to make them appear shorter.

A quick note about belts: if you're wearing your pants high, you might need to get a new belt for this costume, as often your waist is a different size than your hips. Suspenders are also a great way to complete the look, especially brightly colored or patterned ones.

Socks and shoes should contrast. If you're going to wear dark leather shoes, make sure you wear bright white socks. And if you're wearing white tennis shoes, dark socks are the ticket. Of course, socks with designs on them work too, especially if you can find some really nerdy ones!

This is the final result of my DIY nerd costume efforts.
This is the final result of my DIY nerd costume efforts.

Nerd Accesories

I might still tweak it a bit. I think that I could at least find a nerdier shirt, and maybe shorten the pants a bit. Some extra accessories you might want to add if you feel inspired:

  • Pocket protector (the ultimate nerd item!)
  • A sweater vest or cardigan for costume warmth and maximum nerdiness
  • A textbook or notebook and pen
  • If you're a girl, try some nerd hairstyles: pigtails, braids, or a ponytail.
  • If you plan to carry a bag, go for a backpack or simple messenger bag. Remember: function over style.
  • A love of learning and a nerdy attitude!

And remember the most important thing: have fun!

The best nerd ever is . . .

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Questions & Answers

    Got Your Own Nerd Halloween Costume Ideas? - Share Them Here!

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      • lilymom24 profile image

        lilymom24 

        8 years ago

        I'm too late for Halloween but I love the glasses and the dog wearing the tie is just too cute. Also wanted to thank you for blessing one of my lenses. I tried to leave you a message on your bio page but was not able to. Thanks again. =)

      • kislanyk profile image

        Marika 

        8 years ago from Cyprus

        Just saw this one on the front page and had to look! Awesome costume ideas for nerds!

      • pheonix76 profile image

        pheonix76 

        8 years ago from WNY

        Great tips! I am totally a nerd anyway. :)

      • MacPharlain profile image

        MacPharlain 

        8 years ago

        NERD!!! Fun lens and good costume tips.

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        8 years ago

        hahaha..this is really an interesting, informative and funny all at the same time!

      • kjbranch77 profile image

        kjbranch77 

        8 years ago

        haha Awesome lens!

      • Rantsand profile image

        Rantsand 

        8 years ago

        LOL great lens, I was a nerd once....wait, I still am !

      • Scarlettohairy profile image

        Peggy Hazelwood 

        8 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

        You nailed it, Nerd Lady.

      • profile image

        CatJGB 

        8 years ago

        Ah, this is too cool! I'll use these ideas next time I have to dress up in costume. My hubby is into d'n'd so we could both go as nerds! Hahahahaha!

      • jptanabe profile image

        Jennifer P Tanabe 

        8 years ago from Red Hook, NY

        Oh yes, my closet has plenty of nerd costume opportunities!

      • profile image

        pawpaw911 

        8 years ago

        Enjoyed the lens. Very funny. Now I know I won't even have to change clothes for Halloween :)

      • profile image

        iwrite4cash 

        8 years ago

        Fantastic lens, it was a very enjoyable read indeed!

      • zimbali2011 profile image

        zimbali2011 

        8 years ago

        LOL! enjoyed it :) great lens

      • ikari1976 profile image

        ikari1976 

        8 years ago

        hahaha awesome pic!!!

      • KANEsUgAr profile image

        KANEsUgAr 

        8 years ago

        never occurred to me to dress like a nerd. such cute ideas, i love it!

      • profile image

        sojourner-1 

        8 years ago

        Great nerd lens. It's always the glasses that seems to complete a nerd outfit.

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        8 years ago

        nice job! way to go dressing up as a nerd for the whole world to see, you'd make a great nerd too (this means I liked it), keep up the good work on all your lens, love running into them.

      • profile image

        cash37 

        8 years ago

        Love the nerd glasses!

      • Mclure2 profile image

        Mclure2 

        8 years ago

        Best nerd is bill gates

      • elyria profile image

        elyria 

        8 years ago

        So fun and so easy to make, love your Lens! The doggie looks pretty cute too :)

      • profile image

        fefe42 

        8 years ago

        Wow, you've got a great costume there! I voted for Steve Urkel but I also really like Bill from Freaks and Geeks...he's the funniest nerd ever. *blessed*

      • Mary Crowther profile image

        Mary Crowther 

        8 years ago from Havre de Grace

        Fun lens! Love the dog with the tie!

      • Wendy Leanne profile image

        Wendy Leanne 

        8 years ago from Texas

        Awesome lens. Loved it.

      • lasertek lm profile image

        lasertek lm 

        8 years ago

        This is a great costume idea!

      • Chris-H LM profile image

        Chris-H LM 

        8 years ago

        Nerds rule! Pocket protectors are a must although I must say I prefer a bow tie or a bolo (Tex-mex nerd) :P

      • Lee Hansen profile image

        Lee Hansen 

        8 years ago from Vermont

        Sheesh, Emma. I had those exact safety glasses in junior high. Complete with scratched lenses and tape - for real. I'm still a geeky nerd, but I'm a grandma now so it's cool.

      • howards522 profile image

        howards522 

        8 years ago

        The only thing missing is the pencil holder that goes in the shirt pocket! Great Lens!

      • Gloriousconfusion profile image

        Diana Grant 

        8 years ago from United Kingdom

        I think I was a nerd 50 years ago, before the word was even invented, and now my grandchildren are carrying on the tradition, what with World of Warcraft (WoW to the cognoscenti) and studying pure Maths (Math if you're American, but I challenge that) at Uni.

        I would certainly dress as myself, were I to indulge in Halloween, as opposed to merely distributing sweeties to trick-or-treat pests.

        Here are some Angel Blessings

      • Diana Wenzel profile image

        Renaissance Woman 

        8 years ago from Colorado

        A great nerd outfit. Those are perfect creds, too, for having authority on the right costume. :-)

      • FitVision profile image

        FitVision 

        8 years ago

        Some great ideas here. And an entertaining read! Thanks :)

      • donaldwilson profile image

        Don Wilson 

        8 years ago from Yakima, WA

        Cool! I can just dress up as myself.

      • emmaklarkins profile imageAUTHOR

        emmaklarkins 

        8 years ago

        @ErHawkns7100: I agree! Except it would be hard because, like you say, nerds aren't the underdogs anymore!

      • profile image

        ErHawkns7100 

        8 years ago

        It's time to remake Revenge of the Nerds. Nerds will always be popular, we rule the world!

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        8 years ago

        Amazing, how nerdy you look..

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