25 Cheap Halloween Costumes

With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking of ways to fashion a costume that is creative without being expensive. I’ve created a list of 25 Halloween costumes that can be made with things you have around the house and maybe a purchase or two from the dollar store. Some of these costumes are ones I’ve actually done myself while others are the result of a little research/questioning of friends (thanks Molly, Ben, and Greg!). Regardless of the source, the costumes below will allow you to have loads of fun on Halloween without breaking the bank.

halloween costumes

Photo by epSos.de via Flickr

For anyone

  1. Gum on a shoe — Wear all pink and Velcro a shoe to the top of your head
  2. Jellyfish — All-white outfit, white umbrella with iridescent ribbon or streamers hanging
  3. Cowboy/Cowgirl — Jeans or denim skirt with plaid or flannel shirt, boots, and a cowboy hat
  4. Ghost — A sheet with holes for your eyes and mouth – doesn’t get much simpler than that!
  5. Bank Robber — Hooded sweatshirt or top and a ski mask, bag with monopoly money sticking out the top.
  6. Soup and crackers — Oversized T-shirt that says “Campbell’s” on it, wide brimmed hat with empty cracker boxes glued to it.
  7. Egg — All white with a yellow construction paper “yolk” taped on.
  8. Grapes — Purple balloons taped or pinned to a dress with brown tights, or a shirt with brown pants, “leaves” on a headband
  9. Cow/Dalmation/Sheep — White sweats with black spots drawn, painted or taped on. Use cotton balls instead of black spots to add texture for a sheep.
  10. Cat/Mouse — Black or grey sweats, tail, ears made out of felt, nose whiskers drawn on with eyeliner
  11. Bat — All you need is a black umbrella, some black clothing, and this tutorial
  12. Pig in a blanket — Wrap a blanket tightly around your body and wear a pig nose!
  13. Facebook wall — White sweats and a few permanent markers so that people can “sign” your wall.
  14. Highway — Black clothes, with yellow electrical tape down the length of your body and toy cars attached with Velcro

For girls/women

  1. Martha Stewart — Khakis, blue oxford, apron with Martha signature “It’s a good thing” written on the front, and crafty supplies in the apron pockets.
  2. Beauty Queen — Old dress and tiara (can be purchased at the dollar store), make a sash with a wide ribbon and iron-on letters
  3. Housewife — Bathrobe, rollers in hair, slippers – bonus points for adding cold cream to your face!
  4. Princess Leia — Long white dress and braided hair.
  5. Movie Star — Old dress with costume jewelry and large sunglasses
  6. Figure skater/ballerina — Wear an old leotard or one-piece bathing suit and a short skirt. For a figure skater add furry boots, for a ballerina socks or ballet slippers

For boys/men

  1. James Bond — If you already own one, adding a martini glass is a quick way to turn a tuxedo into a costume.
  2. Hugh Hefner — Bathrobe and pipe
  3. Priest — Wear all black, use white poster board to fashion a collar

For Couples

  1. Antony and CleopatraUse bedsheets to fashion two togas
  2. Die/pair of dice — Paint two boxes white, spray paint black dots, and cut holes for your hands and head

For more inexpensive (and fast!) Halloween costume ideas, visit Real Simple Magazine or BeingFrugal.net

Do you have any more ideas for frugal and fun Halloween get-ups? Share them in the comments!

About the Author

By , on Oct 18, 2009
Jill grew up in Texas, graduated from college in 2007 and is currently working in the DC metro area. Jill recently completed a 9-month certificate program in financial planning and will take the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) exam in November. After that she hopes to become a full-time financial planner. You can also find her as a staff writer at My Dollar Plan.

Leave Your Comment (12 Comments)

  1. Todd Denning says:

    Last year I went as a Craps Table. It was funny and at the end of the night it was removed for a little gambling action. I got the inspiration for this costume from Costume Machine at http://www.costumeexplorer.com/ .

  2. VOSIPNH says:

    I went one year as a “Smarty Pants”. I wore a Harvard sweatshirt and a pair of jeans with lots of smarties (the candy) taped to them. People had a good laugh and a great time eating my costume!

  3. Ivy says:

    One year my friends and I dressed up as devils–black leggings, red long sleeved shirts. We bought black thin plastic headbands at the dollar store and taped red cardboard cutouts of horns on top as well as red cardboard tails on our behinds. It was fun, cheap, and easy.

  4. Thanks Jill for the wonderful advices. But I think using these things is not easy as we need to have perfection in their use. Else the whole of the dress will be awful. Anyway i will surely try some and if i am able to use them properly i will surely send you a thanking mail..

  5. Lori Ingham says:

    I actually did Martha Stewart a couple of years ago, except at the time she was under house arrest, so my costume consisted of a blue shirt, white t-shirt, khaki pants, a basket with her magazines in it, a convict number written on the shirt, a set of handcuffs dangling from my wrist, and an ankle bracelet.

  6. Matt says:

    I plan to strip naked, paint my body blue, and go as Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen.

  7. Jill says:

    Love these ideas! Keep them coming – maybe next year we’ll do 50 frugal costumes! Killer “B” is too funny 🙂

  8. I love these ideas! I wear a lot of black as a rule and can always put together a black outfit with wild make up and hair to scare the kiddies. We don’t go to parties but our yard is the talk of the neighborhood, complete with ghosts, goblins and a scarey lady opening the door to dispense candy!

  9. Antony and Cleopatra using bedsheets to fashion toga is classic.

  10. Kelly Whalen says:

    We went as babies when I was a tween/teen.
    Wear pajamas, slippers, put your hair in pigtails and buy a pacifier or pacifier candy (yum!).
    If we were really creative we would use mom’s makeup to make rosy checks.

  11. Karen O says:

    More play on words ideas include: chick magnet — make a large magnet from poster board and tape small “chicks” to it, one night stand — cardboard box over your shoulders that looks like a night stand, lampshade on your head, killer bee — make a big bloody letter “B” and carry a fake knife. A friend told me about an online costume community where they have tons of ideas — it’s called costumzee.com. Happy Halloween.

  12. Along the lines of the Facebook wall, a friend of mine went as a whiteboard one year. He just wore a white shirt and we grabbed some markers and started writing humorous things from classes we’d taken on his shirt!

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