Inexpensive Halloween Costume Ideas

Let’s face it – no one wants to buy an expensive Halloween costume they’ll only wear once. Sure, it might be easier to quickly put one together on the day of – but all those costume pieces can really add up. Plus, store-bought costumes can sometimes be of lesser quality and expensive at the same time. If you’re looking for cheap Halloween costume ideas for you and your family, we’re here to help. Here are some budget-friendly tips to get you inspired.

Consider a DIY costume

Put those artistic skills to good use by making your own costume this year! There are many ideas out there that you can work off of, no matter your skill level. While making a costume from scratch is a bigger time commitment, you’ll be extra proud of your finished product. Here are some themes to get you started.

  • Bag of ice costume: Use plastic bags to create the look of a bag of ice and make it into a family-friendly “ice ice baby” costume.
  • Butterfly costume: Whether you choose to create wings with fabric or by painting cardboard cutouts, you can certainly generate something unique.
  • Operation board game costume: Use felt fabric to create shapes inspired by the board game and then glue them to the costume.
  • Bat costume: Cut a black umbrella in half and use it as wings. Make sure to wear all black and add in ears as well.
  • Spooky ghost: Use white sheets and cut out eyeholes, or use white makeup and gauze to make yourself look extra eerie.
  • Mummy costume: Wrap yourself from head to toe in toilet paper and bandages to achieve this look.
  • Bob Ross and Happy Little Tree: You might have to buy some art supplies for this one, but the rest of this couple’s costume is pretty simple to put together.

Work with what you have

Sometimes the inspiration comes directly from your closet. Chances are, with a little creativity, you can put together a costume based on what you already have. Use some of these ideas for encouragement or take an inventory of your closet and see what you can come up with.

  • Lumberjack costume: If your closet is stocked with flannels, this look will be easy for you to achieve.
  • Hippie costume: Got some 70’s inspired clothes in your wardrobe? Create a hippie-inspired costume and add in some temporary butterfly or flower tattoos.
  • Nerd or gamer: Go the traditional route with glasses and suspenders, or dress up like a gamer with headphones and a game controller.
  • ‘Men in Black’ costume: You’ll need a black suit and sunglasses to look like you’re walking out of the popular Will Smith movie.
  • Bread winner costume: Got a few loaves of bread around and some old trophies or medals? Together they can make a truly ‘punny’ costume.
  • Brawny man costume: All you’ll need is a fresh roll of paper towels, a red flannel, and jeans!

Rely on costume makeup

Not all costumes need accessories to make a statement. Sometimes it’s the makeup that brings a costume to life. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a professional makeup artist to achieve some of these looks. You can make it as simple or as detailed as you’d like!

These looks can be easily achieved with a bit of makeup:

  • Any animal costume (cat, dog, mouse, deer, etc.)
  • A skeleton costume
  • Pop art character
  • Zombie costume
  • Alien costume
  • A (haunted) doll

No matter what you decide to wear or how you’re celebrating, we hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween! Want more budget-friendly tips? Subscribe to First Financial’s monthly newsletter for all the latest financial resources and advice.

Halloween Fun on a Budget: 12 Costume Ideas Using Common Items in Your Home

No matter what your age, it’s hard to not get excited for Halloween. Whether you’re going to a Halloween party or trick or treating, one of the best parts is getting to dress up. Halloween costumes can be expensive, so what are some ways to save this year?

To come up with an easy Halloween costume on a budget, scan your closet or check your pantry for things that you can easily transform into festive attire. Your craft box and garage may already have the items that will level up your Halloween experience.

If you still need some inspiration for a great affordable costume, we have some fun ideas to further inspire you!

Instagram Filter

Add a modern twist to your costume party by dressing up as an Instagram Filter. Bring out one of your empty cardboard boxes from storage. Trim the box into a large rectangle to transform it into an Instagram frame. Cut out a square hole in the middle of the frame so you can peek out from behind it. Paint a filter on the frame. Get ready to pose as if you were snapping an IG selfie!

Magic 8-Ball

Bring a touch of magic to your festivities by wearing a Magic 8-Ball costume. Put on a black shirt and black pants. Cut a white piece of paper into a circle and tape it to your shirt. Snip out an “8” number from a black piece of paper and stick it to the middle of the white circle. Make a paper hat and write down some Magic 8-Ball answers on each section. Wait for others to consult you about their questions!

Audrey Hepburn

Say hello to Audrey Hepburn as you don a sleeveless little black dress to start your Breakfast at Tiffany’s look. Matching black gloves, large sunglasses, and pearls will help you nail this costume. Oh, and don’t forget that croissant and coffee for a complete ensemble.


Paint black stripes on an orange t-shirt. Prepare ear cutouts and paste them onto a headband. Don’t forget to print a mask or paint your face with orange, white, and black to finish the tiger look.


Become Clark-Kent-who’s-about-to-transform-into-Superman by wearing a Superman shirt under a jacket. Wear reading glasses as part of your disguise.

Lara Croft

Show your adventurous side along with a tank top, khaki shorts, and jungle boots. Braided hair and aviator shades will make you stand out as Lara Croft.

Wednesday Addams

Nail the classic Wednesday Addams look using a long-sleeved black dress over a white-collared shirt. Braid your hair and apply some dark lipstick too.

Stick Figure

Get a plain white shirt and matching pair of pants. Then use electrical tape to create the lines for a stick figure. Draw a head on a paper plate and wear it as your mask. Multiply the fun by making the same costume for the rest of your family.

Miss Universe

Be glamorous for Halloween by wearing an evening dress. Wear a Miss Universe sash, and flaunt your crown as you sashay the evening away.


If you’ve got a striped white shirt, suspenders, and a pair of white gloves – you’re almost ready to dress up as a mime. All you need is some white face paint and you’re good to go. And don’t forget to get into character by trying not to talk!

Greek Goddess

Take a white top sheet, wrap it around your body, and tie the two ends on your left shoulder. Get a thin belt, a cord, or a golden chain – and wrap it around your waist. Leaf accents in your hair add to the subtle charm of this Greek attire.


While we’re on the topic of top sheets, if you’ve got an old one – cut out holes for the eyes. Going as a bedsheet ghost is one of those fun, classic old school costumes everyone should try at least once!

Are You Ready to Dress Up for Halloween?

Hopefully the ideas above can inspire some costume creativity this Halloween. If you look, you’ll most likely find that your home is a treasure-trove of easy to use costume pieces that will work great for your DIY Halloween outfit – and save you money in the process.

Have a great Halloween!

Last Minute Halloween Costumes on a Budget

Halloween is almost here and that means your time to find a costume is limited. If you are like many Americans, a Halloween costume is something that seems to slip to the bottom of the list every year. Whether you are putting together a last-minute fix for your child or a low-key costume for the neighborhood party, we have a few options for you.

Stick with the classics.

Everyone knows Charlie Brown. While his dreary disposition may not seem like the ideal inspiration for a fun Halloween costume, it is important to remember that Charlie always keeps it simple. Stock up on the following materials and create your own Peanuts ghost costume. You’ll need:

  • 1 white bed sheet
  • 5 sheets of black cardboard paper
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • 1 container of glue

Punny is priceless.

Everyone knows someone who doesn’t like to dress up. If you are that person, you’re in luck, this one’s for you. This costume commandeers the style of our Canadian friends and relies heavily on denim (also known as: the Canadian tuxedo). Grab your favorite pair of jeans, a denim jacket or shirt, and one “HELLO MY NAME IS” name tag. Fill out the name tag with the name “Jean” and you’re good to go. As a bonus, this costume will definitely keep you warm even on a cool October night. Costume supplies:

  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 denim top
  • 1 “HELLO MY NAME IS” name tag
  • 1 marker
  • Denim shoes or hat (optional)

Kick it old school.

Style is always changing and with decades of life experience comes decades of outdated apparel lining the back of your closet. Dig into your closet and revitalize one of your favorite old-school looks. From the bell-bottoms and big collars of the 70’s to the big hair and bright colors of 80’s – your Halloween costume is probably hiding in your closet, you just have to find it. This one’s easy – you’ll need:

  • Willingness to relive past fashion mistakes (and have fun with it!)

At the end of the day, Halloween is about having fun. Keep the stress and the cost low this year and handle the whole process in-house with these easy last minute costume ideas. Happy Halloween!

5 Ways to Slash Halloween Costume Costs

October is not just about getting that pumpkin spice fix, but also finding the perfect Halloween costume.

According to the National Retail Federation Halloween survey, Americans are expected to spend $9 billion on the holiday. Because both adults and children celebrate Halloween, 8% of shoppers plan to buy costumes for a projected total of $3.2 billion.

Here are 5 ways you can avoid feeling haunted by sticker shock this Halloween season:

Expand your store options: Don’t just limit yourself to your standard go-to’s like Walmart, Target or Spirit of Halloween. Check out Walgreens, the dollar store, Party City, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Kohls, warehouse stores like Costco, Sam’s or BJ’s, thrift shops and consignment stores. You may be surprised by the finds and discounts available.

Take a detour from the Halloween aisle: Sometimes finding a deal on kids’ costumes means exploring other areas of the store. You really do pay more for seasonal costumes set aside for Halloween. Try checking the toy aisle for dress up outfits or the kids sleepwear section for action hero or princess options with a cheaper price tag. If your kids are into sports, take a look at the athletic/active section of the store.

Explore online deals: Check online coupon offerings found on deal sites like or

Get creative: Why not get crafty this year and make your own costumes? Or, build an outfit around a staple piece like a wizard’s cloak (dust off that graduation cap and gown), a cape or a mask. Let your imagination run wild. Maybe you could put your own twist on a popular character, superhero or villain. Just make sure your ambition doesn’t lead to spending more money (or time), to bring your vision to life.

Timing is everything: Either buy your costumes early on or just before Halloween to find the best bargains. If you don’t mind having your options limited to whatever is left, then wait until the last minute for deals on the Halloween items retailers want to move. The BEST time to buy costumes and decorations is actually AFTER Halloween. Hitting the stores November 1 will land you savings of anywhere from 50% to 75% off – perfect for next year!

Article Source: Myriam DiGiovanni for