Cheap Halloween Costumes
Halloween Costumes for Toddlers
Halloween on a Dime
Trick or Treat 'Em: Halloween Decorations
Of Sharks and Bears
I made cheap and unique costumes for my 3 year old twin boys last year. I used sweatpants and hooded sweatshirts for both. One was a shark (gray, of course) with white, felt 'teeth' glued around the hood opening and a gray, felt 'fin' (with cardboard inside to keep its shape) attached to the back of the sweatshirt, with safety pins.
My other son wore a black bear costume. I attached a fake, white fur tail on the rear of the black sweatpants, and created cute ears with black felt and fake, white fur glued to the top of the hood on the black sweatshirt. Very simple to make, but oh, so cute.
And best of all, when the holiday was over we could remove all the trimmings on the sweatpants. They were able to wear the sweatsuits all winter!
This is when creativity makes dollar stretching better than buying things. Here's a thing I did once. We went as characters from the Wizard of Oz. I gathered big cans from the hospital and wired them together. Together with a funnel and some makeup, my husband became The Tin Man. Baby can be a scarecrow, and, with some grossly painted red shoes and pig tails and a homemade pinafore, you can be Dorothy. Of course, that leaves out the lion, but a sewing machine could solve that if you had any sewing skills at all. I'm sure there are lots of patterns in the fabric dept. of your Wal-Mart.
It's fun, because even the worst seamstress can make things to last for one evening.
Little Old Lady
One of the best and most inexpensive costumes ever used in my house was last year's costume for my 12 year-old daughter. After weeks of thinking about it, she just couldn't decide what "to be" for Halloween. I came up with the idea of an old lady.
We went to a Goodwill store and bought an old-lady type navy blue polka dot dress, a navy blue purse, an old hat and a couple of pieces of old costume jewelry. Then we went to Wal-Mart and bought a large-size bra. We stuffed the bra with fiberfill stuffing (which I already had). I was able to borrow a gray wig from a friend.
This was one of the best costumes ever! Everyone who saw her just loved it. She even won first prize at a party held at her Saturday-morning bowling league. (Everyone bowls in costume the Saturday before Halloween.)
The cost was minimal for us. And with a bit more advanced planning, you could probably get most of what you need from family members or friends.
Which Color Are You?
Easy-reusable crayon costume. One of the best things is that it is warm and comfortable. It can be used for adults or children. You can layer t-shirts or turtlenecks underneath as needed.
- Any solid color sweat-suit. (Purchase at discount store or factory outlet.)
- black felt
- tacky glue (This is the kind of glue that stays tacky when dried, allowing you to peel-off and re-attach objects.)
- poster board to match the sweat-suit
- piece of elastic
Use an actual crayon to pattern the words/logos, enlarging them scaled to the size of the person. Cut out shapes/letters from black felt. Apply tacky glue to shapes. When dry, place on sweat-suit. (Tip: It's easier to do this while wearing the sweat-suit.)
Make a cone shaped hat (the crayon's point) out of the poster board. Make an appropriate-sized cone and either staple, tape, or glue the ends. Staple the ends of the elastic on the cone to create a chin-strap to keep the hat on your head.
A friend and I did this together for a party. She was blue and I was green. A family could be a whole box of crayons! The black felt can be peeled off and re-used for another costume and the sweatsuit can be worn the rest of the year.
Build Me a Costume
What you'll need:
- Child's sweat suit with matching top and bottom in solid color that you already have.
- Cardboard shoe box (you've been saving in case you'd need one day.)
- Medium shipping box, preferably rectangle shaped and the size of child's back (recycle one you've received.)
- 6 small plastic butter containers, washed and dried, or clean tuna cans
- 4 or 6 small round lids, such as the lids from your PAM spray, peanut butter jars, or (these work best) 4 cleaned out cans of the tiny wet cat food cans with the peel-back lids or Vienna Sausage cans.
- Approximately 4 yards of ribbon in the color of the sweat suit. (As cheap as 15 cents a yard at discount stores.)
- 1 or 2 cans of cheap spray paint that matches the color of the sweat suit. ($1 at Wal-Mart.)
- Optional: face paint in the color of the sweat suit.
- Optional: Hair spray paint in the color of the sweat suit.
Using a hot glue gun, attach the 6 small lids to the medium box to resemble a LEGO. Do the same with the smaller lids/cans and attach with tons of hot glue to the shoe box. For smaller shoe box use 4 lids, larger use 6 lids to resemble a LEGO. With a sharp knife, cut holes in the sides of the boxes (the long sides of the rectangles) large enough to thread the ribbon through. Take them out in the yard and spray them with several coats of paint, letting dry between coats. When dry, thread 1 yard lengths of ribbon through each of the 4 holes, knotting at one end to the box securely.
Dress child in sweat suit and tie the larger box on their back. If child is young you may want to wrap the ribbon around their chest, circle to their back and tie in a bow behind them so they are less inclined to pull the bow loose. If using the face and hair paint, apply to the child being careful to avoid their eyes. Tie the shoe box LEGO on their head like a hat and you've got the cutest LEGO costume in the world for $2-$10 (depending on the materials you choose to use.) To make it complete, dump out your child's LEGO brand building blocks bucket that has a handle and have them use it as their candy container!
The artistically inclined can pain the word LEGO in a darker shade of the color on the sides of the boxes or on the front of the sweatshirt for added effect. The kids get plenty of oohs and ahhhs at the door with this quick, cute, and best of all cheap costume!
Oscar the Grouch
Here, the entire cost ($20) was for a Rubbermaid garbage can and a fake mustache.
I cut a hole in the bottom of the trash can, so I could stand in it and pull it up under my arms. Then I punched a few holes in the rim, and ran some clothesline cord in a criss-cross pattern to make a harness. Inside the can, I used duct tape to fasten a halved 2 liter bottle. I took a green baseball and put very strong double sided tape on top - then fastened the garbage can top onto it. Finally, I colored a picture of Oscar himself and taped it to the outside of the can.
I wore green sweats, and cut the mustache in two and taped each piece over my eyebrows for a bushy look. I put some clean but crumpled up tissues inside the empty bottle within the can. I put on my hat-turned-lid and carefully balanced it. I also had a finger puppet worm (Oscar's friend Slimy).
The best part was acting like a grouch all night - and throwing the tissues at people!
Take the Next Step:
- For clever costume ideas on the cheap, visit the Halloween costume section of the TDS library.
- No time for a DIY costume this year? Shop the newest costumes available at HalloweenCostumes.com!
- Plan an old fashioned Halloween party! From FamilyCorner.com.
- Make your own Halloween monster make-up.
We're still paying off last Christmas and worry how we'll afford the holidays this year without charging it again! Tell us: Yes, we could use help getting out of the debt trap we're in! or No, debt is not a problem for us but I'm always looking for ways to trim my family's expenses further!
More Money-Saving Tips for Families
- Best September bargains for thrifty shoppers
- 5 big bills you can cut fast
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- 4 steps to a simpler (and more frugal) life
- Start now and have a stress free Christmas later
- Raising money for your school, church or non-profit group
- Inexpensive storybook costume ideas
- Organizing the disorganized mom
- This week's Readers' Tips