Cheap Halloween costume ideas

11 Halloween Costumes That Won't Scare Your Budget

by Lisa Norris

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With Halloween fast approaching, both of my children have been talking at great length about the costume they want for this year. Being that we are living on only one income, we are having to improvise on costumes. I thought that other frugal moms and dads might like to know of some of the ideas we came up with.

  1. Ghost: this is always an inexpensive costume. Just cut holes in an old sheet. If you don't have an old one, I found a twin size one at a discount store for $3.00. We cut holes in it, drew on some chains, spider web, etc.. with a permanent marker.
  2. Angel: Use a sheet like for the ghost, spray it lightly with some clear spray paint and toss glitter on it before the paint has a chance to dry. Make a halo and the wings out of clothes hangers covered with aluminum foil.
  3. Nerd: My son won first place last year with this costume. Too small pants, shirt buttoned up wrong, hair slicked back, old pair of glasses with tape, white socks, BIG book to carry under his arm. Cost was ZERO.
  4. Bum or Hobo: Old clothes, dad's garden or old work clothes are great, old hat, use watercolor paint to put beard on him.
  5. Clown: Use mismatched oversized or too small clothes from everyone's escape the cost of a wig, make a hat from construction paper or use an old one, decorate it outlandishly with flowers, pins, etc...
  6. Ninja: Black clothes, my son who is eleven used a pair of stretch pants of mine that were to small for me, they were baggy just like ninja clothes. Make a ninja mask out of a small scrap of black cloth. Instead of buying make believe weapons, make them out of card- board and color and cover with aluminum foil - easy to make Ninja stars, knife. Take two paper towel rolls, connect with piece of twine, cover them with black construction paper and you have num-chucks.
  7. Tourist: loud clothes, camera, hat, maps sticking out of every pocket, use your imagination.
  8. Princess: Use one of mom's old slips, hem and take up enough to fit little girl. You can get sparkly netting at a discount store. 2 or 3 yards attached to the bottom half of the slip will make a billowy skirt. Use a long length of it doubled and wrap around the shoulders, clasp it with a pretty pin. Mom's jewelry and makeup add the finishing touch.
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  10. Soldier or hunter: Living in the south, everyone we know has camouflage clothing, just piece together what ever combination you want, apply some paint to the face. We borrowed a canteen, compass and backpack from a friend we was a boy scout.
  11. Rock Star: Torn clothes, spike their hair using hair spray. Make jewelry with safety pins, clip on earrings, the dog's collar :). Paint their face with makeup. The only thing we bought was some spray on hair coloring.
  12. Hippie: old clothes, sandals. We dyed our own shirt by using some old fabric paint that would not squeeze out of the bottle good, cut the top off and mixed it with water and dipped the shirt in then drew symbols on it with a permanent marker. Top off the outfit with a bandana, sun glasses and a pack of cigarettes (deck of cards) rolled up in the sleeve.

These are just a few of the ideas that my kids and I came up with during our "Costume Brain-Storming Session". Hope you enjoy them.

Updated October 2013

Take the Next Step:

  • For clever costume ideas on the cheap, check out the TDS Guide to a Frightfully Frugal Halloween.
  • Scare up some of these Halloween fun and games.
  • ake some frugal Halloween treats for everyone with these recipes.
  • It's tough raising kids today! You need every time and money saving idea you can find. That's why you'll want to get our free weekly Dollar Stretcher for Parents newsletter. You'll find great ideas designed just for parents that will help your family 'live better...for less'! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.

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