7 Cheap Halloween Costume Ideas

Cheap Halloween Costume Ideas

Why break the bank for a Halloween costume you’ll wear a grand total of once?

Hello BOILS and GHOULS! As the leaves on the trees begin to turn to BOOtiful SHADES of yellow and DEAD, it’s GRIME to start thinking about what costume you’re going to SCARE for Halloween!

You want to have a spooky great look, but you also don’t want to wipe out your entire GRAVE-ings account.That’s why we’re FEAR with some suggestions for CREEPER Halloween costumes.

1. With “It”

This year’s biggest horror movie is the remake of Stephen King’s It. Or, at least, that’s what we’ve been told. We’re too scared to actually see it. (But we hear good things!)

A full Pennywise the clown costume might be a little expensive, but there are cheap alternatives! Just get a friend to do the face makeup, and then cut a rectangular hole in a sheet of cardboard.

Color it to look like a storm drain, staple a string that you can tie around your head, and you can recreate (spooky spoilers) this iconic movie moment  without getting a full body costume together. Bonus points for having a little paper boat.

2. Going batty

What animal is most associated with Halloween?

That’s right: any animal with a skeleton because skeletons are spooky. But bats are a close second. And the Evil Mad Scientist site has brilliant instructions for an affordable bat costume.

Just cut up one of those cheap umbrellas as the instructions describe and attach it under your arms in a plain black outfit. Or attach it to fancy clothes and wear some cheap fangs if you want to be an aristocratic vampire.

3. [Cheap TV reference]

Cheap TV references can make for cheap costumes. And they don’t have to be current! In fact, it’s almost better if they’re older, because then you can make a new friend every time someone recognizes your costume. Do you like The Office? You could make yourself a version of Jim’s three-hole punch costume for under a buck. For a bit of a throwback, Wilson from Home Improvement just takes a fishing hat and a section of fence you can make out of popsicle sticks or cardboard. Like 30 Rock but hate putting effort into costumes even more than Jenna hates things that aren’t about her? Well just cut a little “TGS” out of paper, tape it to a grey sweatshirt, put on some glasses, and you’re Liz Lemon at work! If you’re a couple who likes Parks and Recreation, consider dressing up like Agent Burt Macklin and Janet Snakehole. Whatever TV show you love, there’s probably a super cheap costume you can make to honor it.

4. Skeleton of fun

As mentioned above, the spookiest animal of all is the skeleton. And Martha Stewart has a video showing you how to make a very cheap version of one. All you’ll need is a white shirt and a slightly bigger black shirt that you’re willing to cut slits into to act as the ribs. You can get some face paint too, but we’ll leave that up to you.

5. Berry good

What’s the spookiest fruit? Dragonfruit, obviously, but we haven’t seen any tips to make a costume for that. So instead, you could try dressing up like a strawberry with this simple costume. The site, Studio DIY, also has a pineapple version, so you and a friend can go as a preassembled edible arrangement.

6. Brands brands brands

Brand mascots are like TV characters, except they’re much more explicit about trying to sell you things. Carbon Costume, a site for DIY costumes, has an easy Brawny Man attire as well as a suggestion for a Vince, the Shamwow Guy get-up.  Something like the Hamburglar or the Sun-Maid Raisin girl also makes for an easy project. Maybe you can even get one of those companies to sponsor it! Or at least send you free stuff after you tweet a photo of yourself.

7. DIY not

Natasha Rachel Smith, financial expert at TopCashback offered her own DIY recommendation:

“If you are crafty, consider making your costume! Having DIY skills is beneficial to creating a fun and frugal costume, and DIY costumes are usually the most memorable! From a gumball machine to your favorite Nickelodeon characters, the possibilities are endless when you are crafty and creative.”

She also had tips for the less creative among us:

“If you aren’t crafty and want to buy a costume from a store, make sure to shop for the best deals. Try waiting until the last minute to purchase your costume, to receive a bigger discount. Buying your costume the day before Halloween (or the day after and save it for next year) can save you at least 50 percent off the original price because retailers want to get rid of their remaining inventory.”

Members of the TopCashBack team even shared some of their own DIY costume creations with us:

  • The Spice Girls, the cheapest costume ever! We purchased poster boards and drew spice names on them!
  • Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy from SpongeBob. I repurposed clothes I already owned and purchased dish gloves, rain boots, and the hat. I think I spent $30 total. My friend had to purchase a couple additional items such as green leggings, slippers and craft supplies to make the belt and bra, but she only spent $30 as well.
  • Gumball machine. I was two versions of this and both were very cheap. I repurposed the same red skirt for both. I hot glued pompom balls to the top, and the other we inflated dollar store balloons and shoved them into a trash bag. The only downsides are it took a couple of hours to glue everything on and inflate the balloons.”

At the end of the day, as long as you have some sort of costume prepared, you’ll be better off than the person who forgot to think of one until the morning of.

Enjoy, stay safe, and have yourself a SCARY holiday!

Do you have a great idea for an affordable costume? Let us know by entering The OppLoans #Halloween Budget Sweepstakes on Facebook and Twitter and you could win $100! 

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Natasha Rachel Smith is a personal finance expert at TopCashBack. Natasha’s background is in retail, banking, personal finance and consumer empowerment; ranging from sales to journalism, marketing, public relations and spokesperson work during a 17-year career period. She’s originally from London, UK, but moved to Montclair, New Jersey, USA, several years ago to launch and run the American arm of the British-owned TopCashBack brand; a global consumer empowerment and money-saving portal company.

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