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Our Favorite Budget-Friendly Halloween Costume Tips

My kids love Halloween. More than the candy, they thrive on having the opportunity to wear their “dress-up” clothes out of the home. There’s nothing quite like pretending to be someone you idolize. Unfortunately, the budget doesn’t always accommodate the expensive costumes they’d prefer, which is why I’m always searching for new, inexpensive ideas. A single post on Facebook netted a bunch, so I thought I’d share a few with you. 

#1: Gum Stuck to Shoe

If you have a pink shirt (and possibly pink pants as well) this is an easy costume to put together. Just attach the bottom of a shoe to the top of your head and you are immediately transformed into the gum stuck to the bottom of a shoe. While your costume will be more identifiable with pink “gum”, you may want to mix it up and go as a wintergreen version.

#2: A Ghost

Have an old white sheet lying around? Place it over the head, cut two holes for eyes and ta-da! You are a ghost.

If you have a white outfit, you can step up your ghost game by wrapping yourself in tulle (use a coupon if you can find one). Paint your face white and your eyes black and then, for a little extra flair, tack some battery-operated LED string lights to the inside of the tulle. You’ll be the envy of all other ghosts.

#3: Slug

Start by cutting a hole (big enough to fit your head through) in the bottom of a large black trash bag and placing it over your shoulders. Raid the craft drawer for a couple of extra pipe cleaners for use as antennae. For the final touch add a trail of cellophane wrap.

Note: if you want to remain in character, you’ll want to move slowly.

#4: Static Cling

Don’t have a lot of time to put together a costume, why not just wear your regular clothes and add a few socks and dryer sheets to the ensemble. (It’s all the rage, right?) Make sure to use safety pins and verify ahead of time that they won’t leave lasting holes in your favorite t-shirt. You’ll be comfortable and in costume, all for the cost of a dryer sheet or two.

#5: A Graduate

Have an old graduation gown hanging in the closet? Why not head out into the neighborhood as a graduate. This is especially effective if you haven’t graduated yet or have no intention of doing so. The best part is that you can wear warm clothes underneath, and no one will know the difference!

Note: If your dad has an expensive graduation gown from his master’s ceremony, you might want to ask before you use it for this purpose.

#6: Television

Have a cardboard box hanging around? Use markers you have lying around the home to draw a screen and all of the buttons you need. Feeling a little more inventive, have a picture of your favorite show “playing” on screen. Use the smaller pieces of cardboard to create a remote. Not only will it be a fun art project, but you’ll have the opportunity to show off your skills all over town.

#7: A Lumberjack 

Flannel is very popular and makes a great addition to a lumberjack costume. Add blue jeans, suspenders, and a pair of hiking boots and you are ready to go. While you likely won’t want to haul around a real ax, you might be able to find one in the toy aisle, or even at the bottom of the toy bin you already have.

“Real” Costume Tips

Of course, there are those times when your child just has to have that specific costume they’ve been dreaming of. If that’s the case in your home, use the following tips to stay on track with your budget.

Check the Dress Up Bin

For smaller kids, taking the time to sort through the large bin (or closet) filled with dress-up clothes might be just the ticket. In fact, you might want to run a fashion show so that they can decide which one is their favorite. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve done that and been able to avoid purchasing a new costume. 

Check the Thrift Stores

It’s always worth checking out thrift stores for costumes and accessories. If you just need a witch hat, you’ll have many options, and none of them will look the same as the witch from down the street. The best thing to do is shop early and check back often. If you don’t find what you are looking for the first time, you may find it after the next shipment of donations comes in.

Ask Around

Have a costume obsessed friend or co-worker? Ask if he or she has the item that you are looking for. Often you can borrow that one piece you needed for the price of a cup of coffee shared together. You might consider approaching families with kids that are larger than your own. If those kids have outgrown last year’s costumes, they might be willing to let your kids have them free of cost.

Which Creative Halloween Costume Will You Pick?

The last thing you want to do is allow the purchase of an expensive Halloween costume ruin the budget you’ve worked so hard on. If you do have to purchase your costume in a retail store, attempt to do so when discounts are offered. It’s not always possible, but it’s worth the attempt.

We’d love to know, what is your favorite creative and inexpensive Halloween costume? Drop us a comment below!