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How to Make a Cheap Halloween Costume

Updated on October 16, 2012

Cheap DIY Costumes

You could make the hula skirt out of a paper sack. Cupcake liners for the neckless or use fake flower heads to create.
You could make the hula skirt out of a paper sack. Cupcake liners for the neckless or use fake flower heads to create. | Source
Smores Family Costumes
Smores Family Costumes | Source
Octopus using socks or you can use old sweater sleaves. If you don't want to do much sewing, attach with velcro strips.
Octopus using socks or you can use old sweater sleaves. If you don't want to do much sewing, attach with velcro strips. | Source
Spider using old black clothes and black socks.
Spider using old black clothes and black socks. | Source

Ideas from things in your home to create a cheap costume

This is the ultimate in creativity when you can use what you have around the house to create a costume. We Will cover some items that easily transform into new uses. Household items shaped into new things or used as accessories. As my kids grew up, I created many of their costumes. I used cardboard and paint to turn my son into a train. My daughter into a sunflower and a ladybug. My son was a spotted dog one year, up until a little girl looked at him and said, "Oh look mom it's aaaa mooo cow bunny?" She was majorly confused over the interpretation of his costume, plus the word dog, was missing in her sentence.

Old clothing, free or a few dollars from the thrift stores or salvation army. Plaids are renowned for lumberjacks, old man look. Black clothes are easy to find and terrific for many costumes like, cats, rabbits, bats, vampires, Dracula and dark characters from scary movies. Scarecrows, farmers and things like static cling, a washer machine or clothes line.
Fabric Tulle can is low cost and can be used to create wedding dresses, fairy dresses, ghosts and butterfly wing centers. $3-16 based on the number of yards.

Broken umbrellas and other broken cloth items, jackets etc can become wings, capes, skirts, pant legs that flare.

Floral items and wreaths. Make a walking flowerpot with cardboard, you can use thin cardboard from cereal boxes. Straps over the shoulders and florals sprouting out of the top or vines draping down. You can add fabric petals around their face or leaves. Hula girls need flowers too.

Holiday décor. Christmas tree, snowman or a large present.

Packing materials, a world of uses for cardboard boxes, cereal boxes, paper shopping bags for vests, hats. Bubble wrap for jellyfish or futuristic concepts.

All kinds of tape. Duck tape, masking tape and electrical tape. Combine with aluminum foil. Weapon designs galore, shields, swords, bows, horns, halos.

Yarn is your best friend for making wigs, hair, braids. Birds nests, fish nets, and bug nets are cost effective to make yourself.

Paper. Crafting endless items with paper from jewelry, silhouettes, labels, signs, flowers, and skirts or vests.

Stuffed animals. Make a zoo keeper, animal lover, or all the same, including the child, like penguins, teddy bears, etc.

Are your children into sporting activities, dancing or karate? They can wear the uniforms for Halloween, no real creativity needed.

Wants to be like daddy? A hunter or navy officer, dress them up in the camo clothes and paint green and brown camo colors on their faces. Make a fake bow from a bendable stick and Kitchen twine, the arrow from another stick.

Nature offers some exceptional gifts of embellishments like floral crowns, safe weapons, fairy adornments and sticks for snowmen or scarcrow outfits.

My personal Photographs of Toothfairy and Grim Reaper costumes

My son in 2005. This costume has been reused multiple years and we still use the mask part today, every Halloween to scare kids.
My son in 2005. This costume has been reused multiple years and we still use the mask part today, every Halloween to scare kids. | Source
My daughter in 2005 as a toothfairy. I took items from different costumes to create it.
My daughter in 2005 as a toothfairy. I took items from different costumes to create it. | Source
Downtown treak or treating in Blue Springs, Missouri 2005
Downtown treak or treating in Blue Springs, Missouri 2005 | Source
Their tradition of dumping the bags on the floor to assess the assortment of free candy
Their tradition of dumping the bags on the floor to assess the assortment of free candy | Source
picking our pumpkins at the local nursery
picking our pumpkins at the local nursery | Source

Low cost, thrift store and Seasonal Costume Ideas

Use low cost and dollar store finds to create the ultimate cheap costume for extremely little money.

Thrift stores display costumes every year, but you have to go early rather than close to Halloween. They sell out or will have exceedingly little left to choose from by that time. Capes and witches hats are lurking about.

Makeup and dark fingernail polishes or just basic black. Table clothes for capes, robes and presents.

Both types of stores carry seasonal items, Halloween décor, spiders, jewelry and posterboard. You can pick" ready to wear" costumes or incorporate the items into a costume you are designing, for a finished look.

Celebrate your favorite holiday, be a Christmas tree, an Easter bunny, an April fool or a cornucopia.

Use paper mache to create things you can't purchase, plus they are lighter items for your child to carry.


Household items like leftover dryer hose, plastic plumbing pipes and empty containers thouroughly cleaned out are transformationaly into "new Age or Futureistic" creations.

Cheesecloth for spider webs or to create an old, worn look. You can easily dye it to black, grey or any color. Add some tearing action and strechting to design the perfect spider web.


You can take pieces from other costumes or clothing, accessories or from the dress up box to further create a costume. I created my daughter's toothfairy costume with a combination of previous costumes to create the one.

Working through Design flaws in a Costume

As I found when designing the Thomas the Train choo choo box for my son, it was difficult for him to walk up steps without knocking things loose from the box.

Tips:

  1. A little trial and error to work out the bugs is a good thing.
  2. Make sure they can see without obstructing their view.
  3. Add glow sticks or glowing duck tape to improve nighttime visibility.
  4. Make sure they can walk comfortably on flat surfaces and steps.
  5. See if anything tips over or falls off easily. Reattach and Re-situate the items to maintain there locations.
  6. Comfortableness is important, if something is scratching, irritating their skin or falling into their eyes, try softening or adding a comfortable layer between the item causing problems.
  7. Use additional glue, tape and other adhesives or Velcro to improve secureness of extra items attached to the outfits.
  8. Children get tired of carrying things like swords, shields or other bulky things. Think about adding a strap so either he/she or a parent can easily carry it.

Cheap Halloween Costume Ideas

Cheap Last Minute Halloween Costumes

DIY Halloween Costumes

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    • bridalletter profile image
      Author

      Brenda Kyle 4 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Thank you radhikasree. With a passion and excitement for Halloween, it was a lot of fun creating the hub. I think I will add to that hub prior to 2013 Halloween.

    • radhikasree profile image

      Radhika Sreekanth 4 years ago from Mumbai,India

      These ideas are really fascinating! The images shown are all visually appealing and your creativity is definitely praiseworthy. Up, beautiful and useful. Sharing across.

    • bridalletter profile image
      Author

      Brenda Kyle 5 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Thank you. Some of them are pretty easy. It is nice to enjoy a holiday without overspending.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      How very creative those costumes are. You make it look so easy.

    • bridalletter profile image
      Author

      Brenda Kyle 5 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Thank you Dreamhowl. I miss those days of creating them. Now I just decorate like crazy and pass out lots of candy and glowing bracelets every year. Maybe someday with grandchildren I can do it again!

    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Marello 5 years ago from United States

      I like all the creative ideas you have here! My favorites I think were the s'mores and the spider costume. It is really so much more fun putting together your own costume with your own materials. Voted up!

    • bridalletter profile image
      Author

      Brenda Kyle 5 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Thank you kashmir56. We can't all afford $60-100 costumes, nice to have some other options.

    • bridalletter profile image
      Author

      Brenda Kyle 5 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Thank you flashmakeit. I hope some great ideas come from it!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great hub and well done, all great ideas and designs to make a good but cheap Halloween costume .

      Vote up and more !!!

    • flashmakeit profile image

      flashmakeit 5 years ago from usa

      The vampire with umbrella wings was so creative and this hub was useful.

    • bridalletter profile image
      Author

      Brenda Kyle 5 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Thanks Trish303. It is so cool they came up with something that all coordinates together. The little marshmallow is adorable!

    • bridalletter profile image
      Author

      Brenda Kyle 5 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Thank you Sharkye11. I do too, i am sure i would have made it when the kids were little. Halloween is so much fun.

    • Trish303 profile image

      Brenda 5 years ago from Springfield, MO

      Grate hub, I love the Smores Family Costume that is just to cute

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very good ideas. I love the idea of the octopus using the socks!