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Costumes for Under Five Dollars—Homemade Halloween Costumes on a Budget

Updated on October 14, 2014
Dressing up with as a box of tissues is a cheap and easy costume for Halloween.
Dressing up with as a box of tissues is a cheap and easy costume for Halloween.

Five-Dollar Costumes—Homemade Halloween Costumes on a Budget

Having fun on Halloween shouldn't break the bank. After all, no matter how awesome your costume is, the truth is that you will not wear it that often. Luckily, you can make a memorable costume on a budget.

These homemade Halloween costumes each cost five dollars or less to make. Most of them are just downright silly and funny. You are sure to get a laugh, and who knows, you may just win a Halloween contest or two. I also included five-dollar costumes for your dog, Halloween safety tips, cheap Halloween gift basket ideas. I write regularly on Halloween costume, decoration, and party ideas, so if you are looking for other ways to make the holiday memorable or want to learn how to pimp your pumpkin, check out my profile for more articles.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

A Twister costume is perfect for an individual or a couple.
A Twister costume is perfect for an individual or a couple.

Twister Costume

Twister is a great costume for either an individual or a couple. It is simple, and lends itself to photo opps as well!


  • White shirt
  • Red, blue, green, and yellow felt
  • Poster board
  • Markers
  • Brad
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue or needle and thread


  1. Cut out circles from the felt and arrange them on the white shirt in the same pattern as a Twister board.
  2. Trim off the end of the poster board off to make it square.
  3. Draw a circle on the poster board and divide it into sections that correspond with the colors. Color in each section with the markers.
  4. Cut out an arrow from the piece of the poster board that you cut off. Color it black.
  5. Attach the tail end of the arrow to the middle of the circle with a brad, so that it can be spun.

A mummy costume is quick and easy—use gauze, glue, and some old sweats.
A mummy costume is quick and easy—use gauze, glue, and some old sweats.

Mummy Costume

There are endless variations on dressing up as an undead ancient Egyptian. You may be tempted to buy loads of gauze and wrap it around yourself, but you will find that it is hard to get it to stay where you would like. Here's an easy way to fix that problem.


  • An old white sheet or 2-3 yards of fabric (you will find that this is actually cheaper than buying the necessary amount of gauze)
  • Scissors
  • Old sweats or any other long-sleeved shirt and pants
  • Spray glue or a hot glue gun
  • Optional: fake blood


  1. Cut the fabric into long strips.
  2. Put on the old sweats or long-sleeved shirt and pants.
  3. If you have spray glue, spray the fabric, then wrap it around your clothing. Repeat until you have fully covered yourself and wrap a few remaining strips around your head.
  4. If you have a hot glue gun, glue the end of the strip to your clothing (be careful, the glue can get hot). Wrap the strip around your arm, leg, or torso until you reach the end. Then glue down the end of the strip to your clothing. Repeat until you have fully covered yourself and wrap a few remaining strips around your head.
  5. Optional: Splatter the fake blood on yourself or dribble some from your lips.

Super Easy Mummy

For a super easy mummy, wear a sheet and wrap just your head in gauze.

Looking for a pet costume? Dress your dog up as a ghost!
Looking for a pet costume? Dress your dog up as a ghost!

Under-Five-Dollar Dog Ghost Costume

Dress your long-leggedy beastie as a ghost that goes woof in the night. An excellent chance to recycle that old sheet!


  • Sheet
  • Scissors
  • Elastic
  • Pins or a marker
  • Hot glue gun or thread
  • Optional: pumpkin basket


  1. Drape the sheet over the dog. Using pins or a marker, mark where the sheet hits right above the feet, where the dog's eyes are, where the dog's snout is, and where the front and sides of the collar are.
  2. Cut out large holes for the eyes (the costume will move around a little) and the snout.
  3. Cut off any excess fabric that would fall below the dog's feet.
  4. Sew or glue the elastic onto the points of the sheet that will hit the collar.
  5. Loop the dog's collar through the elastic so that it is attached to the costume. Now he or she can walk around as a haunting ghost!


  1. Dye or tie-dye the sheets orange and black.
  2. Paint or stencil something fun on the sheets.
  3. Write something funny on the sheet like, "Dead Dog Walking" or "Boo". Use your imagination and be creative and I'm sure you can come up with something fun.

Painting your belly as a fish bowl is particularly fun if you are expecting.
Painting your belly as a fish bowl is particularly fun if you are expecting.

Fish Bowl Costume

This works on any belly, whether or not you are pregnant—although it is particularly cute on an expecting mother.

What's more, this is one of the cheapest costume options available. All you need is paint! And, of course, someone who can draw.


  • Body paint
  • Paint brushes, sponges, or Q-tips
  • Cold cream and/or facial wipes


  1. Paint on the picture with body paint. Paint brushes, sponges (especially the wedge sponges, meant to apply makeup, that are sold at most convenience stores), and Q-tips are all great tools to use to apply paint. Body paint is recommended because acrylic will crack when dried.
  2. To remove at the end of the day, have cold creme and/or facial wipes at hand.


2. Paint a pumpkin face instead.

3. Paint a Baby on Board sign. Funny for a man to do too.

4. If you are really brave, paint this on your belly and wear a bathing suit and flip flops.

For Halloween, have him dress up as a cheerleader and her dress up in his sports uniform.
For Halloween, have him dress up as a cheerleader and her dress up in his sports uniform.

Athlete Costume

This one is easy. Wear one of your old sports uniforms. Don't have one? Borrow one from someone who does.

Couples can have some fun by reversing the roles. The guy can wear the cheerleading outfit while the girl dresses up in his uniform.

Fans truly dedicated to the craft of beer pong will appreciate this costume.
Fans truly dedicated to the craft of beer pong will appreciate this costume.

Beer Pong Costume

This will draw a lot of laughs. Be forewarned: people may be tempted to utilize your costume to play actual beer pong. Just say no if you want to make it through the night without getting soaked in sticky alcoholic beverages.


  • Large piece of cardboard
  • Red Solo cups
  • Hot glue gun


  1. Use the hot glue gun to attach the red Solo cups to the cardboard in beer pong formation.

If you're feeling daringly cheesy, dress up for Halloween as the pizza man.
If you're feeling daringly cheesy, dress up for Halloween as the pizza man.

Pizza Man Costume

This costume takes a certain kind of bravery, but on the bright side, you get to eat a pizza.


  • Pizza box
  • Some sort of adhesive


  1. This ventures into the territory of too much information, so I will let you figure it out for yourself!


1. No pizza box? Well, I guess you could always use a Happy Meal box from McDonald's.

2. You can skip the pizza box and just borrow a uniform from someone who works at a pizza place or McDonalds.

Balloons and some tape make for an easy grape costume.
Balloons and some tape make for an easy grape costume.

Fruit of the Loom Costume

What's sexier than dressing as a brand of underwear sold at Walmart? This makes for a great group costume.


  • Green or purple balloons
  • Green or purple beanie
  • Safety pins
  • A t-shirt, preferably in the same color as the balloons
  • Shorts and tights—because for some reason the Fruit-of-the-Loom guys in commercials are always wearing tights


  1. Blow up balloons.
  2. Carefully safety pin them to the shirt.
  3. Wear with beanie, shorts, and tights.


1. Use a purple (or green) cap and balloons to make a grape costume.

2. Go in a group as the Fruits of the Loom.

Dress up as Waldo for Halloween.
Dress up as Waldo for Halloween.

Where's Waldo? Costume

People will have no problem picking you out of a crowd in this costume!


  • Red-and-white striped long-sleeved shirt
  • Blue jeans
  • Red and white beanie
  • Cane
  • Round glasses


  1. Put on all of the clothes and accessories.
  2. Walk around big crowds waving and smiling.

A box of tissues makes a great costume. For a raunchier twist, see the suggestions.
A box of tissues makes a great costume. For a raunchier twist, see the suggestions.

A Box of Tissues Costume

A box of tissues is a very easy costume that you can prepare the day of!


  • Box
  • Paint
  • Wide paint brush or sponge
  • Permanent marker or colored paper
  • Scissors
  • Tissue paper
  • Tape


  1. Cut a hole in the top of the box for your head, two holes in the side of the box for your arms, and remove the bottom of the box.
  2. Using a wide paint brush or a sponge, paint the box. You can paint it a solid color, like above, or pattern it.
  3. Use the tape to attach the tissue paper around the back of the head hole.
  4. Either draw the words on with the permanent marker (wait until the paint is completely dried, because moisture ruins permanent markers) or cut the letters out of colored paper and tape them on.


  1. Write "Tissues" on both the front and the back.
  2. Use pre-made stickers or stencil letters for the words.
  3. For a raunchier twist, write "Blow me" on the front.

Dress up as a man from the Blue Man Group for Halloween.
Dress up as a man from the Blue Man Group for Halloween.

A Member of the Blue Man Group Costume

This is an extremely cheap and easy costume. Take a trip down memory lane with a Blue Man Group costume.


  • Blue rubber cap
  • Blue face or body paint.
  • Black long-sleeved shirt.
  • Black pants


  1. Put on shirt and pants (you do not want to bother with these after applying the paint).
  2. Paint all exposed skin with blue paint.
  3. Put on the blue rubber cap.

Halloween Safety

Safety Tips:

1. Have children wear bright colors while trick-or-treating.

2. Use a flashlight at night.

3. Pin child's phone number and name in the costume.

4. Leave the pumpkin carving to adults.

A pumpkin costume can result in extremely memorable baby photographs and is great for twins!
A pumpkin costume can result in extremely memorable baby photographs and is great for twins!

Baby Pumpkin Costume

Great for twins! Buy a pair of two-dollar pumpkins, and you have yourself two costumes for under five dollars! This costume is perfect for a picture, but not to wear all night long. However, it can be worth it just for that baby photo that will follow the child into adulthood.


  • Pumpkin (choose the size so that it will fit the baby comfortably)
  • Carving tools


  1. Cut the pumpkin in half and thoroughly clean out the insides.
  2. Optional: Cut a circle around the stem on the top of the pumpkin to place on the side for decorative effect.


1. If you don't have kids, you could always use your small dogs.

3. Do this costume only for picture taking and dress the kids in something warmer for Halloween.

Make a cheap homemade gift basket for Halloween.
Make a cheap homemade gift basket for Halloween.

Cheap Homemade Halloween Gift Baskets

A basket is the perfect gift for friends who no longer trick-or-treat. There's no hard-and-fast way to make a gift basket; you fill it and decorate it in a variety of ways. This is a chance to show your creativity and to customize the basket to the recipient. Here are some ideas to get you jumpstarted:

1. Use orange and black tissue paper.

2. Attach Halloween balloons.

3. Use a plastic pumpkin for a basket.

4. Use black or orange wicker baskets and fill or line with straw.

5. Fill the basket with popcorn and a scary Halloween movie instead of candy.

If you want more ideas for Halloween gifts, check out my profile for links to more Halloween crafts, such as a s'more gift basket.

Please Vote!

Please take a second and share your opinion.

This year I plan to...

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Are you having, or attending, a Halloween party this year?

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Your Best Costume Ever Was....

Tell us about your best costume ever!

The best Halloween costume I ever MADE as....

The best Halloween costume I ever MADE as....

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    • anonymous 3 years ago

      Me and the guys dared my lil brother Austin to dress up as a girl typical teens :)

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      My best costume was when my twin and I dressed up as thing one and thing two. We were wearing red pants and red shirts and wrote 1 on a shirt and 2 on the other. if you have very very short hair just spray paint your hair blue. If you have long hair, get regular hair spray and try to make you hair stick up. Then spray paint it blue. ~ HAPPY HALLOWEEN~

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      An Elvis costume for my grandson.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      a cockblock

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Rubik's Cube

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      flying pig

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      rubix cube yah!

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      a hobo

    • SecondSally 4 years ago

      a duck

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I made an illusion costume. I was a young boy being caried by a demon. I had a tote lid on my back and a milk jug to hold a skull mask. On a belt, I used pvc pipes and stuffing to make fake legs, I used an extra large costume and cut a slit in it. TaDa!

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      russell from the movie a 14 girl

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I was a tissue box ! It was awesome !

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I was June clever pock a dot dress apron hair don up in a bee hive like in the 50's the i put a plastice clever in my hair zombie make up and a lot of little details won 1st place

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      doughnut! it was preshhh

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I was all 3 jonas brothers..

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      i was a dead punk rocker. I took an old plaid skirt and ripped up some black tights. i also drew rock band logos on a white tee-shirt and ripped it up and tied it on the side. i put white makeup on my face and black around my eyes and on my lips. i made my hair poofy and put it into two high ponytails. Everyone loved it and it was really fun.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      a zomby it was grate a back comed my hair and had white paint on my face and i had ripped shoes wow!!!!

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      my best costume ever was the "sock monster". I made a washing machine out of a big box with the top opening like a lid and decorated with cobwebs and fake blood. I then dressed up like a dead person and had single socks coming out of the corners. It was really fun!

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      i was a rubix cube senior year of high school, then again freshman year of college, just used a box, posterboard and electrical tape

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      My friend and I went as dice. We painted square cardboard boxes white and glued on black paper circles; then we cut holes for arms and head (the bottom was open). We made matching trick-or-treat bags, except with white dots on black. We almost won the contest at school.

    The best Halloween costume I ever BOUGHT was....

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      • anonymous 4 years ago

        Piece of candy corn

      • Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

        Was for my dog.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        my best costume is when i was 1 yars old and it was a pumpkin shirt

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        cheerleading uniform

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        I was a baby! I got some footsy pjs and a large passy and rattle, and i wore it to school in the 7th grade!

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        i love halloween but it is the devils birthday happy birthday devil lol

      • anonymous 5 years ago


      • anonymous 5 years ago

        Me and my friends dressed up as candy corn witches and it was so fun we had a good time

      Guestbook - Please sign the guestbook...or tell us about your best 5 dollar costume.

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        • Kiwisoutback profile image

          Kiwisoutback 7 years ago from Massachusetts

          Great work on this lens, I think you've done a great job with it. Squid Angel blessed!

        • VarietyWriter2 profile image

          VarietyWriter2 7 years ago

          Thank you for the Squid Blessing kiwisoutback!! Much appreciated

        • profile image

          erikusik 7 years ago

          Nice costumes!

        • Othercatt profile image

          Othercatt 6 years ago

          Just one question, How did you get all those dogs to hold still (in costume!) long enough to take a picture? This is a great lens. I'm definitely going to use some of these ideas.

        • Mihaela Vrban profile image

          Mihaela Vrban 6 years ago from Croatia

          That pizza man always brings out the smile! ;)

        • callinsky lm profile image

          callinsky lm 6 years ago

          I'm with Willow. The Pizza Man is tooooo funny.

        • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

          squid-pinkchic18 6 years ago

          Awesome lens, this has a lot of good ideas!! Thanks for sharing :)

        • Sami4u LM profile image

          Sami4u LM 6 years ago

          Hi,Another great lens :) Five dollar Halloween ideas costumes. Most of the time I spend way over $60 for my costumes. Who would of thought you could make a costume for under $5.

        • CofCJenny LM profile image

          CofCJenny LM 6 years ago

          I think the box of tissue was my favorite, never seen that before. awesome lens

        • profile image

          Squidoo_Queen 6 years ago

          Excellent lens that I really enjoyed reading - cool ideas that I would never have thought of!

        • JJNW profile image

          JJNW 6 years ago from USA

          LOL...I think a lot of this needs to go on my Stupidest Halloween Costumes lens - especially the pizza box guy (YIKES!). great job!!

        • squid-janices7 profile image

          squid-janices7 6 years ago

          Lots of great cheap ideas here. The pizza box is just plain freaky and the grapes just make me want to carry a pin for popping :) P.S. Thanks for the sprinkling of angel dust on my Halloween Decorating Ideaslens!

        • KOrazem profile image

          Seeking Pearls 6 years ago from Pueblo West

          Fun ideas you have shared here. I like the tissue box. This year I am going as a cat which is a pretty easy design to put together. I am a penny pincher and have the makeup so it will be under 5.00. NIce Lens!

        • RichLeighHD profile image

          RichLeighHD 6 years ago

          Very fun lens! I enjoyed it.

        • profile image

          Marijoyce 6 years ago

          What a great lens. I'll have to try some of these and the iWitch t-shirt logo made me laugh out loud.

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          This is hysterical! I love the pumpkins on the stairs and the "Costume" t-shirts. This lens is just as funny as it is helpful! =)

        • WendyArts profile image

          WendyArts 6 years ago

          There's nothing like making your own costume. It is creative and fun and you certainly won't look like anyone else. Great lens.

        • spritequeen lm profile image

          spritequeen lm 6 years ago

          These are great ideas! Much cheaper to make your own than buy them!! Thanks for sharing!

        • profile image

          AngelShrout 6 years ago

          Cute ideas I love the box of tissues

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          I like the box of tissues, so easy and yet so useful too!

        • Lee Hansen profile image

          Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

          Love home made Halloween costumes, the less money invested the better!

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          Great and affordable costume ideas , I liked the twins in the pumpkins - hope they did not mind.

        • profile image

          WeirdStuff 5 years ago

          Nice, where are the good ol' times when costumes were made with fantasy and imagination? Now we just buy pieces of plastic...

        • EMangl profile image

          EMangl 5 years ago

          very cute suggestions :-)

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          lol, you have some seriously hilarious costumes on this page! I actually don't dress up myself but I do dress up my little dog in a homemade chihuahua clothes costume I make for her each year for around $5! I like using different fabrics to design a costume, usually making her look like vampire or a ghost or something else. I'm not the best sewer or anything, but it's still a lot fun and I love it!

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          I love this lens. This is one of my favorites. Kudos! Very helpful...

        • jlshernandez profile image

          jlshernandez 5 years ago

          I had a big laugh looking at some of fun costumes, especially the ghost costumes for dogs. What a hoot. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

        • miacarter profile image

          Mia Carter 5 years ago from SW Florida

          Great lens! I especially love the tissue box!

        • JoyfulReviewer profile image

          JoyfulReviewer 5 years ago

          Fun and informative lens!

        • HalloweenEnthus profile image

          HalloweenEnthus 5 years ago

          Just love the pizza man costume.

        • profile image

          dellgirl 5 years ago

          Ummmmmm...a box of tissue?! How cute!

        • profile image

          jwharwell 5 years ago

          Very cute. Love the preggo belly costumes and the beer pong table. I was gum under the bottom of a shoe one year. All pink with pink wig. Then i glue a shoe to the top of my head. It was cute!

        • diaperbagdiva lm profile image

          diaperbagdiva lm 5 years ago

          Great lens! I'm going to try a few of these great ideas (maybe not so much the pizza box one). Thanks!

        • profile image

          Tenzho 5 years ago

          WOw, The pizza box costume!!

        • profile image

          sans300 5 years ago

          Wonderful ideas here. Never knew you could get something done for $5.

        • BlackSunflowerB profile image

          BlackSunflowerB 4 years ago

          Love the pizza guy costume!

        • Pam Irie profile image

          Pam Irie 4 years ago from Land of Aloha

          Great concept for an inexpensive Halloween costume. :)

        • Teapixie LM profile image

          Tea Pixie 4 years ago

          Once I saw the Pizza Guy costume I just couldn't stop laughing. I'm still laughing. It sort of screwed up seeing the rest of your writing. HAHAHAHAHAHAH. I must go back. Had to share my laughter with you. Just one question: What size pizza is that? (you don't have to answer that question - just being silly) :)

        • flinnie lm profile image

          Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

          Hi I love your ideas here, thanks for sharing.

        • profile image

          Donnette Davis 4 years ago from South Africa

          The Pizza costume is a little daring lol.. thanks for sharing, liked and Blessed by an angel x

        • cbjones profile image

          cbjones 4 years ago

          I'll wear the twister costume, but I'd need my girlfriend to wear a gymnast outfit.

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