Frugal Halloween Costumes

Halloween is a mere 18 days away. Do your kids know what they are going to be?

Every year I ask my kids what they want to be, and then I try to make their costumes frugally. This year my daughter went easy on me. She wants to be a Black Cat. She already has a black leotard and tights. And she’ll probably wear the matching black skirt for a little modesty. We found an inexpensive cat mask (one of the old fashioned kinds that only covers your eyes and nose), and I’ll whip up a tail out of black fabric, and she’ll be set.

If you need some ideas to spark your creativity, here are a few ideas.

Frugal Halloween Costumes

  • A Baby. This one is always popular with elementary aged girls. Put on footed pajamas, braid your hair, paint on some rosy cheeks, and stick a pacifier in your mouth. Kids always seem to prefer those candy pacifiers. :) Carry around a doll, if you like.
  • A Scarecrow. Wear an old pair of jeans, a flannel shirt, a straw hat, and some boots. Stuff straw or raffia into the sleeves and boots, so some is coming out around your hands and feet. It might help to wear a tight fitting shirt under the flannel shirt, so the straw isn’t up against your skin. Paint your face like a scarecrow, and you’re set!
  • A Pair of Dice. You’re going to need two people for this one. Paint two boxes white. Then paint black dots on them, in the formation of dots on a dice. Use string to hang the box over your shoulders. Easy peasy!
  • A Haggard Housewife. Wear a bathrobe and slippers and put your hair up in rollers (look for these at the thrift store….and wash them in very hot water before you put them in your hair). You could even add a bon-bon box for effect.
  • A Bag of Jellybeans. Cut arm and leg holes in a clear trashbag. Put it on and fill with balloons of all colors. Gather the bag at the neck and tie (but not too tightly). Viola!

If none of these ideas appeal to you, just put on your thinking cap. Often a pair of sweats can be transformed with paint, safety pins, glue, paper, and accessories that you can find at the thrift store. Halloween doesn’t have to be expensive to be fun. And truth be told, some of my favorite Halloween memories consist of thinking up a costume and using what I had on hand to make it happen!

Photo by Tonamel.

11 thoughts on “Frugal Halloween Costumes”

  1. My 8 yo was the Joker last yr and it cost a couple bucks. He had jeans, white shirt, clip on tie, and a jacket. we bought the face paint and used my makeup to make him look just like the Joker in the most recent Batman. By the end of the night, the make up ran and looked just like the real Joker. It was such a success that he’s doing it again this yr.

  2. My mom used to make all our costumes. I remember being a crayon, made from felt; and a 50’s girl with a felt poodle skirt that my mom painted the poodle on. I also remeber the Ragedy Ann costume she made me. And the Minnie Mouse. These memories make me feel so loved.

    Great costume for boys, get a black sweatsweatpants and a black sweatshirt, put glow in the dark tape down the middle and use sticky tape to tape mini cars and you are a road; or same black sweat suit and tape bones cut from construction paper and you are a skelton. This way the sweat suit is still usable after halloween.

  3. @Robert – We’ve done that before, too! Great times! Our church does a Trunk or Treat on Halloween night now. It’s a great outreach, so we dress up and go to that.

    @Ruth – Yard sales are great for costumes! One year I found two of those expensive plush costumes for $5 each. Can’t beat that!

  4. Those are good ideas! I always look for costumes at garage sales, and you can’t beat hand-me-downs from older cousins, friends’ kids, etc. Best yet: This year both my kids told me they want to wear the same costumes as last year! They cost me a total of $4. I am a happy mom!

  5. Here is a another “frugal” idea for Halloween…

    We chose not to celebrate it because of our Christian beliefs. So we bought candy for our kids that they picked out, my wife made homemade pizza which was one of the kids favorite meals, we rented a good family movie, popped pop corn, turned out all the lights in the house and watched the movie together. Some great times and our kids never complained about not being able to go trick or treating because we got them candy that they picked out and really liked, and we had some great family time. We made it a holiday that was all about them. Some really good times!

  6. “A Haggard Housewife. Wear a bathrobe and slippers and put your hair up in rollers (look for these at the thrift store….and wash them in very hot water before you put them in your hair). You could even add a bon-bon box for effect.”

    So glad to know that someone recognizes that I’m just trying out my costume today. Yeah, that’s it…

  7. Don’t forget sports uniforms! My son is going as a hockey player for the second year in a row, wearing the jersey we bought him for a birthday gift. (It’s Dad’s favorite team.) It’s the only thing he wants to be, it’s weather-appropriate and it costs exactly $0.

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