9 Clever and Inexpensive DIY Halloween Costumes

Why is it always a mad rush for a Halloween costume? And why are the "costumes in a bag" you buy at specialty costume stores so expensive, especially for something you might use only once? Here’s our solution: nine clever, inexpensive, and funny costumes that are also easy to make. We’ve got couples costumes, baby costumes, and some tailored just for the underachievers. And for visual aids on putting these together, ​check out our video on Facebook

1
The Popcorn Vendor

The Balance

This is a costume for mom (or dad) and baby, and it’s so cute you’ll just want to eat it all up. Plus, the total cost is under $30, if you can reuse an old baby carrier or get one second-hand.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A baby carrier (one you already own works!)
  • 2 to 3 feet of white felt (enough to wrap around baby carrier)
  • 2 feet of red felt cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1 foot of red felt cut to make the word “Popcorn”
  • Stocking cap for baby
  • A white collared shirt and red bow-tie for mom or dad
  • Bag of microwave popcorn
  • Fabric glue, hot glue, and scissors

Directions:

  1. Take the red felt strips and glue them vertically to the white felt. Glue the letters to spell out “Popcorn” in the center.

  2. Hot glue the fabric to the baby carrier.

  3. Pop the microwave popcorn and glue popped kernels to the stocking cap.

  4. Put on the white shirt and bow tie, then pop (pun intended) your baby into the carrier and put on their stocking cap.

2
The Holy Cow

The Balance

This one is super easy. Plus it comes with a sweet bonus in July, when you can wear it to Cow Appreciation Day at any Chick-fil-A and get a free sandwich. Subtract the cost of a sandwich from the $25 or so dollars you might spend to make this costume, and this one’s a sure winner.  

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Foam board
  • White feathers
  • White T-shirt
  • Black Felt
  • Headband
  • Floral Wire
  • Aluminium Foil
  • Elastic Sequin Trim
  • Scissors, hot glue, box cutter, fabric glue

Directions:

  1. Using the box cutter, cut your foam board to look like angel wings.

  2. Hot glue the white feathers to the wings.

  3. Hot glue elastic trim to create a harness for wings.

  4. Now cut large spots out of your black felt and use your fabric glue to paste them onto your t-shirt.

  5. Last, use your floral wire to create a halo connected to your headband.

  6. Wrap the halo with aluminum foil.

3
Struck by Lightning

The Balance

You have a one in a million chance that people won’t love this costume! At under $35, this one is a great pick for a couple (or friends on a budget).

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Big cardboard box
  • Yellow wrapping paper
  • Old umbrella
  • White button up t-shirt
  • Hunk of charcoal
  • Scissors, box cutter, tape

Directions:

  1. Start by cutting/ripping holes into the white collared shirt.

  2. Use the charcoal to make burn marks on the shirt.

  3. Take your umbrella and cut up the top.

  4. Using your box cutter, make a large lightning bolt out of the cardboard box.

  5. At the top of the lightning bolt, cut a circle big enough for a head to fit.

  6. Wrap the lightning bolt in yellow wrapping paper.

4
Chicken Cord on Blue

The Balance

Pun fans, you can’t go wrong with this easy costume. At around $15, it’s also one of the cheapest on our list.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Blue shirt
  • Fake rubber chicken
  • Old phone cord

Directions:

  1. Put on a blue shirt.

  2. Tie the chicken to the phone cord.

  3. Wrap phone cord around your next.

5
Fantasy Football

The Balance

This is a great pick for football fans because if you already own a jersey and a football, you’re more than halfway there. For less than $20 you’ll have an original costume and you’ll have friends asking you to predict Sunday game.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Premade Wizard hat
  • White beard
  • Flat styrofoam circle
  • Wooden dowel
  • Blue fabric (big enough piece to make a cape)
  • Blue football jersey
  • Football

Equipment:

  • Scissors

Directions:

  1. Cut a star out of the styrofoam circle.

  2. Stick the wooden dowel through the bottom of the star. (A wand!)

  3. Tie the blue fabric around ​the neck to make a cape.

  4. Put the rest of your uniform on and it’s game time.

6
Cereal Killer

The Balance

If you love cereal, this is your costume. For around $25 you’ll have a costume and breakfast for a week.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Button up collared shirt.
  • Mini-cereal boxes
  • Plastic knives

Equipment:

  • Hot glue
  • Red paint

Directions:

  1. Pour out cereal from individual boxes. (Have a feast!)

  2. Hot glue tops of boxes back together.

  3. Hot glue the cereal boxes to the shirt.

  4. Stick plastic knives into the cereal boxes.

  5. Drip red paint on shirt and knives to look like blood.

7
Cactus

The Balance

This is a great pick for kids and adults. The only cactus adorable enough to hug! Plus if you already have an old green oversized t-shirt or dress, this costume can be made for less than $10.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Solid green dress
  • White pipe cleaners
  • Headband
  • Fake flowers

Equipment:

  • Hot glue

Directions:

  1. Cut pipe cleaners in half.

  2. Fold cut pipe cleaners in half.

  3. Hot glue pipe cleaners to dress.

  4. Take fake flowers off stems.

  5. How glue flowers to dress and headband.

  6. Keep yourself in a lot of sun and don’t over-water.

8
Rock, Paper, Scissors

The Balance.

This family costume is a clever classic. It might be one of the more challenging projects on our list, but if you’re crafty, for roughly $50, you can have three costumes in one.

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the Rock:

  • 2 floral foam blocks
  • 2 pieces silver fabric
  • Elastic sequin trim

For Paper:

  • 2 sheets of white foam board
  • Blue, Pink, and Black markers
  • Elastic sequin trim

For Scissors:

  • White poster board
  • Red poster board
  • Elastic sequin trim

Equipment:

  • Staple gun
  • Box cutter
  • Silver spray paint
  • Grey spray paint
  • Hot glue

To make Rock costume:

  1. Chip away at foam blocks to make look like big rocks.

  2. Use gray and silver spray paint to color rocks.

  3. Hot glue one piece of silver fabric to the front right side of one rock and back right side of other rock. Hot glue the other piece of silver fabric to the front left side of one rock and the back left side of other rock.

  4. Hot glue elastic sequin trim to rocks to make suspenders.

To make Paper costume:

  1. Take markers to make white foam board look like loose leaf paper.

  2. Hot glue elastic sequin trim to each board for suspenders.

To make Scissors costume:

  1. Cut blades of out white poster board and spray paint silver.

  2. Cut handle out of red poster board.

  3. Hot glue elastic sequin trim to scissors and create halter top to hold up costume.

9
Error 404

The Balance

Last but not least, the costume for the underachiever on a budget. This clever costume can be yours for about $7.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A white t-shirt
  • Black iron-on letters
  • Beer bottle

Equipment:

  • Extra cloth fabric
  • Iron

Directions:

  1. Collect the letters to spell “ERROR 404 Costume Not Found”.

  2. Arrange on t-shirt.

  3. Place extra cloth over letters.

  4. Press hot iron until letters stick to shirt.

10
More DIY Ideas to Throw a Halloween Party for Less

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As you can see, there are plenty of fun ideas that won't cost a dime! More