Cheap and Easy Halloween Costumes for Kids

By Julie Rains on 8 October 2009 (Updated 19 October 2010) 8 comments
Photo: pneoric

I love Halloween but hate paying high prices for kids' costumes. Over the years, I have managed to create a few costumes cheaply without tapping into my extremely sparse (nonexistent?) sewing and craft skills. Here are some costume ideas (suitable for kids of various ages) that could save you money with minimal effort.

A Halloween make-up kit is all you may need to buy, depending on what types of clothing and props you may already have at home. For inexpensive accessories, visit your local dollar store or thrift shop.

Football Player

cover photo by pnoeric

  • Put black make-up under the eyes to simulate eye black
  • Wear football jersey (add white football pants or solid-colored sweatpants that match jersey)
  • Carry a prop such as a football or helmet

 

Knight

photo by ThrasherDave

  • Wear solid-colored clothing; add a tunic with crest if you have one
  • Carry shield, helmet, and toy sword (we have these around the house but if you don't, check out the dollar store)

 

Ghost

photo by goldberg

  • Cut white sheets to proper length for your child
  • Decorate with cute or scary faces (shown here: angry and sad) or cut out a section in the middle for the head so that the sheet fits like a poncho 

 

Pirate

photo by Mykl Rovertine

  • Dress in stripes with contrasting solid colors (here: striped skirt with white shirt and black tights and black shoes; or go with a striped shirt with black pants)
  • Add accessories such as an eyepatch, pirate's hat, and/or toy sword

 

50's Character

photo by divemasterking2000

50's Man:

  • Slick back hair with hair gel, mousse, or Pomade
  • Wear white t-shirt and jeans
  • Add leather jacket if you have one

50's Woman:

  • Wear full skirt with solid-colored blouse
  • Put on a polyester scarf
  • Wear short socks (or bobby socks) with sneakers

 

The Joker

photo by Beau B

  • Apply base of white make-up to face, surround outside of eyes with black, and make a smile with red make-up
  • Wear a cheap suit or sport jacket with pants and tie (try Goodwill to find an inexpensive suit)

 

Princess

Photo by charlotte.marillet

  • Dress in a cute outfit (I especially like the pink)
  • Place tiara on head and wand in hand

 

Hippie

photo by e m i photoart

  • Wear psychedelic clothing (try something multi-colored with a flowery or tie-dyed motif)
  • Put on layers of beads

 

More costume ideas:

Scarily Simple Halloween Costumes (kids)

Clever Homemade Costumes (grown-ups)

Costumes from things you already own (grown-ups)

Homemade Halloween makeup (very gross but I like the Joker idea)

 

Do you have simple, fast, and inexpensive costume ideas? Share them in the comments.

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Guest's picture

Great tips! The thing I hate about halloween is having to spend so much on costumes. Sometimes hand-me-downs or trading with others that are the same size can score you free costumes too.

Guest's picture

My Dad and I are both really creative people and some of my fondest childhood memories are of us spending hours creating my halloween costumes from thrift story pieces and arts and crafts. Whether spray painting a jumpsuit silver (alien), sovering me in green face paint) statue of liberty or building a cone bra (Madonna) we never spent much money and I always looked original. Sometimes you just need to think outside the box.

Linsey Knerl's picture

I love that most of the props are already around our house (my boys play dress-up like pirates, cowboys, etc all year long.) Great tips!

Linsey Knerl

Myscha Theriault's picture

I just now had a chance to read this. Great one, Julie. My husband and I did the pirate thing last year. It is indeed a very cheap costume. Love the additional link resources as well.

You can also follow me on Twitter and Trek Hound.

Guest's picture
Slinky

Geisha and Samurai work pretty easy too. Wear a robe and tie a piece of fabric/scarf/shawl/towel/whatever around their waste for an obi. Geishas then get white face, dark eyebrows, and red lips. Bonus points for cheap folding fans or using choptsticks in their hair. Samurais get to carry a sword. Have them practice bowing for when people open the door. Very cute.

Guest's picture

Great resource! I found an additional cheap costumes resource looking for a Christmas play costume for this year's pageant. This site - affordablehalloweencostumes.com - carries thousands of kids costumes all for under $40. Some of them were even less than $10!

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sadf

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Guest

helo?