85 Easy, Frugal Halloween Costume Ideas

I'm not crafty, but I know a good costume idea when I see one. That's why I was overwhelmed with the number of high-quality, affordable DIY costume ideas for adults, kids, and even pets available online and in some of my favorite magazines. Check out these links to some excellent tutorials. Most costumes can be made in a few hours or less — and are done with even the most limited budget! (See also: Last-Minute DIY Halloween Costumes)

All You Magazine's 7 Easy Halloween Costumes for Kids — This roundup includes directions for a robot, butterfly, a bunch of grapes, flower girl, baby bat, and lizard.

Family Fun Magazine's 13 Last-Minute Costume Ideas — These can easily be adapted for adults, and they are perfect for the parent who forgot to plan ahead and couldn't buy or make a costume in time for the big holiday! Ideas include Spa Princess and Miss Universe (as well as some "pun-based" ideas that may or may not be as popular).

Woman's Day 15 Print-and-Color Masks — If the weather is chilly, and your costume will be covered by a parka and gloves, anyway, you may want to consider a mask! These printables are easy to color, cut, and wear (and make a super activity for kids to participate in long after the holiday is over).

Like this? How about WD's 7 Super Easy One-Hour Costume Ideas? These include some pretty creative costumes, including my favorite — the mad scientist!

Real Simple's 8 Last-Minute Halloween Costumes — I'm not sure I like the outdated Broccoli Spears idea, but the rest on this list are cute and clever. If you have just a few minutes to throw something together, this is the list for you! (Includes highway, bubble bath, the impressive jellyfish!)

Ready Made's 13 Eleventh Hour Halloween Getups — These tongue-in-cheek costumes are probably best for the ambitious adult, but all of them take little time to create. Choose from Bubble Wrap Man, Cereal Killer, Freudian Slip, and more.

Woman's Day 3 Darling DIY Dog Costumes — These work well for anyone who has a dog too large to squeeze into a infant costume (which can be used for some breeds of dogs). Adapt them for cats, too! (We like the little Frenchman the best.)

Lifehacker's 14 Homemade Halloween Reader Gallery Costumes — There aren't instructions for these super-creative, reader-submitted ideas...but I think you get the picture.

Working Mother's 5 Go-to Halloween Getups — These adorable ideas for younger kids, like ladybug and cowboy, use things you probably have lying around the house (like pantyhose and winter gloves). There are even shortcuts for those of us less motivated moms!

Don't forget Wise Bread! We've got our fair share of tips for simple and creative costumes, too! You can check out our homemade costumes, cheap online shopping sources, cheap and easy kids costumes, and why spending more may be better.

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Guest's picture

I remember when my son would be satisfied with thrift store or home made costumes. Besides being cheap, they look so much better.

Linsey Knerl's picture

Agreed. Unless we are buying a clearance-priced cloth costume that they can play dress up in for years, we avoid the store-bought ones altogether. I almost died when I saw a plastic costume at the drugstore for almost $30. I had a very flimsy plastic mask and something that looked similar to a disposable rain poncho that you get at a truck stop for 3 bucks. The markup on these outfits that are no more than party tablecloths blow my mind!

Guest's picture
jeslor bestius

i will shout it so loud to make most of the people know it

Guest's picture

I recently saw a clever costume for a couple of an outlet and a power cord. It was made out of cardboard and seamed fairly easy to put together. I usually don;t dress up for Halloween, but this year my sister want to dress up to go to school. I'm trying to persuade her to go for a flapper look or something else vintage as we can shop at thrift store or consignment store. We can also use the clothes for other outfits.

Matt Bell's picture

My wife just picked up a brand new superhero costume for our 5-year old at Goodwill for $8. It was fast, inexpensive, and he loves it. We're just hoping he'll be willing to change out of it by the time school starts tomorrow.

Guest's picture

My wife just picked up a brand new superhero costume for our 5-year old at Goodwill for $8. It was fast, inexpensive, and he loves it. We're just hoping he'll be willing to change out of it by the time school starts tomorrow.

Guest's picture

These are all so cute!!! original, and cheaper than buying a costume from the store. my family and I just made Lego costumes... they were a huge hit!

You can see pictures and read how to do it:


Our son loved them and they were really easy and inexpensive.

Guest's picture

I added my Lego costume to the discussion above, but here is another good one my sister did for her kids: Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head!! So cute, and so easy. Also a no-sew idea!