How to make your Halloween costume on the cheap

How to make your Halloween costume on the cheap

author: Jimmy Coultas

By Jimmy Coultas

Halloween shouldn’t have to be expensive, try these tactics to keep the cost of your costume down.

Halloween is hands down one of the most fun times of the year. Whether you’re heading off trick or treating for the first time or dressing up for a costume ball, fancy dress is a glorious way of making the most out of the holiday. The more original and different the better, but extravagance can often cost money - which isn’t great when Christmas is looming on the horizon.

Halloween doesn’t need to be expensive, which is why we’ve figured out some of the best tricks and treats you can use to keep costs down when thinking about your costume. 

Stick to the classics

Just looking for a bit of fun with your kids? Your house is probably full of plenty of pretty standard items which can be refashioned dead easily into costumes, either by themselves or as part of a more ambitious concept. And the ideas translate just as well if you’re a grown-up.

The following are all really easily adapted household items that can be made into costume props or full-blown outfits:

  • Old bedsheets (ghosts, capes)
  • Bin Bags (capes or bat wings)
  • Tin Foil (Tinman, robots, astronauts)
  • Cardboard boxes (Robots, Daleks)  
  • Toilet or Kitchen Roll (Mummies, Zombies)
  • Makeup (great for decorating faces or adding spots of blood to your costume)


Nobody wants to go as the same thing they used last year for Halloween, but that doesn’t mean you can’t repurpose previous costumes. That orange pumpkin outfit could help you become one of the Flintstones with a few choice pieces of felt, and a black cape works just as well for vampires, witches and any other gruesome creature you’re feeling an affinity towards.

You can also swap costumes with friends, particularly useful if you’ve children’s costumes that no longer fit. Better yet incorporate actual recycling by repurposing rubbish into your outfit, as Daisy May Cooper did to eye-catching effect at the Bafta TV Awards earlier this year.

Be Funny

A sense of humour can go a long way to masking the fact your costume is very cheap. Want a breakfast pun on Halloween? This Cereal Killer costume is simple to make. You could even go as a duo with one t-shirt of each part of the phrase.

Go as a unit

Fancy dress is as much about teamwork as it is showing off, and working together as a team means not only can you bulk buy your costume materials, you can probably cut a few corners too with your ideas.

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#halloween #groupcostume at #work this year = #dominoes. . . . #worktwerk #ingrammicro #happyhalloween #halloween2017

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Wearing all black with a couple of white dots is pretty lame by yourself, but a few of you and you’re a collection of dominoes. One red and one blue oversized t-shirt with a printed M is the basis for an M&Ms outfit for two (especially if you coordinate your footwear), and Where’s Wally may be done to death but it’s still a lot of fun.

Plan ahead

Hands up who has seen a fancy dress shop queue on Halloween or the Saturday before? Even with the onset of internet shopping last-minute Larrys still exist for Halloween, and if that’s you then chances are only the rubbish or expensive costumes will be left for you to choose. So plan to get everything a good few days before you need to wear yours.

You could even be super organised and pick up next year’s outfit in early November, grabbing a bargain when interest is at its lowest (eBay will be full of people selling this year’s costumes for cheap).

Create a budget - and stick to it

One way to keep things cheap is to ring fence a specific budget. Whereas going for broke on one idea will lead you to quickly buy the necessary costume components, having a budget means you have to be more imaginative with how you spend your money.

That can be a lot of fun too if everyone sticks to the same concept. If you’re having a party why not try making a rule that everyone sticks to a set amount, then judge the winners? If you do it with your children, it can also be a fun way of teaching them the importance of budgeting early on.

Got a birthday coming up soon? That could mean free stuff, check out 10 of the best birthday freebies.


Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Jimmy Coultas

By Jimmy Coultas

How to make your Halloween costume on the cheap How to make your Halloween costume on the cheap