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Cheap, easy DIY Halloween costumes based on reality TV

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Low-cost reality-show Halloween costumesDisclaimer: I love Halloween. LOVE it. Choosing a Halloween costume is one of the highlights of my year. What could be more fun than dressing like a fool and going out in public? You guessed it: getting your friends together and dressing like a group of fools! In recent years, when Halloween approaches, my friends and I have designated a group theme for everyone to follow (e.g., superheroes or “The Wizard of Oz”).

There is something about having your pals by your side that amps up the creativity and lessens the feeling of embarrassment. If you are looking for Halloween costumes that are going to get a reaction, it needs to be something recognizable and relatable. To fit the bill, let me present to you three group costumes based on reality television.

The Bachelor

Champagne. Cat fights. Embarrassing declarations of love. ”The Bachelor” is known for being outlandishly cheesy. It also makes for a great group costume that can be done for little to no cost. Most of the items needed to pull this one off are probably already hanging in your closet. To maximize the fun, really play up the show’s stereotypes. Give each person a role to play — the one who can’t stop crying, the hothead, the one who isn’t there for the “right reasons” — and stay in character throughout the night. This means spontaneous crying, pretend catfights and the recitation of a cheesy poem. (Author’s note: When I was in college I needed a last-minute costume, so I put on the fanciest dress and shoes I had and told people I was “dressed up for Halloween.” This can be a nice backup plan if you get separated from your group.)The Bachelor makes a cheap and pretty hilarious theme for a Halloween ensemble

What you need:

  • Suit/Formal Dress
  • Rose
  • Tissues
  • Champagne glasses

Estimated cost: Depending on how many of these items you already have, $5-10.

Legends of the Hidden Temple

Next up is a costume that lets ’90s kids relive their youth. Before there was “Survivor” or “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”, there was the ultimate combination quiz/obstacle/challenge show: “Legends of the Hidden Temple.” This costume can allow for up to 12 people paired off into teams of two. You would be amazed at how many people remember and love this show. Be prepared for all night high fives. Bonus points if you can get two friends to dress as talking statue head Olmec and host-with-the-most Kirk Fogg.

What you need:

  • Team T-Shirt (Purple Parrots, Blue Barracudas, Silver Snakes, etc)
  • Khaki shorts
  • Gold helmet
  • Knee/elbow pads
  • Mouth guard

Estimated cost: You likely have khaki shorts already. Presuming that is the only item you already own, approximately $60 per person.

Shark Week

Every year the hype around Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” grows bigger and bigger. For this costume, grab six of your closest friends and get ready to make a splash. Each of you gets a plain white t-shirt on which you write one day of the week. Cut a fin shape out of a piece of cardboard, spray paint it gray and glue it on a headband. Boom. Shark. Week. For maximum impact, plan to enter the party in a single file line.

What you need:

    • 7 plain white t-shirts
    • Black permanent marker
    • Cardboard box
    • Gray spray paint
    • Headbands
    • Glue

Estimated cost:  Divided by seven people, $3.80 per person.

Reality TV is over the top, so the more into it you get, the more fun it will be. Pick a theme, rally your friends and Happy Halloween!

Do you have a favorite reality TV costume idea you’d like to share? What about other low-cost costumes?

(Photos: Nickelodeon, Alana Modlin)

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8 Responses to “Cheap, easy DIY Halloween costumes based on reality TV”

  1. Jill says:

    Wow! what awesome ideas!!! I personally love the Bachelor one so i can get all my friends involved!

  2. Claes Bell says:

    Agreed… Alana came up with some great ideas.

  3. Dan.Miranda says:

    Oh wow, somehow I hadn’t considered adding Fogg & Olmec to a Hidden Temple posse. Genius!

  4. Meagan says:

    Brilliant! All brilliant! Love these!

  5. Jessica says:

    I LOVE the Bachelor idea! I know my friends and I still have all of our old prom dresses and bridesmaid dresses from over the years. Plus, it’s a great excuse to get all glammed up for a night.

  6. Jenny says:

    Freaking amazing idea! Best photo! Love the creativity!!!

  7. Jenny says:

    I’m talking about the bachelor idea!!! You need the host!

  8. Alana says:

    I absolutely agree…it’s a great way to recycle those old bridesmaid dresses that you were promised “you could TOTALLY wear again!” And yes, bonus points for having a Chris Harrison.


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