Frugal Living 

Kids & Money: Frugal Halloween Costumes

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Halloween CostumeI have a confession to make. I buy my son’s Halloween costume each year (one of those costs of raising children that I choose to pay). In fact, we just found a $20 costume for him on eBay. However, I know it’s possible to create your own costumes on the cheap. In fact, my mom still has the costume box that contains all sorts of elements that can be used for creating great Halloween costumes. When you have a large family, like we did growing up, it can help to have a box that has all you need for putting together costumes.

You might be surprised at the way you can put together creative and fun Halloween costumes. Here are some ideas for inexpensive costumes, as part of your frugal Halloween:

The All-Purpose Black Hooded Cloak

You can purchase (or make if you’re crafty) a black hooded cloak. I love this basic Halloween costume ingredient because it’s so versatile. You can use this cloak year after year, and it can be a major part of halloween costumes that include:

  • Classic, non-sparkly vampire
  • Dementor (from Harry Potter)
  • Grim Reaper (I’ve done this several times)
  • Harry Potter wizard characters
  • Darth Maul (my mom did an awesome job with inexpensive makeup on my brother’s face one year).
  • Scary ghost-thing from Scream
  • Witch

The great thing about the hooded cloak is that it can be used for costumes that require a hidden face, your you can leave the hood down for costumers that require your face to be visible. It’s fairly inexpensive, and you can do all sorts of things with a cloak.

Other Inexpensive Costume Ideas

You can also create inexpensive costumes by looking around at your old clothes, and other old items around the house. An old white sheet can be torn into strips to create a mummy. Or, you can use the sheet to help you go as a ghost, a la Charlie Brown.

Use a white button down shirt and old black or dark gray slacks or jeans to help create a Harry Potter costume. Use your black cloak as the robes, and get an old tie to help. You can get an old red tie and use fabric paint to add gold stripes (or use an old gold/yellow tie and apply red fabric paint). You can make your own wand, or you can buy one

Visit the thrift store to look for inexpensive props, clothes and other items that can be used in your frugal Halloween costume. If your child plans to be a zombie princess (or even a “pretty” princess), or a dead prom queen, you can usually find inexpensive formals at the local thrift store, or you can use one of your old dresses. Cheap tiaras are easy to find — or even make on your own if you have a headband and some fake jewels to stick on.

Before you spend money on a ready-made costume, you might consider making your own. If you have some time, imagination, and creativity, it’s really not too hard to assemble a good costume that is fun. Kids love dressing up, and if you get them involved in putting together a costume, they will love it even more.

What are your favorite frugal Halloween costume ideas?


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9 Responses to “Kids & Money: Frugal Halloween Costumes”

  1. Shirley says:

    One year a grandson participated in a “Made It Myself” Halloween parade. He spent hours on it and used a large box, lightweight rope, old drawer knobs, and colored markers to make a Gameboy (hand-held electronic game) with his head, arms and legs sticking out. He won first prize!

  2. ziglet19 says:

    I had a Rubix Cube come trick or treating one year, and I thought it was a very clever, cute, easy-to-make, frugal costume – you just need a box and some paint. Or, if you’ve got two trick-or-treaters, how about a pair of dice?

  3. ziglet19 says:

    So, anybody have any frugal ideas for an infant/toddler costume (especially for someone who’s not good with a needle and thread)? I’m admitting that I just bought a little dog costume at Costco (only $12.99)! But I am interested in trying something different next year, but with wobbly walkers, I struggle to come up with many ideas…

    • Shirley says:

      A floppy eared rabbit can be made with a hooded sweatshirt with tube sox (made thicker with a bit of stuffing – other sox or cardboard for shape) safety pinned to it for the ears.
      Consider a black cat using folded regular black sox for ears or a grey or brown mouse with a tube sock or braided yarn tail.

      I’ve seen toddler angels with posterboard wings.
      A construction paper crown makes royalty.
      Think washable makeup and have fun!

    • Gina says:

      One of the best ways to costume a toddler is with a sweatsuit that you’d wear otherwise. Look for solid-color sweats at Target or Walmart for $3.50 or so. Then you can add animal ears, pieces of felt for spots or stripes, and make your own creature. Look online for ideas for cat, lion, puppy, etc.

    • Allycat says:

      One year I used solid colored feetie pj’s that were too small on my toddler daughter. I cut the feet out and hot glued feathers to the neckline, cuffs and leg bottoms. I tucked a few feathers in her hair and I must admit that I did purchase a rubber duck bill for around $3-4. She was the cutest little thing you have ever seen. Especially surrounded by so many store bought costumes.

    • ziglet19 says:

      Thanks for the great suggestions, I seriously lack the creative gene. Can’t wait to try some of these!

    • Ziglet19 – try creating an original super-hero costume for your little kids.

      That’s what we did for my son Maxwell (aka Mighty Max). No sewing involved, just sticking a big letter “M” on a colorful onesie or t-shirt, making a cape out of some cool material (you could also just use a towel or something) Then give them get creative and add other fun accessories.

  4. I’m not sure I agree with the above comment…

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