If you’ve seen any pictures of cosplay enthusiasts taken at any of the various massive comic conventions that happen every year all over the world, you could be excused for thinking dressing up as a video game character is an elaborate, time-consuming, expensive affair.
While that may be true in many cases, there are a ton of video game Halloween costumes that only require inexpensive clothing and objects you may already have lying around the house. Dressing up as these three characters in particular won’t run you more than about $40 and will take you almost no time to put together.
Hunter from “Left 4 Dead”
The Hunter is perhaps the most iconic character from Valve’s apocalyptic zombie shooter. While the Hunter can be seen wall-jumping and pouncing from rooftops in “Left 4 Dead,” you may want to brush up on your parkour skills before attempting any fancy stunts.
- Estimated cost: $35
- This costume is for: Someone who wants to show off geek cred without having to explain their costume to anyone who doesn’t get the reference.
- How to make: You’ll need a black or dark gray hoodie, brown pants, duct tape, and a Halloween makeup kit that includes cream makeup, fake blood and blood capsules. Wrap some duct tape around your biceps, forearms, hamstrings and calves. Put some makeup on your face and hands until you look more or less like a zombie. (Full disclosure: I had someone do this for me. I have no idea how to makeup.) Smear some fake blood on your chest, and chomp down on a blood pellet, allowing it to drip down your chin. Alert others to your presence by jumping around while screaming; you’ll be an instant hit at any party, guaranteed.
Prince of All Cosmos from “Katamari”
The diminutive Prince has it pretty rough. He’s always forced to clean up after his dad’s mistakes, such as by recreating all the stars in the galaxy after they were destroyed during a night of heavy drinking. All this while his father, the King of All Cosmos, constantly berates him, regardless of whether he succeeds.
- Estimated cost: $40
- This costume is for: Us. We may have had too much fun at Our superfab wonderful Halloween party and somehow destroyed all Our trick-or-treat bags. We need you to roll up this much candy [500 pieces] in this much time [3 minutes] <3.
- How to make: For this costume, you’ll need a green long-sleeve T-shirt, purple tights and a cat toy — specifically, a green fabric tunnel  with a hole on each end and one in the middle for your head. Maybe your cat will let you to borrow his if you promise not to put GIFs of him on Reddit for a month. Finally, no Dashing Prince is complete without a katamari. A round Japanese paper lantern works wonderfully for this purpose and fits in well given the game’s style and country of origin. For bonus points, make your katamari sticky with double-sided tape, and use it to roll up any candy you come across.
Villager from “Animal Crossing”
A lone human in a town full of anthropomorphic animals, the Villager from the wildly popular “Animal Crossing” series is enjoying increased prominence due to his inclusion in the upcoming “Smash Bros.” game, which spawned a meme.
- Estimated cost: $20
- This costume is for: Anyone itching for Nintendo 3DS Friend Codes.
- How to make: Now, this costume can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be. To keep it simple, all you need is a red T-shirt, a pair of black shorts and a sheet of light blue felt cut into the shape of the number one. But, as “Office Space” taught us, it’s up to you whether you want to just do the bare minimum. Part of the fun in “Animal Crossing” is dressing your character up, so go nuts! Wear a bow tie! Or a stupid hat. Don the mask you wore last year. Don’t forget to carry an accessory, such as a butterfly net or a fishing rod. (Pro tip: Don’t forget to remove the fishing hook. A lawsuit from an angry parent could raise the price of this costume significantly.)
What do you think? Any cheap, DIY video game Halloween costumes you’ve had tried in the past that worked out?
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(Photos: Valve, Dan Miranda, Nintendo)