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4 Inexpensive Halloween Costume Ideas

2013 October 21
by Ruser

ruserIf you really want to wow others at a Halloween party or win a costume contest this year, you’ll likely have to spend quite a bit of money — and perhaps even time — on a costume. But if you’re just looking for something fun to wear to a gathering or to go trick-or-treating, here are some inexpensive (and admittedly nerdy) costume ideas. 

1. Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen

What you’ll need for Clark Kent: Superman shirt; dress pants; long-sleeved, button-down dress shirt; tie; homemade Daily Planet press pass; eyeglasses (optional)

What you’ll need for Lois Lane: business attire; homemade Daily Planet press pass; eyeglasses (optional); pad of paper and pen (optional); voice recorder (optional)

What you’ll need for Jimmy Olsen: long-sleeved, button-down dress shirt; bow tie; homemade Daily Planet press pass; camera

An adult-sized Superman costume can cost $50 or more. So why not save some money and dress up as Clark Kent instead?

You’ll need a shirt with the Superman emblem on it: if you don’t have one already, you can buy one at department stores or online for less than $15. Wear that under a dress shirt and leave the top three or four buttons unbuttoned so the “S” on your shirt is visible. Add a Daily Planet press pass and a tie hung loosely around your neck, and you’re Clark Kent, getting ready to burst onto the scene as Superman.

Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen can get in on the action, too. For Lois, simply wear business attire and don a Daily Planet press pass. Wield a pad of paper and pen, or a voice recorder to add to the look. Jimmy should have a press pass, too, as well as a bow tie and camera for pictures.

2. Ceiling Fan

What you’ll need: markers; poster board; solid color t-shirt (optional); face paint (optional)

Do you love ceilings? If so, Halloween is the perfect time to show your support for them.  This is an easy, fun costume, and if you and your friends enjoy puns, it should be good for some laughs.

With a poster board and some markers, create a sign to express your fanaticism for ceilings (e.g., “ceilings are number 1!”). Wear face paint or design a t-shirt with similar sentiments and you can show the world that you are a true fan of ceilings.

3. Cereal Killer

What you’ll need: an empty cereal box (or several small cereal boxes); a fake knife (or plastic cutlery); fake blood (optional); double-sided tape (optional)

Another easy costume based on a pun. Take an empty cereal box and cut a wide slit through the front. Slip a fake knife through the slit and add fake blood as desired. Congratulations: you’re a cereal killer!

If you prefer not to walk around holding a box of cereal, you can instead use one or more small, personal-sized boxes of cereal. In lieu of a fake knife, use plastic cutlery or plastic toothpicks shaped like swords to “stab” the cereal boxes. Then use double-sided tape to attach your “victims” to your clothes.

4. Your younger self

What you’ll need: an old photo of yourself; clothes and accessories similar to what you are wearing in the photo

Recently, I’ve seen some great pictures of adults re-enacting old pictures of themselves that were taken when they were kids. It’s a fun idea for pictures and a fun idea for a Halloween costume, too.

Just find an old picture of yourself and put together an outfit that closely resembles what you’re wearing in the photo. If you can’t find an adequate outfit at home, you might have some luck at a Goodwill, Salvation Army, or another thrift store. Pin the photo to yourself so people have a point of reference.

Do you have any ideas for inexpensive, DIY costumes for Halloween?

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Ruser

Born and raised in Chicago, he currently resides in the city with his wife and son. Previously a big spender on games and movies, he learned to appreciate thriftiness while unemployed for seven months. He now works in marketing and HR for a christian trust company, and manages their personal finance blog.

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6 Responses
  1. October 21, 2013

    Great ideas, Ruser!! Living in the country, we don’t “officially” celebrate Halloween (the houses are few and far in between). Instead, we let each kid pick out a bag of their favorite candy, buy a new movie on DVD, and spend the night at home, where the kids “create” costumes out of what they’ve got here at the house. Fun, and we rarely spend more than about $35.

  2. October 21, 2013

    Love the cereal killer idea! Very clever. When I was a kid I use to love to raid my Dad’s closet and dress as a nerd for Halloween, did it a couple times if memory serves.

  3. October 21, 2013

    A few years ago, we made a “minecraft” costume. We got some boxes for free from Walmart, and painted them with blue spray paint. I think the costume cost us less than $5!

  4. October 21, 2013

    Cool beans! It’s not always about the “how much” Halloween is more about the actual idea of the costume. Pretty sweet costume ideas!

  5. October 22, 2013

    Some great ideas as we careen toward Halloween.

  6. October 22, 2013

    Laurie: sounds like a good time — I might need to borrow that idea!

    Kyle: I think it’s great your dad’s closet had everything you need for that costume.

    Travis: I’ve seen some relatively expensive Minecraft costumes; I’d say you did really well at less than $5!

    Jay: For years I’ve gone with fun ideas and cheap costumes — I can’t justify spending a lot of money on something I would only wear once.

    James: Thanks!

    Hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween!

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