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Frugal Costume Ideas

Category Costumes
When dressing up for Halloween, a masquerade or a costume ball, you can save money by using your imagination.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
September 16, 2010

I need cheap, free, or homemade costume ideas for Halloween.

By BargainGirl from Greenville, SC


September 18, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

I made my g-daughter into a" Bag of Groceries" I used a store's brown bag, cut out the bottom and slit the bag up the back to wrap around her. I didn't do arm holes as the bag hung below the arms and stayed on by hot gluing an old fabric belt cut to size for shoulder straps. Then I filled it with "products", like cutting out the fronts of boxed items (different sizes) and layering them every which way around the body of the bag and glued them together in batches. I found smaller items to glue up and down the straps (empty Jello boxes, pet food treat containers, a toothpaste box, etc). I took a ketchup bottle, cleaned it and inserted a piece of red construction paper to give it color and put the bottle into the body of the bag). Then I paper-clipped a bunch of coupons to the front of the bag along with a long register receipt that was dangling out. Her head was covered with a white knit cap and an empty bag of sugar placed upside down on her head. Cut the flaps to lay flat for using bobby pins to hold it in place. (Just wear something neutral underneath). Everyone loved her costume! Carrying one of those recycled totes from the store for getting treats completes the outfit. This outfit cost was ZERO, too :D---a little imagination goes a long way!

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September 21, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

There are lots of costumes you can make from old clothes. Try a hippie, if you have torn jeans, a vest, lots of love beads, a scarf for a belt.


A tramp, out of whatever ragged things you can devise, use a broomstick and a bag of "something" on a stick so it looks hobo-ish.
A farmer, jeans, plaid shirt, straw hat or cap.
A maid, dress, apron, tray with dishes on it.
Cowboy, if you have the appropriate hat, and boots are a bonus, otherwise jeans, shirt, vest, hanky around neck, maybe a hobby horse.

Ask your kids for ideas, if they are school age. My son once dressed up as the "chensopater". I didn't know what that was (a word he made up) , but we used things we had, big hat, cape, ragged pants and shirt, he put together the costume and was thrilled.

Just a reminder that face paint is always better than a mask for trick or treating (unless you are the Lone Ranger, he has to have a mask! LOL)

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September 16, 20100 found this helpful

I am looking for ideas for easy and inexpensive, yet unique, Halloween costumes. Thank you.

By Deborah Tatroe from Nederland, TX


Frugal Costume Ideas


Bicycle shops give away old tubes. Get one or even two or three, paint them the colors of a child's favorite cereal. For example: tan for cheerios, or one red, one blue and one green for fruit loops. Then have the child dress in all white. Cut out a large, maybe 20" long depending on the size of the child, spoon from a cardboard box, cover with foil, and there you go; a bowl of cereal costume!

Another idea-

Buy a large balloon, blow it up and tie it, then secure it to a headband. Take an old pillowcase and paint it like a package of gum. Cut a hole in the closed end for the child's head and one in each side for the arms. You don't have to be fancy with the paint job, just paint the words bubble gum in big letters on front and back of the pillow case. You could use a large T-shirt instead of the pillowcase. Have fun. (10/09/2009)


By Ann Winberg

Frugal Costume Ideas

Using a set of sweatpants and a hoodie (in a neutral color you can make any sort of animal costume), sew on or glue on felt to add spots, stripes, etc. Make ears of whatever shape the animal has, add a tail if appropriate, and use an eye pencil to add some whiskers to your child's face. After Halloween you can remove all the spots and stuff if stitched on and continue to use the sweats. Pajama sleepers work equally well, but you'll need a hat or headband to attach ears. (10/11/2009)

By Linda L.

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October 6, 20090 found this helpful

Frugal Costume Ideas

Halloween is coming! Here are some inexpensive costume ideas and a recipe for face paint. Hope you all have a safe and happy Halloween.


Use leotards for girls as a costume base.

Face Paint

Use a rubber spatula to blend the first 3 ingredients on a plate to form a smooth paste. Add 3-4 drops of glycerin to make a creamy consistency. Divide mixture into batches to color as needed.

For dark beards, mustaches, etc. add 2 1/2 tsp. of cocoa to above mixture. Heat is an enemy for this type of face paint as it will melt if child gets sweaty, but it *is* fast, easy and cheap. Remove with a little soap and water.

NOTE: Glycerin is available in pharmacy departments. It's in a small brown bottle, often located in the first aid section. It's quite inexpensive and can be used to make a very good homemade bubble solution.

*** I checked with Poison Control about the "lick-ability" of the glycerin in this recipe and they say that though glycerin has a laxative effect in quantity, a few drops wouldn't hurt a child even if he/she eats the entire batch! It's smart, however, to avoid the area around eyes and mouth.

By Debra from Colorado Springs, CO


Frugal Costume Ideas

What amazing idea for costumes! Thanks for taking the time to write it all out. (10/28/2006)

By Brigitte

Frugal Costume Ideas

Wow, no one came up with a nun costume? Wear all black, carry a ruler, and stick a skirt on your head. ;) (10/29/2006)

By Viv

Frugal Costume Ideas

All good ideas! (10/21/2007)

By betty

Frugal Costume Ideas

Sheer curtains over white or gray sweats make an ethereal and safe (see through) ghost costume. Use safety pins to tack the curtain, in folds, to the sweats. (10/22/2007)

By Doris

Frugal Costume Ideas

Hickory Dickory Dock, the rhyme. Take one box, spray paint with brown paint a few days in advance, add numbers that can be bought from dollar store, make into clock shape, add small mice that are cat nip toys and do up and down the clock. On the back say the rhyme. Big hit at my sons pre-k. (01/14/2008)

By amy

RE: Frugal Costume Ideas

Frugal Costume Ideas

My 10-year-old wanted to be Wednesday Addams for Halloween, but I didn't feel like shelling out $30 for the costume in the store. We found a short black flippy skirt of her sister's, a black long-sleeved shirt and put a white pointy-collar top underneath. Black tights, black flats and her hair in braids completed the costume. I also basted some silver buttons down the front of the black top and painted her fingernails black. (10/29/2008)

By Leigh Sasser

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