No need to cash out for a costume: Budget DIY Halloween costumes

A Macaroni Penguin looks over a fish themed pumpkin at the Detroit Zoo, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in Royal Oak, Mich. Each year in October as Halloween approaches, some of the animals receive pumpkins filled with treats to eat during the zoo's annual Smashing Pumpkins event. The enrichment items are hidden through out the animals' habitats or prepared and placed in a manner to stimulate natural behaviors. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

With Halloween less than two weeks away, it’s crunch time for getting your costume. If, like many college students, you don’t want to waste money on an elaborate mass-produced costume from the party store, you can make one yourself for cheap. Simply pull together pieces you already own and purchase a few extra accessories.

For example, you can become any athlete from any sport by simply donning a jersey that you already own. Become a football player by wearing his jersey, carrying a football, and wearing eye black on your face. Turn into a hockey player with a hockey stick, a basketball player with a basketball, or a baseball player with a bat and ball. No need to go out and purchase any accessories: surely your parents must have some of your old sporting equipment somewhere in the garage.

If you’re not into sports, try humor. Literally any pun, play on words or idiomatic phrase can work for a cheap Halloween costume. Raining cats and dogs. Freudian slip. A blessing in disguise. When pigs fly. There are so many options.

For “Raining cats and dogs,” print out some pictures of cats and dogs and attach them with string to your umbrella. For the Freudian slip, wear a night dress and tape words that Freud would use (for example, “repression,” “subconscious” and “ego”) to it. For “A blessing in disguise,” tape a sign that says “Blessing” to a T-shirt and then wear an overcoat and sunglasses, like you’re trying to keep a low profile. Alternately, buy a pair of those fake glasses with bushy eyebrows and a fake nose attached and wear this with your T-shirt. For “When pigs fly,” wear a pink shirt and create a curly tail for yourself from a pink pipe cleaner. Add some wings and pig ears that you can cut from cardboard.

If you have some old sheets lying around, you can use them to make a cheap Halloween costume. Even if you don’t have an extra flat sheet somewhere in the back of your closet, it’s worth it to buy a cheap one from Walmart for these costumes. You can simply cut two eye holes and a mouth hole out of the sheet and be a ghost. If you mess up on the cutting and the holes that you cut out are too far apart, just keep cutting some more holes all over the sheet and be the Charlie Brown ghost.

Not feeling the ghost look? Turn the sheet into a Roman toga: throw one corner of the sheet over your shoulder. Make sure that you pull the corner down past your waist and then wrap the rest of the sheet around you. Just belt it, and you’re good to go “Roman” through a party!

If you’re missing summer, put your warm-weather music festival outfits to good use this Halloween, as Brit + Co suggests.Be a hippie by pulling out your flower headbands, ripped jeans and sheer, lacy cardigans. Style your hair in loose waves or braids.

Any type of fruit can also be turned into a cheap Halloween costume. To start, all you’ll need is a T-shirt that matches the color of your fruit of choice. For a bunch of grapes, inflate some purple balloons and attach them to a purple shirt. A green shirt becomes a kiwi by gluing a white felt circle to the middle and either using a black marker to draw some seeds or gluing on some cut felt to resemble seeds. A lemon can be created by cutting white felt to look like the inside of a lemon wheel and gluing it to the side of a yellow shirt.

In the same vein as fruit, you can create something that resembles a sweet treat from a regular old T-shirt. For an ice cream cone, buy a slightly longer shirt than you normally would and cut the bottom to resemble ice cream dripping down a cone. To make sprinkles, cut out rectangles with rounded ends from different colors of felt. Attach them to the shirt and then wear khaki pants. Or, you could glue pom poms to a pink or white shirt and shorts to become a frosted animal cracker, as seen on Studio DIY.

Most of the crafting supplies mentioned above can be purchased for cheap at Walmart or Michaels. And just remember, the key to creating a cheap Halloween look is simply to use pieces that you already own!


Stephanie Santillo is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at stephanie.santillo@uconn.edu.