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Monday, October 25, 2010

Frugal Fun Halloween Tips - or "My Kids Don't Have a Costume Yet"


Halloween costumes can be quite expensive and really rather cute - but in my humble opinion a total waste of time and money. And that is two things I don't like to waste!
I know, call me a joy kill, but I can't tell you how many times in my life you go to tons of trouble with a costume and then it is cold or rainy or snowing and you have to bundle up and no one sees the costume any way. 
  • So my first frugal tip is buy some face paint  when it is on sale if possible, make your little one a cat - nose, whiskers - put a headband on with ears and call it a costume. 
  • With your older ones, have them wear any dress up outfit from the toy bin and color their faces to match - my kids always like to go as "dead whatevers" you know, dead cheerleaders, dead football players, dead politicians (oh wait that is my husband). 
  • Call around to family and friends - do they have an old costume just sitting around not being worn? Score!
  • Check out the internet for great money saving ideas - I found a great one with unique Halloween Costumes for women - but it will give you lots of ideas for kids.
  • It is a little late but you can often find GREAT costumes super cheap at garage sales.
  • Papa and Mini-Papa
  • Don't forget the Picken's often has great items that make wonderful costumes!
  • Look in the recycling bin for boxes and plastic bottles - loads of costumes can be made from them!
You get the idea - make it simple, it shouldn't break the bank. And never ever buy those crappy, cheap often tawdry costumes from the store (you can borrow or buy used though if you must). 

Just to get you started here are 8 great cheap costumes for kids!

  1. Angel: Use an old white sheet, spray it lightly with some clear spray paint and toss glitter on it before the paint has a chance to dry. Make a halo and the wings out of clothes hangers covered with aluminum foil. 
  2. Hippie: old clothes, sandals. Old (or new) tie dyed shirt, then draw symbols on it with a permanent marker. Top off the outfit with a bandanna, sun glasses and a pack of cigarettes (deck of cards) rolled up in the sleeve. 
  3. Gypsie - Oversized clothes in bright colors, for girls a big white shirt, big gold earrings from mom.
  4. Steve Erkel aka Nerd:  Too small pants, shirt buttoned up wrong, hair slicked back, old pair of glasses with tape, white socks, BIG book to carry under their arm. 
  5. Bum or Hobo: Old clothes, dad's garden or old work clothes are great, old hat, use watercolor paint to put beard on him.
  6. Silly Clown: Use mismatched oversized or too small clothes from everyone's closet...if you don't have a wig, make a hat from construction paper or use an old one, decorate it outlandishly with flowers, pins, etc...
  7. Ninja: Black clothes. Mom or Dad's would be the right amount of loose.  Make a ninja mask out of a small scrap of black cloth. Make your  weapons out of card- board and color and cover with aluminum foil - easy to make Ninja stars, knife. Use long stick or old broom handle for a bo, take two paper towel rolls, connect with piece of twine, cover them with black construction paper and you have num-chucks.
  8. Tacky Tourist: loud clothes, camera, hat, maps sticking out of every pocket, use your imagination.
  9. Princess or Movie Star: Use one of mom's old slips, or silky nightgowns.  You can get sparkley netting at a discount store for between 75 cents and $1 a yard. 2 or 3 yards attached to the bottom half of the slip will make a billowy skirt. Use a long length of it doubled and wrap around the shoulders, clasp it with a pretty pin. Mom's jewelry and makeup add the finishing touch.
  10. Hunter or Soldier: My boys always had some camouflage clothing, just piece together what ever combination you want, apply some paint to the face. Big work boots if you have them.
  11. 80's Rock Star: Torn clothes, spike their hair using hair spray. Make jewelry with safety pins, clip on earrings, the dog's collar :)....paint their face with makeup... Spray on colored hairspray is cheap!
My final tip is to let the kids get creative especially the tweens - my daughter took an old rectangular box, stuck pencils through it, put 2 of her dad's "vintage? antique?" records on them, used an old pair of head phones and is going as a DJ - brilliant and didn't cost me a penny!
For Halloween she will be wearing rapper clothes - from our closets!

 Not only do these tips save you money - they are also earthy crunchy because you are reusing and recycling yeah for reconomics!! Love it!

Any great costumes you have come up with that are free or cheap?

I will be linking this to Works for Me Wednesdays and Mrs. Jenny Matlock's AlphabeThursdays!
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all crafts Handmade Projects ~ Tip Me Tuesdayhandmade projects


  1. christy you have the best ideas! my 16 year old son wants to go as a "kissing booth" same idea as the dj... but he has a reason to kiss every girl at our church party... yeah i'm not loving the idea either... i am showing him the dj idea...! thx for sharing!....blessings...s...

  2. Sarah - I wouldn't let my kid go as a kissing booth either -but how creative - everytime I think of it I laugh!

  3. I love all of these ideas! My favorite halloween costumes are the homemade ones.

    Last year I was a jar of skippy peanut butter. basically, i wore a brown dress and drew a very realistic jar of peanut butter on poster paper.

  4. What great ideas! My older kids raid our closet. My duaghter went as a Gibson Girl ( so cute, but nobody under 40 knew who she was.)and my son wore my dh's flight suit.

  5. I love making all my own costumes!

    I am having a Handmade Halloween Costume contest - Submit yours!

    Party and Entertaining Inspiration

  6. We have been lucky and have been able to wear hand-me down costumes for the last three years. I hope this tradition continues.

  7. Cheap, home-made costumes rock!!
    I glued, stapled, tied costumes together as long as I could...

  8. FABULOUS post! I like your ideas and your attitude. :)

  9. Great ideas!

    I don't have a costume yet either, so I can really use the help...

  10. This doesn't help for this year but I bought tons of costume parts and complete outfits for a couple of bucks each at Walmart after Halloween.....for my grandkids dress up chest. Thanks for the tips.

  11. oh we do costumes cheap at our house ... my dd works at a summer camp for kids and once a week they have a themed dress up day ... i have made more costumes out of those $1.00 coloured plastic table cloths and cardboard than you can imagine ... dinos, sharks, superheros, mario, gladiators, togas ... keep creating those wonderful inexpensive costumes ... i love seeing the creative!!!

  12. Nice ideas! If my kids want a bought costume, they have to pay with their own money. Mostly they make theirs in similar fashion to what you described in your ideas! Lots of great tips here, way to go!

  13. Wow, these are amazing ideas!

    And that mini-Poppa! Totally loved it.

    My cheapest and most creative costume ever was when I put black mascara around my eyes and pinned a bunch of cut out letter "P's" all over my shirt and pants. I was a 'black eyed pea'!

    Hey, quit groaning! I thought it was pretty clever!

    And so were your ideas!

    Cool doesn't have to mean expensive.

    Thanks for sharing your creativity with us and I am witching you a BOOtiful Hallowen today, too!


  14. I should've read this post last week! I could've dressed myself and my husband up as tacky tourists for our Halloween party *L*

    Great ideas!