Frugal Halloween Costume Ideas

Frugal Halloween Costume Ideas

My wife and I went to the local department store to get costumes for our children. We could not believe what the prices are anymore. As a child I remember Halloween costumes being nothing more that two pieces of plastic colored to look like your favorite villain or hero. With a plastic mask painted as well. Around 5 – 10 bucks for this get up, usually including the plastic pumpkin. .

With the financial crunch today, we are on the lookout for cheaper more frugal ways to dress up for the holidays. There are several cheap options and most are right in your own home. These are a few we have done in the past.

We just happen to have all these products at home. These are just ideas to get your creative juices flowing. There are ways to look more like these characters with hair dye and etc, but these are for those who cannot afford more than a couple of bucks. Most of these products can be found at thrift stores.

The Joker

  • Some kind of hair hold product, gel, hairspray, or even Vaseline. (Note: Vaseline is hard to wash out and requires a few repeats, but works and is cheap)
  • Mom’s lipstick, eyeliner and white or light colored face powder.
  • A bold color, button down shirt. (Red, Green, a couple of buck at thrift stores)
  • A dark colored sport coat (thrift store for a couple of bucks.)
  • One of Dads polka dot ties from the 70’s (thrift store couple of bucks)

Slick hair back, cover face in powder, apply lipstick in smile bigger than actual lips, apply eyeliner around eyes. Check with Grandma, she may have dye remover and some colored dye. If so remove the dye from the sport coat and re-dye with bold color, Purple is common.

Scarecrow (Can also be used for Raggedy Ann and Andy, use red yarn instead of yellow)

  • Overalls (if you do not have overalls, jeans and a button down patterned or flannel shirt work fine)
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Twine, or yellow colored yarn
  • Straw hat (we use an old straw cowboy hat I had, and cut the brim edge and frayed it.)
  • Moms red lipstick and eye liner

Tape yarn or twine around wrist not too tight (yarn should be sticking out toward fingers). Tape yarn to collar to stick up out of shirt. And tape some around ankle or boots. If you can sew then attach the yarn or twine to clothing items you can also attach colored patches on clothes. Stuff some yarn under hat. Paint red lipstick on end of nose and with eyes closed (Please be careful) draw lines from bottom, top and sides of eyes.


  • A twin size bed sheet is usually sufficient, white or light tan( dollar or two at thrift store)
  • Eyeliner
  • Red marker, lipstick or red food coloring
  • Black nail polish

If available dress child in long johns, if not light colored clothing works. White socks on top of slippers works great for feet. You can wrap feet, but if it is not even your child may have trouble walking around. Cut sheet into 2-3 inch strips long ways. Start around ankle and wrap up slightly overlapping. Make sure not to wrap too tight to restrict movement. The looser look is better any how. When one piece ends tie together with another. This will give you a raggedy look. Around neck and head you should be able to get an index finger between the cloth. Surround eyes with eyeliner. Use red marker, lipstick or food coloring to mark blood spots and paint nails.  If all else fails and cannot come up with a sheet, even toilet paper will work.


  • Dad’s junky overalls. (if you have them use jeans and suspenders)
  • Dad’s flannel shirt
  • Dad’s goofy brimmed hat
  • Moms makeup bag
  • Stick
  • Large handkerchief or piece of material
  • Pillow

Dress up in Dads old clothes, hem or cut off jeans/overalls and fray. Insert pillow under shirt/jeans for big belly. Tie cloth to stick and fill with any material (newspaper is light) Put eyeliner around bottom of eyes and smear down. Put some eyeliner on cheeks and smear..

There are tons of ideas around the house like zombie, ghosts, etc. If you have any ideas please feel free to post in the comments. Happy Halloween.

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