Easy Homemade Halloween Costumes + Tips on Buying Them for Cheap!

Oct 2, 2020 | DIY, Holidays

Halloween is drawing near, but don't let that scare you off! Make one of these easy homemade Halloween costumes and you'll be set. If homemade isn't your thing, use our tips for finding store-bought costumes on the cheap!

Jordan and Bubba holding baby in homemade Halloween costumes, from Fun Cheap or Free

It's that time of year… There's a crisp in the air and Jack-o-lanterns are everywhere–Halloween is near! With that comes fun decorations, parties, and of course, Halloween costumes. We live and breathe Halloween in our house, but you know we're all about saving our money for the things that matter the most to us. While we love it, Halloween is only one day out of the year… So don't blow your budget on it!

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That's why we're all about making homemade Halloween costumes or finding pre-made ones in the cheapest possible way! You won't often find us paying full-price for things. But if we do, you can bet your bottom dollar that we're going to get our money's worth out of it! So, are you ready to see how you can save some money on Halloween costumes? Let's crank up the Monster Mash and get this party started!


When you hear “homemade halloween costumes,” does that make you think that you actually have to sew them? While you most certainly can (and kudos to those who can and do!), you don't actually have to sew a prim and proper costume. Sure, they'll last longer as a hand-me-down or in the dress-up box…

But if that's not a huge concern to you, then don't worry about that! We have lots of ideas that will work for you! These easy homemade halloween costumes are cheap to throw together and will be ah-dorable, whether you're celebrating at home or trick-or-treating in the community.


Little boy in homemade Dalmatian costume trick-or-treating, from Fun Cheap or Free

Let the fun begin! Here are just few of our favorite costumes for kids that are not only super cute, but also crazy easy and cheap. You can really have fun with these homemade Halloween costumes!

  • Animal – Pick a plain shirt and pants (optional) or sweatsuit in the color needed for the animal. You can usually find these pretty cheap at crafting stores or Walmart. Paint, draw, use tape, or attach fur to the belly or on the hood where needed. You can also attach ears to a headband if you don't have a hood. Easily make a Dalmatian by using a white shirt, add black dots, black rope for a tail, floppy felt ears glued to a headband, and black face paint on the nose. Simple, easy, and cute!
  • Sports Star – Have a kid who plays sports? Repurpose their old jerseys, gear, and shoes. Add a number or name to their top using paper and you've got an instant sports star!
  • Favorite Book Character – Pick their favorite book or character and dress up like them! Hit up the thrift store to find items you can use. Bonus points if you find things from around the house!
  • Cartoon Character – If you have some show- or movie-obsessed kids, then it's likely they probably already have some of their favorite gear that's just waiting to be turned into homemade Halloween costumes! Take whatever Frozen or Ninja Turtles gear you've got and add anything else you may need to make it a full costume!
  • Birthday/Christmas Present – Let's get real, we all have a stash of gift bags, tissue paper, and bows somewhere in our house! Grab a gift bag, cut the bottom out, cut two armholes, add tissue paper around the shoulders, and a gift bow on top. Voila! Super quick, cheap, and easy Halloween costume!
  • Use a Cardboard Box – You can decorate a cardboard box to look like just about anything! Leave the bottom open, cut armholes, and attach strings (or duct tape that's stuck to itself so it's not sticky) to go over the shoulders. Perfect to make a race car driver, washing machine (with a bubble wig!), vending machine with candy bars taped to it, and anything else you can come up with.

Pro Tip: Make what you have work for you! Instead of asking your kids what they want to be for Halloween, see what you have at your house first. Then, figure out what you can make using what you have for the least amount of money!


Tweens and teens are sometimes stuck in a weird place where they still have child-like qualities that we don't ever want them to lose, but they're also maturing and may not think they need to dress up for Halloween anymore. Here are some fun homemade Halloween costumes that are less kiddish, more punny, and so fun to put together!

  • Raining Cats and Dogs – All you need is a rain poncho or jacket, rain boots, an umbrella, stuffed cats and dogs, and string. Attach the cats and dogs to the umbrella and you've got an easy and witty costume!
  • Identity Thief – Grab a bunch of “hello, my name is” stickers and write random names on them. Attach them to a shirt and you've got a punny costume that didn't take much time or effort at all.
  • '80s Theme – You can pretty much always find something that looks like it came from the '80s at the thrift store for super cheap! Sweaters for girls to cut the neck open and wear over a tank top with some leggings and a high side pony. Or old flannel shirts for guys to cut the sleeves off and wear with jeans and that classic-styled '80s hair.
  • Emoji Costume – We all have the go-to emojis that we use, and teens are no different! Cut out the shape from cardboard, paint it to look like the emoji, and attach straps like on a backpack to wear on their chest. So easy!
  • Favorite Restaurant Worker – Chick-fil-A is life and so easy to dress up as for Halloween. Grab a red shirt, black pants and shoes, a name tag, and a Chick-fil-A cup or box to carry around. Make it a group costume by having someone dress up as a cow or a box of nuggets made out of a cardboard box!
  • Twister Board – This is so easy, especially if you have a Twister board game at home! Tape green, yellow, blue, and red paper circles on a white shirt to look like the mat. Carry around the Twister spinning board and you've got a hilarious Halloween costume!

Pro Tip: Get your teen involved in picking out their costume! Make it a challenge to see what they can come up with on their own using what you have or what they can find at a thrift store with $10.


Family dressed up as The Little Mermaid characters for Halloween, from Fun Cheap or Free

Dressing up as a family is so fun, no matter what the age! Whether you've got young kids, teens, or even grown kids in college or beyond, it's always fun to come together as a family and throw on some homemade Halloween costumes. Here are just a few that are super fun:

  • Little Mermaid Family – We love a good group costume and these DIY Little Mermaid family costumes didn't disappoint! Basically everything was handmade, bought at a thrift store, bought for super cheap at a store, or were things we already had!
  • S'mores – This is one of the simplest homemade Halloween costumes! Two people are the graham crackers, using two pieces of cardboard each. Draw the dotted lines down the middle and dots all over to look like the cracker and attach using strings over the shoulders. One person is the Hershey's chocolate bar, using cardboard that's been colored dark brown or covered in brown paper, with the gray letters on top. The last person is the marshmallow, using two plain white pillows (either throw pillows for a kid or regular pillows for a teen or adult). So easy and so fun!
  • Frozen Family – This year was so fun and was one that we didn't have to worry about sewing a lick! It was surprisingly easy to put all of these Frozen costumes together and the whole family loved it.
  • Pac-Man Family – How about this retro game turned homemade Halloween costumes?! Make a Mr. Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man costumes out of cardboard. Simply cut the cardboard in the shape of a circle, then cut a wedge out for their mouths. Decorate with eyes, put a red bow on Ms. Pac-Man, and add straps. For the rest of the costumes needed, grab plain-colored shirts (one size too big) in red, orange, teal, pink, and any other color you may need. Cut the bottoms in a zigzag pattern and add eyes to look like the ghosts. Super easy and fun for all ages!
  • Finding Nemo Family – Here's another classic family costume idea! It's a great one because you can really dress up a large family this way. Nemo, Dory, Bruce, Squirt, P. Sherman the scuba diver, and Darla the fish-killing niece are just a few of the fun ways to dress up with this group costume. Plus, they're really easy to make without spending too much money.
  • Super Hero Family – Everybody dress up as their favorite superhero! It's pretty simple to make your own mask and cape and add the superhero symbol to it. You can coordinate, where everybody is their favorite DC or Marvel character, or go The Incredibles route. Regardless, it'll be cute, easy, and fun for everybody!

Pro Tip: Dress up in a way that the whole family will enjoy! Pick your favorite movie to watch together or activity to do together and find a way to turn it into Halloween costumes.


It's time to get cute up in here! There are tons of couples Halloween costume ideas that are so easy to put together. Here are some of the easiest to put together, especially at the last minute.

  • Bubble Gum Jar and Quarter – All it takes is a white top with colorful poms in a circle, red bottoms, and a “25 cent” sign hanging under the poms to make the bubble gum jar. To make the quarter, cut a piece of cardboard in the shape of a quarter, cover in foil, tape black paper cut out into a “2” and “5”, and add straps. Easy peasy and super cute couples costume!
  • PB&J – Cut four pieces of cardboard in the shape of bread. Color or paint the outer edges dark brown to look like crust. On one set, leave an inch or two and color the inside of both pieces purple. Do the same on the other set, but color the inside light brown. Attach the pieces with straps so one person is wearing both purple sides facing out and the other is wearing both light brown sides facing out.
  • Peas and Carrots – Grab a green shirt and add three green balls or green papers wadded into balls to represent the peas. The other person can wear an orange shirt or a white shirt with orange paper cut into the shape of a carrot and taped to it. Top it off with a headband that has skinny green pieces of cardboard to represent the carrot greens. Talk about easy homemade Halloween costumes!
  • Pigs in a Blanket – This one is super easy and a fun way for couples to spend the night! Both wear a pink shirt, pink headbands with pig ears, and pig noses made out of paper and attached with string. Wrap a blanket around both shoulders and you've got a punny way to spend the evening with your love!
  • Cookie Monster and Cookie – For the cookie monster, wear a blue shirt and attach paper crazy eyes and smile to the shirt. For the cookie, wear a brown shirt and add black dots to represent the chocolate chips. Probably one of the simplest couples costumes that people will get a kick out of!
  • Guess Who Characters – Grab a red shirt and a blue shirt and add yellow paper question marks to them. Cut rectangles out of thick poster board and write “Guess Who?” at the top with your name at the bottom. Cut the middle out so you can see your face in the frame. Wear hats or glasses to make it extra fun!

Pro Tip: Pick your favorite TV couple and dress up like them! Bonus points if you act like them throughout the night as well.


Mother painting daughter's face for Halloween, from Fun Cheap or Free

Sometimes it's just not possible to make homemade Halloween costumes, but that doesn't mean you have to pay an arm and a leg on Amazon or Target for one! Follow these tips and you'll be able to easily find some cheap costumes.

  • Borrow One – People RARELY repeat costumes, but people commonly pay a small fortune for them. Post something on Facebook like “Help! I'm looking for a costume…anyone have one I can borrow?” Trust me, you'll get tons of responses. (On the flip-side, be sure to be willing to loan out yours! What goes around comes around…)
  • Buy UsedFacebook Marketplace, thrift stores, Ebay, Craigslist, and KSL (for Utah, Idaho, Wyoming) are all great places to start. Give them a good washing, and there you go — new to you!
  • Shop Online – If you just can't resist that oh-so-cute store-bought costume, no fear. You can usually find them for cheaper online! Remember, always use Rakuten when you're shopping online. If you're spending money, you might as well get some cash back while you're at it! (Use that link at sign up and get $10 on your first $25 spent.)
  • Find a Discount – Search for a coupon code before buying online or in-store! Search Groupon or Google “coupon for Halloween City” and more often than not, you'll find something!
  • Mix It Up – Don't feel like you have to buy or make everything! Integrate purchased pieces with homemade ones. Make what you can or use what you have around the house. Then, grab what you need from the store that's not possible to make — like a wig, for example.
  • Reuse Old Halloween Costumes – Don't be afraid to keep your costumes for future kids to use! They can either be the exact same thing, or you can transform it into something new.
  • Buy Off-Season – Go right after Halloween and stock up for next year! You will be able to save up to 90% and have brand new costumes for thrift store prices.

Alright, well there you have it! Have you made homemade Halloween costumes in the past? What's your favorite been? Share them with us in the comments below!

Various costumes with text that reads "easy homemade Halloween costumes for cheap," from Fun Cheap or Free

Looking for more great Halloween ideas?


  1. Riya Sen

    I love finding homemade costumes cheap or free!



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