Frugal Ideas For Halloween Costumes

By. Lisa Brown

I come from a long line of cheep frugal men and women. My mother has been known to tear apart a maternity shirt and make the cutest Easter outfit for my boys. Halloween was always filled with hours and nights at the sewing machine making us into whatever cartoon character we were into that year. She remade a Cinderella costume one year into a caroler for the school Christmas musical to a generic princess years later for my sister. Needless to say she taught me that an outfit should never be used for one event. I may have been blessed with the gift of getting the most bang for my buck, I was not blessed with the ability to wheeled a needle and thread. With three young children and a love for Halloween, I found other ways to make costumes that could be used at other times of the year. Here are some costumes I have done in the past to get your wheels turning.

The Athlete. Does your child play football, soccer, cheerleader, baseball, any other sport I may have missed? They can wear their uniform and you can head out the door for trick or treating with $0 extra dollars spent. A few years ago I wore a few items I had from different races I did during that year and went as a 5k athlete. As a kid, I wore my little league outfit and went as a baseball player. We added some lines on my cheeks for effect and I carried my candy bag on the end of a baseball bat for added realism.

The Cardboard Box: Excuse me, have you heard of Minecraft? Between my husband and my 6 year old I think I have become a Minecraft expert. With some creativity and markers (and time) you can create some pretty cool Endermen, Creepers, Steve, etc. Another mom mentioned her children will be going as Box Trolls. What an awesome idea! She said you can find some information online for these types of outfits.


The Pj’s. I have found some very cute pajama sets at Target over the years. Since my boys go to a school where they don’t celebrate holidays, we have been very creative on how we celebrate at school. Typically the day of or around  Halloween is pajama day at school (the teachers were thinking of a way around the rule too!) so we wear our superhero jammies that day. No face paint or extras but hey it is something.

The Hoodie: This year we will be wearing special hoodies and regular pants for costumes. I found these at Target and Meijer and they come in a variety of characters for around $15 to $20. We have a minion who will be wearing jeans with his yellow hoodie and 2 different Ninja Turtles who will wear green sweatpants to complete the look. The hood has a special mask that  comes down to create a character face and it does not impede the child’s vision. Added bonus: a sweatshirt for the rest of the year.

The Hat: This usually works best for the little ones because they have the cutest hats at most major retailers. My little guy wore a penguin hat and a black sweatsuit and we were done. He hated to wear the hand-me-down chicken costume but this worked for him. If you want to add a bit of flare to the outfit and can wield a hot glue gun better than Martha, you can add some felt pieces to the sweatsuit to add a little to the outfit. I have seen monster hats that would look cute with some purple “warts” felt circles glued on a green sweatshirt. The penguin could have had a white oval shape added and maybe a bow tie. It is up to you how much effort you want to put forth. The bonus here is you are all set with an extra winter hat (trust me you should always have more than one, they tend to lose hats, mittens, scarfs, etc).

A few other things when talking about  Halloween costumes. 
The Clearance Rack: If you remember about a week after Halloween you can find some great costumes for a huge discount. I buy them for our dress up box to play with through out the year. You can use them for the next holiday and save as much as 90%. Of course you have to hope they will still care about that princess or super hero next year and have the storage space. We have
found some outfits for 50 cents to $3 that we play with years later.
The Costume Lunch: We all know about tea parties but have you ever had a costume lunch? A few times through out the year we dress up and sit down to lunch. How much fun is it to eat while wearing a chicken costume with a batman mask? Let me tell you, it is very entertaining to see them run to the dress up box and see their creations.
Enjoy your little ghost, goblin, hero, or princess and have a safe and fun Halloween!

Lisa Brown is a stay at home mom of three little boys and one of our fabulous Great Lakes Bay Moms Members.  When they are not pretending to be super heroes, all 4 can be found in the kitchen making creations for the freezer.  For more information on Lisa, look her up at