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Budget Friendly
Halloween Costume Ideas

These homemade Halloween costume ideas are timeless, low cost, creative, and great fun. After all, it should be as much fun to create the costume as it is to trick or treat!

Halloween costumes are so different today. Super heroes, wizards, and cartoon characters rule the trick or treat. It seems Halloween costume ideas are limited only to what's on the rack.

But it doesn't have to be so. It was not too long ago, ..... O.K. it was maybe a while ago......, when I was a small trick or treater that Halloween costume ideas were much more original. You were not likely to bump into three or four other characters that looked exactly like you.

Oh, you might run into a costume of the same theme, but it would be totally unique by comparison. Of course, my mom created our Halloween costumes. You can create unique Halloween costumes and save money by recycling items.

Create your own unique Halloween costumes. Use your imagination and resources to come up with great Halloween costume ideas. Remember that Halloween costumes exaggerate to be most effective. So the more accessories, the better. Children will learn to be resourceful and creative. Keep their minds strong. Exercise the imagination!

...by observing you, children learn how to create and they learn craft. These powerful memories imprint a more important message. They come to understand the superiority of the creative tightwad method. - Amy Dacyczyn, a.k.a. The Frugal Zealot

You can get many Halloween costume ideas from life around you. You only need to look around in the real world to come up with some great Halloween costume ideas.

Here are some timeless,easy to make, Halloween costume ideas using items around the house, borrowed from friends and/or relatives, or purchased for next to nothing at your local thrift store.

  • Little old lady or man - This Halloween costume idea is a classic. Dress accordingly in an older man's (a suit is great) or woman's clothing. A hat is a nice touch. If you don't have a real walking cane you can substitute an appropriate size stick. Add some creative face painting with lots of wrinkles of course. Be sure to add the cracking voice and a prominent limp.
  • Hobo - Recycle some unwanted clothing. Paint on or put on patches, rip some areas (especially around the bottoms of pants, ends of sleeves, elbows and knees, since these areas show wear first). Use black or brown makeup to smudge the face a little to look un-kept. Blush the nose to look a little reddish. (hobos get cold outside) Sport the oldest pair of worn looking shoes you can find (or even better, two different shoes) and a tattered hat and you're good to go!
  • Princess - I think every little girl wants to be a princess at least once. This Halloween costume idea may not be original, but it can by very unique. So, don't rush out and buy the frilliest princess costume you see. The princess is merely an expression of elegance. As long as your little girl feels elegant she is a princess.

    If you don't already have a full length fancy party dress, check the thrift store for a low cost floor length party dress. Just pick one that looks "princessy." Even better, borrow one if possible.

    A princess wand can be easily made with a dowel or stick and a cardboard star covered with foil. Add frills with duster feathers or ribbons if desired.

    Make a crown. You can easily make one using a headband and craft materials. Here's a great tip: Recycle a Burger King Crown. You know the crowns they give out to all the little kiddies at Burger King. You can cover with foil or paint and add beads or gemstones to decorate. They also make a great pattern for a crown if you want to create it out of some other material you have.

  • Animal Halloween costume ideas:

    For toddlers: Use one piece pajamas as a starting point. An extra bonus: the pajamas are warm clothing for what is typically a cool weather night in many areas. For example.. a fuzzy white, brown, black, or even pink footed pajama can easily become a kitten, rabbit, or dog. Add a home made tail using scrap fabrics (attach with safety pin), a headband with the appropriate ears attached, or if you use a hooded outfit attach ears directly to hood, some creative face painting using home made face paint (below), and you've got a cute little costume that can be used as a comfy outfit after trick or treat!

    For older children use tights or stretch pants, and turtleneck shirts, sweaters, hooded sweatshirts all in the desired color instead of the pajamas. Use desired color of mittens or gloves for paws. Bats, lions, tigers, even a skunk can be created in much the same way as the above animals!

    Halloween Costume Ideas Recycling Tip: Remove the stuffing from an unwanted large stuffed animal (through a cut slit down back), launder, and use sections or fabic for costume. Or, cut a hole for the face and your toddler may be small enough to fit right in and use for hooded costume.

  • The Big Baby: This is an amusing Halloween costume idea for an older child. Return to the diaper zone! A bottle or pacifier, a bib, a homemade cloth diaper (over tights or pants of course), and a rattle. Add some rosy cheeks and your youngster will be ready to laugh (or cry) his/her way through trick or treat.
  • The Graduate - Have an old graduation cap and gown? If it doesn't hold too much sentimental value, you can use it to create a very simple, easy, costume. Create a fake diploma and drape it from the waist tied by a string or yarn of same color or wear like a necklace. You don't want the trick or treater to have to carry it. I've discovered these types of accessories usually end up in Mom's or Dad's hands to carry after a short time.
  • Halloween Costume Ideas Recycling Tip: Any discarded or unwanted work uniform (nursing, military, fireman, policeman) can be used as a Halloween costume.

  • The Witch - A long black dress or all over black pants with black top can be combined with a witch hat and black cape(make your own if you're crafty). Add black boots and make up face to suit.
  • Scarecrow - cut up some old jeans and a flannel shirt in scarecrow fashion. Cut sleeve ends and pants leg ends in strips to look tattered. Use straw or an old straw broom's bristles and glue or tape along inside edges of sleeves, pants legs, along bottom of shirt to appear as if bursting out of the scarecrow. Add a straw hat.
  • These are all good Halloween costume ideas and I'm sure you get the picture by now. The idea is to use as many items as you have on hand to create these timeless Halloween costumes. Halloween costume ideas and possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

    Don't let that little girl cry because you can't find her the purrrrrrrrrrr-fect cat costume. You can create a much nicer one from everyday items and a few craft materials. Chances are it will look more realistic than that store bought costume.

    As a bonus, many of the costume pieces (i.e. shirts, pants, tights, gloves/mittens) are reusable after Halloween!

    A few other Halloween Costume Ideas Tips:

  • Use spray paints or craft paints. fabric dye, fabric paints and/or pens, to color recycled items to desired color. One year I used silver spray paint to color and entire outfit for my son's tin man costume. We recycled aluminum foil to use in making the hat and the axe. Some silver body glitter on the hands and face put the finishing touches on this costume!
  • Use regular clothing to create an allover color effect as with the animal costumes.
  • consider mittens or gloves when you need hand color
  • A gallon ice cream bucket w/handle makes a perfect trick or treat bucket. I save these throughout the year and recycle for hundreds of other uses. Use neon paint or stickers to add bright decorations. This is a good safety technique to make kids more visible while trick or treating
  • Make your own face paint: You will need Corn starch, Water, Cold cream, and Food coloring.

    Use several different cups (custard cups, recycled single serve yogurt or Jell-O containers, a foam egg carton) Prepare 1 tsp cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon each of cold cream and water for each color desired. Mix different color food coloring (one drop at a time) in each cup.

    For Cream Make Up:
    2 tsp white shortening
    5 tsp corn starch
    1 tsp white all purpose flour
    glycerin (get at drug store)
    Food coloring as desired

    To make enough for one child's face - Use a rubber spatula, blend the first three ingredients until a smooth paste forms. Add 3/4 drops glycerin for a creamier consistency. Add coloring if desired one drop at a time blending after each drop until you have the desired shade. For easy removal use shortening, cold cream or baby oil.

    Remember your Halloween Safety

    Here are a few, but certainly not all inclusive, reminders of safe trick or treat rules.

    1. Small children should always be accompanied by an adult.
    2. Use flashlights, bright costumes or decorations to make trick or treaters more visible.
    3. Try to frequent the same limited area each year or limit visits to friends and families.
    4. Remind children not to eat candy until they get home and have moms and dads check and approve.
    5. A safe costume should not block or restrict a child's vision or interfere with mobility. Make sure costumes are of a safe length so as not to trip the child.
    6. As mentioned above, avoid accessories that have to be carried. I've discovered these types of accessories usually end up in Mom's or Dad's hands to carry after a short time anyway. I eventually learned to be prepared and carried a bag with me to carry any discarded Halloween costume parts or accessories.

    Recycling for Halloween Costume Ideas

    Items that can be recycled for Halloween:

    1. Large stuffed toys - remove stuffing and launder. Use fabric for animal costumes. Sometimes the head can be used as hood w/ears or adapt the entire head to create a safe mask. Cut holes for eyes (vision should not be restricted) cut mouth for breathing.

    2. Plastic milk jugs - cut shape as desired to make masks. i.e. make just an eye mask or make a whole face mask. Line the outside with some sort of tape (masking, craft tape, duct) to soften edges. Decorate accordingly to suit your costume using fabric, paints, ribbon, etc. Punch holes in apropriate area to attach elastic band or use a paper clip. Insert paper clip (or you can use key chain rings) into punched hole on mask - one on each side. Attach appropriate sized rubberband (to fit head) between the two clips and you have an elastic band!

    3. One gallon ice cream buckets make the perfect size trick or treat bucket. Decorate for the occasion. I recommend using bright neon or glow in the dark decorations or paint. You can even personalize with the child's name.

    4. Save some unwanted clothing or costumes from previous years in a storage container just for Halloween. Almost any clothing can be recycled for costumes. Even accessories like belts, ties, sashes, scarves, shoes, costume jewelry, and any kind of uniform.

    5. Use sections of panty hose to use as a hair net under wigs or full head masks. Keeps the hair under control and out of the way.

    6. An old broom can be used for a witch's broom or an old straw broom's bristles can be used in the creation of a scarecrow costume.

    I hope these Halloween costume ideas help you create your own unique Halloween costume.

    Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

    Do you have Halloween Costume Ideas to share?

    Recommended Reading

    Tiny Teeny Halloween Treasury

    In Mary Engelbreit's Tiny Teeny Halloweeny Treasury, Mary gathers all of her best Halloween art, a few scary (but not too scary) stories, some facts about the holiday itself, and some delicious recipes to create a wonderful keepsake book that can be brought out every Halloween! Inside the pages of this treasury, you'll learn the origin of Halloween, some pumpkin facts and a few silly jokes. Inside the front cover you'll find glow-in-the-dark endsheets - just expose the black pages to light then go into a dark room and watch as little ghosts begin to glow!

    A great bargain currently priced at only $1.99!

    Halloween Recipes

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