Empower Blog

October 22, 2021

Budget-Friendly Halloween Costume Ideas

Holidays, Money-Saving Tips
Halloween is nearing! Haunted department stores have set up shop with spooky decorations, delicious candy, and endless choices for that perfect Halloween costume. These store-bought costumes look awesome and will ensure you are up to date on the latest Halloween trends, but they can also cost a pretty penny. If you are looking for a more budget-friendly costume this year for your child – or yourself – there are tons of items around your house, or that you could grab at a discount store, that would make your child the most creative and clever creature on the block. Check out a few ideas below for this year’s budget-friendly Halloween celebration.


Adding straps to a piece of cardboard with a stapler or some hot glue will give you the freedom to be pretty much anything you can think of. You can cut out shapes to create your own sandwich-board-style costume. People have gone as big as vending machines or as small as Beanie Baby TY tags. Other notable ideas include life-size emojis, candy bars, building blocks, and even french fries. All it takes is a little creativity and imagination to turn that boring piece of cardboard into this year’s best Halloween costume.


Balloons are another great, and cheap, household item that can be used in costumes. You can use tape to adhere balloons to a green or purple shirt transform into a bunch of grapes, throw on a blue shirt to become a bubble bath or the ocean, or fill up a clear bag around your torso with multicolored balloons for a gumball machine look. All that is left with these costumes is to add a pair of warm solid color pants and your child is all set to trick-or-treat.

Laundry Basket

You can find laundry baskets for pretty cheap at any local store or use an old one you do not need anymore. All you need to do is cut two leg holes in it, add a couple straps to hang over your shoulders, and you an endless number of costume options. Kids, and adults, have used this trick paired with craft paper, balloons, or decorations to become trains, boats, and cars. My favorite idea was filling it with white tissue paper and cutting up a foam pool noodle into circles to add on top to become a bowl of cereal.

Construction Paper and Paint

If you are looking for something low maintenance, you cannot go wrong with construction paper or paint. Pick a solid color shirt and pants set and your possibilities for costumes are endless. Black dots on a white outfit becomes a domino; red circles on yellow for pepperoni pizza; brown spikes painted on green makes an adorable cactus — you get the idea. You can create basically anything with a little bit of construction paper and paint.

Besides saving money, the best part about a homemade Halloween costume is that it is appropriate for any age and on any timeline. If you are busy and wait until the last minute to grab this year’s costumes, do not fret – you can decide what you want to be on October 30 and easily whip up a costume with these tips. Happy Haunting!
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About the Author
Professional Picture of Kat Hnatyshyn
Kat Hnatyshyn

Branch Manager

Kat’s Money Corner is posted in the Kansas City Star every week. When not blogging or caring for her little ones, Kat is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union.