10 Cheap Halloween Costume Ideas for Adults and Kids

When I was a kid, families didn’t buy many Halloween costumes. They were either sewn or assembled by moms. Even if you’re a busy parent, you can still make comfy Halloween costumes, but you have to start planning now to avoid the last-minute, usually costly, costume rush.

Creative thinking is the key to making Halloween costumes. Look at what you already have and see how it can be repurposed for the costume you or your kid wants. As long as it’s close, most kids will complete the look with their own imagination and a proud announcement of their identity come Halloween night.

5 Cheap and Comfy Halloween Costumes for Kids

1. Alien or Spaceperson

The same costume does double duty, depending on your kid’s mood. All you need are black pants and a black turtleneck. Now get a piece of cardboard and cut it out into two large triangles. One side of each should be a few inches wider than your child’s shoulders and they should end just below the waist. Paint the triangles silver or cover them in aluminum foil.

Now either cut out the middles or create a fun design for the center glitter, glue, and construction paper. Use two more pieces of cardboard or wide elastic to create straps. Complete the look with a helmet made from coat hangers and cardboard wrapped in foil or painted silver. And there you go! Cheap Alien or Spaceperson Halloween costume!

2. Roll of Lifesavers

This one requires sewing, but it’s still easy. You’ll need two side strips of silver fabric and five wide strips of fabric in red, yellow, blue, green, and purple. Sew or glue the colored strips together lengthwise. Add the silver strips at either end. Cut out letters from white fabric and glue or sew to the middle. Sew or Velcro the two sides together to the silver is at the top and bottom and the stripes are horizontal. Attach wide elastic straps. Cut arm slits in the side. Complete the look with black pants and a black turtleneck.

3. Princess or Fairy

If you don’t already have a princess dress, head down to the thrift store to buy a fancy child’s dress. Make wings from wire and chiffon or fashion a crown from cardstock painted gold and jewels.

4. Cowboy or Soldier

Most likely your child already has jeans and a button-down shirt to make a cowboy Halloween costume. Add a bandana, a cheap hat, and a watergun and the look is complete. To create a soldier, head to Target or Wal-Mart for cheap camo pants and a green t-shirt. Both can be worn again later. This is an example of simple and comfy Halloween costumes that your kids would love!

5. Last minute Superhero Costumes!

Yes, you can buy a superhero costume at the store, but you can probably make one for less. Ask your child which superhero, first. If he or she doesn’t have one in mind, ask him or her to make one up. You can pull together a costume with colored pants, a plain turtleneck, and iron-on transfers.

If you have a photo program, download the superhero logo and reverse it, then print it on iron-on transfer sheets. For girls, use tights, a leotard, and iron-on transfers. If the costume requires a cape or other accessories, pick up remnant fabric or hit the 99-cent store for toy accessories. This last minute superhero costumes won’t be the last in tricker treating!

5 Cheap and Comfy Halloween Costumes for AdultsComfy Halloween Costumes - picture of mother and daughter in a costume

1. Mad Hatter

The Mad Hatter has been my go-to Halloween costume for several years. I did invest in a Hatter hat from Disneyland, but you can make one with a tall thrift store hat and a 10/6 label. Complete the look with mismatched pants, button-down shirt, scarf or oversized tie, vest, and/or coat. If you’ve got a pocket watch or a tea cup, even better, but you don’t need it for the full effect.

2. Dead Prom Guest

If you have a hideous bridesmaids dress or a suit that is way out of style tucked in the closet, you’ve got everything you need except fake blood. Otherwise hit the thrift store for dirt cheap clothes from the 70s. Add fake blood to your face and costume and you’re set.

3. Politician

It is an election year, so why not go as an overzealous gladhander. All you need is a suit and some campaign buttons. If you don’t have campaign buttons, print some on large address labels and stick them to the suit. Make up whatever slogan you want. The more outrageous the better.

4. Slutty Anything/Hugh Hefner/Pimp

This one’s easy for the ladies. Go deep into your closet and pull out any skirt or dress that’s just a little too short or tight. Add too much makeup and then you’re a slutty waitress, secretary, actress, whatever you want. For the men, hit the thrift store for a dinner jacket or satin robe. Accessorize with an ugly hat (to be a pimp) or pajama pants (for Hef.) Done.

5. White Trash

White pants will complete the look, but you really just need a cheap white shirt. Now collect trash for about a week beforehand. Glue clean tuna and soup cans and lids, gum and candy wrappers, and used envelopes to the shirt.

If necessary, poke holes in the cans and lids and secure them with sturdy thread or fishing line. People will have a hard time guessing your costume, but they’ll groan with appreciation when you reveal it.

If you set your mind to it, you can come up with lots of cheap Halloween costume ideas without setting foot inside a costume store or resorting to one from the Halloween aisle. All of the above can be created for $20 or less, depending on what you already have on hand. You can also check out more of our lists for cheap and comfy Halloween costumes here.

Do you have any ideas for cheap costumes? Share them in the comments.

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