Halloween Costumes: on a tight budget

By Kelsey Alvino
October 26, 2011

Halloween is just a few days away. Do you have your costume ready? If not, it is time to start planning your costume! Halloween is a favorite holiday for many people. Not only is it an excuse to dress up, it is also a great time to get creative. Some people may feel the panic of having the best costume, especially when you’ve already heard what great ideas everyone else has already come up with. Check out some of these simple costume ideas, hopefully they will get your creative wheels turning.


Create snake braids like those of the mythological Medusa. If you have long hair, separate it into ponytails and braid them. For short hair, just pin up ends (or use hair extensions).Wrap braids into a bun; pin, and weave in small snakes. Use bobby pins to secure larger snakes. Complete the look by wearing a grecian dress and accessories such as gladiator sandals and large jewelry.

Bag of Jelly Beans

One large clear plastic trash bag, scissors, duct tape, two packages of round multi-colored party balloons, enough to fill up the “bag,” and one long strip of colorful fabric or ribbon  to top off the look. You will need some materials to pull off this creative look. Blow up the balloons to about twice the size of your fist; smaller is better to get the jelly bean look. Cut two holes in the bottom of the trash bag just wide enough for the thickest part of your legs to fit through. Reinforce the edges of holes with duct tape so it will not rip throughout the night. Step into the bag and pull it up. The bottom of the bag should ride near the top of your hips.

Then cut armholes in both side of the bag, large enough for your shoulders to stick out. Keeping slack in the waist so there is room for the balloons, gather extra material around neck and trim away until you have about eight inches left. Take off the bag and reinforce armholes with duct tape.

Bunch of Grapes

This creative look is similar to the jelly beans but it will only cost a few bucks and will take about 10 minutes to make. Dress in all green or brown to look like the “stem” of the grapes. Blow up a number of purple balloons and attach  them to your body with safety pins (obviously at the knot end) and you’re good to go.


Another easy creative idea that will not cost a lot of money is to be a Picnic. It sounds strage, but it is creative and almost guaranteed there will not be another costume similar to yours. Use a plastic red and  white checked tablecloth (or just red if you can’t find the “classic look”). Cut a hole in the middle for the head. Then glue plastic plates and picnic-type food (plastic food, play food) on the plates.

Where’s Waldo?

Another easy, cheap costume is “Where’s Waldo?” It’s not only fun, but easy to emulate this elusive character. Put on your blue jeans and slip on some brown shoes. Next, find a red-and-white striped turtleneck, or t-shirt, black glasses and a hat. You can awkwardly walk into people’s photos and when your friends can’t find you at the end of the night, it might turn out into an ironic game.

God’s Gift to Men/Women

I have seen this, semi conceited costume done a few times. However, the look is a popular easy costume to create. “Me in a Box,” aka: “God’s gift to women” or “God’s gift to men.”  Halloween is the one holiday where you can get away with (almost) anything, even a bad joke. To dress as “God’s gift to women” or “God’s gift to men” start by getting a large cardboard box and covering it in wrapping paper. Then step into the box tied with a bow or place a bow on your head. For the extreme, dramatic finish,  be sure to create an oversized tag that reads, “To: All women,” “From: God.” or “To: All men,” “From: God”. Maybe this costume will spark some jokes but at the very least it will be simple to make.

Rock, Paper, Scissor

A great group costume would be a Rock, Paper, Scissor.  Take a trip to the craft store and grab some construction paper and foam and make each piece of this costume in a matter of an hour or two.

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Kelsey Alvino

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