Cheap and Easy DIY Halloween Costumes

There’s a chill in the air, a rustle of leaves and the earthy smell of bonfires. Autumn is definitely here, and for those who celebrate Halloween, it’s time to start thinking about costumes!

Driving to the store and buying a homemade costume can be a time-saver. It can also be a rather pricey expenditure if you’re purchasing a decent-looking outfit. Higher-end costumes run around £45, and that’s on the lower end. It also doesn’t include extras like wigs, makeups, shoes, etc.

Skip the pricey purchase and embark on a DIY costume instead. There are tons of great ideas to pick from, and depending on what you pick, you’ll spend a fraction of the cost of a store-bought outfit. Plus, a homemade costume is often a crowd-pleaser, especially if it’s witty!

Check out our favourite DIY costumes below for some inspiration. We have plenty of ideas ranging from the traditional to the quirky. If one catches your fancy you’ll be set to start making it right away — we have listed the items you need and the overall average cost. Most of these costumes will involve a bit of crafting on your part. A hot glue gun will come in handy where tape can’t get the job done! And as an added tip, you can get cardboard boxes for free from most supermarkets.

So what are you waiting for? Start browsing, planning and crafting your costume!

old school costumes



  • Orange t-shirt
  • Black permanent marker
  • Pillows

Cost: £5

  1. Draw a jack-o-lantern face on the t-shirt.
  2. Stuff pillows underneath the shirt and tuck into pants to prevent the pillows from falling out.



  • 6 – 8 toilet rolls

Cost: £2

  1. Roll, roll, roll yourself up to create that “mummy” look.
  2. Be sure not to roll too tightly or you’ll risk ripping the sheets.



  • Cheap costume make-up kit 

Cost: £5

  1. Use white and grey paint to cover your whole face.
  2. Add scratches and blackened eyes with the black paint.



  • White bed sheet

Cost: £0, assuming you have some old bed sheets you can use

  1. Cut out eyeholes and voila! You’re ready to go.

character costumes



  • Blue body paint
  • White clothes 

Cost: £7, assuming you already have white clothes you can wear.

  1. Paint your face, neck and hands with the blue body paint.
  2. Put on your white clothes and your costume is ready.


Where’s Welly?

  • Red and white hat
  • Red and white striped shirt
  • Coke-bottle glasses

Cost: £15

  1. Once you’ve bought the necessary items, you’re set! Just wear and enjoy.


Retro Video Game Characters

  • Denim overalls
  • Red/green shirts
  • Red/green hats
  • White gloves
  • Fake moustache
  • Moustache tape

Cost: £20

  1. Put on all clothes and attach fake moustache. You’re ready to go!


Silent Film Stars

  • Black and white blouse and skirt or dress for women
  • Black pants, white shirt and black tie for men
  • White body paint
  • Black lipstick and eyeliner

Cost: £5, assuming you already have the necessary clothes.

  1. Cover exposed skin (face, neck, chest, arms, hands, and legs) with white body paint.
  2. Accentuate mouth and eyes with black lipstick and eyeliner.
  3. If you’re feeling particularly artsy, draw up some fake title cards to carry around.

crafty costumes



  • Clear umbrella
  • Long strips of white and pink fabric and ribbon

Cost: £12

  1. Attach ribbons and or fabric strips around the edge of the umbrella with tape or hot glue.
  2. Twirl for effect!


Book Fairy

  • 10 – 15 old books you won’t mind tearing apart (children’s pictures books are ideal)
  • Three thick ribbons

Cost: £0, assuming you have the books already

  1. Cut out the pages from all the books.
  2. Make a skirt from the pages by hot gluing a number of pages to the ribbon you’ll tie around your waist. Continue to add on layers.
  3. Make a pair of wings by hot gluing rolled pages to a large, hardcover binding. This will act as the centre to which the “wings” will be attached.
  4. Hot glue the remaining two ribbons on each end to either side of the hardcover book for arm straps. Be sure to make the loops small enough so that your “wings” won’t slide down.



  • White t-shirt
  • Black marker or black fabric paint
  • Headband
  • One square of black felt
  • One square of white felt

Cost: £5 – £10 depending on what you already have

  1. Draw spots on the white t-shirt with black market or fabric paint.
  2. Cut out two ear-shaped pieces from the felt and some extra circles.
  3. Glue the circles you cut out onto the ears for a Dalmatian pattern.
  4. Glue each ear onto either side of the headband.


Social Media Icon

  • One large piece of cardboard
  • String
  • Various paints, including blue, white and red

Cost: £4

  1. Cut the cardboard into a large square.
  2. Poke two holes to run the string through, so you can hang the cardboard from your neck.
  3. Paint the cardboard to resemble your desired social media icon (Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram).


Building Bricks

  • One large cardboard box (you should be able to wear it once you’ve cut out a head and arm holes)
  • 6 – 8 yoghurt pots
  • Paint

Cost: £4

  1. Cut out a hole for your head, two for your arms and remove the bottom flap of the box where your legs will be.
  2. Paint the box and the yoghurt pots the same colour.
  3. Glue the yoghurt pots on to resemble the nubs on a building block.


group costumes


Letter Tiles

  • One large piece of cardboard
  • String
  • Black permanent marker

Cost: £1

  1. Cut the cardboard into a large square.
  2. Poke two holes to run the string through, so you can hang the cardboard from your neck.
  3. Draw your letter of choice and its corresponding point value.


Puzzle Block Pieces

  • Four cardboard boxes (same size)
  • Black duct tape
  • Paint (red, yellow, orange, green or blue depending on what colour box you will be).

Cost: £4

  1. Paint the outside panels of the boxes your colour of choice.
  2. Attach in a block shape by duct taping the boxes together. This will help to distinguish the “blocks.”
  3. Go one step further by making all the shapes fit together to form a row. You’ll be sure to impress.


Box of Crayons

  • Colour t-shirt of your choice
  • Black permanent marker or black fabric paint

Cost: £6, including the shirt

  1. Draw the crayon logo down the front of the shirt.
  2. Write the name of the colour across the back of the shirt.
  3. Go one more step by making the “point” of the crayon with a hat made out of the same colour felt and/or foam board.


Rock, Paper, Scissors

For the rock:

  • One (clean), black rubbish bag
  • Brown and grey paint
  • Styrofoam peanuts or wadded toilet paper for stuffing

For the paper:

  • Large cardboard box
  • String
  • Paint

For Scissors:

  • Large cardboard box
  • String
  • Paint
  • Aluminium Foil

Each outfit: £3 – £6

For the rock:

  1. Sponge on the brown and grey paint all over the bag for a “rock-like” look
  2. Cut out a head and armholes.
  3. Fill unevenly with stuffing.

For the paper:

  1. Cut the cardboard into a large rectangle.
  2. Poke two holes to run the string through, so you can hang the cardboard from your neck.
  3. Paint the cardboard white and draw rule lines and binder holes.

For the scissors:

  1. Cut out a pair of scissors from the largest side of the box. This will take some careful cutting!
  2. Paint the “handles” of the scissors.
  3. Cover the “blades” with the aluminium foil.

Polk one hole on the top blade and one hole on the top handle to tie the string through to wear around the neck.



Co, Emily. (31 August 2016). 59 creative homemade group costume ideas. Popsugar. Retrieved 12 September 2016 from

Co, Emily. (10 September 2016). 101 costumes to DIY on the cheap. Popsugar. Retrieved 12 September 2016 from

Collins, Jem. (April 2015). 14 cheap and easy Halloween costumes. Save the Student. Retrieved 12 September 2016 from

F., Katie. (14 September 2015). The average cost of a Halloween costume and where to purchase. Retrieved 12 September 2016 from


Babs is a content writer at Enova International, Inc. with a Bachelors in Cinema Studies and English from the University of Illinois (ILL-INI!). She loves binge watching musicals, reading in the (sporadic) Chicago sunshine and discovering great new places to eat. Accio, tacos! Find out more about her on Google+.


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