How to Create a Costume on a Budget - Halloween at Home


By Miranda Enzor


Dressing up in costumes has always been a special part of Halloween for me. I love the chance to become someone – or, better yet, something – else for a night. As a kid, it was pure magic to not just wear a costume but to truly become whatever I was dressed up as – a witch, a black bat, and even a 1940’s-inspired showgirl (hey, had to reuse those dance costumes somehow!) – and roam the neighborhood on Halloween night.


Because of those self-created kid costumes, I’ve never been one for walking into a store, picking a $75 costume, and calling it a day. It’s much more fun to put together costumes myself. My favorite part of doing costumes this way? It’s so easy to create a costume on a budget.


Here are a few of my tips for doing that this Halloween season:


Shop in your closet first

I am a huge fan of costumes pulled from my closet. I’ve done that with some of my favorite pop culture characters, like Sabrina Spellman, Jim Hopper, and even this AHS: Coven-inspired look. What characters are lurking in the clothes you already own? Read more of my tips for creating costumes from your closet.


Don’t stress over being screen-perfect

I have so much appreciation for people who make costumes and cosplay that look exactly like the source they’re pulling from. But I also know that takes time, patience, and money.


If you’re looking at a costume idea and thinking, “I don’t have the money to pull that off”, I’d challenge you to look again. You don’t have to be screen-perfect for someone to know who you are. In fact, I end up liking costumes that aren’t screen-perfect better because of the creativity they take. Which leads me to…


Spend money on the key costume detail If you have limited funds to spend on a costume, focus them on the key detail that’s going to make the look. My default examples are always Coraline and Louise from “Bob’s Burgers”. They need their blue hair and pink bunny ears, respectively, to be recognized. But the rest of their costume details? You can fudge those a little while still getting the character across.


Save your change In a normal year, this is one of my go-to tips for saving up for Halloween. When I use cash, all my change and even single dollar bills go into a jar. I save it up throughout the year, cash it in and use it on Halloween treats. Consider doing this if there’s a killer costume you want to create but don’t have the funds to make it happen.


Make it a challenge Instead of stressing that you only have $20 to put towards a costume…make it a challenge. What can you piece together at a thrift store or resale shop to create a costume with that $20? Approaching it with that mindset completely changes the possibilities…and amps up your creativity!


Just get started! If you have a grandiose costume idea that’s going to cost more than you’re willing to spend in a single season…just get started. Build enough of the costume to wear this season, then add to it year after year! This is such a great way to make your Halloween sustainable too rather than running through single costumes every year that you get rid of or donate after October 31st.


Make “on a budget” part of the costume Hey, if all else fails I say lean into spending as little as possible on a costume…and make it part of the look. Personally, I love costumes with a unique twist on them. How funny would it be to see a Ghostbuster or Jack Skellington on a budget wandering the streets on Halloween night?

Looking for more costume ideas? I’ve got lots of ideas over in the costume archives on spookylittlehalloween.com for you! I can’t wait to see what you dress up as this Halloween – be sure to share it with us using the hashtag #ckhalloweenathome !


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Special thanks to Miranda Enzor for contributing to our Halloween @ Home celebration! Miranda is the writer, blogger, and Halloween lover behind SpookyLittleHalloween.com, the blog celebrating October 31st all year long.

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