5 Costume Ideas for the Person Who Wants to Spend $0

In my humble opinion, Halloween is one of the greatest holidays around. In your wallet’s opinion, that might not be the case. Not only can costumes be expensive (whether you’re rocking something store-bought or making your own), they also tend to be things you never wear (or touch) again. Some of these problems can be solved with a costume swap or by thrifting for a gently-loved costume, but that takes time and makes it a necessity to plan ahead – which is something we’re not all the best at.

If you’re not looking to spend a dime on your Halloween costume this year, but don’t want to go as a slightly more drunk version of yourself (again), try one of these costume ideas. Not only are they inexpensive, lots of them can be made up at the very last minute.

1. An athlete

If you don’t have a jersey laying around somewhere, I’m sure someone in your inner circle does. While dressing up as an athlete is the type of costume you see frat bros who couldn’t be bothered to put any effort in wear every year, you can make your athlete costume stand out by putting a teensy bit more effort into it. For one, wear a semi-athletic bottom with the jersey rather than plain old jeans. Secondly, see if you can find some sporty accessories to add to the jersey – perhaps you have a cousin that plays high school baseball and can lend you a mitt and a bat for the evening?

2. Some type of app or branded food product

For all you last-minute costume connoisseurs, you’d be amazed what a printer can do. Well, maybe not completely amazed – but you don’t want to spend money, so here’s what you can do. Pick something fun, ideally with a well-known logo, print out said logo, and coordinate your clothing to match. For example, if you had your heart set on being Tinder for Halloween, all you’d have to do is print out the Tinder logo and wear some orange clothing. You could also use markers and paper products (or more printouts) to add other elements if you want – like “matches” on the back, or thumbs up and down signs to tape to the back of your hands.

3. A high school stereotype

Is it the most original costume idea? No, but you can probably create it for free if you do enough crowd-sourcing and closet-digging. If you’re thinking of being a goth, just wear all black, throw on some pale face makeup with dark eyeliner, and see if your little sister still has all those spiked accessories from her 8th grade punk phase. If you’re looking to be a nerd, rock some glasses (or punch the lenses out of a cheap pair you have laying around), a bow-tie (some guy you know is sure to have one you can borrow), and perhaps some really high waisted pants?

4. Anything makeup-centric

For those of you who are slaves to Sephora and love a chance to practice your makeup skills – why not choose a costume that is based around your face? Ever since Snapchat filters came around, they’ve been popular Halloween costumes (I swear every girl I know was the Snapchat deer last year), and most of them are something you can do without buying a new outfit or accessories to go along with it. Same goes for anything scary or gory. If you have enough skills to do some SFX makeup, you can just wear regular clothes with a huge gouge on your face or a skeleton. What about painting your face green and rocking that metallic mini dress you bought last summer? Instant alien!

5. Something business-savvy

Another easy option is to dress up like some sort of profession. Any of these can also be zombie-fied with the right makeup (even if you’re not handy with a makeup brush, YouTube is your friend). Rock your suit and be a sexy secretary, wear your lab-coat from college and be a mad scientist, borrow your friend’s scrubs and be a dead doctor. The options are endless, and if you don’t want to ask your friends to borrow their work clothes you can always get something cheap at a thrift shop with a little digging.

About the Author

Ashley Uzer

Ashley likes to treat every day like Halloween and make her boyfriend wear ridiculous couple costumes with her at least once a year. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @ashleyuzer.

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