Eeek! I Don’t Have a Costume

Courtesy of “Wonderlane” – Flickr

Less than a week before Halloween, my children already have some trick or treating opportunities and a few holiday parties. Maybe you’re not a planner and have something picked out from your local discount store all packaged and ready to go. Maybe you wish you could save money and think of something a bit more creative—for you or the kids.

So, here are a few “quick and dirty” and some down right clever ideas for Halloween costumes—almost no budget and even less time! Be sure to use safe (not permanent) ink on all the costumes. Beware, some of these are “groaners” but who knows, you could be the hit of the party!

My top costume ideas for kids:

Raining Cats and Dogs
Get some cat and dog stuffed animals. Use double sided tape or string to attach to an umbrella.

Bunny or Cat
Sleeper PJ’s become costumes very easily. Get an inexpensive headband with floppy bunny or cat ears or make them out of a headband and felt. Make a Long tail out of felt, draw whiskers on cheeks for a kitty or a pink nose for a bunny.

Enlarge a photo copy of a quarter and tape it to your back.

Cardboard Robot
A box, some silver spray paint, and any cables or wires that you have lying around. Make sure these are safe or save the wires and cables for an older child.

A Baked Potato
Wrap your child (an older child probably) in aluminum foil.

Custom Super Hero
A cape and a mask are the basics, and that could be as simple as using a towel and a $2 eye mask. Be creative and make up a wide range of super powers. Let your child brainstorm these with you and they’ll never miss that $40 costume!

Instant Cowboy

Cowboy hat, boots, corduroy, jeans, flannel shirt

The Seven Seas

Draw the letter C seven times on face and arms

Bag of Jellybeans (for an older child)

Blow up brightly colored balloons and don’t make them too large. Cut two holes in the bottom of the trash bag just wide enough for your thighs. You can put duct tape around the edges to reinforce it. Cut armholes in side of bag and again reinforce with duct tape. Step into the bag and fill it loosely with balloons. Tie fabric or ribbon into a bow around your neck and then roll the lip of the bag downward.


Draw the letter P around the child’s eyes and dress in black.

A Cookie
Dress in all brown and pin colored felt circles to yourself for an M&M cookie, or use your imagination for other varieties.

Tickled Pink
Dress in pink and carry a feather.

More mature or adult costume ideas (either for theme or for materials) include:

Wear all black and put an enlarged copy of a postage stamp on your chest.

Sugar-Daddy or Sugar-Momma
Attach sugar-cubes (or candy) all over yourself.

iPod Advertisement
Put on an all black outfit and a fluorescent sheet of post board or painted cardboard.
CD Burner
Tie an old CD or DVD around your neck and carry a lighter.

Game Show Contestant
Make a large colorful name tag. Say things like “I’d like to buy a vowel” or “Oceans of the world for 500”.

Stick a Fork in Me, I’m Done
Put a piece of Styrofoam beneath an old t-shirt. Stab a fork through it (careful!).

Mount Rushmore
Get three friends, take one white sheet, and cut four holes in it. Whiten your faces and hair with make-up, powder or flour. Then line up and stick your heads through the sheet. You can add accessories to make you look more like the presidents!

The Lost TV Remote

Affix one couch cushion to the front of you and one to the back.

Deviled Egg (or Egg)
Wear all white. Attach (or paint) yellow circle to your stomach—ta-da: You are an egg. Add horns and a pitchfork for the “devil”.

Cross Dresser
Put crosses all over the clothes you are wearing.

Static Cling
Dress normally. Pin some socks, dryer sheets, hand towels to your shirt.

A Law Suit
Dress in a nice suit. Attach legal documents to yourself.

An Aircraft Carrier
Find a toy airplane. When asked what you are, hold it in your hand.

Dress in white and wrap yourself in toilet paper.

Take two large square pieces of cardboard (you can cut up a large box). If you’re in a rush, it might be easier to buy a shipping box at your local UPS store. On each of the pieces of cardboard, and using a ruler divide the length of a side is divided by nine—on all four sides of both boards. You will need two colors of tape or markers to create the Sudoku grids, one darker than the other. Make shoulder straps out of duct tape and wear like a sandwich board. Hang a marker on a string around your neck so people can fill out the board as the night goes on. Make sure you take answers to both puzzles or you might end up as an unsolvable puzzle.

Yay! Creative instant costumes for not a lot of money!


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