Create Fun & Thrifty Halloween Costumes
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Create Fun & Thrifty Halloween Costumes

Halloween is a fun and creative time each fall! In these tough financial times, money is hard to come by for many families. Its easy to throw away money on a whim and purchase a low quality, expensive costume is generic and expresses no individual creativity. This article will highlight how to save money, have fun building your own ensemble, and enjoy some thrift shopping along the way!

Creating your own, quality Halloween ensemble is easier than you think!  Whether you want to be a fairy princess or a bloody zombie, there are easy ways to make your own costumes or purchase pieces at thrift shops, dollar stores, and at popular retailers without overspending!  From Halloween make-up to attire, you can save money and put together an original costume without paying $20 or $30 for silly packaged costumes that are cheap and will likely run.  You can create an ensemble to wear for one evening or durable enough to wear for several events and pass it on to a friend to alter and turn into their own unique creation! 

With visions of ghouls and goblins dancing in our heads, Halloween is fast approaching!  Both children and adults alike are scrambling to get their costumes in order and deciding what to be.  The best way to make this decision is to set a day aside and take a couple friends, or your family, including your children and do some thrift shopping.  The Salvation Army and Good Will have great options that will both help the less fortunate and save you some cash!  I will highlight some examples and ideas in this article to get you started and list the optional items you may need to create these ensembles!

Another super thing about thrift store costume hunting is that you don't have to worry about size.  There are clothing for all body types, shapes, and sizes at thrift shops for both women, men, and children!  It can be tough to shop for ready-made costumes if you are not a standard sized human being, which most of us are not.  Its also a good option for those who have no talent with sewing and making clothing.  Many of us fall into that category, but are still able to be creative and come up with good costume ideas!

Bloody Spattered Bride

Thrifty Old Wedding Dress

Thrift Shop Veil

Red Marker (Sharpie)

  • Use a red marker (Sharpie) and let the color bleed onto specific areas of your dress to make it selectively bloody. 
    • There is no runny mess and one the stain sets it won't get all over your fingers and make a mess!
      • You can also use red food coloring, but that might actually stain your fingers and won't set quite as well.


Thrift Shop Bright Colored Dress or Long Shirt (preferably in a shiny material)

Tulle Skirt or Slip (Savers has Tulle skirts for under $10)

Dollar Store Magic Wand ($1 at Dollar Tree, in several different colors)

Tights (Shiny or Matte)

Shiny Jammy Slippers (About $7 at Walmart & Most Mass Retailers)

Shiny Ribbon (To Wrap Around Your Legs)

  • Either cut a long shirt or brightly colored dress into triangle shaped slices, or use a tulle skirt as your bottom.
  • Choose tights in any color that might offset your dress or top and tulle skirt.
  • Add ribbon to create the illusion of having wrap-around slippers or you can just wear them alone with tights.

Zombie (The Undead)

Thrift Store Shredded Formal Clothing (You are dead and just attended your own funeral.)

Beat up Shoes

Brown Shoe Polish or Brown Sharpie (marker)

  • You want to look like you have just risen out of your own coffin and might have been asleep for a while.
  • Create the illusion of dirt on your Sunday's best with brown shoe polish or a brown marker to bleed onto your clothing.
  • Make sure your shoes are really beat up looking!

Saloon Hall Girl

Feather Boa (About $3.99 at any party store or at Walmart)

Thrift Store Prom Dress (preferably in a bordeaux shade (deep, rich red), hunter green, or a deep blue

Tulle (to sew into your dress to make it puffy and old fashioned in appearance)

Headband with feather embellishments (Between $1 & $3 at Family Dollar Store or Savers)

  • Sew tulle or another type of fabric under your bodice to make the dress appear puffy and flared.
    • Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect
  • Sport a feather boa around your shoulders (optional), style your hair, and put a feather headband on your head, done!

Enjoy All Hallow's Eve!  Sleep tight.  Don't let the bed bugs bite!

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