High on Fun, Low on Cost Halloween Costumes

Halloween is almost here. If your child still doesn’t have a costume with which to procure some treats, have no fear. There’s still plenty of time to conjure up a great costume courtesy of a little creativity, much of what you already have around the house and very little money. Here’s just a few ideas to help transform your own little “Trick or Treater.”

  • Grab one of your long sleeved white shirts and transform it into a “lab coat” for a nearly instant scientist (mad or otherwise!) or inventor costume. Complete the look by adding safety goggles and a pair of rubber gloves.
  • Purchase a yard or so of bright colored butcher paper (can be found and purchased inexpensively at teacher or learning supply stores) and literally wrap your child up in to turn him or her into a crayon.
  • Use a small piece of the same butcher paper or a smaller piece of the same colored construction paper to make a cone-shaped hat to top off the costume.
  • Clad your wee one in a bright, floral shirt, sunglasses and a hat and you’ve immediately got a tourist. Embellish the look further with a fanny pack or tote and a camera.
  • Use gauze or inexpensive cheesecloth to wrap around your child to create a mummy. (Have him or her wear white or cream colored clothing underneath to increase the effective.)
  • Visit a party store and purchase a bag of purple colored balloons. Only partially blow them up and carefully safety pin them to your child’s shirt. (Take care to only push the pin through the tied-off portion of the balloon.) And—Voila!—the sweetest bunch of grapes ever!


If your kiddo isn’t too keen on dressing up as fruit, why not turn them into a bunch of bubbles?! Use the same method as listed above, but instead opt for clear or light blue balloons.
Dig out your holiday wrapping supplies a few months early and wrap your child up in a bit of wrapping paper and top him or her off with a bow. What are they? The greatest gift ever.
If you have a spare box lying around the house, cut out a whole in the bottom large enough to accommodate your child’s waist. Fill it with a few towels and pieces of clothing and you’ve turned him or her into a basket of laundry. Fill it with some crumpled pieces of newspaper and some empty food boxes and you’ve instantly got a recycle bin. Throw in a few stuffed animals instead and suddenly they’re toy box.

For older children, subtlety may prove just the trick (that hopefully gets accompanied by treats!) Have him or her dress up as an alien disguised as a human (which requires no real dress up at all), the next President of the United States (your only limit is your or your child’s imagination) or a time traveler (any futuristic outfit would do). If you can sense your older child still wants to join in the fun, but acts as if it’s too juvenile. Set a good example and join in yourself. Grab a few “Hello, my name is…” tags and go as “Joe” and “Schmoe” or any other two people other than yourselves. Whether your child actually “trick or treats” or not doesn’t matter, it’s always fun to dress up for a bit no matter your age. And it certainly doesn’t have to do tricks to your budget.

Photo credit: Pedro J. Ferreira

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Author Info

This post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. Shannon is an educator turned parent turned writer and focuses on sharing new and innovative ways to not just survive, but thrive on empty. Visit ThrivingOnEmpty.com to learn more. Her newest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar is available in bookstores now.

One Response to “High on Fun, Low on Cost Halloween Costumes”

  1. linen suits |  Nov 29, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Great ideas about Low on Cost Halloween Costumes. The child will be happy to wear these costumes