Frugal Homemade Halloween Costume Ideas

By Staff

This scary economy has many folks terrified at the thought of spending $40 (or more) on a Halloween costume, so frugal ghosts and goblins across the country have yet again decided to go with homemade, frugal Halloween costumes.

We typically do this in the Frugal Household, although we did spend a bit more in planning this year’s trick-or-treat outing. My son wanted to be an “Army Man” or “Sniper.” We splurged on some camouflage gear, but it does have a dual purpose as he wears the jacket to school quite often (minus the outer ghille suit layer).

My daughter is more creative, and each year enjoys coming up with her own homemade Halloween costume ideas.  With her help (and a lot of input from my wife) we offer up the following frugal homemade Halloween costumes, along with the supplies needed for each:


  • Old tattered clothes with a few holes (maybe some of Dad’s old work clothes)
  • An old, beat-up hat
  • An old pair of well-scuffed shoes
  • Worn canvas sack on a stick over the shoulder carrying belongings

Spa girl (My daughter dressed as a “spa girl” a couple years ago)

  • Green face paint to simulate a mask
  • Towel for head or curlers
  • Sleep mask
  • Bedroom slippers
  • Bath robe
  • Pajamas


  • An old pair of eye glasses with black electrical tape for reinforcement
  • Too-small pants (short ones/high risers)
  • Shirt tucked in with pocket protector and a handful of pens
  • Hair slicked down with gel
  • White socks
  • Black shoes

Ghost (a frugal Halloween classic!)

  • Sheet with holes cut out for the eyes
  • White, long sleeve shirt to wear underneath
  • White gloves
  • white pants, socks and shoes

Hunter/Soldier (my son’s choice this year)

  • Camouflage clothing
  • Dark green (olive) paint for face
  • Black face paint for under the eyes
  • An old Army belt with canteen
  • A green backpack


  • Flannel Shirt
  • Overalls/Jeans
  • Rope belt
  • Wheat straw to stuff under the cuffs of the jeans and shirt
  • A straw hat
  • Paint a few freckles on face


  • Big box wrapped in festive wrapping paper
  • Large bow to place on your head
  • Cut holes on sides of box for arms, and in the top of the box for your head

Bunch of Grapes (This one reminds me of the old Fruit of the Loom commercials)

  • Purple sweatsuit
  • Purple balloons pinned to sweatsuit


  • Tall chef’s hat or hair net
  • Apron
  • White button down shirt
  • Black pants and shoes
  • A big pot to collect candy in (with a big wooden spoon)

Kitty cat

  • Black clothes
  • Black shoes/socks
  • White cardboard for the belly
  • Tail (can use an old sock or buy one)
  • Ears (headband with felt)
  • Facepaint for whiskers and nose
  • White gloves (optional)

Most of these homemade Halloween costumes can be put together with items from around the house, or for less than $10 by visiting a consignment shop or Dollar Store.