Cute And Simple DIY Halloween Costume Ideas On A Budget

Why spend $40-60 on a costume when you can craft your own for little to no money?

As Halloween quickly approaches, people begin thinking about what they want to dress up as for the spooky holiday. If you go to a pop-up Halloween store, however, costumes can be too expensive!

I once bought a costume from one of these shops for $60. As a broke college student, I can't afford to spend that much money on a fun outfit I'll only wear once or twice.

I found a plethora of Halloween costume ideas that you can make yourself for little to no money compared to these store prices! You can still look cute (or spooky) and save money while you trick-or-treat or go to a festive party.

I highly recommend finding your costume pieces at a thrift store where you'll save more money; it's much cheaper to buy a gently used clothing item than buy a new one.

I'll be using thrift store and dollar store prices for these costume ideas to demonstrate how little you'll spend making your costume as opposed to buying one. Additionally, if you happen to already own some of these costume pieces, you're saving even more money!

12 DIY Halloween Costume Ideas

Try out these different ideas and see which one you'd like to wear on Halloween:

a DIY Halloween costume idea
Image Source: Alyssa Hubbard

1. Pirate

The picture above is of my friend (left) and me (right) in our DIY costumes on Halloween a couple of years ago. I chose to dress up as a pirate since I had clothes that reminded me of one. All I spent money on was the pirate hat, which was only $3 at Walmart!

What you'll need for a Pirate Costume:

  • A pirate hat or bandana - $3
  • A striped shirt or shirt with puffy sleeves - $4
  • Black pants/skirt/overalls - $5
  • Boots - $10

All of the other scallywags (that's a pirate word) will be so jealous of your awesome $22 homemade pirate costume.

cute and simple DIY costume ideas
Image Source: Pexels | KoolShooters

2. Angel (Or Dark Angel)

This pure costume is simple yet still makes a statement. I feel as though it's a classic costume to wear for a costume party. Also, you could find a friend to be the reverse angel with you. A good/bad angel duo can get any party started.

What you'll need for an Angel (or Dark Angel) Costume:

  • Angel wings - $8
  • White (or black) shirt/dress - $5
  • White (or black) pants/leggings - $5 
  • White (or black) shoes - $6

A heavenly $24 is all this costume requires to become an angel standing at the pearly white gates... or on the doorstep of someone's house to ask for candy since it's Halloween!

cute costume DIY
Image Source: Chasing Fireflies

3. Pink Lady/Greaser

Grease is one of my all-time favorite musicals, which is what inspired me to dress up as a Pinky Lady for Halloween one year in high school. My boyfriend at the time matched my costume as a Greaser and that was the first time I wore matching costumes with one of my partners. So, if you're looking for a costume a bit more retro, a Pink Lady or Greaser is the way to go.

What you'll need for a Pinky Lady or Greaser Costume:

  • Pink/black leather jacket - $10
  • White t-shirt - $3
  • Black pants or jeans - $5
  • Flats or high top shoes - $5
  • An ascot or sunglasses - $1

You'll be looking and feeling like a cool cat on Halloween since you only spent $24 on your Pink Lady or Greaser costume.

Halloween costume DIYs
Image Source: Pexels | Thirdman

4. Witch

I am not exaggerating when I say that I've dressed up as a witch for Halloween at least five times throughout my life. Witches are one with nature as they brew potions and cast spells. They ride on magical broomsticks. The best part is witches have incredible and endless costume possibilities. I would know because I've been a different kind of witch every time I dressed like one.

What you'll need for a Witch Costume:

  • A witch hat - $3
  • Black, purple, red, dark green, or blue shirt/dress - $5
  • Black, purple, red, dark green, or blue pants/leggings - $5
  • Gaudy jewelry (optional) - $5
  • A broomstick (optional) - $4
  • Bold makeup look (optional) - $5-10

If you wish to incorporate all of these pieces for your witch costume, it's about $30. However, if you don't want to wear the optional accessories, your witchy look will only cost $13. That's a desirable and ironic price number considering it's for Halloween. 

simple Halloween costume idea
Image Source: Pexels | Daisy Anderson

5. Ghost

It may seem silly that I added this ghost costume idea to the list. The simple sheet with a trick-or-treat bag is a classic look for Halloween night. I was inspired by the old It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Halloween special where Charlie Brown and his friends dressed up as bedsheet ghosts to go trick-or-treating.

Even though everyone wore the same costume in the Charlie Brown special, they all incorporated their unique styles by wearing a spooky mask or cutting a bunch of holes into the sheet.

What you'll need for a Ghost Costume:

  • A white bed sheet - $6
  • Scissors (to cut eye holes into the sheet) - $1
  • Hand accessories (trick-or-treat bag, lantern, a pumpkin, etc.) - $1

A classic supernatural look for only $7! That price could turn anyone who spent more money on their costume into a ghost too. 

cute DIY costume idea for Halloween
Image Source: Pexels | Tu Nguyen

6. Fairy

There's one day a year where you can dress up as anything you've ever wanted to be and walk around town pretending to be it. Why wouldn't you want to live your dreams of becoming a fairy? This mystical creature look can be easily recreated for a low price.

What you'll need for a Fairy Costume:

  • A flowy dress - $5
  • Flats or sandals - $4
  • Fairy wings - $8
  • Flower crown - $4
  • Glitter - $2

It's $23 to become a magical and beautiful fairy for the day. Tinkerbell is shaking from that outstanding bargain.

7. Fawn

One of my favorite content creators on YouTube, Strawburry17, uploaded this video of a fawn cosplay. I've never thought about this kind of look as a Halloween costume and I've been wanting to try it ever since I watched this video. So many people dress up as cats for this holiday. We need some elegant fawn representation this year. 

What you'll need for a Fawn Costume:

  • A flowy dress - $5
  • A headband to decorate with flowers and fawn ears - $1-5
  • Makeup/face paint for fawn-like features - $4
  • Flats or sandals - $4

This graceful wildlife costume is an innocent $18 to spend if you want to win that costume contest with an original idea. 

8. Red Riding Hood

Similar to the witch costume, I'll be dressing up as the fabled Red Riding Hood for the third time this Halloween. I'm a fan of all things that involve fairy tales, fables, and magic. The Red Riding Hood look is innocent and daring at the same time. You can even add some claw marks from the big bad wolf if you want to make the costume scary.

What you'll need for a Red Riding Hood Costume:

  • A red cape (or fabric to make a cape) - $2
  • Black shirt/pants - $5


  • Black dress - $5
  • Boots - $10
  • A picnic basket - $4
  • Red lipstick - $1

The big bad wolf is so impressed by your $22 Red Riding Hood costume, that he wants to dress up like you instead of granny. What an honor.

Simple Halloween DIY costume
Image Source: Pexels | Charles Parker 

9. Skeleton

Another classic costume to wear on Halloween is the spooky, scary skeleton. It's been a while since I've seen someone wear a skeleton costume and it'd be cool to bring back this original look.  

What you'll need for a Skeleton Costume:

  • Black onesie/bodysuit - $10


  • Black shirt/pants - $10


  •  Black dress/legging - $10
  • White paint (to paint bones onto the base outfit) - $2 
  • Bone stickers/iron-on - $6

There are no skeletons in your closet tonight because they're embarrassed that your skeleton costume looks so much better than theirs. It only costs $18 too!

Halloween DIY costume idea
Image Source: Pexels | Victoria Borodinova

10. Mermaid

It's been my dream to be a mermaid since I was a little girl watching Disney's The Little Mermaid. I think mermaids are gorgeous mythical sea creatures and an aesthetic I want to have. A mermaid costume is a perfect idea for looking magical and beautiful on Halloween night.

What you'll need for a Mermaid Costume:

  • Bikini top/bralette - $4
  • Mermaid style skirt - $5
  • Glitter/sparkles - $2
  • Makeup/face paint for mermaid features - $5-10
  • Jewelry (optional) - $5-10

Spending the Halloween night on dry land as a dazzling mermaid is between $20-30, depending on how extravagant you want to be with your costume. You never know, maybe you'll find your Prince Eric at a costume party.

Simple DIY ideas for Halloween costumes
Image Source: Costume Supercenter

11. Clown

If you have a child or younger sibling in need of an adorable costume, try looking for pieces to transform them into a circus clown. The wonderful advantage of this costume is that clowns have various styles. Whatever makes them look silly and cute is a great combination to turn them into a clown.

What you'll need for a Clown Costume:

  • Vibrant colored and patterned top/bottoms - $10


  • Vibrant colored and patterned dress/leggings - $10
  • Bowtie/frilly neckpiece - $2
  • A red nose (optional) - $1
  • Makeup/face paint - $5-10
  • A funny hat (optional) - $2
  • Accessories (horn, bag o' tricks, spray bottle, etc.) - $1

Although you only have to say "trick-or-treat" to get some candy on Halloween, maybe you could perform a silly act in your $20 clown costume to get an extra piece of candy.

on a budget Halloween costume DIYs
Image Source: abraidedblonde

12. Scarecrow

Why are there not more people dressing up as scarecrows for Halloween!? A scarecrow is a quirky staple of the fall season. We see them all the time in pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and cider mills. This costume is a mix of comfortable clothes, a cool hat, and a fun makeup look.

What you'll need for a Scarecrow Costume:

  • A straw hat (or something similar) - $3
  • A flannel and a solid color t-shirt - $10
  • Jeans - $5 
  • Boots or sneakers - $5-10
  • Makeup/face paint - $5-10

It's $28 to scare those crows away and enjoy eating your bag full of delicious candy in your fun scarecrow costume. 

Saving Money is Spooky

Everything costs money these days. It's scary and stressful trying to save money and not exceed your budget. That is why I try to find ways that I can save money and still be extravagant during the holiday season. You should be able to still have the best Halloween ever with your DIY costume (and more money saved in your wallet).

23 | uni graduate | aspiring author | overthinker | theatre kid

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