Cheap Halloween Costumes

This past week, I wrote in the weekly newsletter about how hard it is to find cool halloween costumes without going into debt. I asked my fellow fashionistas for advice and here are some of the best ideas- all for under $20 bucks.

For the Single Girl:

Queen of the World. This is a Halloween favorite. Head to your nearest Salvation Army or Goodwill for old prom/evening dresses, or the back of your closet for those “forgotten” bridesmaid dresses. The puffier and gaudier, the better. Go to Claire’s Boutique and purchase a tiara (usually around $5 to $10), several “diamond” rings, and elbow-length, white gloves. Throw on the rhinestone jewelry, correct that posture, and purchase ‘Hello’ (a.k.a the British ‘People’) at your local Barnes and Noble. Now, here is the piece de triumph: Have your male spouse/friend/partner be your man–servant, “James”, for the whole night. Total outfit cost: $20.00-$80.00, depending on the size of your kingdom.

Marathon Runner. Toast the Olympics and dress like you’re a marathon runner. Purchase a tank, shorts, and tennis shoes (the Canadian Athletic apparel store ROOTS has some great Olympic items at their online store). Since it is the end of October, go ahead and wear tights underneath those short shorts. Print out a race number on your computer, pin it to your tank, and you are ready to go. Total Outfit cost: 0.00-$40.00, depending on the medal you are seeking.

Christina Aguilera. All you need is a big blonde wig (think drag queen), black eyeliner, a plaid mini-skirt, a cropped top, and some thigh-high boots and you are set. It is helpful to bring a little CD player and have “Genie in a Bottle” playing in the background. Total Outfit cost $10.00-$50.00, depending on the size of your record contract.

For couples:

Ward & June Cleaver. The fifties look was very hot this summer, so head out to your local department store or thrift shop and find fifties-inspired, a-line dresses for a fraction of their normal price. Check out post summer sales at your local department store like Macys. Add a simple strand of pearls, pearl earrings, a waist apron, sensible pumps and you are ready to go. Have your significant other dress as Ward. Total Outfit cost $40.00- $80.00, depending on whether the ‘Beav’ needs braces.

Game Show Host and Pretty Helper Girl. This is a perfect costume for couples. Head out to your nearest thrift store and find the cheesiest late 70s/early 80s polyester, double knit suit ensemble for men and 80s deranged bridesmaid dress for women. Purchase a children’s play microphone (Target has some for super cheap prices). Buy the cheapest hair spray you can find (All Net is good) and tease your hair like you are from the Jersey shore. Get a piece of cardboard, cut out a star about 8 inches in diameter and glue on gold glitter. Write the word “Grand Prize” in silver. To keep you smiling for the entire night, try this beauty pageant trick- put Vaseline underneath your upper lip. $60.00-$100 for both costumes, depending on whether or not your show picks-up for another season.

With A Group of Friends:

Sloth. This is the easiest and cheapest costume. Don’t wash your hair or take a shower for two days, roll out of bed in your PJs and you are set! This costume is particularly effective if you get six friends to go as the other six deadly sins: greed, envy, wrath, gluttony, pride and lust. Total Outfit cost- $0, depending on how sinful you are willing to get.

1970’s Television Family. There are so many great ones to choose from: the Partridge Family, Brady Bunch, Evan’s family from Good Times, Donny and Marie Osmond, and the Jeffersons. The family you chose depends on the make-up of your group of friends, but putting together the outfits is almost as much fun as the actual Halloween event itself. Make a date and head straight to your local thrift store or your parent’s closet. Total Outfit Cost- $20.00 and up, depending on how “dy-no-mite” you want to be.

About the Author

Kathryn “The Budget Fashionista” Finney is the founder and Chief Shopping Officer of (, a popular website that provides realistic fashion advice, shopping tips and sale event information to budget conscious consumers. Known as “the stylist to the cheap,” Kathryn has been around the world searching for the perfect bargain on designer goods and is willing to get the bargain by any (legal) means necessary.

Kathryn Finney