girl dressed in orange and black striped leggings wearing a sparkely black tutu and holding a trick or treat pumpkin.

15 Halloween Costumes That Won't Terrify Your Budget

With 8 million more Americans planning on celebrating Halloween this year, the total spent on costumes, treats, and decorations is projected to reach an all-time high of $9.1 billion. The average amount spent per consumer is anticipated to reach $86.10, mostly going toward the purchase of the perfect costume.  

It’s a fun break from everyday life. But is one day worth the stress of throwing off your savings plan? If you’re not quite convinced that it is, you’re not alone! America Saves has compiled 15 creative yet affordable DIY costume ideas:

1. “Oh, Deer!” and 2. “Holy Cow!”

With just a few pieces of paper (white and black, respectively), plastic headbands, and pipe cleaners, you’ll be the punniest costume in the room!

Get more ideas from POPSUGAR. And for sturdy DIY antlers, check out this tutorial by Lauren Conrad.

3. Pigs in a Blanket

An adorable representation of the yummy finger food, you’ll be cute and cozy throughout the night!

Via Almost Super Mom.

4. Tourist

Put Dad’s embarrassing Hawaiian shirts and Mom’s fanny pack to good use by dressing as the dorky, but prepared tourist. To really embody this stereotype, carry around a disposable camera throughout the night. You’ll simultaneously enhance your costume while also capturing memories!

This tacky tourist costume idea comes, of course, from Tacky Living.

5. Identity Thief

Given recent data breaches, this costume carries particular salience this Halloween. Not only does it cost practically nothing—one package of stick-on nametags is all that’s needed —but it’s also a light-hearted conversation starter about current events.

6. Fairy Tale

All you need for this last-minute idea is an old book and either a sewing machine or stapler. Follow this tutorial by Quirk Books on how to construct your fairy tale costume —you’ll bring magic to the festivities! 

7. Lego Piece

This option allows for an infinite number of friends to join in on this costume idea, and repurposes old boxes in a creative way. Grab an old box, plastic cups, and some spray paint and go at it!

Directions for this inclusive and environmentally friendly costume can be found at Wine & Glue.

8. Medusa

Indulge your inner Greek mythological monster and dress up as this stony-gazed Gorgon. Slip on a light, flowy dress, accessorize with some gold jewelry, and braid up your hair. Last but definitely not least, use bobby pins to pin rubber snakes to your head.

Read more DIY tips for this costume on The Joy of Fashion

9. Beanie Babies

Channel your inner 90’s-child and dress up as the Beanie Baby of your choice! With a pair of animal ears, some makeup or face paint, paper, and string, you’ll have a costume that’s as easy as it was to just be a kid.

This fun throwback costume idea comes from Macarons, Midterns, and Manolos.

10. Salt and Pepper

This costume is as simple and satisfying to make as it is to add these seasonings to practically any dish. Minimal effort but full satisfaction that you’ve managed to make a full costume in 10 minutes or less! All you need is a partner – preferably someone you enjoy standing next to so you can exhibit the full picture – solid color t-shirts and opposite colored paper. 

Get this and more last-minute costume ideas from Evite

11. Pumpkin Pi

For this scrumptiously nerdy costume, all you need is an orange t-shirt, black paper or felt, a headband, a small plastic pumpkin, and some glue. Cheers to seasonal math jokes!

This disguise and more can be found on Women'sDay.

12. Grapes of Wrath

Also from Women'sDay, test your friends’ literature knowledge by showing up in this costume. For those that don’t get the reference, now you have a gift idea for their next birthday! Run to the craft store to grab some white adhesive letters and some faux vines. Safety pin inflated purple balloons to a purple t-shirt, glue the vines together for your crown, iron on the letters, and you’re set!

13. Pink Shirt Girl Emoji

Thanks to multiple iOS updates, you now have six options of which pose to strike for pictures in this costume from Good Housekeeping. All you need is a pink shirt and you’re set for a night of comfortable fun with practically zero effort.

14. Fork in the Road

Can’t decide between the above costumes? Don this punny costume for an ironic choice. Make a road by sticking white pieces of tape to a black t-shirt and attaching a plastic fork in the middle.

Check out costumes from Society19 for more pun fun. 

15. Ghost

Last, but definitely not least, seeing as this probably wins the award for least amount of effort put in and money spent: a ghost. Cut two holes for your eyes in a white bedsheet and you’re done! And if you’re willing to put in another 5 minutes of your time, cut a bunch of holes to mimic Charlie Brown’s idea of a ghost.

See more DIY costume ideas at DIY Home Decor Guide

Want even more costume ideas? Check out last year's 15 Frighteningly Frugal Halloween Costumes or for even more, these 25 Effortlessly Frugal Last-Minute Halloween Costumes.


Military Saves is here to help you stay on track. Take the Military Saves Pledge to set your savings goal and follow the prompts to opt-in to receive text message reminders and tips. Think of Military Saves as your personal savings support system. 


Struggling to find a creative #halloween costume that's also affordable? #MilitarySaves has got you covered >> http://bit.ly/2fYSEuY 

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Tip of the Day

  • Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | February 3, 2017

    Starting your savings now ensures a more comfortable retirement later on! http://bit.ly/2jPi3bT via @MilitarySaves #MSW2017

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