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Consider these budget-friendly Halloween costumes

It’s time to start thinking about Halloween outfits. Consider a do-it-yourself costume to save money.
It’s time to start thinking about Halloween outfits. Consider a do-it-yourself costume to save money. AP

Halloween is coming up soon. Intricate costumes are lining the shelves and the haunted department stores have set up shop with decorations, candy and more disguises than a year of Halloweens could use. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly costume this year for your child (or yourself), there are probably things around your house, or that you could grab at a discount store, that would make your child the most creative and clever creature on the block.


Once you add some elastic straps with a stapler or hot glue, cardboard gives you the freedom to be pretty much anything with cardboard. Cut out shapes to create your own sandwich-board-style costume. People have gone as big as vending machines or as small as using Beanie Baby TY tags. Other notable ideas include life-size emojis, candy bars, building blocks and even french fries.


Use tape to adhere balloons to a green or purple shirt transform into a bunch of grapes; a blue shirt to become a bubble bath or ocean; or fill up a bag around your torso with multicolored balloons for a gumball machine look. All that’s left with these costumes is to add a pair of warm solid color pants and your child is all set to trick-or-treat.

Laundry basket

You can find laundry baskets pretty cheap, or use an old one you don’t need anymore. Cut two leg holes in it, glue two elastic straps on the top front-to-back and you have any number of options. Kids (and adults) have used this trick paired with craft paper, balloons, or decorations to become trains, boats and cars. My favorite idea was filling it with white tissue paper and cutting up a foam pool noodle into circles on top, to become a bowl of cereal.

Construction paper and paint

If you’re looking for low maintenance, you can’t go wrong with construction paper or paint. Pick a solid color shirt and pants and your possibilities for costumes are endless. Black dots on a white outfit becomes a domino; orange circles on yellow for pepperoni pizza; brown spikes painted on green makes an adorable cactus — you get the idea.

Besides saving money, the best part about a homemade Halloween costume is that it’s appropriate for any age and on any timeline. You can decide on Oct. 30, and with these tips you can easily whip one up. Happy haunting.

Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit