Believe it or not, costumes don’t have to be super complicated or expensive. Yes I know I literally have a closet full of things, but really it can be done with a little thought and some imagination. I never buy a store bought costume because I feel that is too limiting, plus they are usually really expensive and the quality is not that great. So, I thought I’d share some ideas to help you get creative and save money!
Start with the foundational pieces
There are a few things that I do spend money on because I can get multiple uses out of them:
Wigs – I have an assortment and you can really do a lot with them.
Corsets – I only have 2. I have a black one that is ripped up a little, thanks to my dog Cree who decided she did not like my brand new corset! Oh Cree Cree! I kept it and use it for zombie stuff, Day of the Dead, Steam Punk. no one has ever really noticed the pieces of destruction but I would not use it for “pretty”costumes. The other is black with pink designs. If you stay neutral you will get a lot more use out of it and they make some that are reversible!
Crazy Lashes – I have a whole case of crazy lashes. I just removed them carefully, wipe off the glue and store them in my box. I get a lot of uses out of them. This helps save on makeup time since the lashes can really cover the eyes easily. I usually pick these up on clearance.
Makeup – I do have a few Ben Nye colors. These colors are used a lot by clowns or performers. The makeup lasts a long time and generally stays on really well, though be prepared to wash your face several times – I usually use Skin Script’s Pomegrante Cleanser, then the Green Tea and follow up another round of Green Tea or the Glycolic Cleanser. When you paint your face green like the wicked witch, it takes a minute to get the color off! LOL
Tutus – I have 2 I bought and 1 I made – I use them all the time.
Look for good deals on over-the-top clothing
I look for good deals on over the top clothing, such as:
- $25 for a 70s wedding gown with a crazy amount of ruffles. Turned this into Madonna and used it in several other costumes as layering pieces. I cut the dress apart and just pin the skirt the way I want it.
- $3 Beautiful green velvet dress that has been used as several different fairy versions, and elf and Poison Ivy. So versatile!
- $12.49 for this crazy teal blue, ruffled prom dress at Ross a few years ago. I was like this will make some kind of cool costume. How much is it? $12.49! Heck yeah, if this baby fits, I am buying it! It did fit and then ideas started to come in. I had thought to do it like the Queen of the Ocean or to go as the ocean. I was going to glue or pin sea creatures to the dress. I still might do that some day but that was getting a little pricey, I have been waiting to find something at the thrift store or at a yard sale that has all the pieces that I need. Then, thanks to my little cousin who loves Elsa and Zombies, Zombie Elsa was created.
- I do have a lot of layering pieces and costumes from my former belly dance days and I pick up pieces here and there, especially if I see a good deal on something. I might borrow something but even in your own closet you can find something fun.
A few fun costume ideas
Dia de Los Muertos – Really this is all in the makeup most of which you may have at home or can buy. NYX is a nice brand that is not crazy expensive. My Minnie Mouse version didn’t cost me anything! I pulled everything out of my closet and borrowed the Minnie ears and bow. I have had 4or 5 different versions.
Zombie Elsa – Cost $25ish – My crazy teal blue ruffle dress, a blond wig that I teased it up kind of crazy. I had some fake blood, white and black makeup, black lashes and that was it. Since the dress was so long, I could wear super comfy shoes since you could not see them.
Cheshire Cat – $25 – I did buy my Cheshire Cat ears and Tail on Etsy. They were/are $25 which was really cheap. I could not have made them for that price. They are great and very well made. CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK I love that the ears are clips so you can set them where you need them. I have a pink wig, then I went through my closet and pulled out everything pink and purple. I had striped tights, a pink dress and at the time I had purple boots. I have worn these pieces several times. And if you didn’t have a pink or purple wig (or hair!;)) you wouldn’t even have to do that. The makeup will give a great finishing touch. Here is a great video for some versions of this.
50s Kitsch Zombies – $0 – Douglas and I did a 50s style Zombie, we dressed in 50s style clothing which we have, I painted our faces a light green and we had red lips. I made 2 large jello shots out of a brain mold and brought it to the party.
Fairy/Elf/Poison Ivy all from my $3 green velvet dress.
- Fairy – $10ish I had an auburn colored wig that I had gotten for $3 so I decided to be an autumn fairy. I didn’t have time to get in a cool set of wings, plus big wings get in the way when you are dancing all night. I went to the Dollar Store and bought wings, some fake flowers and leaves. I made myself a flower crown and added flowers and leaves to the ankle of my boots. I have actually worn this several different ways. Different dress, no wigs, different boots, different makeup – it is always a great costume.
- Elf – $10ish just added my stripped elf hat and a belt – I do have elf ears just in case I have time to glue them one.
- Poison Ivy -$40ish Red Wig, I took styrofoam cones (from the Dollar Store) that you use to make flower arrangements. I painted them red and then was able to take some of the wig hair to wrap around the cones. I then added some leaves and berries to my hair. I have long green gloves and I took some of the little leaves from the vine to make a kind of mask. I glued them on my skin with spirit or regular stick glue (the washable kind that kids use). I do have a cool pair of tall green boots I got a long time ago at Ross for around $18 (also used with my witches costume) and a long vintage green velvet coat from a thrift store in PA for $5. I had a different dress the first time I went as Poison Ivy. This has been one of my favorite costumes.
The Joker – $0 clothes from my closet, crazy face paint and a green wig. Douglas also went as Joker 1 year and didn’t buy anything more than green hair paint. We used dress pants and a shirt he already had, made his hair and makeup crazy.
Rosie the Riveter – $0 – I had everything – red bandana, jeans, grey denim work shirt and boots
Witch – $20ish – I bought a witches hat online. When it came it was that cheap foam stuff. I could not return it but I did love the shape. I pulled out my goodie box and had some tulle with purple spider webs, I cut the fabric to cover the hat and glued it in place, then I glued on Flowers, feathers, sparkly leaves that were left over from wreaths and another hat. I wore a black dress, stripped tights, boots and painted my face green and had bright red lips. I have worn versions of this costume several different times.
Cruella Da Ville – $30ish So I bought a black and white dress for a gala and I wanted to get some more use out of it. I bought a black and white wig, red gloves, long cigarette, added some crazy blue eye shadow and voila Cruella was born. All of these extra pieces can be used later for other costumes.
Some of the estimates are hard to give because I reuse my pieces and try to get the most out of them. Start building a little at a time and you can, too!
A sneak peek at this year’s costumes
Halloween 2021, here we come!
- Woodland Creatures – Bad@$$ Biker Garden Gnomes and a Dark Fairy
- Witches and the Witch Hunter
- Dia de Los Muertos
Then we also have actual Halloween night, Spirit Day at School and work costumes! LOL
Items we had to purchase: 2 hats (being slouchy beanie caps so they can easily be worn again), gnome beard (use this for another costume later), Fairy Wings (Who doesn’t need fairy wings?) and 1 more witch hat.
Alright, it’s time to get your spooky on. Go have some fun and share your pictures with us on social at @raspberrymoonst!