My Favorite DIY Halloween Costumes

DIY Halloween costumes are my favorite thing about fall.

Once summer hits, I'm already brainstorming ideas.

DIY Halloween costumes rock because:

1) They are cheap.
2) They are easy to make (no art skills required).
3) They are great conversation starters.
4) You may even win free stuff at parties.

An original Halloween costume doesn't have to break the bank.

For those of you who stress about thinking of creative ideas, here is a list of eight costumes (with pictures, materials, and costs!) I've sported over the past thirteen years. They were all inexpensive and scored a lot of compliments.


2003 – Grapes


Context: College and living on campus without a car
Materials: purple balloons, safety pins, green pipe cleaners
Estimated cost: $5

2004 – Jellybeans


Context: A very obvious lack of creative ideas
Materials: multi-colored balloons, a large transparent plastic bag, ribbon, paper
Estimated cost: $5

2006 – Freddie Mercury From Wembley Stadium

Freddie Mercury

Context: I'm obsessed with Queen (inspiration is from here).
Materials: yellow track jacket, white track pants, white shoes, white ribbed tank top, fake teeth, mustache, eyebrow pencil
Estimated cost: $20 (all clothing from Goodwill)

2007 – Mas Tacos Por Favor Truck


Context: My all-time favorite Nashville food truck and restaurant, Mas Tacos Por Favor!
Materials: battery powered string of lights, red fabric paint, yellow shirt, teal skirt, black foam board, multi-colored chalk
Estimated cost: $20 (lights from Dollar General, all clothing from Goodwill)

2011 – Sushi Roll with Ginger & Wasabi Wristlets


Context: You are what you eat?
Materials: two styrofoam circles, white cardboard, black trash bag, packing peanuts, pieces of felt, black ribbon, hot glue gun
Estimated cost: $15

2012 – Frida Kahlo – Self-portrait With Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird


Context: One of my favorite Frida paintings, with admiration.
Materials: white blouse, white butterflies, string, toy bird, black spray paint, fake twigs, eyebrow pencil, vintage frame with fake leaves (not pictured)
Estimated cost: $20

2013 – American Gothic

American Gothic

This wasn't a Halloween costume or a DIY project. However, I was at the real American Gothic house in Eldon, IA. Their gift shop has handmade costumes, so I couldn't resist getting my picture made with one of the most famous houses in all of art history!

2014 – Salvador DaliGirl dressed like Salvador Dali in black & white














Context: More DIY Halloween love for surrealist artists

Materials: eyebrow pencil, paper, fake mustache hair, spirit gum, black suit, white button-down shirt 
Estimated cost: 

2015 – The Milky Way

Girl in black clothing with lights














Context: Easy, last minute costume (aren't they all?)
Materials: fake spider webs, battery-powered lights, black pants, black turtleneck sweater
Estimated cost: $5

Readers: Have you made any clever Halloween costumes? What are your plans for this year?

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Discussions — 12 Responses

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach October 24, 2014 on 8:30 am

    I love she sushi roll! I’ve never seen that idea done before!

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde October 24, 2014 on 8:35 am

    HA!! I love these!!! I am not creative with Halloween costumes at all, but I REALLY appreciate those that are. Like Tonya, my favorite was the sushi roll!

  • Michelle October 24, 2014 on 8:47 am

    I love all of these costumes! You are much more creative than I am.

  • Kassandra October 24, 2014 on 8:55 am

    I especially liked the grape costume. I’m not really into Halloween so I don’t have any fave moments to share but I hope you enjoy a good one this year 🙂

  • Jenna October 24, 2014 on 1:07 pm

    I’m sooo uncreative with Halloween costumes. The best I think I’ve ever done has been to be a bad a**. I just wore black and drew a bunch of tattoos with washable marker. It was fun and I looked ridiculous.

  • Christine @ The Wallet Diet October 24, 2014 on 1:41 pm

    Haha I love these! So creative. Were you able to sit with costumes #1 and 2?

    I’m going as Holly Golightly in her “sleep mask” scene. I even made the sleep mask myself 🙂 The men’s dress shirt I’m borrowing from the bf so this costume cost a total of $7 – wahoo!

  • Melanie @ My Alternate Life October 24, 2014 on 5:48 pm

    OMG these are amazing! I love the Frida one and the grapes. You are so talented and creative. Even though I’m theatrical, I just can’t be bothered with dressing up. I am usually side hustling on Halloween.

  • Myles Money October 24, 2014 on 7:07 pm

    Hahaha! You nailed Frida Kahlo! One of the best mono-brows of all time. Halloween is more of a kids’ thing here in Europe but it’s great to see everyone enjoying it so much in the States.

  • Mrs. Frugalwoods October 28, 2014 on 6:26 am

    Super cute! Love the Frida Kahlo–nice! We haven’t actually dressed up for Halloween in a number of years, but, one year in college, Mr. FW and I were elves (a la Lord Of The Rings) and we won a costume contest. Not sure we can top that, so maybe we’ll just rest on our laurels.

  • Mel October 28, 2014 on 9:57 pm

    Wow – the Frida Kahlo one is awesome and the bunch of grapes is pretty classic. You are pretty darn creative. I think my favorite year was when some of my roommates and I were the 4 seasons.

  • Mr. 1500 October 29, 2014 on 10:13 pm

    I will forever associate you with a unibrow from this point on.

  • Amos November 3, 2014 on 2:23 am

    I really love thos costumes. It reminds me when I was a kid and I had to bother my parents to find me something crazy for halloween.


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