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Funny Money: Scarily Cheap Halloween Costume Ideas

You know what’s scary? Spending money on a Halloween costume. Make the most of what’s in your closet with these cheap halloween costume ideas.

Get cheap halloween costume ideas from MoneyUnder30.com.Halloween isn’t so much a holiday as it is a competition. In addition to stealing as much candy as possible, either from your children or your own bowl you supposedly use to distribute sweets to trick-or-treaters, it’s a chance to display your creativity, make people laugh and provide Instagram #selfie fuel for many a #TBT.

One way to win Halloween is to blow your budget in pursuit of the most convincing, high-tech costumes that would make Disney imagineers weak in the knees. But there is another way: Using my pathetic, ghetto-fabulous techniques for concocting so-sad-they’re-amazing costumes using next to nothing. A creative and inexpensive costume idea won’t just save you money; it might earn enough sympathy from the costume contest judges — you might not win the cash prize, but he might buy you a cheeseburger at the end of the night.

Use these costume ideas to wow and impress/depress friends and foes alike. Bear in mind that you can get more out of any costume by adding cheap blood you make with corn starch and ketchup, and that there is no doubt lots of scary fashion choices lurking in your closet that would make more sense for Halloween than daily life.


All svelte sorority girls know that all you really need for a head-turning costume is lingerie, a little face paint and some cat ears, devil horns or an ironic halo to stick in your hair. What most dudes don’t know is that they can turn just as many heads, if not more, with the same technique. True, the possibility of arrest for indecent exposure skyrockets when men dress up as sexy kittens, sexy cocktail waitresses or sexy angel/devils, but as long as it’s a sexy cop who arrests you, the charges won’t actually hold up in a court of law.

A sheet with the eyes cut out

If E.T. taught us anything, it’s that Halloween is a great time to ruin bed linens in order to pretend to be human while going trick-or-treating. But when was the last time you saw someone actually take that idea and run with it in public? Go retro and bring it back. If this one is too bland for you, add another dimension to it by talking in an E.T. voice. You will amaze people when you remove the sheet to reveal it’s really you and not E.T.*

*That is, only if your friends happen to be extremely gullible.

Toilet paper mummy

Just take a roll of toilet paper and drape it all over yourself. You’ll look surprisingly like the genuine article, more and more as the night rolls on and the TP tatters. By the end of the evening, you will look less like a mummy and more like a guy who wasn’t aware that he stepped on something gross in the bathroom. As an added bonus, you are in luck should you be stuck in the restroom when the toilet paper roll has run out.

Celebrities and characters

Go as Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande or any other female celebrity with faked celebrity nudes by wearing nothing but printouts of blurred pixels over your private parts.

Go as obstinate, I-didn’t-see-nothin’ NFL commissioner Roger Goodell by wearing blinders and claiming you can see perfectly.

Go as Breaking Bad’s Walter White by wearing tightie whities for pants.

Ebola patient

Scarier than any horror movie villain — well, except for maybe that terrifying Annabelle doll — is a contagious patient zero who slips through the CDC’s airline check points to spread viral destruction throughout the continent. All you need are your standard street clothes and a dead-eyed expression as you calmly whisper to others “I have ebola” when they ask you what your costume is. Add bonus scare points by sneezing in the vicinity of others or claiming that you had a sip of others’ drinks when they weren’t looking.

Of course, you could just give in and purchase a ready-made costume online. If you do, this sponsor can at least save you 20 percent:

Receive 20% Off Any One Item at Spirit Halloween! Use code: 20OFF2014. Shop the best selection of Costumes, Accessories & more!

Published or updated on October 9, 2014

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About Phil Villarreal

Phil Villarreal writes Funny Money weekly for Money Under 30. He lives in Tucson and works for the Arizona Daily Star. He's also an author, blogger and Twitterer.


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  1. I love the idea of a sheet with holes in it. Charlie Brown style.

  2. Haha, I love the costumes for women…snooki and lady gaga. Soooo true how easy it is to dress up like those and how cheap it is…who knew being frugal could be so much fun! Awesome stuff David!

  3. Sarah Davis says:

    I love the Don Draper idea! I’d love to be Joan Holloway this year actually :)

  4. Tracy says:

    I know someone that is going as Flo the Progressive insurance gal…all you need is to do your makeup like her…a bumpit and headband and dress in all white and paint the word Progressive on a white apron. Youtube it to look at her style/apron closely.
    ALSO…someone else I know is going as Mother Nature from those tampon commercials. All you need is an elaborately wrapped gift in red with a big red bow with tag that reads “Your gift” and dress in green ladies skirted suit and greenery tucked behind your ear. Voila!

  5. David Weliver says:

    My wife had another idea last night while watching Glee:

    Sue Sylvester. All you need is a track suit. And let’s face it: this costume could work for both the ladies and the guys.

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