Ten thrifty, easy last minute costume ideas.
Looking for quick and cheap costume ideas? You’ve come to the right place! While there’s something to be said for store bought costumes (hello easy!), there are huge benefits to getting creative and making your own! Making your own costume not only saves money, it also insures that you don’t show up to the party as someone’s doppelganger (unless, you know, that’s what you were going for). Most of these costumes can be thrown together with items you already own. Your local thrift store, Goodwill, dollar store or Walmart can help supply the rest. And, for those of you who feel like you have no time to make your own costume, the good news is that most of these require less than an hour to pull together!
1. A Painting:
I’m not gonna lie, this costume is ten million times better if you can convince a friend (or your husband) to dress up as Bob Ross and follow you around. Still, even if you’re Bob-less, this is a cheap and creative costume that can be pulled together in under two hours.
The clothes: Plain clothes.
Materials: Costume make up. A piece of foam board (about $1 at Walmart or a dollar store), scissors, water color or washable paint, a paint brush, a stretch elastic head band (available at dollar store or Walmart), a hot glue gun (available for under $5 at Walmart).
Cut the foam board in half. Punch through the center with the scissors and cut an oval. Start with an oval much smaller than your face and slowly increase the size until it fits your face. You can always make it bigger if it’s too small, but if you make it too big you’re stuck with it! Cut the head band to make one long elastic strip. Use the hot glue gun to attach it to each side of the oval just above where your ears will be. Paint a simple scene and allow to dry for about thirty minutes. (For your scene, Google search Bob Ross paintings if you need inspiration!) Place the painting around your face, then use the costume make up to color your face to match.
2. Gypsy (Female):
The clothes: A white shirt and a billowy high-waisted skirt.
Accessories: A thick belt, two scarves, bangle bracelets and earrings (optional). Eyeliner.
Shoes: Boots or barefoot (if indoors)
Tuck the shirt into your skirt and attach the belt at the high waistline of the skirt. Tie one scarf just below the belt, and use the other to tie around your hair (optional). Put on the bangles and boots. Apply heavy eyeliner to complete the look.
3. Cat or Dog:
The Clothes: Plain black clothes (for a black cat look).
Accessories: A cheap headband (check your local dollar store or Walmart)
Materials: Eyeliner and eye shadow or costume paint. Black felt or black construction paper.Tape.
There are thousands of cat or dog face makeup tutorials available on youtube. Just grab your eyeliner and eye shadow, or a set of costume paint from Walmart and follow along. It doesn’t have to be perfect, no one will know you don’t look exactly like the youtube example. For the ears, cut two triangles from felt or black construction paper and tape them to your headband. You can tuck a long strip of scrap felt into the back of your outfit as a tail. For a dog, cut oblong shapes (think Goofy’s ears) they will flop after being attached.
Perhaps one of the easiest last minute costumes I’ve done. No cowboy hat at home? Check your local Goodwill, the toy section of Walmart, or ask around to see if a friend has one to lend you.
The clothes: Flannel shirt or white T-shirt and jeans.
Accessories: A cowboy hat. Leather belt with large buckle (optional)
Tuck your shirt into the pants. (Ladies) Braid your hair, pop on your hat and boots and you’re done!
The clothes: A billowy shirt, wide legged pants, knee high socks (or knee high boots).
Accessories: Scarf or bandanna Optional: eye patch, medallion style necklace, hoop earrings
Extra (optional) materials: Red solo cup, tin foil, glue or tape, large belt
Cinch the shirt at the waist with the belt. Tuck your pants into the knee socks or boots to create a knee pant (knickers) look. Tie the scarf or bandana around your head. Shape a hook from the tin foil and attach it to the bottom of the solo cup. Slide the cup over your hand. You can also attach a band of tape to the inside to help you hold it. If using an eye patch, slide it on, along with any other optional accessories. Practice your pirate talk!
The clothes: Tie die shirt, wide legged pants or a flowing skirt or dress.
Accessories: scarf or braided headband (make your own with strips of fabric if needed), flowers
Shoes: sandals, clogs, flip flops or go bare foot
No tie die shirt? Pick up a white T-shirt from the craft section of Walmart or your local craft store for under $1 and DIY! No need to buy a kit, you can use food coloring (just search food coloring tie die shirt on google). No time to DIY? Check Goodwill. I seriously saw a fringed, beaded tie die shirt just two days ago as I was searching Goodwill for items to add to this year’s Halloween costume. They also have many flowing, patterned shirts that could be used instead. Tie the headband or scarf around your forehead. Tuck flowers into the headband or behind your ear. For an extra touch, use some makeup to draw a peace sign on your cheek.
7. Tacky Tourist:
The clothes: Hawaiian or printed button up shirt, tank top, cargo shorts or capris, socks
Accessories: fanny pack (optional), camera with camera strap (to wear around your neck)
Shoes: sandals/flip flops
Extra (optional) materials: paper map, sunscreen
Pair the socks with sandals/flip flops. Cover your nose with a thick layer of sunscreen. Walk around with the open paper map as if trying to find your way.
The clothes: Raid your local Goodwill, or your grandparent’s closet, for outdated clothes (yes, some grandmas and grandpas have great style, but we want this costume to be obvious). There are a wide range of clothes you can use!
Hair: If you have a wig handy, great! If not, sprinkle baby powder on your hair for a white/gray effect.
Optional: Use face paint or eyeliner to draw on wrinkles and creases.
9. Maverick or Charlie From Top Gun:
Clothes: Weather you’re going for Maverick or Charlie (Charlotte), the look can be pulled off with a leather jacket (I found one for $9 at a local thrift shop to use when I dressed up as Charlie), a white T-shirt, and faded jeans. Ladies can replace the jeans with a black pencil skirt and black heals, or keep the jeans and wear with sneakers.
Shoes: Sneakers/high tops, or heals if dressing up as Charlie.
Optional Accessories: Aviator style sun glasses
The clothes: A white shirt.
Materials: a printer, white paper, scissors, tape or black felt, scissors, hot glue gun
Print Chick-fil-a’s Dress Like A Cow printable. Cut out the spots and attach them to your shirt with tape. No printer? Cut patches from black felt and hot glue them to your shirt.
Have other great costume ideas? I’d love to hear about them! Leave a comment below.