Mom and kids making a cardboard dinosaur costume


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Inflation seems to have hit Halloween costume stores as hard as other sectors of the economy. Costumes that were once less than $20 have just about doubled in cost — and finding a costume for that price is nearly impossible. If doling out wads of cash on a short-lived costume doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzies, there are lots of cost-effective DIY alternatives. Whether the whole family is dressing up, you’re going to a party with your significant other, you’re decking out the kids in coordinated costumes, or you’re just feeling festive, there are plenty of DIY Halloween costume ideas to help you save money and embrace a unique look for the holiday.

DIY Halloween Costumes for Adults

One TikTok user, @i_needed_it, has ideas that make use of clothing, makeup, materials, and accessories she has on hand, so she doesn’t need to spend any extra money. One of her most popular creations is a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte costume that includes a thrifted dress, homemade pumpkin earrings, and a “straw” headband made out of felt and an empty paper towel roll.

Instagram user @aww.sam is proof that no costume is off limits — even things you would never think to dress up as — when you take matters into your own hands. She’s concocted costumes turning her into everything from a lava lamp to a bowl of ramen, and has pushed the envelope with couples’ costumes, too: Why be the Joker and Harley Quinn or Prince Charming and Cinderella when you can dress up as a campfire and s’mores, or as Seymour and Audrey II from “Little Shop of Horrors”?

DIY Halloween Makeup 

Once upon a time, masters of the basic art of winged eyeliner were considered makeup gurus. Nowadays, social media is filled with tutorials showcasing everything from contouring and blended eyeshadow to full-fledged costume makeup. If you are part of the elite group of people who can transform a face with cosmetics, a whole world of Halloween costumes is at your fingertips. TikTok user @katiefarhood’s DIY Medusa costume is one part easy-to-make, snake-covered headband and one part over-the-top, superb makeup. 

DIY Family Halloween Costumes

When it comes to family costumes, drawing inspiration from movies and TV shows is a reliable go-to. “The Flintstones,” “The Incredibles,” and “The Addams Family” are DIY-friendly options, though it’s important to consider the size of your family. If you and your significant other have three children, you can take inspiration from Instagram user @utterly.organised.chaos: She dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, her husband went as the Big Bad Wolf, and, of course, their three little ones were the three little pigs.

DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids 

TikTok user @thehalloweenfamily reminds us that sometimes being cute is overrated. Instead, her kids have dressed up as Lisa and Bart Simpson, Beetlejuice and Lydia Deetz, the Wicked Witch of the West and a flying monkey, and a slew of other off-the-wall pairings.

DIY Baby Halloween Costumes 

All right, all right — cute might be overrated sometimes, but if you’re dressing your baby for Halloween, how could you go any other route? You can even build your wee one’s costume around their stroller, as TikTok user @tayloredtoteach did with her adorable Cabbage Patch doll costume. We’re swooning.

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