Halloween is my husband’s favorite holiday which always throws people off a little since he’s a pastor.
But he’ll argue about how it’s actually a Christian holiday and give tons of historical data to back it up, so I just go with it.
That being said, our family loves to dress up.
We especially love dressing up in themed costumes.
But we don’t love spending a ton of money on costumes that we’ll only get to wear one time.
And like most people, we live on a budget that doesn’t include costumes. If yours does, please let me know because we need to best friends.
So we are constantly on the lookout for free Halloween costume ideas.
Here are the best eight we’ve seen this year.
This one is easy because you can just use your kid’s swimsuits. It might be tough to pull this off if you live in the North, but last year on Halloween, it was a balmy 77 down here in Southeast Texas.
It should be pretty easy to keep a kid warm if you use a long-sleeved rash guard, life jacket, and a large beach towel. You could even add a beach hat and some socks with slides. I saw lots of kids dressed like that on vacation last summer, and they seemed to be pretty in the know fashion-wise.
As a plus, if you are buying a new swimsuit anyways, this would be a great time to use it. Not only will you get a great deal on a clearance swimsuit, your child will be excited all summer because they’ll be wearing their Halloween costume!
2. Shark Attack Survivor
Much like the above costume, this recycles last summer’s bathing suit, but you add some fake blood and bandages.
Which obviously make every costume instantly cooler.
My kids love pajamas.
I’m not sure if it’s the years of seeing me come home at 4 pm from an exhausting day of teaching public school and immediately change into my pajamas, or if it’s just genetics, but they love pajamas.
They especially love unique pajamas.
Since I’m going to buy them pajamas anyway, why not buy a pair that can double as a costume?
These are adorable and warm and my kids would definitely try to wear them every single night.
You could also get a princess nightgown that would easily double as a costume.
Or if your child is young enough, you could literally just dress them in pajamas with a blanket and a stuffed animal. When people ask what they are, the answer is a tired child.
Try to not say “duh.” People tend to not like that.
3. Dance Costumes
If you’ve had a child take dance, you know how expensive the costumes are.
Why not get a second wear out of them?
Danced as a flamingo in the recital?
Flamingo for Halloween!
Back row fairy princess for the recital?
Only fairy princess in our group this Halloween!
My kids also love hats.
So they each have about 13 hats a piece because family members don’t understand that having like fifty hats for four children is over the top.
One year for Halloween we let Dax wear his wolf hat and Brinley wore a red cape my grandma made her out of some scrap fabric one afternoon. I’m looking forward to being a grandma with a craft room that’s filled with fabric so that I can whip up a cape like it’s no big deal.
I’m not going to lie and say that Dax was happy about the costume.
5. Job Costumes
So there are a lot of jobs that require regular clothes.
One year my son went as a contractor and my daughter went as a dance teacher.
He wore a flannel button down, jeans, and a backward hat. We hooked a tape measure on his belt and put a pencil behind his ear. If you have a hard hat or some kid’s play tools, those will go great.
My daughter simply wore her regular dance clothes, carried a clipboard, and was extra bossy.
You could throw a tie and briefcase on a kid and voila! CEO
If you have a tiny suit from last Easter, add a Bible and you’ve got a miniature preacher.
An apron and some flour on the face will make an adorable baker.
The options for this one are pretty limitless and just depend on what you have at your house.
If your family is anything like mine, you’ve got some superhero t-shirts.
Last year for Halloween, we were in our hometown with my husband’s family, mourning the loss of his father. We hadn’t planned to stay that long, so we didn’t bring our Halloween costumes.
We had a great plan to dress up as Star Wars characters because it’s really important that our whole family match because if you can’t be extra at Halloween when can you?
But when everything changed, we just went to Old Navy and picked up a couple more superhero shirts to add to our collection. I grabbed some felt masks for a couple bucks at Hobby Lobby and made the girls tulle skirts from like $5 of tulle. It wasn’t our best effort, but the kids loved it.
If we’d been at home, these simple costumes would have been even better because we have tons of cool superhero accessories because we have kids.
We’ve got Captain America shields, Superman and Batman capes, a couple of different superhero masks, and some Hulk smash hands.
7. A Pizza
This is a true and embarrassing story from my childhood, but I’m sharing it because I love y’all.
One year my parents dressed me up as a pizza.
They put me in a red shirt and red pants and took two giant circle shaped pieces of cardboard and hooked them over my shoulders. They decorated the cardboard with construction paper pizza topping shapes (red circles for pepperonis, green squares for bell peppers, black circles for black olives, etc.). They put a giant red circle (pepperoni) on my head, and got me a tiny personal pan pizza box from Pizza Hut to carry.
There’s a lot of things that don’t make sense about the costume.
Was I wearing red to symbolize pizza sauce? If so, why was it under the crust?
Why was there one random pepperoni off the crust and on my head?
Why was that pepperoni so much larger than the others?
Why was such a giant pizza as myself carrying a tiny pizza box?
I don’t have answers to these, but I do know that they spent about $.12 to make that costume. And they’ve gotten years of joy out of remembering me dressed as a human pizza.
So if super cheap, extremely embarrassing costumes are your thing, you’ve got a winner.
8. Decade Themed Costumes
Depending on your kid’s wardrobe choices, you may have a perfect costume just lying around.
Some flared jeans, a flowy shirt, sandals, and a headband could be assembled into a hippie costume.
A leotard, legwarmers, a side ponytail, and blue eyeshadow could transform your daughter into an 80’s girl.
Some blue jeans, a white tee, Converse shoes, and some pomade could disguise your son as a guy from the 50’s.
With a little creativity and work, you could probably think of several more costumes from the fashion files of the past.
Dirty flannel shirt – 90’s grunge rocker?
Old polyester pants – 70’s disco king or queen?
Those possibilities are almost endless.
Like most people, I often want to have it all.
And while that simply isn’t possible in many cases, you totally can at Halloween.
You can be a fun parent who lets your kids dress up in awesome costumes without spending much (if any) money to do it.
And if your kids are anything like my kids, they’ll love helping to make their own free Halloween costume.
My kids love craft projects like a monkey loves bananas. And just like a monkey, they rarely clean up all the glitter, paper pieces, ribbons, marker lids, crayon paper, or banana peels. So get creative and get busy!