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51 free (or very cheap) last-minute Halloween costumes

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Stuck for a Halloween costume this year? Want to look your best, but with minimal effort and at minimal cost?

We've searched high and low for 51 of the best Halloween costumes that are free (or very cheap) to make. Plus, the majority are suitable for adults and children alike.

Get creative with items lying around your house to make your best Halloween costume yet!

Skip ahead...

  • Easy (no creative work needed)
  • Medium (a bit of effort required)
  • Hard (let's get crafty!)

Easy Halloween costumes

Carved pumpkins on the grass with children in the background playing with sparklers

Think all Halloween costumes require a needle, thread and a whole lot of effort? Think again!

Some of the best (and most original) costumes are the ones that require very minimal effort. Best of all, you've likely got most of the elements already so they're very purse friendly.

1. Robber

Black hat and black gloves on a white table

All you need for this one is a stripy top, pair of black trousers, black hat and gloves. Finish off the look with an old plain tote bag for your bag of swag (that handily doubles as your bag for the night).

2. Tourist

This one is seriously easy. Grab a Hawaiian shirt, pair of shorts, a cap or visor and you're good to go. For extra points, hang a camera around your neck (although you may find yourself the official Halloween photographer...)

3. Where’s Wally

This well-known character makes a perfect Halloween costume. Just wear a red stripy t-shirt, red hat and black-rimmed glasses and you're done!

4. Pizza Delivery Person

Jeans, plain t-shirt, cap and a pizza box. What could be easier?

If you wanted to step this one up, pop your fave pizza delivery brand on the t-shirt.

Plus, what a great excuse to carry a pizza around with you...

5. Nerd

Reveal your inner geek by dressing up as a nerd this Halloween. All you need are a pair of braces, a shirt and glasses and you're good to go!

6. Sim

Hand holding a green Sim plumbob against a white background

This is a really simple costume that works well both solo and as a group.

Just wear your everyday clothes and make a plumbob (the diamond that sits above their head reflecting their emotions).

Print out (in colour) a green plumbob. Stick to a piece of cardboard, cut around and attach to an alice band. Done!

7. Grandma/Grandad

Who'd have thought dressing up as your nan would be such a crowd pleaser? 

Long skirts, cardigans, high waisted chinos, sensible shoes, etc. Pop a bit of talc in your head for the grey effect!

8. Breadwinner

Medal and loaf of Kingsmill bread on a white table with pumpkin fairy lights around

Who doesn't love a punny costume?

Pop on some sports gear (don't forget the headband!) and a plastic gold medal (you can buy for cheap online). Grab a loaf of bread and you're done!

9. Cowboy

Jeans, plaid shirt, cowboy hat and boots - that's it!

10. Artist

Turn yourself into a stereotypical artist by wearing a striped t-shirt and a black beret. Walk around holding an artists paint board spattered with paint and a paintbrush! 

11. Vampire

Close up of vampire teeth with pumpkin fairy lights in background

We picked up a pack of 2 from Poundland!

Come October, every supermarket will have a stock of Halloween props - without fail a set of Vampire teeth will be there! Make your face deathly white with a touch of makeup, add a few drops of fake blood by your lips and fix your vampire teeth in place. 

12. Dancing Girls Emoji

If emojis have given us one thing, it's an abundance of great costume ideas. You and a friend can easily dress up as the Dancing Girls, by wearing a black t-shirt, shorts, bow in your hair and dancing in unison all night.

13. Ghost

A Halloween classic! Grab an old sheet, cut some eye holes in and prepare for everyone to laugh at your predictability.

14. Wednesday Addams

Perfect for small brunette women, but if you don't fall into this category still give it a go! Tie your hair in plaits, pop on a longsleeved black dress and look moody all night long.

15. A from Pretty Little Liars

Figure stood in dark wearing black hoodie

Credit: Bustle

Popular American teen drama 'Pretty Little Liars' has provided the world with the easiest Halloween costume ever:

Black trousers and a black hoodie. That's it!

16. Scrambled Eggs

White cardboard shaped like eggs with the word 'EGGS' written on, jumbled up in order

This is a perfect last-minute (but cute) Halloween costume idea. Create a necklace of the word 'eggs' using cardboard, but mix up the letters - making them scrambled! 

17. Arthur

Who knew the lovable cartoon character would make such an easy Halloween costume?

Blue jeans, yellow jumper, white shirt round glasses and 'Arthur' ears. That's it! 

18. Frogspawn

Close of up bubble wrap and an illuminated pumpkin fairy light

Wrap yourself in bubble wrap (or attach to your clothes) and hop around all day - genius! You can get bubble wrap for cheap in office stores like Rymans, or keep a hold of it when you get deliveries. 

19. Typical 80's

Big hair, legwarmers, leggings, big hair, leotard, sweatband, big hair and you're good to go. Did we mention big hair?

20. Queen Bee

Put an original spin on a traditional bee costume, by popping a crown on your head instead of the antenna. Wear yellow and black clothes and buy a cheap crown from the Pound shop. Done!

Medium effort Halloween costumes

Close up of a lit up carved Halloween pumpkin

Got a bit of time on your hands and want something a little special this Halloween? Look no further...

21. Dobby the House Elf

The lovable house-elf from Harry Potter makes a brilliant Halloween costume. You'll just need an old pillowcase (or bed sheet) and a lot of tea!

  1. Make a large pot of tea and allow to brew.
  2. Tea-stain your pillowcase/bedsheet to achieve a 'used' look. Take a used (but cooled!) tea bag and wipe it down the pillowcase. Allow to dry.
  3. If using a pillowcase (e.g. if the costume is for a child) then cut out holes for arms and head. If using the sheet then wrap it around your body, just like Dobby.
  4. Wear old plimsolls/trainers with one sock (preferably navy) pulled up. Done!

22. TY Beanie Baby

Carboard TY tag against a white background with pumpkin fairy lights

These 90s cuddly toys make a great last-minute Halloween costume. Dress up as any animal (use face paints and headband ears if you get stuck) and then create your iconic TY tag.

Print (in colour) and cut out a large TY tag. Stick onto cardboard and cut out. Punch a hole in the top left corner and create a loop out of string to wear round your neck.

23. Bunch of grapes

This one probably isn't suitable for a big Halloween party, but it would definitely make a cute costume for a child trick or treating!

Buy a pack of purple (or green) balloons and blow them up. Wear all black (or the colour grape you're going for) and pin the balloons to your body using safety pins.

Want to go all out? Paint your face as well!

24. Bag of Jelly Beans

Clear plastic bin bag filled with coloured balloons

Grab a large clear rubbish bag and cut holes for your arms and legs. Print out the Jelly Bean logo and stick on the front of the bag, then fill the bag with multicoloured balloons. Tie up the bag and fix with a ribbon for a deliciously sweet costume!  

25. Postage stamp

Get your face on a postage stamp!

Grab a large rectangle of cardboard (use the side of a cardboard box from the supermarket). Add a zigzag outline, paint the cardboard red (or blue for 2nd class) and cut out a head shape. Attach the cardboard to your head with a piece of elastic and act like royalty all night.

26. 50 Shades of Grey

Don't worry, no nudity is involved with this one.

Pay a visit to your nearest Homebase/B&Q/equivalent homeware store and pick up a load of paint swatch cards in grey. Staple them to your body (preferably wear all grey) and you're done! 

27. Dominoes

Grab some white fabric (an old white t-shirt will do!) and cut identical circles out of it. Sew onto a black t-shirt in a dominoes pattern and you're done. 

28. Carl from Up

This one is an extension on #7. Dress up like an old man (don't forget the thick black glasses!) and tie a bunch of colourful balloons to an old mobility walker.

29. Jellyfish

Warning: not for the superstitious!

For this costume, all you'll need is a clear umbrella and a collection of old plastic bags. Cut the plastic bags into long strips and secure them all around the base of the umbrella. When the umbrella is up, the dangling bits of plastic will look like tentacles.

To complete the look, wear all white or grey.

30. Pig in Blanket

Cardboard pig snout and ears laid on a blanket

This is a personal favourite of mine.

Get some cardboard and paint it pink. Create pig ears by cutting out triangles and sticking onto a hairband, and a snout by cutting out an oval, drawing two black nostrils and attaching with a piece of elastic.

Then, wrap yourself in a blanket. Ta-dah, your cosiest Halloween costume yet!

31. Glow in the Dark Stick Man

This is a great costume for kids running around trick or treating in the dark. Wear an all black unitard and stick glowsticks to your body in the shape of a stick man.

Check out this DIY Stick Figure Costume guide for full instructions.

32. Bubble Bath

Woman with balloons stuck to body wearing a blue shower cap against a white background

Create bubbles in the same way as the grapes in #23. Blow up blue and white balloons and attach to your body (we used double sided sticky tape). Don your favourite shower cap, grab a rubber duck and you're done!

33. Troll Doll

One for all the long-haired ladies! Take a small (empty) fizzy drinks bottle and place on top of your head. Tie your hair so it completely covers the bottle and stands upright. Use gel/hairspray to make it stick and then spray with temporary hair dye.

34. 118 Runner

Perfect for pairs, this instantly recognisable costume is super easy to put together.

Write the figures '118' on a white vest top, pop on red shorts, long white socks and trainers and finish with a black wig and moustache. Done!

35. Skeleton

Close up of face paints with pumpkin lights behind

Get crafty with black and white face paint for this last-minute costume idea.

Paint your face white and hollow out your eyes and cheekbones with black paint. Wear all black and you're done!

36. Twister

Transform into the popular board game with this homemade costume.

Paint coloured circles onto an old t-shirt to look like a Twister mat. Carry around a Twister board with you (or make one yourself by printing out a copy and sticking onto a piece of cardboard). Extra points for striking interesting poses in pictures!

37. Horror Film Victim

Fake bruise on arm with eyeshadow palette and brushes

Give people a fright by showing up like you've just stepped out of a horror film. Get crafty with fake blood giving yourself cuts on your face and body, use dark eyeshadow to give yourself bruises and rip up your clothes. 

Don't know how? Check out this guide on How to Make a Fake Bruise with Makeup.

38. Magician

Become the party entertainment by transforming into a magician for the night. Wear a smart black suit, source a top hat from a costume shop and get practising your magic tricks!

Here are 8 Easy Magic Tricks to get you going. 

39. Darla from Finding Nemo

Kids will love this interpretation of this character from this Pixar classic.

Wear a purple crewneck jumper with a white shirt underneath and tie your hair into bunches. Fill a sandwich bag with water and pop in a plastic fish.

Psst, this costume is perfect for little ones who have braces!

40. Planet

Woman wearing blue top and jeans with hula hoop hanging aroung attached with string

Go extraterrestrial with this fun homemade costume.

Create a hoop using a hula hoop, fixing it onto yourself by crossing over two long pieces of string. Wear your most space-y clothes (think metallic colours), go mad with glitter and finish with a deely bobber.

Hard Halloween costumes - effort required!

Silhouette of two lit up Halloween pumpkins

If you fancy going all out this Halloween, then why not give one of these a go?

41. Operation Game

Screenshot of Operation board game

Become the life-size version of this classic board game!

For this one, you'll need an old grey jumper, a red t-shirt, white fabric (an old t-shirt works fine), a black pen and a red pompom. 

  1. Cut out shapes of Operation items in your grey jumper that are slightly larger than you'd want (draw them on with pencil first!). Think butterfly, broken heart, funny bone, Adam's apple etc.
  2. Put on your red t-shirt and your newly cut grey jumper. Carefully remove both items at the same time and then sew the arm and neck holes together, so that the two are attached.
  3. Then, cut out the Operation items on white fabric and sew into the holes that you've created. Finish by writing the name of the item on the grey jumper.
  4. Don't forget the red nose! Attach a piece of elastic to the red pompom and wear around your head. Job done!

42. Cereal Killer

Retractable toy knife and two tubes of fake blood on a white table

We got this knife and both tubes of fake blood for £1 in Poundland!

Finish off a family selection box of mini cereals and keep the boxes. Attach them to an old white t-shirt and spatter yourself with fake blood. Carry around a fake knife (or murder weapon of your choice) to complete this punny costume. 

43.  Jolly Green Giant

This one isn't for the shy amongst you, as you'll certainly be the talk of the party in this costume.

First, you'll need to dye an old sheet green. Cover yourself in green paint (make sure it's suitable for skin!) and wrap the sheet around you. Don't forget your tin of sweetcorn! 

44. Spice Girls

There aren't many group costume ideas more well-known than this one.

Grab four friends and transform yourselves into the popular 90s girl band. With 90s fashion back in trend, it won't be difficult (or expensive!) to find the necessary bits of clothing.

Want to put a twist on this classic group costume? 

Turn this costume punny by dressing up as five different spices, e.g. cinnamon, coriander, ginger, parsley and clove. Create a spice shaker costume out of old pillowcasess and write the name of the spice on the front! 

45.  Instagram Photo

Tap into the current social media craze and turn yourself into a walking talking Instagram photo. Cut a large, square piece of cardboard into a frame, paint on the buttons, Instagram logo and your own Insta handle & pic. 

Top tip: print these out for ease and neatness!

46. Rubik's Cube

Close up of the back of a man in a Rubik's Cube Halloween costume

Credit: Fred Benenson on Flickr

For this one, you'll need a square cardboard box large enough for you to fit in. Hit up your local supermarket to see if you can pinch one of their delivery ones.

Cut out the bottom square and holes for your arms and head. Then, trace nine squares onto each side. Paint the squares the Rubik's colours - white, orange, green, red, yellow and blue. You can decide if you're a completed Cube or not! 

47. The Picture of Dorian Gray

This creepy costume idea is perfect for couples. One of you plays the ageless, beautiful Dorian while the other transforms into his portrait that reveals his age and every sin.

Each wears the same outfit (think Victorian era) and then create a picture frame from cardboard. Use makeup to create wrinkles and warts and hold the picture frame in front of 

Stuck for inspiration?

Check out this guide on How to Look Really Old using stage makeup.

Alternatively, be both Dorian and his portrait in one. Create a portrait frame using cardboard and stick a less-than-attractive photo of yourself in the frame. Wear it around your neck and you're done!

48. Hot Air Balloon

You'll also need a large square cardboard box for this one. Cut out the top and bottom square and decorate the outside to look like a basket. You could either print out the design and stick it on, or get crafty with straw. Attach handles that fit over your shoulders using string.

On the day, have several colourful balloons filled with helium at your local card/gift shop. Attach to the back of your basket and you've got yourself an adorable costume. 

49. Scuba Diver

Go all out with this nautical costume. If you're an avid surfer, don your wetsuit and create an oxygen tank using old fizzy drink bottles. Use this guide on How to Make a Fake Oxygen Tank to get started.

For the full effect, finish it off with scuba goggles and flippers. You'll certainly turn some heads in this get-up! 

50. Dice

You'll need another large square cardboard box for this creative costume. Cut out the bottom square and then holes for your head and arms. Paint the box black, let dry and then add white circles. Wear with black leggings and you're done!

When in doubt…

51.  404 – Costume Not Found

If you're really struggling you can always rely on this trusty internet joke. Grab a plain white t-shirt and write '404 Costume Not Found' in clear lettering. Extra points for looking confused all night long.

Hopefully you won't be left in a panic this Halloween with these great costume ideas. Do you have a great one that I've missed out? Let me know!