Costumes are fun. Until you realize that they often come at a high cost for what you are getting. But you can’t just go to Comic Con or a Halloween party without one. So I have a couple of tricks for making your own cheap halloween costumes! It can be done!
Try to avoid costume stores or places like Party City. Those costumes are normally the most expensive. They often sell similar costumes at Target or Walmart. You can also look online for costumes on Amazon or Ebay. There are thousands of options online.
You can also make your own costume, which is the route I normally end up going with. This year for Comic Con, I dressed up as Evie from Disney’s Descendants. I looked online for costumes, but they were still way too expensive for me.
Instead of buying a costume, I made mine. I looked up pictures of what I wanted to go as. I also watched DIY youtube videos for inspiration.
After doing this, I went to thrift stores looking for clothing items similar to what Evie would wear. After finding a dress that I thought looked similar to hers, all I had to do was customize it.
Depending on your costume, you will need to customize. I went to craft stores to get zippers, lace and other pieces I would need to recreate her outfit. When you go to craft stores, don’t forget to check for coupons too. You can normally find a coupon code for at least 40% a single regular priced item at any of the big chain stores like JoAnn’s, Michael’s, or AC Moore.
I also searched clearance bins in Claire’s and JC Penney’s to find the jewelry and other accessories I would need.
The important thing to remember is that the costume doesn’t have to be exact. You’ll often save money by not trying to replicate every detail, and people will still recognize who or what you are going as.
Cat, a cosplayer costume expert, gives some insight on how she saves money by making costumes for herself and her siblings. You can find her at Blue Kitten’s Commissions She explained to me how to save on a Pennywise costume. She says:
“All you really need for this is some sort of pom-poms (whether you make it by yarn, have them on hand, or get crafty and use something else. I have blue yarn on hand that I’ll be using, even if they should be red. (Shhhh!), a bald cap, a cheap red wig from a dollar store or anywhere, it doesn’t have to be good, and makeup. You’ll also need some glue, I’d recommend hot glue, or super glue.”
She also explained how to make the wig and other parts of the outfit with some great money saving tips.
“Basically, you just glue the hair to the cap, styling it like Pennywise’s, then you just use a LOT of hairspray to get it to stick up the way you need. Plus, as an added bonus, you can reuse this wig if you take care of it properly! Then just slap some white makeup on your face and the cap to make sure it blends nicely, do some makeup, and boom! You’ve got a Pennywise face.”
Finally she gave me some nifty DIY outfit tricks that I would totally try if I weren’t terrified of clowns.
“If you want to do the front-teeth fangs – or any fangs in general – you go get yourself some white fake nails, and some denture paste. File/clip the nails into a fang shape, dab some denture paste on them, and apply to dry teeth. Bam! Fangs! (Just make sure you don’t need to talk lots, LOL! They will pop out fairly easily, and if you make them too long, you won’t be able to close your mouth.)
So, for the costume, all we’re doing is getting some pom-poms of whatever colour, and getting white clothes. Whether it’s a shirt and pants, or a dress, we’re not being picky. Then you take some glue, safety pins, tape, or a needle and thread, and attach your pom-poms. If you have the time and budget, you can totally go all out and get awesome makeup, a better costume, so on, but we’re not worrying too much. Also, bonus points if you go out and get yourself a red balloon.
Also, just another random costuming tidbit, if you’re interested; if you have time to spend on doing the makeup, get yourself a gluestick and glue down your eyebrows so you can cover them with whatever makeup you’re using. There are plenty of tutorials online for it, and it makes giving yourself new eyebrows SUPER easy.”
I also suggest reusing costumes to save money, if you went as something to Comic Con, save it for Halloween. Or if you liked your costume last year, reuse it or reinvent it.
Huge thanks to Cat for all of her great tips!
But really? The whole point of these events is just to have fun. So don’t worry about your costume too much. Enjoy making it and wearing it. And personally, I think it’s more fun if your costume is one-of-a-kind. Have a crazy fun Comic Con and a hauntingly fun Halloween!