Top 5 Halloween costume options for a tight budget

The scary good times of Halloween are fast approaching, and as invitations to various Halloween parties are received, it got me to thinking about what my top choices for a killer Halloween costume are.

I came up with some awesome choices, and I did some research on what it would take to make them work. I quickly realized I was aiming too high. I don’t have any money to put together an extravagant Halloween costume.

So I had to regroup and think more logically about what I could pull off on my meager, shoe-string budget.

So here’s what I came up with. If you are also feeling the economic crunch, hopefully these ideas will give you something to try or at least help shake loose a few ideas of your own.

1. A Journalist

This one is super easy and super cheap. I am a journalist. Always have been and always will be. A journalist can wear basically anything under the sun. A pair of wrinkled khakis and a polo that looks OK with those pants is a great costume. Finish it off with a camera of any type (who doesn’t have a digital camera of some sort nowadays), a small notebook stuck in your back pocket and a pen tucked behind your ear and you’re set. The beauty of this costume is it costs nothing! You can grab any clothes our of your closet and hit the streets all decked out. People may not understand your costume at first, but who cares? You should dress up for you and your own pleasure. Don the costume and own it!

2. Old Man

Dressing up like an old man is a great option for Halloween too. You can do a lot of funny things with it. You can change your voice and complain about needing prune juice and things like that. It’s cheap to put together too. All you have to do is go to your local Salvation Army or other used-clothes store. You can usually find things for very low prices, and all you need is an old, button-up shirt, a pair of mismatched socks, a pair of pants and a suit coat and a cane or walker. You take it up a notch by buying some hair coloring spray or a wig to give your hair a gray look, and a pair of old glasses wouldn’t hurt anything either. Just remember to make rude comments and complain a lot. And don’t worry if the clothes you buy used to be owned by someone who is now dead. What’s creepier for Halloween than wearing a dead guy’s clothes?

3. Toga Party Goer

This is almost as simple as being a journalist. Just strip down to basically you’re birthday suit and rip a sheet of any color or variety off your bed. Wrap yourself up in it, slip on some flip-flops and head out the door. This one can be dressed up by some fake vines draped around your head with leaves tucked behind your ears like Caesar Augustus. The toga is always a crowd pleaser, and the fatter and hairier you are, the funnier. Trust me, I know. I fit both those descriptions.

4. Scary Monster

This is the quintessential Halloween get up, and even it can be done on the cheap. Just go to your local retailer, I’m a fan of the Walmart, and grab a scary-looking mask. It doesn’t really matter what it is, but I suggest something that won’t be too hot and keeps your mouth free to talk, eat and drink so you can properly enjoy the get together you are attending. And don’t worry about anything except the mask. What you wear with it isn’t important. Wear something comfortable. You’re only wearing the mask so you are taking part in the costume portion of the party. If it were me, I’d just wear jeans and T-shirt with a mask. It gives the impression that the monster used to be a person but experienced something horrible that turned him into a scary monster. An added bonus is the mask can hide your identity, which means you can have even more fun without worrying about any consequences or embarrassing Facebook pictures.

5. Zombie

For someone on a budget, all of these options might still seem to pricey, even if the only purchase required is a notebook and pen to be a journalist, so the fall-back option is always just to go as yourself. Wear whatever you want and go to the party. By the end of a night of fun, you’ll be tired and probably have dark circles under your eyes, making you look like a zombie. To help the look ahead of time, though, you could always grab some of your girlfriend’s or mom’s makeup and make your face look pasty white and put dark circles under your eyes. Then all you’d have to do is walk all stiff-like and the zombie look is complete. After all, you are probably scary enough looking like yourself.

There isn’t any real need to dress up. Halloween should just be about fun with friends and candy. There’s no need to sweat a costume, but if you want to, I hope this list helps you get it done with as little effort as possible.

So have a happy Halloween! And remember, don’t eat any candy that’s not in a sealed wrapper. Safety should always come first.

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About toddvogts 773 Articles
My name is Todd Vogts. I am an assistant professor of media. I like the color green, riding my motorcycle, and being with my family and friends. A good book is a perfect companion for me any time, and I'm a published author and journalist. Visit my website at and follow me on Twitter at