Unique halloween box man costume

Last-Minute Costume Ideas For Under $5

Time To Read 3 MIN READ

Want to be scared this Halloween? Take a look with your budgeting software at what you're paying to celebrate the year's spookiest holiday. Renting a basic pirate's outfit from Boston Costume will run you $65. Add candy, snacks, and drinks and you'll soon be over $100.

bbox-man-costumeMaybe you want to spend that much, but with the holiday almost here, there's no time left to get fancy. The good news: making your own costume is both cheap and easy. Here are five ideas that should run you no more than $5 a pop.

1. Your favorite TV character
Most Americans watch TV and chances are you have a favorite show. Why not steal your favorite character's look for this year's shindig? Reader Jacob Roche plans to dress up as Doctor Who in honor of the 1960s science fiction hero imported from British television. But he also has a cheap idea for those more interested in a modern look.

“House,” Jacob says. “Mess your hair up, get a cheap cane and gray sportcoat from a thrift store, and [buy] a bottle of Vitamin C to pop all night.” Think that will cost more than $5? Don't be too sure; all manner of dress can be had off the rack at your local Goodwill store for $1 or less.

2. An ancient archetype
Longing to put your hours watching The History Channel to work? How about using your knowledge for costume ideas? Reader Kat Powers keeps her ideas simple. “I have a Roman senator's costume made from a blue bedsheet and gold blanket trim. Add sandals, you're set,” Kat says.

Not bad. Trade the blue bedsheet in for a white bedsheet and dust off that old copy of your Philosophy 101 textbook and you're a Greek scholar, or Aristotle if you can pull off the white beard.

3. An everyday product
Look around your kitchen and bathroom cabinets. You'll find costume ideas everywhere! All you need is a little imagination mixed with a dash of daring.

For example, one of my wife's friends recently went to a party dressed as Pepto Bismol. The get-up? A pure hot-pink outfit. Raid your closet for an all-green ensemble and you've got Simple Green for a costume idea. All white and you've got Ivory Soap. See the pattern here?

4. A play on words
Just as simple is the costume that befits wordplay. For example, to make the costume “Starry Night,” reader Anna Tabakh glues glow-in-the-dark stars over an all-black outfit.

Her other favorites include “Multiple Personality Disorder,” a neutrally-colored outfit covered in tags with different names and personalities, and “Nudist On Strike,” which is as you'd expect — regular clothes accompanied by a cardboard sign that reads “Nudist On Strike.”

5. Your old costume
And if you're out of ideas? What about the costume that worked last year, or two years ago? You might face some ridicule from your closest friends and neighbors, but everyone else will be blind to your recycling.

Of course, these are only five ideas. They're not for everyone. Mostly, they're for those of us who waited till now to figure out what to wear, and who fret about the cost of not being a Halloween party pooper.

If you're among the more prepared, do the rest of us a favor and leave a comment in the box below. We'd love to hear your cheap and easy budget advice for last-minute costume ideas.