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Queen of Free: Halloween costumes on a budget

Between candy, dinner, decorations and costumes, the expenses can add up for Halloween. But costumes don't have to break the bank.

INDIANAPOLIS — Before we know it, Halloween will be here. Between candy, dinner, decorations and costumes, the expenses can add up. Cherie Lowe, the Queen of Free, shared some tips this week on 13Sunrise and in her blog, Free Halloween Costume Ideas, to keep your budget from haunting you into November this year.

Order Now

If you're buying from a catalogue or store site online, you will likely face some shipping challenges that could mean your costume won’t arrive until after Halloween. And you'll pay extra for expedited delivery. So don’t delay, get your order in now to avoid both. And be sure that vendors like Walmart or Amazon are showing just those products with free shipping or Prime options.

Use Coupons

There are some limited in-store and online coupons for costumes right now. Check Target Circle and Meijer's mperks and other store apps for potential savings. Join mobile coupon programs for discounts at Party City. Also heck a platform like Rakuten or Swagbucks for additional cash back offers.

Start by "shopping" at home

Your closets probably contain enough elements for a costume so that you don't really need to spend more on a new one. Think about recycling a costume from a previous year, or using dress up clothes, sports uniforms or old formal wear. You're only going to spend time, not money, sorting through what you have. Then you may only have to purchase a few accessories or small items to complete your costume.

Borrow or thrift

After the sorting is done, think about hosting an online costume exchange where you can “borrow” a costume from someone in your friend circle or family. Post photos of costumes you own and offer to trade. 

Goodwill and Once Upon a Child have costumes, too. You may end up helping someone else in your own money-saving journey.

You can wear it again

One-time costumes are easy but wasteful in all sorts of ways. Try to plan a costume around pieces that can be worn again. Dressing as a scarecrow is easy, but if you buy a flannel shirt, get one that you can wear throughout the fall. Think about a favorite character that might just require a wig or special shoes while the rest of the costume comes from day-to-day clothing.

Cherie's 7 free costume ideas

  1. Laundry: Cut a hole in the bottom of a laundry basket and use yarn, ribbon, or a belt to create suspenders to hold up your basket. Toss in towels or whatever laundry you have to the basket and you’re ready.
  2. Cowboy or Cowgirl: Dig out your boots and a western-style shirt. Add a hat and a broomstick horse and your look is complete.
  3. Identity Theft: Start with a “Hello My Name Is” tag leftover from an event. Write names on them and then peel and stick them all over a your shirt. No one will be quite sure who you are, but you’ll steal the show.
  4. Tourist: Hang a camera around your neck and wear a Hawaiian shirt or something you bought at a vacation spot. Mickey Mouse ears are a bonus. You definitely need to wear a fanny pack, if you have one. Socks with sandals and khaki shorts complete the look with a dab of sunblock on your nose. 
  5. Rock the 80s, 90s or pick any decade: Leg warmers, peg-rolled jeans and teased-out hair give off that 80's vibe. If you don’t have 80s attire, choose a different decade. Pull out an old concert t-shirt and dress like you did when you attended it.
  6. School Photo: Recreate a senior photo or school photo with clothes you already have. Make a cardboard frame and smile brightly with your hand under your chin.
  7. Lumberjack: Here's that flannel shirt again. Just add a stocking cap. Guys can plan ahead and quit shaving now. Dig out old jeans and get the axe from the tool shed. Just cover it so you don't get hurt toting it around.

Watch Cherie's full Sunrise segment in the video player.