6 Adorable Halloween Costumes for Kids That Don’t Have a Scary Price Tag

Anna Corbett, 13, wears a DIY scarecrow outfit while playing with hay in her yard.
Amanda Corbett, 13, wears a DIY scarecrow outfit while playing with hay in her yard in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Oct. 17, 2017. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Halloween is just days away. Have you picked out a costume for your kids yet?

If not, you don’t have to get sucked into the scary prices at your local Halloween party store. You can put together last-minute costumes using a bunch of things you already have on hand at home.

Here are six suggestions for easy-to-create costumes for multiple age groups — and they don’t come with frightening price tags.


Caleigha Roberts, 19 months, dresses in a DIY old person outfit for Halloween.
Caleigha Roberts, 19 months, wears a DIY “old person” costume. This Halloween outfit is inexpensive and easy to make. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Old Person

There’s just something super adorable about a baby dressed up like an old person.

One major way to add decades to your baby’s look is with a head full of cottony white hair. To create the look, attach cotton balls onto a baby cap using a strong adhesive like fabric glue.

Take the dark lenses off a pair of baby sunglasses to mock prescription spectacles.

An outfit with suspenders, a sweater vest, a button-down shirt with a bowtie or a long dress with a sweater will complete this costume.


This costume idea is more for looks than function, and it’s perfect for little ones who aren’t yet crawling or scooting around. More mobile mummies may end up losing their wrappings!

Dress your infant up in something white or neutral colored. Loosely wrap toilet paper or bandage gauze around your baby’s arms, legs and torso, affixing the ends to the costume with tape or medical adhesive.



Carlena Dow, 2, shows off her Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins Halloween outfit.
Carlena Dow, 2, shows off her Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins Halloween outfit. Dressing your toddler up as a doctor is an option if you’re trying to save money. All you need is a toddler-sized doctor’s coat and a toy stethoscope. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

My daughter inspired this costume idea: One of her favorite dress-up choices is Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins!

You can easily put this outfit together by throwing a toddler-sized doctor’s coat over your kid’s regular outfit and putting a toy stethoscope around his or her neck. Ta-da!

I purchased this kit for my daughter from Target months ago, but the kid dress-up site My Pretend Place has instructions for a DIY lab coat and a DIY stethoscope using a large white T-shirt, a red marker, a headband, ribbon and felt.

If going the store-bought route, keep in mind your children can use those items year-round when playing dress-up or make believe, so the cost isn’t for a one-time use like many Halloween costumes.

You could also use this costume idea as inspiration and swap the doctor’s gear out for different dress-up items your kid already has at home, such as a firefighter’s coat and hat, a princess dress and tiara or whatever.


DreamWorks’ 2016 cinematic reboot of Trolls gave those big-haired creatures a major upgrade from the magical naked beings I remember from my own childhood.

You can make a simple troll costume by dressing your tot in a colorful monochromatic outfit or solid color long-sleeved bodysuit with legs — and then making the hair to match!

Affix long sheets of colored tissue paper (you know, the kind you use in gift bags) to a headband, gather the top ends with a rubber band or ribbon and the “hair” should stand tall.

The blog DIY Inspired has this more elaborate version using colorful tulle and adding mini felt flowers.

Older Children


Parents, you can probably relate to feeling like a zombie a time or two (minus the whole eating people thing). Time to flip the script and zombify your kiddos.

This costume is great if your children have old clothes on hand they’ve outgrown and you don’t mind destroying. Bonus points if you have old gear from sports or activities. Think: zombie football player or zombie ballerina.

To transform your darling kid into a member of the undead, you’ll need to add a bunch of haphazard rips and cuts to an old outfit. Don’t forget to add in a sprinkling of fake blood for additional scare factor. (Good Housekeeping has some bloody awesome recipes using household items.)

Use makeup to create a pale face with dark circles around the eyes, and tousle the hair for added effect.


Corbett wears a scarecrow Halloween costume.
Corbett’s scarecrow costume can easily be replicated with a flannel shirt, overalls, a straw hat and some hay. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

This costume is classic — and so easy to put together.

Overalls or jeans and a flannel or denim shirt create the base. Then you’ll just need a little “straw” to stick out the arm and leg cuffs, neck and midsection.

Firm strips of yellow construction paper can work just as well as real straw — they’re also probably easier to get and way less scratchy. Just use strong-adhesive tape (double-sided fabric tape would probably work wonders here) to attach the fake straw to the inside of the clothes.

A straw hat, if you have one, would be a good addition to this costume. Use red-hued makeup to apply rosy cheeks and an eyeliner pencil to create a stitched-on triangle nose to complete this costume.

Happy Halloween!

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She is the mother of a little girl whom she brought home from the hospital on Halloween a few years back. What a treat!

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