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These cheap kids costumes keep Halloween affordable without asking too much of your DIY skills (or lack thereof…hey, no judging here!).

Do you dread the thoughts of dropping $20 (each!) on a costume for your kids again this year?  Despite the fact that they come in children’s sizes, most costumes are made of flimsy paper thin material that won’t hold up to kids.

Well, don’t worry!  We’ve got years of costume ideas under our belts here.  All it takes is just a little creativity (don’t worry, I’m terrible at DIY and even I can pull this off!).

Here are 5 easy ways to find cheap Halloween costume ideas.

These cheap kids costumes ideas are awesome! You don't even have to do any sewing or DIY to use these tips, either. Must read!

1. Make a Swap

Ask your Mom friends if anyone would like to trade old costumes.  Most of us are dying to get stuff out of the house!  

Younger kids usually don’t care what they dress up like, which makes it even easier.  

(Or get it early enough that you can sell them on the idea.)

Other ideas:  If you don’t know Moms who’s hand me downs are the right size, put out a plea on Facebook.  Sometimes people have an old costume in a closet somewhere.  

Or they might have a friend that’s the perfect match for you.  Hey, you might even make a new Mommy friend!

2. Shop Second Hand Sales

If you keep your eyes open, you can find some great deals on Craigslist, FB Marketplace, or at a yard sale.  I’ve found costumes for just $2.  

Thrift stores and secondhand shops can be another great resource.  And if you have a costume you no longer need, selling it to a secondhand shop will help pay for a new costume.

Skip anyone who is asking retail prices on a used costume.

And if you shop Craigslist, ALWAYS insist on meeting in a public location.  (That goes without saying, right?)

3. Get Creative

One year my son decided he wanted to be Anakin Skywalker.  So we dug around and found some white clothes.  

My shirt was a little big for him, but he wore it for such a short time that it didn’t matter.  

We added a brown jacket.  Then we used his lightsaber toy and created a belt from some ribbon I had.


He wore that costume to one event and decided the next day that he didn’t want to wear it again.  

…now he wanted to be a rock and roll star.  

Yeah.  I spent a ton of time pulling together that Star Wars costume.  So I told him he’d have to figure it out himself.

Wouldn’t you know, he came downstairs with some clothes he’d pulled together and a bandanna around his head.  He was carrying a toy guitar.  

We helped him put on a goatee with some face paint and he was good to go.

It’s amazing what a kid can do for himself when he really wants something!

Another time my Hubby and I decided at the last minute to go as a Cialis commercial. I got a couple of cheap laundry baskets for us to cut a hole in.  

Hubby printed the logo.  We taped on some balloons as bubbles, added the wine glasses…and cheers!

Save on Halloween costumes

This is my mean and angry look. Bring me a steak!

4. Buy Outside the Box

Sometimes it’s worth spending money on a costume, especially if you’ll get several uses out of it.  

Perfect for people who attend a ton of Halloween events…or have lots of kids that would use the same costume over and over.

You can also buy clothes they can wear in their daily lives.  

Maybe you need a gray sweatsuit for an elephant costume.  The kids can always use sweatpants for sledding or lounging at home.

Or…let’s say you need a black t-shirt for a costume. Is there a black t-shirt anywhere in the house?  Even if it doesn’t quite fit, it could probably work for one night.

If not, check out Goodwill.  They divide their clothing by color, which makes it easy to find what you need.  And simple shirts are usually cheap!

5. Plan Ahead

This tip might not help you this year, but it’s worth mentioning anyway.  We all love to shop clearance after a holiday.  This year, pick up a costume or two for a fraction of the cost.

Remember, you can give costumes to your child for Christmas or a birthday gift.  

They’ll love to wear them around the house and play pretend throughout the year.  

(I can’t tell you how many times my backyard was saved from danger because a Transformer, a ninja, and Superman were running around.)

My daughter has received many princess costumes this way, and this year she can be almost any princess she wants to be.

Bonus: Dollar Store!

Last year we got everything we needed for this costume at Dollar Tree!

Poster boards, shelf paper, string, some markers, and done.

You can find tons of supplies for super cheap.  Walk the aisles and let your creative juices flow!

Combine these tips to save a pretty penny on frugal or free Halloween costumes!

Save that $100 you would have spent on store bought costumes for something more fun.  Like buying clearance Halloween candy!

Now let’s find a cheap way to decorate the house for Halloween!

What frugal tips do you have to find cheap or free Halloween costumes for your family?

These easy Halloween costumes for kids are a great way to enjoy the holiday without spending a fortune. Learn how to score Halloween costumes for cheap or even free!