Excited for Halloween but barely have one costume, let alone a whole Halloweek’s worth?

Trying to impress your crush but out of cash? Is Spirit Halloween too bougie for your budget? We get it, and you’re in the right place. Planning Halloween costumes can be exhausting and draining — but there’s no reason to drain your wallet too! 

Let’s talk Halloween costumes. Here, you’ll find a compiled list of how to get the best bang for your buck — or for no buck at all! With enough creativity, ambition and acquaintances, you’re sure to be the coolest costumed kid on the block. 

  1. Costume swap. Mix-and-match costumes with your pals — the most basic yet effective method. Okay, you might not have the most original costume if your suitemate wore it last night, but most likely no one will notice. Plus, if you trade pieces of costumes, who knows what you’ll come up with? I hear the mule was envisioned after two friends exchanged the tops and bottoms of their donkey and cow costumes.
  2. Exploit your friends’ (wardrobes). Do you have that one friend who dresses like she lives in the Roaring 20s? Or maybe you know someone with a cozy teddy bear sweater that’s begging to have its greater potential seen. Put your thinking cap on and sneak into your friend’s closet. Something in there is bound to spark inspiration.
  3. Go thrifting! An environmentally conscious and affordable option that (almost) never fails. Visit a thrift store and browse — you might just find the one thing that’s the kickoff to a contest-winning costume. Plus, rumor has it New Haven city buses are still free of charge till December. So ditch the Yuttle and go into the depths of the city without spending a dime, who knows what you’ll find?
  4. Repurpose old Halloween costumes. You see a children’s costume five sizes too small, I see sexy superman. The bonus? Shipping it would barely cost a thing! Just tell your parents you need your tattered childhood costume for a class project on the evolution of time — they can’t question that. 
  5. Did someone say Purim? Think ~Jewish rendition of Halloween,~ AKA costumes costumes costumes! Maybe you’re a Jew who dresses up in March, or maybe you know one. This option is sort of like repurposing old Halloween costumes, but with a little bit of spice. Personally, I think Queen Esther at Hallowoads would go hard. 
  6. Surf the web! The internet is full of both creative and unhinged budget-friendly costume ideas. Whether you pursue the more traditional route of Google searching for “last-minute DIY Halloween costumes” or draw inspiration from TikTok, there’s bound to be something out there to satisfy your costume-longing soul.

So now that you’ve saved a couple of bucks, treat yourself with that five-dollar bill you found crumpled in the back of your newly washed jeans. Maybe even buy yourself a yogurt from one of those vending machines that for some reason carry yogurt even though they’re non-refrigerated vending machines — you’ve earned it. (Disclaimer: no matter how desperate you are for some late-night cow juice, please do not ever purchase yogurt from a vending machine.)

Good luck –– it’s a wild, wild, world out there, and costume picking, planning and flaunting (on a budget!) might just be the only shot at happiness you’ve got.