8 Easy Halloween Costumes On A Budget Because We Know The Struggle Is Real

by Julia Guerra

FYI to those who say Halloween gets old when you're an adult: I'm 25 years old, and I'm still here for it. Snacking on leftover candy bars (or, you know, picking from the extra bag I bought for myself), lighting jack-o-lanterns, watching Hocus Pocus on repeat -- I'm obsessed with all of it. However, while I'll definitely be that person to splurge on creepy home decor to give trick-or-treaters a show when I have my own house, I'm also that person who refuses to pay the big bucks for something I'll only wear once. Say what you want, but rocking easy Halloween costumes on a budget is the way to go if you're low on cash.

Naturally, the first place I go to for costume inspiration is social media. The hundreds of thousands of pages showcasing lavish, intricately designed costumes on Instagram and Pinterest are a goldmine of ideas to mooch off of, but don't be surprised if an exact replica costs more than your prom dress. OK, I'm exaggerating, but the fact that so many Halloween costumes go for well over $50 (and even that's on the cheaper side of things) is obscene. And don't even get my started on costume makeup. You're better off using your own.

Check out these eight easy-to-make Halloween costumes to get your creative juices flowing and save some cash in the process.

1. Regina George

If you're a Mean Girls fanatic, you know damn well Regina George is flawless, and this cut-out costume is super simple to recreate.

At the very least, you probably own a bra and a plain white tank top. Take your tank top and cut one hole out of the center of each breast, throwing it over your most colorful bra, and pair the combo with a black mini-skirt and flats.

So fetch!

2. Cactus

Olive Green T-Shirt, $6, Forever 21 | Colorful Floral Hair Clips, $5, Oriental Trading

As adorable as this cactus costume is, you don't necessarily need a vibrant green dress to pull it off. Scout out the cheapest olive tee you can find, and get crafty by super-gluing sparse pieces of white yarn to the fabric.

If you prefer your cactus to flower, throw your hair in a high top knot, and secure with a bunch of colorful, floral hair clips.

3. Social Butterfly

Just because your costume is cheap, that doesn't mean it can't be creative.

Gabbie Hanna is all about affordable and adorable Halloween costumes. From her Oh, Deer God! toga-antler ensemble, to bizarre puppet makeup, her Youtube channel has a plethora of playful costumes to choose from, but this one is probably my favorite.

The first part of the how-to video goes into Gabbie's makeup look for her interpretation of what a social butterfly might be, but honestly, if rainbow and sparkles aren't your scene, you could totally get away with your everyday style.

The main attraction is going to be a pair of wings you can purchase from any costume store for less than $10 (Amazon comes in clutch with this pair). To get the whole “social” part across, print out and paste social media stamps all over each wing.

4. Doe, A Deer

I'm not really sure when or why dressing up as a deer for Halloween was considered cute and fantastical, but I can roll with it.

The best part of Angela Lanter's last-minute costume here is that it really only requires makeup products you probably already have in your collection. Add a brown oversized sweater and a pair of jeans, and you're set for parties, trick-or-treating, or binge-watching scary movies with friends.

5. Waldo

White and Red Striped Shirt, $13, Walmart

Instead of partying it up this Halloween, challenge your friends to a game of hide and seek. Chances are, they'll never find you if you're half as good of a hider as this seek-and-find puzzle character.

Add a red and white striped shirt to your favorite pair of denim skinnies, a beanie cap, and faux glasses.

Pro tip: If you want to get really thrifty, draw on thick rims with pencil eyeliner.

6. Wednesday Adams

Skull Head, $10, Oriental Trading

Wednesday Adams might be the easiest Halloween costume for women to replicate because all you really have to do is throw together an all-black-everything outfit (and for many of us, let's be real, that's already our everyday look as it is).

Rock a sexy LBD, but make it scary with a pair of matching black tights, chunky heels, and crimson red lipstick to entice your victims -- err, I mean friends.

Bonus points if you can accessorize with a skull head or bottle of poison to sip on throughout the night. Most parties have a bring-your-own rule anyway, right?

7. Scarecrow

Scarecrows are another classic Halloween costume that take just five minutes at the most to throw together.

Have a flannel on hand? Put it on and dig into your makeup bag for black eyeliner and orange eyeshadow to draw and fill in stitching details on your nose, mouth, and eyes.

8. The Undead

This tutorial is from way back in 2014, but I had to share it here because it was just that good.

There's really no wrong or right way to dress like a zombie. Take an old tank top, rip it up, poke some holes through, and basically aim to look as disheveled as possible. As for makeup, black eyeliner and red and dark eyeshadow shades are going to be your go-to.

Need further inspiration? Imagine yourself the most exhausted you've ever been without a drop of coffee to save you. How's that for the living dead?