How to make a cheap Halloween costume

In an effort to save money, many Queens students are opting to make a Halloween costume this year instead of buying one.

Caitlin Crawford


“I never spend money on a Halloween costume if I can help it,” said Caitlin Crawford.

Almost all respondents to a recent survey planned to make a costume for Halloween by spending no more than $20 at the thrift store. This trend seems to be gaining popularity with students everywhere. While it plays into the “broke college kid” stereotype, it’s also a way to make Halloween that much more fun for everyone.

Here’s how to put together a unique Halloween costume this fall.

1. Decide who (or what) to dress up as.

To make things easier, choose a character from a television show, movie, etc., who looks (mostly) human. It probably isn’t best to pick someone who wears normal clothes (unless ironic or subtle costumes are the goal, in which case, go for it), as it most likely won’t be recognizable as a costume. A good choice would be someone like Daenarys Targaryen from “Game of Thrones,” or The Batman’s Joker. One student is doing Rosie The Riveter. As long as it’s sort of simple, it should work!

2. Make a list.

In order to make a list, one must have an extensive knowledge on a particular look the chosen character has at a specific time. The best way to achieve this is to find and analyze a picture of this character and make note of everything he or she is wearing, piece by piece. If necessary, printing out the picture to bring and use as a reference is a good option. For Rosie, all that is needed is a jean-style button down shirt that is a size too big, a pair of blue jeans, work-suitable boots and a red bandana with white polka-dots.

3. Pop some tags.

Now, it’s time to hit some thrift stores. Ask Siri for directions and jump from Goodwill to Salvation Army to every thrift store around the block until as many items as possible are checked off of the list—that purple and black suit, or that smooth, blue dress. There may even be a pair of heavy-duty work boots for Rosie that are just the right size on those racks.

4. Put it together.

If the costume needs only to be worn, like Rosie the Riveter’s costume, simply hang up your items and eagerly await wearing it on Halloween night. However, if there are alterations that must be made, like tears to the cloth on Daenarys Targaryen’s blue dress, do this immediately after getting home. This is generally pretty simple—sewing things together, cutting/ripping the material, etc. Buy a sewing kit or borrow one from a friend and make the costume look amazing.

5. Do your hair and makeup.

Different costumes require different things. Hair and make-up are no exception. For semi-professional make-up kits, visit Morris Costumes on the web at or visit in person at 4300 Monroe Road, Charlotte, NC 28205. If this store does not have the materials needed, however, there are many more options for costume stores around Charlotte.

This year, when Queens students watch “The Conjuring” for the 20th time at 2 a.m. on Halloween night, stuffed so full of candy they fear they’ll turn into Bathsheba herself, at least they’ll each be wearing an awesome costume that they didn’t spend too much money on.


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Published by students of Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, N.C. 28274.