12 Cheap and Easy Halloween Costumes You Can DIY

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Couple dressed in Where's Waldo costumes
Cintia Erdens Paiva / Shutterstock.com

I love Halloween and usually spend weeks planning a costume, but this year I hadn’t planned on doing much. I was going to stay home and pass out candy, or so I thought. Turns out, I’m invited to a Halloween party and the theme is something beginning with “A.”

Having no ideas of my own, I’ve been scouring the Internet. I still haven’t found anything beginning with “A,” but I did find a dozen cheap and easy costumes you could make yourself this year.

1. Roy Lichtenstein painting

Lichtenstein was famous for his comic book-inspired pop art paintings. To make yourself into pop art, you’ll need a face-painting kit (available at any drugstore, Target or Walmart around Halloween), and a vintage dress or suit, which you can get at a thrift store. Check out totalbeauty.com for detailed instructions.

2. The Gorton’s Fisherman

The Gorton’s Fisherman in his yellow rain hat and coat was a commercial icon in the 1990s. To re-create the costume, you need a yellow rain hat and coat, a pair of rain boots, and a beard (which you could grow yourself free). Gorton’s website has both the drawn logo and a model you can use as a guide.

3. A fried egg

For this you’ll need a white sheet, a yellow beanie and some yellow face paint. Cut a hole in the white sheet large enough to fit over your head. On Halloween, pop your head through the sheet so it falls over your shoulders and down to your legs. Paint your face yellow and put on the yellow beanie. Viola! You’re a fried egg.

4. A bat

With a little ingenuity, you can turn an old black umbrella into bat wings for a cheap and easy costume. Besides the umbrella, you’ll need a black hooded sweatshirt, black pants or skirt, and these step-by-step directions from Evil Mad Scientist.

5. A paper towel mummy

If you’re up for some serious crafting, Martha Stewart has an impressive mummy costume you can make out of paper towels, a few supplies like face paint and spirit gum, and some other ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Check out the instructions and pictures at Martha Stewart’s Project page.

6. Mark Zuckerberg

It really doesn’t take a lot to pull off the founder of Facebook — just some plaid pajamas, a gray T-shirt and a bathrobe. Most people will recognize you as Zuckerberg thanks to a scene in “The Social Network,” but if you really want to top it off, add a pair of slide-on Adidas sandals. Check out Esquire for an example.

7. An M&M

Not really feeling up to making a complex costume this year? With a plain T-shirt in your favorite M&M color, a piece of white paper and tape, you can turn yourself into an M&M in less than 10 minutes. Just cut an “M” out of the paper and tape it to the center of your T-shirt.

8. Where’s Waldo?

You’ll get a lot of attention because everyone will have to yell “I found Waldo!” when you walk in a room, and this costume is quick and easy. You need jeans, a red-and-white striped shirt, a red hat and glasses. If you want more help, check out Inhabitat.com.

9. A Viking

A roll of tin foil, cardboard and a few other household supplies are all you’ll need to make a Viking hat and shield. You can check out instructions at Celebrations. To round off the costume, hunt down a pair of boots and a brown or tan tunic.

10. Rosie the Riveter

Rosie isn’t just an icon, she’s also a cheap Halloween costume. Hit the thrift store (or your closet) and look for a long-sleeved denim shirt or blue work shirt, jeans and red bandanna. Put it all together and you’re ready for Halloween. Check out the American Rosie the Riveter Association for a photo.

11. Pinup girl

The “Today” show’s version may not be a classic pinup girl look, but it is a cheap and easy costume. Just get a solid color T-shirt and attach a bunch of safety pins in the shape of an arrow pointing up.

12. A deviled egg

You’ll need red horns and a tail (which you can make yourself out of cardboard or red card stock, or buy a cheap set in the Halloween costume section at the store), a white T-shirt, white pants, and yellow paper. The day of Halloween, put on the clothes, tail and horns. Cut a circle out of the yellow paper and stick it to the center of your chest and wait to see if anyone gets it.

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