Do you love dressing up for Halloween every year? Or maybe you’re forced to by some external circumstances just this once? Either way, you may want to come up with some cheap and easy Halloween costume ideas.
I have the perfect solution for you! For Halloween costumes on the cheap, just visit your local thrift store! Here’s a list of 55 thrift store DIY costumes that you can put together with a quick visit to your favorite resale shop.
Not only will you be creating a cheap and easy Halloween costume, but you will be supporting your local thrift stores, such as Goodwill or Salvation Army.
For some last minute homemade costume ideas, check out these easy ideas! Most of them could be used for guys and gals, even if meant to be ironic.
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55 Cheap and Easy Halloween Costume Ideas You Can Make At a Thrift Store
1. Hobo – A worn pair of jeans or pants, with a plaid shirt and a hat of some sort can be turned into an easy hobo costume. A blazer with elbow pads and a pocket square or old tie would be an added touch. Hang a cardboard sign around your neck, and draw a beard on with an eyeliner pencil to complete the look.
2. Bride or Groom – Every thrift store I’ve ever been to has bridal gowns and suits or tuxedos. You could be an 80s bride, or a ‘dead’ bride with some fake blood.
3. Prom queen – Whether you want to be a pretty or zombie prom queen is completely up to you. You’ll be sure to find a variety of gowns while thrift shopping, and a simple sash will complete the ‘queen’ look.
4. Politician – Check the professional clothing section, and pick out the perfect politician suit. They might have an American flag you can carry around too.
5. Maid – You can find a short black dress and white apron for a French maid look. Don’t forget the feather duster!
6. Janitor – On the blue collar work clothes rack, pick out a navy or grey work shirt and pants. Make a homemade name tag and carry a mop for the full effect.
7. Used car salesman – An ill-fitting worn-looking suit is a must have for your used car salesman costume. Maybe leave the tacky shirt collar open and layer in some gold chains.
8. 80s pop or rock star – A guy could get a pair of tight, black pants (preferably pleather), a sleeveless shirt, and a bandana and be a rock star. A leather jacket never hurts either. Ladies, find a short skirt and colorful shirt and tights. Don’t forget to triple barrel wave your hair!
9. Grecian – A flowy white dress and gold belt and sandals are all you need. Or turn a white bed sheet into a toga.
10. Ballerina – A leotard and some tights worn with a bun make an easy ballerina costume. Or be a zombie ballerina with this makeup. Your call.
11. Detective – A trench coat is imperative for your detective costume. A hat, badge, magnifying glass, or little notebook would be a nice extra touch.
12. Librarian – A collared white shirt, worn with a cardigan, and preferably some horn-rimmed glasses, will complete the librarian look. Whether you want to be sexy or dowdy is completely up to you. Don’t forget to carry some books!
13. Secretary – A similar look to the librarian, you’ll be sure to find the components for your secretary costume at the thrift store.
14. 90s grunge rocker – Wear some holey jeans with a t-shirt and flannel shirt tied around your waist. Some Doc Martin style boots will complete the look.
15. Farmer – Check your local thrift for a pair of overalls and an old t-shirt or plaid shirt. Chew on a piece of hay for the full effect.
16. Scarecrow – Just like the farmer costume, a plaid shirt with jeans or overalls work if you’re dressing up as a scarecrow. Check the home decor section of the store for a small bale of hay you can dismantle and stuff in your pockets and such.
17. Lumberjack – A flannel shirt, worn with jeans and suspenders, and a knit cap make an easy lumberjack costume. Check the toy section for an axe to carry.
18. Grandma or Grandpa – Grandparent clothing is not exactly in short supply at thrift shops. Pick out your favorite grandma or grandpa outfit, spray your hair grey, and pencil in some lines on your face.
19. Nerd – Suspenders worn over a white shirt are all you need for a nerd costume, though a bow tie and some big glasses with tape on them sure don’t hurt.
20. Fortune Teller or Gypsy – Look for a colorful caftan or flowy dress, and pair with an exotic-looking scarf for your head or waist. Big hoop earrings would be a great touch.
21. Bank robber or Burglar – Check your local thrift store for a black and white striped shirt to wear with black pants. Sunglasses or a black eye mask and a knit cap finish the look. Don’t forget a bag to carry your stolen goods!
22. Skeleton – Here’s a tutorial for how to make a skeleton costume from a plain black t-shirt.
23. Crazy cat lady – Find an old bathrobe, then venture over the plentiful stuffed animal department to buy some little cats. Attach the cats to the robe (with safety pins, etc.) to easily become a crazy cat lady. Some rollers in your hair would really complete the look.
24. Doctor or nurse – I always see plenty of scrubs at the thrift store. A paper mask and stethoscope are the perfect added touches. You could add some fake blood if you want to look like you had a rough night.
25. Hippie – A white peasant blouse with a suede vest or anything fringy or tie-dye is perfect for dressing up as a hippie. Don’t forget the scarf around your forehead, and give everyone the peace sign.
26. Bird watcher – All things khaki are perfect for a bird watcher costume. Venture over to the book section of the thrift store to find a book about birds, and add in some binoculars.
27. 50s housewife – A cute A-line style dress with an apron are all you need, though a string of pearls and some high heels would also be adorable.
28. Lady of the evening – Some very high heels and a tight, short dress with big, teased-up hair would give the full effect if you want to dress up like a lady from the world’s oldest profession. Bonus points if you find fishnet stockings.
29. Clown – You may get lucky and find an actual clown costume at the thrift store. Failing that, you can put one together with some colorful, oversized garments. Think stripes and polka dots, and suspenders. A clown nose seals the deal.
30. Mad scientist – A white lab coat or even an oversized button down shirt or apron is the basis for a mad scientist costume. Crazy hair and big glasses help too, as does a homemade hazard ‘patch’ and pens for your pocket.
31. Athlete – Thrift shops are full of a variety of jerseys and athletic uniforms. You can easily become a basketball, baseball, or soccer player, or a tennis star or cheerleader.
32. Golf pro – An argyle sweater vest and tweed pants or a pleated skirt would be perfect if you want to dress up like a golf pro. Don’t forget to carry a golf club!
33. Pirate – A white blouse or dress shirt, paired with a vest or waist scarf, make an easy pirate costume. Stop by the toy section and pick up a plastic sword.
34. Flight attendant – A pencil skirt and white blouse worn with heels and a little neck scarf would make an easy flight attendant costume. Add in a little hat if you come across one. You can pull a suitcase behind you or carry a tray too.
35. Tourist – A tourist costume is the perfect DIY thrift store costume. There should be Hawaiian shirts aplenty, along with some straw hat and handbag options. You may be lucky enough to come across a lei or fanny pack.
If you prefer to be a specific character, rather than have a more generic-style costume, check out these easy costume ideas.
Easy character costume ideas:
1. Golden Girls – This works especially well if you have 3 other friends to dress up with you. Or just pick your favorite Golden Girl and go without a group. The thrift store has a variety of 80s looking outfits, including sequin-y sweaters, pantsuits, and cardigans. You could get a Golden Girls wig if you really want to do it up right.
2. Wayne and Garth – Perfect to do with your significant other or best friend. Wayne wears a black t-shirt and a Wayne’s World black hat with ripped jeans. The Garth costume consists of a blue plaid shirt over a t-shirt and holey jeans. Don’t forget the drum sticks!
3. Jim and Pam – Everyone’s favorite duo from The Office are a fun Halloween costume idea for couples. There are quite a few iconic Jim and Pam outfit ideas to choose from. Jim can wear a light blue dress shirt with navy tie, and Pam can wear a light pink cardigan over a white shirt with a khaki skirt. And white sneakers, of course. Print out some Dunder Mifflin nametags if you really want to be thorough.
4. Audrey Hepburn – A black dress, pearls, and long black gloves make an easy Audrey Hepburn costume. Some sunglasses, a tiara, and a 1920s cigarette holder are the perfect finishing touches.
5. Eleven – From Stranger Things, of course. Eleven wears a light pink dress, blue jacket, and knee-high sport socks. Carrying a box of Eggo waffles and adding some fake blood dripping from your nose would solidify the costume.
6. Harry Potter – Look for a white dress shirt, black sweater vest, maroon and gold tie, and a black robe. Be sure to see if they have some round glasses and something you can make a wand out of.
7. Mean Girls – From the movie Mean Girls, this is the perfect Halloween costume for a group of girls. You could go a couple different routes with it. A short little skirt and pink sweater, or the bunny look, or cut two holes in a white tank top for the iconic Regina George effect.
8. Deb from Napolean Dynamite – All a Deb costume needs are an 80s-looking pastel top and pants, your hair in a side pony scrunchie, Keds, and a fanny pack or Caboodle. Boondoggle keychains optional.
9. Cruella De Vil – White and black animal print is what to look for with this 101 Dalmatians character costume. Something made of fur is ideal, as are long black gloves and a cigarette holder.
10. Zoolander – A black and white sweater and head scarf, and dark overcontoured makeup are the key to a Zoolander costume. Just be your really, really, ridiculously good-looking self.
11. Wednesday Addams – A black dress with a white collar poking out the top, plus black tights and shoes complete the look of this Addams Family character. Don’t forget to braid your hair!
12. Risky Business – Tom Cruise’s character from Risky Business is one the easiest Halloween costumes to put together from the thrift store. An oversized white (or pink) dress shirt, some boxer shorts, and white socks worn with sunglasses.
13. Wilson from Home Improvement – I am like the biggest Home Improvement fan for some reason. You can dress up like Wilson by wearing some khakis with a flannel shirt and a fishing hat. You can make a little ‘fence’ to cover part of your face with popsicle sticks. Maybe you can even find a package of them at the thrift store.
14. Sally from the Nightmare Christmas – Look for a patchwork-style dress, and draw some stitched up lines on your limbs and face.
15. Super Mario – A red shirt worn with overalls or jeans and suspenders and a red hat make an easy DIY Super Mario costume. You can make a red and white M for your hat out of paper or felt. Your friend or significant other could be Luigi by wearing green instead of red.
16. Minion – Just pick up a yellow shirt or hoodie at the thrift shop, and wear with overalls or jeans and suspenders. Here’s a tutorial on how to make your own Minion glasses, or buy them here.
17. Sandy from Grease – Hasn’t every girl wished she was Sandy from Grease at one time or another? Some tight black pants or leggings and a slim fitting black shirt or leather jacket and red heels make an easy Sandy costume.
18. Charlie Brown ghost – If you’ve ever seen It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, you know his ghost costume had way too many eye holes in it. To replicate it, buy a white bedsheet at the thrift store, and cut a bunch of black circles out of a black t-shirt or some felt. (Tip: Trace them using a drinking glass.) Glue them onto the bedsheet with fabric glue or a hot glue gun. Don’t forget to cut some actual eye holes so you can see. You can carry around a paper bag and write “I got a rock” on it for an added touch.
19. Rosie the Riveter – To make a Rosie the Riveter costume from a thrift store, just buy a denim shirt and high-waisted jeans, and a red bandana or scarf. Tie the shirt up in the front (or tuck it in) and put the bandana or scarf around your hairline.
20. Mary Poppins – You can easily be Mary Poppins for Halloween by picking up a white dress shirt, black skirt, black hat, and red bow tie from the thrift store. Pair that with black tights and heels. To really make it cute, carry an umbrella, glue some fake flowers to the hat, and look for a velvet bag or purse when you’re at Goodwill or the Salvation Army.
Thrift Shopping Resources:
- Goodwill Halloween Costume Generator – A fun tool to play around with for more thrift store Halloween costume ideas.
- The Thrift Shopper Website – A national thrift store directory. Just plug in your zip code to find all the thrift stores in your area, plus their hours, distance from you, and reviews.
- Shop Goodwill – Prefer to shop online? Check out the Goodwill website!
- 27 of the Best Thrift Store Shopping Tricks
If you’re trying to celebrate Halloween on a budget, I hope this list of cheap and easy Halloween costume ideas inspired you to put together a creative costume this year!
Other Fall posts you may like:
- 107 Fun Ideas for Your Fall Bucket List
- The Best Fall and Halloween Movies to Watch This Year
- Thanksgiving Movie Watch List