Clever and Free Costume Ideas (Give Them to Me)

All I can think about today is Halloween costumes. I don’t usually dress up, but this year I’m going to dress up because I saw all these people on the train the other day and they were going to Comic Con and were wearing costumes and it just looked FUN. Also, what, do I think I’m too cool to dress up?

BUT WHAT TO BE. It has to be easy. (The last time I dressed up for halloween I just wore regular clothes and smeared some dirt on my face and said I was modern Cinderella. This is the level of effort we’re talking about.)

Also I don’t believe in spending money on things to wear one time (it’s basically the only thing I don’t believe in spending money on). IDEAS?! What are you going as, can I steal your idea? y/n



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A couple years ago I made a great Pocahontas costume out of some thrifted brown and tan sheets and these awesome beaded mocassins I got for like $10 but never wore. THEN this whole “I am a culture, not a costume” campaign came out and I realized that it was probably pretty uncool of me, and then I gave away the mocs.

This year I have an event at lunchtime that I can’t wear a costume to, so I will probably just wear all black and throw on a witch’s hat when I don’t have to look professional.

This comment was completely not what you’re looking for–sorry.

@backstagebethy Anyway, I always wanted to put a propeller on my chest so I could walk around asking for autographs, telling people “I’m a big fan.”

wearitcounts (#772)

@backstagebethy that is a fantastic idea. or just a really big piece of paper folded like a handheld fan?

terrific (#1,532)

@backstagebethy My boyfriend is determined to go as a “ceiling fan” with a sign that says “Ceilings are #1″ and a giant foam finger. I don’t know. I don’t know.

wearitcounts (#772)

@terrific that is also amazing.

francesfrances (#1,522)

@terrific Brilliant idea. I’m going to do it, and will be truthful and admit I go it from a comment on the Internet. Don’t ever breakup with your boyfriend. He is HILARIOUS!

pterodactylish (#2,321)

PUN COSTUMES. Devilled eggs (white shirt, yellow taped on yolk, with devil horns), gold diggers (gold clothes, shovel, miner’s flashlight) ….hilariouuuus.

bgprincipessa (#699)

@pterodactylish LOVE pun costumes. Last year I was a leaf blower – literally went outside and picked up a bunch of dead leaves and safety pinned them to my clothes. (I wore fall colors.) Got a maroon baseball cap and pinned one leaf to the front bill, hanging in front of my face. When someone asked, I’d say “leaf blower!” … and then literally blow the leaf.

I put 13 gold starts on a blue shirt and went as “The European Union,” when I was lazy and forced to attend a party by virtue of the fact that it was right outside of my bedroom. And, with the recent Nobel announcement, you could incorporate something about into it (do they get trophies? You could take a trophy and stick something to it implying that it’s a Nobel).

katerrific (#374)

My standby easy costume is Rosie the Riveter. Red bandana, blue button down shirt, jeans. Carry some kind of tool and just strike the pose all night long.

bgprincipessa (#699)

@katerrific I wanted to do that this year! but that was ambitious and I didn’t plan at all. And I don’t own any of the things you just said?!

@katerrific Dammit that was totally my idea! All I have to buy is the bandana because if I’m not dressed in all black like a ninja then I am wearing jeans and a sweater.

j-i-a (#746)

Cheap costume: blue apron from the dollar store + iron-on print of the Bluth’s Frozen Banana Stand logo + fake freckles = Maeby Funke

bgprincipessa (#699)

@j-i-a I might need to do this. How do I make an iron-on print?? Arts + crafts handicapped.

sintaxis (#2,363)

@j-i-a my favorite way to turn any regular costume into an outstanding costume is to just add jean cut offs. Never-nude sexy nurse! Never-nude Billy Idol! Never-nude Hamburgler! Never-nude Frida Khalo!

(no one be Never-nude Frida Kahlo… that one’s mine this year!)

tibia (#992)

@j-i-a omg i have curly hair and can never find a costume that really “works” with it. DOING THIS. thank you.

RosemaryF (#345)

Borrow someone’s ironic gas station attendant shirt (or bowling shirt, you know someone has one.) Wear it with jeans and sturdy shoes/boots. Strap down your boobs if necessary. Slick down your hair with a butt-load of hair gel. Use eyeliner to draw on a moustache & side burns. Go as that creepy dude who sucks his teeth at all women.

I LOVE this costume because it is super creepy even for dudes, and I sexually harass men ALL NIGHT LONG. It is nice to turn the tables on them.

cherrispryte (#19)

@RosemaryF And you are now my instant new favorite.

RosemaryF (#345)

@cherrispryte To be extra pervy, I’ve rolled up a washcloth & stuffed it down my pants so it looked like I had a boner. I would sneak up behind boys and rub it on them while telling them, “You sure do smell good.”

cherrispryte (#19)

@RosemaryF … that might be a step too far?

RosemaryF (#345)

@cherrispryte Well, these were all boys I knew and considered my friends. I didn’t do it to strangers. Having been on the receiving end of the unwelcome-stranger-boner-rub, I didn’t take the costume that far.

(Saying “I only rubbed my fake boner on friends” doesn’t sound better, but I promise I’m not a predator.)

mishaps (#65)

My cheap costume is a pair of devil horns ($5) and a red dress. Alternatively, you can wear a blue dress and go as “devil with a blue dress on,” but you will be explaining it all night.

la_di_da (#1,425)

How is it no one has mentioned taping a binder across your midriff yet? Instant walking meme.

Also, do you have a thick headband you don’t care about/don’t wear anymore? Cut some cardboard or thick-ish paper into an art deco ish tower, stick it to the headband like a tower, wear all gray, heels, and/or sparkles and you can say you’re the chrystler building. Alternatively, instead of a cardboard headdress, if you have a cool silver necklace you can drape around your forehead (you know you did this when you played princess/queen/greek goddess when you were a kid), that might have the same effect…

terrific (#1,532)

Red dress. Devil horns and any other devil accessory you feel like. Briefcase. = Devil’s advocate.

MissMushkila (#1,044)

@terrific Red outfit, devil horns, other devil accessories + sunglasses and a fake mustache = The Devil in Disguise

CubeRootOfPi (#1,098)

Put on three rings, say you’re a binder?

Bill Fostex (#573)

Logan, you’d look good as this kid with pissed sweatpants (borrow a small CamelBak and strap it to your thigh): (not “clever” exactly, or “free” unless you own grey sweatpants and a Pokemon t-shirt and have a friend with a little Camelbak)

My favorite costume of all time is The Bad Idea. Devil horns headband, tape a lightbulb to it. Done. If you have a friend who wants to wear a halo headband with lightbulb, you now have a Good Idea and a Bad Idea.

I’m not in great shape, so my plan is to wear tight Lycra bike shorts and go as “Lance Armstrong without performance-enhancing drugs.”

So I like pun costumes…last year I was a red bull with wings. Red dress, bull horns, wings. :)

THIS YEAR I am going to go as “your boss”. I am gonna carry around a portfolio with forms that I am going to pass out to people and say things like “have this on my desk in an hour” and other bossy things. I am gonna wear a black skirt, suit jacket and have my hair and make up look very severe. and then im gonna yell at people to get me coffee/martini :)

cherrispryte (#19)

I have a punk show/pumpkin tent revival to go to, and I am going as Ursula, from The Little Mermaid. Teased/sprayed hair full of baby powder, purple face/body paint, the necklace, black tube dress … and purple fishnets and Docs, because it IS a concert, and all of the tentacle ideas I can come up with/have seen look really lame.
This is going to work fantastically, because I’m fat. I’m really looking forward to using that to my advantage, in a non self-deprecating sort of way.

This is of no help to you, Logan, but I’m really excited and wanted to share.

Fig. 1 (#632)

@cherrispryte It would be really awesome if you had two friends to go as Flotsam and Jetsam.

This can go either direction, difficulty-wise, but I was once a Price is Right Contestant. The easy route would be to just dress like a college student (alma mater hoodie is key) and make one of those name tags. If you wanted to take it up a step, I also had a bidding board with my bid on a piece of cardboard that I wore around my neck. Besides the board it was the most comfortable Halloween ever.

Megoon (#328)

@Arlene Ivana@twitter That’s AWESOME.

AnnieNilsson (#406)

I make comics, so a few years ago I was Myself in My Graphic Memoir. This is a very cheap costume, all you really need is some poster board and white and black makeup. The cool thing about it is it’s interactive, all night people write your captions.
I made a tutorial here if anyone wants to steal it. It’s really easy!

cherrispryte (#19)

oh! legit idea for you! A friend of mine went as a black-and-white film star last year – wear all gray, black, and white (the more oldey-timey, the better) put black or gray spray in your hair, and gray face paint over all exposed skin. Dark gray or black lipstick, and all makeup in grays. She looked fantastic!

Fig. 1 (#632)

My brother used one of the ideas from the Hairpin’s great comment thread last year on costumes – he wore his high school grad suit, carried a rose and a sign that said “I’m Sorry” = formal apology.

Take an empty toilet paper tube, put a long string through it, and wear it as a necklace. When people ask, “So, um… what are you?” Say, “I’m out of toilet paper.”

I like to think this would be taken as gently mocking the notion of Halloween costumes.

lindseykai (#1,544)

I chopped all my hair off recently, so I’m going to wear a blue nightgown and carry a demon baby doll and be Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby.

My punny contribution: wear a revealing dress. Carry a dollhouse in one hand and a baseball bat in the other. You’re a homewrecker.

ATF@twitter (#1,471)

I once wore a black graduation gown, bought super cheap gavel off Amazon, and spent the evening passing at a party judgment on other people’s costumes. I was just being cheap and lazy (costumes aren’t really my thing) but got a surprising amount of chuckles.

I am going as a TOURIST! I live in the Bay Area, so this might work? Just wearing a giant, ill-fitting ALCATRAZ sweater, tennis shoes and sunglasses and carrying a camera around. Maybe a fanny pack.

honey cowl (#1,510)

Yes Logan. You ARE too cool to wear a costume. Costumes are The Worst.

ThatWench (#269)

Everything I’d suggest comes from a recent re-reading of last year’s Hairpin thread (pillaging for this year’s idea), and it would feel like obvious plagiarism to pretend any of them were actually mine.

I did get something like ten ideas that I love for this year. Now, I should maybe just hurry up and pick one.

Megoon (#328)

@ThatWench My favorite from the old Hairpin thread is Sexy Bruce Springsteen. So easy! So hilarious! White t-shirt, some bandanas, cutoffs, and – for the super ambitious – a cardboard guitar cut out of FreshDirect boxes. Then you can walk around bemoaning the state of small-town America while avoiding the subject of your daughter’s passion for dressage.

Marissa (#467)

Take a cheap slip and write stuff like “unconscious mind,” “neuroses,” “Vienna,” and “penis envy” on it: Freudian slip.

When one of my cousins was in medical school, he told me about this costume idea: Wear a scrub suit. Add a witch’s hat. Voila — a witch doctor! A bonus: The outfit’s super comfortable. (Confession: This has been my Halloween costume of choice for several years.) Yes, steal this idea!

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