My son's elementary school is doing a week with a different costume theme each day. I doubt that the theme is mandatory, as I can't imagine them requiring low income families to participate. That said, we would like to allow my son to dress up for each day's theme, but we have already spent a lot of money this month in preparation for Halloween. Unfortunately, the themes are specific enough that reusing our son's Halloween costume won't be an option. In fact, none of the days are "spooky"-themed or would allow for dressing up as a fictional character, so that makes it even harder.

As an example, one of the days is dress up as a historical person and another is dress up as a famous composer, but I would like the answers to be general and not focused on a particular theme.

I admit, I'm having a hard time imagining how I can avoid spending at least $20 on each day! What are some techniques that I can use to do costumes on a budget? The more I could do with things around the house, the better!

  • Do you have family/friends/neighbors that might have useful items lying around?
    – jpmc26
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 0:26
  • The invisibility costume is free.
    – user2497
    Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 13:18
  • +1 Great question! I'm sure there are a lot of people wondering about similar things. Commented Oct 31, 2017 at 18:42
  • Boys costumes can be easy. Pirate = old jeans and scraggly tee shirt, plus some makeup scars. Cowboy same thing with a hat minus the makeup. Ashe Ketchum = white and blue tee. shirt and jeans. Naruto = all orange pants and shirt, plus optional bandaging.
    – pojo-guy
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 0:55

1 Answer 1


The main thing is to be creative and 'declare it to be perfect'.

For example i dressed up my son around that age as a dinosaur. I took some old green sweatpants, filled 1 leg with paper, the other leg around his waist and that was his tail

the same thing with a famous composer or a historical person. You could make the 'perfect Mozart wig' by just taking a few toilet paper rolls and glue them on a paper hat. (and you can go crazy here, put a piece of white paper on a box and draw piano keys )

As long as you can convince your son that he is then a perfect Mozart then he'll have fun and is far less bothered by the fact that you didn't pay x for the costume.

The main point is to find something that your kid can identify with that makes his costume his costume. For example a dinosaur needs a tail, Mozard needs a wig and maybe a piano, Benjamin franklin needs a kite. As long as your costume has that 1 key element, and you are actually having fun making it together with your kid, then i think the rest doesn't matter.

  • 3
    Benjamin Franklin could reuse Mozart's wig, too ;)
    – Acire
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 21:24
  • 2
    You can also use your own makeup to draw facial hair etc, and don't forget thrift stores often have some pretty funky items for under $5
    – MAA
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 22:29

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