If you are looking for cheap and easy Halloween costume ideas, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got the lowdown on fun Halloween costumes that you can pull together from stuff you have around the house. Our super easy costume ideas use everyday clothes and include accessories and makeup to complete the look. You’ll find local favorites along with everyday ideas and spooky Halloween characters.
Hauʻoli Lā Heleuī
13 super easy Halloween costume ideas
Quickly and easily transform yourself into a variety of characters for Halloween wearing everyday clothes. If you need some old clothes or a few accessories, look no further than your nearest Goodwill or Ben Franklin store.
Paniolo (Hawaiian Cowboy): blue jeans, denim shirt and jacket or checkered shirt or brightly colored solid red shirt or vintage Hawaiian shirt, kerchief around your neck, belt with large buckle, large-brimmed straw hat. Other possible accessories: cowboy boots, coil of rope over your shoulder, flower lei hat band. Long john shirt works, too.
Spam Can: blue jeans, large box with holes for your head and arms (buy an inexpensive box at Lowe’s or Office Depot)—painted to look like a Spam can (Ben Franklin can hook you up) or afix as many (preferably empty) spam cans on your body as you can (strung around your neck, hanging from a hat, hanging from your waist, etc.)
Spam Musubi: A white (e.g. shorts and t-shirt or dress). Accessories: bed pillow with a pink pillowcase, black plastic garbage bag slit on both sides. Method: strap the pillow to your back with the black ap the pillow.
Dragon fruit: You need a hot pink outfit (shorts and top or dress). Glue or tape triangles of green (cloth or paper) randomly to the clothing. Optional: complete the look with a paper crown made from pink and green origami paper using this YouTub video:
Garish tourist: khaki shorts or skirt, very loud Hawaiian flower print shirt, crocs shoes. Accessories: straw hat with plastic flower band, plastic flower lei, pineapple or coconut with a straw or cheap plastic ‘ukulele.
Construction worker: Blue work shirt, blue jeans, work boots. Accessories: Safety goggles, tool belt, hammer or tape measure, pencil behind your ear.
House cleaner: Any outfit with sneakers or work shoes, plus a bandana knotted on top of your head. Complete the look with rubber gloves and a bucket full of cleaning products, or a broom or feather duster.
Trash: Dress in all black clothes. Cut a hole in a black trash bag and pull it over your head. Use duct tape to affix pieces of trash to the bag (empty wrappers, fallen leaves, pages from newspapers or magazines, etc.)
Pirate: shirt with billowy sleeves, black pants or blue jeans, high boots or thick-soled sneakers, bandana. Tuck the pants into the boots or shred the bottom of the jeans and wear sneakers. Accessories: eye patch, rope for a belt, rum bottle (preferably empty!), parrot on your shoulder. Answer every questions with “Aaargh!”
Zombie: shirt, jacket, pants, and shoes. Use old clothes you can tear and rub with dirt and fake blood (if you prefer, use this non-staining fake blood). Alternatively, you can use brown and red paints. Makeup: white face paint, black eye shadow, fake blood.
Vampire: Dress in all black clothes, including a cape or long coat. Complete the look with white face paint, black eyeliner, red lips, and/or fake blood around the mouth. Optional: purchase a pair of “Dracula teeth”.
Mummy: Dress in all white clothes. Wrap your head, face, and hands loosely with an Ace bandage. Smear black makeup around your eyes. Suck on red candy throughout the night to keep your tongue red.
Ghost: Dress in all white. Complete the look with all-over white face and hair paint, smear shadow around the eyes, and wrap a piece of chain around your waste and shoulders.
100+ Halloween costume ideas
Want more? We’ve got more Halloween costume ideas on our national site. Check out this list of 100+ cheap and easy Halloween costumes from our “mother” website, Living on the Cheap. It’s got ideas for everyone. You’ll find many more DIY Halloween costumes for real-life people, pop culture and history characters, sports-themed costumes, animals, and many more. There are also ideas for couples, families, and groups: salt and pepper, Blue Man group, or Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Each of the costume ideas in list comes with instructions for creating Halloween costumes from items you have around the house or can purchase inexpensively. For completing the look, we also provide Halloween makeup ideas and instructions for scary Halloween characters, clown makeup, rock musician Gene Simmons, and many more.
Why do we dress up in costumes for Halloween?
There’s seems to be no singular tradition tied to today’s custom of dressing up in costume on Halloween. Some of the folklore is murky at best.
Ancient cultures celebrated autumn with harvest festivals, crop burning, animal slaughter (to preserve meat for winter), and bon fires to provide light and comfort in the darkening days after summer. One pre-Christian Celtic festival (samhain or samain, meaning “summer’s end”) involved end-of-summer rituals to ward off tricks played by evil spirits.
Still other Christian and non-Christian customs used the time to honor ancestors and visit the graves of loved ones who have passed away. Food and decorations are part of many of these traditions. Much later in Medieval Europe, people would go door-to-door begging for food, especially in fall or winter, sometimes dressed in disguise.
Around the 1940s, American children are said to have practiced the Medieval custom around Thanksgiving time. Today, the practice of dressing up in costume is a tradition embraced by young and old alike. Costumes provide a fun way to role play and break out of one’s normal routine. For one night, you can become a celebrity, superhero, or hideous ghoul. Modern Halloween celebrations include buying candy for “trick or treaters”, decorating pumpkins, visiting haunted houses, and navigating corn mazes.
Where to buy Halloween crafts & costumes in Hawai’i
(Listed alphabetically by store name)
Ben Franklin Hawaii (Hawai’i, Maui, O’au) has craft ideas for home décor and Halloween parties. Join the free Ben Franklin loyalty club and enjoy special discounts.
Goodwill Hawaii (Hawai’i, Maui, O’ahu) is a great source for creating a Halloween costume that is uniquely yours. Find new or gently used clothing, as well as costumes at reasonable prices. They also offer face make-up, wigs, hats, accessories, and party décor.
Party City (O’ahu/Honolulu, Waipahu) has everything you need for parties and special occasions, including birthdays, graduation, Halloween, and other holidays. Find disposable utensils for entertaining, costumes and accessories, specialty party ware, and more. They also offer online shopping.
The Salvation Army Thrift Stores | Home (satruck.org) (O’ahu/Honolulu, Kailua, Wahiawa, Waipahu)
Spirit Halloween stores (O’ahu/Aiea, Honolulu, Kapolei). Seasonal Spirit stores are open late August through early November. Spirit Halloween stores are stocked with everything you can imagine for creating a festive Halloween celebration. Besides costumes, masks, makeup, and wigs, they’ve got indoor and outdoor decorations, robotic characters (animatronics), props, and accessories. Just visiting a store is a fun, interactive experience!
Do you have another idea for cheap DIY Halloween costumes that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below and maybe we can add it to the list.
Calendar of Halloween events
Listed below are many upcoming Halloween-related events including pumpkin patches, contests, trick or treat events, haunted houses, and more.