Recession Living 101: Easy, affordable costume ideas for Halloween

Angelica Bonomo

Photo Caption: Photo Illustration by Angelica Bonomo / Staff Photographer
Photo Caption: Photo Illustration by Angelica Bonomo / Staff Photographer

Whether you cringe at the thought of dressing up, work really hard on a costume, or fall somewhere in the middle, Oct. 31 is fast approaching. So what are you going to be for Halloween?

If you are like a lot of students on campus right now, you can’t afford to spend a lot of money on one of those store costumes and I’m guessing you don’t have money to go ruining your bed sheets either. Luckily for the creatively willing, there are cheap, easy and fun ways to get a non-traditional costume.

This Halloween, the thrift store will be your costume savior. Besides being extremely less expensive then the regular stores, a lot of them actually sell old Halloween costumes. As for the thrift stores that don’t sell actual costumes, there is definitely still plenty of material to work with.

Let’s say you want to be the obvious costume this year, Michael Jackson. It’s actually pretty easy because most of you will have most of the items. Start off with black pants folded a little at the hem to show off those white socks and a plain white or black t-shirt. Now decide which Michael Jackson you want to be. The easiest is the “Billie Jean” look with glove, fedora and either a black jacket or white t-shirt layered under an open white button down shirt. If you want try something a little harder, try finding a leather jacket and studded belt for the “Bad” Michael Jackson, or another option is the band/military jacket with aviator sunglasses plus a glove.

Now for the ladies – well guys too if you really want – an easy and really fun costume to make is Lady Gaga. The only real purchase you would have to make is a blonde wig. After that anything really goes with Lady Gaga. The more eccentric your find the better. Find either an 80s leotard or a prom dress at a thrift store, then keep the tacky bows and sleeves and shorten it to make it into a mini. Then throw on a jacket, tights and crazy shades. Another inexpensive option, but a more revealing one, is to pull out your solid-colored bathing suits, find a cheap mask, gloves and then go wild by wrapping yourself in bubble wrap. Add poker cards to your face at your own discretion.

Instead of the typical 80s prom outfit from the thrift store, try a stood-up prom date and throw a bathroom robe over the dress and let your makeup run down your face. Take advantage of all those old clothes and dress as an old lady or an old man. Thrift stores also have lots of scrubs, which would make a great group costume theme. Buy a pack of medical masks and you’re ready to go.

Still scratching your head for ideas? Try pun/joke costumes. Dress in gold and carry a shovel to pull off a gold digger look. Tie a doll to your butt for a babysitter look, or put a sack on to show that you’re good in the sack. Almost any phrase can be made into a costume if you get creative enough.
If you get crunched with time to come up with a costume, here are some quick and easy ideas. To be a quarterback wear normal clothes and tape a quarter to your back. For expired goods, put a sign on your shirt that says “Sell by July 31 01” (or any date that has already passed). For self-absorbed, tape sponges all over your body.  The nice thing about these costumes is that you can find them in your house and if you’re uncomfortable getting completely dressed up, they aren’t too outrageous.

Another easy costume for both guys and girls is the day of the dead theme. Just dress in black, buy an inexpensive face paint kit and get someone to paint the look on you.

At the end of the day Halloween is supposed to be fun and the one day out of the year where you can dress silly. So don’t stress out. Have fun and remember the best costume is never a witch or ghost. Your wallet and white sheets will thank you for it.