Humble Halloween: Creative and Cost Effective Family Costumes

Once upon a time, when my husband and I were quintessential dinks, I would dress my yellow Labrador Retriever up for Halloween. She’s been a bumblebee, lobster, and, most notably, me. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a dog wearing a cardigan and pearl necklace. Imagine the joy I had to costume real, actual human beings when my children were born! No one loves themed family costumes as much as I do. But, I have seen them all time and time again: superheroes, pirates, Disney characters, zoo animals…the list goes on. I am here to offer new and affordable family costumes. (All ideas presented can be adapted to suit your unique family with options for men, women, boys, and girls). 

For the Art Lovers: Bob Ross and his happy trees make for not only a memorable costume but one of the least expensive to execute. Dress dad in blue jeans, a light blue oxford or chambray shirt, brown belt, and shoes. Add a brown curly wig with a matching beard, and, voila! Bob Ross! Let the kids help make mom’s costume: take a plain white shirt and smudge colorful paint all over it; then, pair it with leggings and a paintbrush in-hand to create a simple palette. If your children are between four and 14 years old, this costume makes a great, inexpensive happy trees option. For those younger, take a solid-colored shirt, and use a hot glue gun to apply faux-silk tree leaves in green and fall colors. Trees guaranteed, happy well, that part falls on mom and dad! 

For the Fashion Fanatics: There are so many figures in the fashion industry that represent an iconic style easily replicated for the purpose of costuming. Picture your family dressed as Iris Apfel, Karl Lagerfeld, Kate Spade, and Alexander McQueen. Legendary Iris Apfel is known for her flashy, avant-garde style. A quick trip to the Salvation Army for colorful threads, baubles, and these round glasses will make the perfect Iris! Karl Lagerfeld, the Creative Director for Chanel and Fendi, is almost exclusively clothed in black and white. If the male in your household owns a black suit, white collared shirt, and black tie, then this costume is 75% complete. Add these sunglasses and a white wig to top off the look. Feeling extra? Embellish his tie with a large sparkly brooch in lieu of a tie clip. Kate Spade and her eye-catching bows are easily imitated. An ensemble of this top and this skirt will scream “live colorfully” on your little lady. Add pearl earrings and a small handbag (bonus points for green), and you have a mini-Kate. Alexander McQueen was arguably the most flamboyant designer of the 90s until his passing in 2010. A google image search of his name reveals the outlandish, textured, and often garish creations that represented his brand. He was once photographed resting upon a skull while holding a cigarette. His look works well for the bald or buzz-cut gentleman in your life. White pants or dark denim with a white shirt, a dainty necklace, faux wrist “bracelet” tattoos, and a goatee complete this edgy costume of a once-controversial icon. Take it one step further with an antler headpiece.

For the Shopping Addicts: This one is so easy, you’ll freak! Raise your hand if you receive weekly deliveries from Amazon and Target! I’m allowing you to label this costume, but my favorite options are Front Porch; Shopping Junkie; and Special Delivery. Mom dresses in the color of her front door with a wreath around her neck. Dad will act as the USPS Mailman, dressed in blue from head to toe, and donning a mail satchel. The kids can pick their favorite delivery boxes to wear: just poke holes through both sides of the boxes and thread ribbon or rope through to create straps for over their shoulders. I didn’t exclude your four-legged friend this time: a UPS costume from Amazon is reasonably-priced and beyond adorable!

For the Last-Minute Family: We’ve all seen the minivan stick family car decals and some of us may even be guilty of having one! Dress each person entirely in black clothing. Use white electrical tape to create a stick figure on each family member’s body. If you have an extra 20 minutes, cut a circle “head” out of black poster board, line it with white tape or paint, draw a face, and secure a popsicle stick to the back to create a mask. 

These costumes shouldn’t take you more than an hour to complete and will surely turn heads during this year’s Halloween festivities. So eat, drink, and be scary…or at least unique!

Share your affordable costume ideas with us! We’d love to see them.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.