7 Pricey Popular Halloween Costumes and How To Create Them for Cheap

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Halloween is just around the corner and consumers are ready to spend, spend, spend after not being able to do much safely last year due to the pandemic. Though the pandemic is still raging on, Americans aren’t letting that hold them back from going all out for the scariest day of the year. 

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According to the National Retail Federation, spending on Halloween-related items is predicted to reach $10.14 billion, up significantly from $8.05 billion in 2020 and a record-breaking all-time high. Individually, Americans are due to spend an average of $102.74 on Halloween festivities this year.

An estimated $3.3 billion of that chunk of change will go toward Halloween costumes. That’s an awful lot to spend on an outfit you’ll wear maybe three times max (and that’s only if you’re planning to attend multiple parties, perhaps in addition to trick-or-treating). 

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It’s looking like pop culture figures are top of mind for those planning to dress up. Expect plenty of recognizable characters from hit shows like “The Mandalorian” and legendary superheroes like Black Widow, Spiderman and Black Panther. 

Make Your Money Work for You

The problem with these popular costumes is that when you buy them off the rack, they tend to cost a pretty penny. That’s because retailers know just how much you want them; but fear not on this most happily fearful occasion, craftiness can go a long way in helping you save money. 

Here’s a look at how to create pricey Halloween costumes on a budget. Get ready to break out the sewing machine and hit up the local Goodwill.

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Cruella DeVille

A new Cruella DeVille costume goes for around $54.99 on Amazon and that doesn’t include the signature red gloves, which go for around $10, and the two-toned wig, which costs about $22, and the infamous cigarette holder, which is $3. That’s about $90 for one costume. With a little creativity, this villainous costume can cost you much less. 

“This costume is basically a mix of a witch and a flapper girl, so it makes for an easy to pull-off DIY option,” said June Escalada, co-founder, PhotoshopBuzz, and a DIY enthusiast. “You’ll need a fur (or faux fur) coat, red gloves and heels, and a cigarette holder. A stuffed puppy is a good prop.”

Make Your Money Work for You

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Wonder Woman

A new Wonder Woman costume goes for $40 on Amazon — which isn’t too bad — but you can spend close to nothing if you’ve got some basic materials and fun jewelry lying around. 

“If you want to DIY a Wonder Woman costume, you’ll need to get a little more crafty,” Escalada said. “The skirt, top, headband, and bracelets/cuffs make this costume pop. You’ll need red, blue, and gold fabric if you are starting from scratch.” 

Harley Quinn

“This was one of the last year’s most popular costumes and is another one you can easily pull off without buying anything,” Escalada said. “Black leggings and a red and white top are essentials, as is getting the face makeup in order.”

Otherwise, you can drop between $30-$60 on a new Harley Quinn costume on Amazon.

Barbie

“Think pink with this option,” Escalada said. “You’ll want a slim-fitting short pink dress, pink heels, sunglasses, and a blonde wig if you aren’t already rocking that hair color. A spray tan would help the cause as well.”

You should be able to find a cheap pink dress at your local Goodwill, or even on Amazon (just don’t type in the word “Barbie” when searching). Bronzing spray goes for around $12 on Amazon, and a new blonde wig can go for around $20 on eBay.  

Wednesday Addams

“You can easily pull off that Addams family look with a black dress and white collar,” Escalada said. “If you don’t have the collar, you can make one out of paper or cut up a white button-up shirt for the same effect.”

Otherwise, you can buy a premade Wednesday Addams costume on Amazon for about $25 on Amazon and then $38 for the wig. To make this costume less expensive, DIY the dress and just splurge on the wig if your hair is not long enough to braid. 

Maleficent

The feather shawl and horns of a Maleficent costume go for around $50 on Amazon, but you can spend close to nothing if you just focus on the horns. 

“This costume is all about the headpiece,” Escalada said. “You need an elaborate set of glamorous horns to make this costume work. You can make this out of paper mache or get out the hot glue gun and piece it together in some other way. The rest of the outfit can be taken from your closet for minimal expense.”

Mario From Super Mario Bros.

For this, you’ll need a pair of children’s overalls, a red shirt, a red cap, white children’s gloves, yellow, some white felt (which you’ll cut out and glue onto the cap with the letter “M” written on it), yellow felt (which you’ll glue onto the straps of the overalls), and a fake mustache (though you could draw one on),” said Adam Garcia, founder of The Stock Dork and a father of three.  

If you don’t go the DIY way, you can fork over $26 for a kid’s Mario costume on Amazon.

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Last updated: Oct. 4, 2021 

 

 

 

About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.

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