Heading to the thrift store to assemble your Halloween costume? These 18 cheap DIY Halloween costumes are inspired by common thrift store finds. Try one and don’t compromise fun for frugality!
I can never justify spending $100 on a Halloween costume I’ll only wear once.
Sure it’s easier to throw on and go but where’s the fun in that? Half of what makes Halloween interesting is checking out the crazy DIY costumes people come up with. And the first place I go for costume inspiration is the thrift store.
Walking into a thrift store can be overwhelming when you don’t know what you’re looking for. So consider me your guide through the aisles with 18 Halloween costume ideas you’re sure to find supplies for at the thrift store.
Thrift Store Halloween Costumes for Kids
Thrift Store Find: Vinyl Records
They’re out there, they’re cheap, and they’re the ideal feature for a super-cool DJ costume. All you need is a box, some hot glue, a little paint, and those thrift store vinyls. Seriously, you don’t even need a tutorial for this one!
Team it up with something black or bling, and your DJ costume is good to go. So, maybe it’s not scary – who cares? It’s awesome!
Thrift Store Find: Ballerina Tutu and a Bit of Felt
Costume: Fairy Princess
What little girl doesn’t want to be a fairy princess? Outfitting her in royal style can be as easy as a visit to the thrift shop for anything in tulle, or even a ready-made tutu, plus following a simple tutorial.
Her skirt is quick and easy to make, and her crown and wand are just too cute for words. But, hey! Didn’t you want to be a fairy queen? With a bit of adaptation, this costume could be for you too.
Thrift Store Find: A Basket
Costume: Hot-Air Baloon
Transform a thrift store basket into a transport of delight. Add a big helium balloon, and our hot air balloonist is ready to go trick or treating.
As for the clothes, anything will do – the basket and balloon combo are enough to complete the costume. Whether the animated classic “Up!” is your favorite movie or not, this one’s a winner.
Thrift Store Find: A Lamp Shade
Turn your little sweetie into a living cupcake with the help of a big lampshade from the thrift store. Spray paint it pink and let it be the cupcake wrapper, get crafty with a bit of hot glue and some poly-fil, and voila!
There’s no mistaking the cupcake, and there’s no mistaking the cuteness either. That’s one little trick-or-treater who’ll come home with a full bag of Halloween loot!
Thrift Store Find: Books
Costume: Book Fairy
There are always a ton of books at the thrift store. You could go with a boring librarian costume or go with a costume so unique you won’t see a copycat.
Dukes and Duchesses made this cute Book Fairy costume that can easily be made with a single dictionary or encyclopedia.
Thrift Store Find: Stuffed Animals
Costume: Cat Lady
There’s no shortage of stuffed animals at thrift stores, all you have to do for this cat lady costume is dig through and pick out the kitties! Find your old robe and slippers, and you’ve got a costume that’ll confirm all the suspicions your neighbors have had about you for years.
Some additions to top this costume of are hair rollers, cat toys, cat-eye glasses, and a pooper-scooper.
Thrift Store Find: Tulle
If you’re willing to commit to some serious hairspray, you don’t even need tulle for this troll costume. But if you don’t have time for that you can make this DIY troll hair.
Ladies can complete the look with a blue dress and headband while guys can wear shorts and a green vest. Or if you’re into a more vintage Troll look you finally have a reason to bring out that nude bodysuit!
Thrift Store Find: Plaid Shirt
I have a lot of grand costume ideas, but when October 30th comes around, I’m usually just scrambling to find something in my closet I can pretend is a costume. Plaid shirts are easy to find at the thrift store. That’s how I was a lumberjack one year.
Suspenders, jeans, and boots finish up this costume. And have you been thinking about baby Halloween costumes? There’s nothing cuter than a baby with a beard.
Thrift Store Find: Umbrella
If you’re short on time, this costume is quick and easy. Plastic umbrellas look best, but you can spray paint any color. White ribbon and yarn are this jelly’s tentacles and complete with eyes cut out of construction paper.
Here’s a tutorial showing you how to make this one. I especially like the battery powered lights, but it looks great without them too.
Thrift Store Halloween Costumes for Adults
Thrift Store Find: Yellow Dress
Costume: La La Land
Emma Stone’s iconic yellow dress in La La Land will be easily identified at this year’s Halloween parties. Look for a knee-length dress with a square neckline and pair with silver or black shoes. If you’re feeling extra crafty, you can draw simple black flowers on the dress.
But wait, there’s more! Dance your way through all the Halloween parties with this tutorial from Brit + Co to make this a couples costume!
Thrift Store Find: Hula Skirt
Hula skirts are surprisingly easy to find at thrift stores but if you don’t see one a straw mat will do just as well. Top it with a white skirt or fabric and cut a top and sash out of red fabric or a sheet and you’re on your way.
Check out this video tutorial for up close design detail and a cool sash hack!
Thrift Store Find: Denim Shirt
Costume: Rosie the Riveter
Fun fact, Rosie the Riveter is not wearing denim in her iconic picture. That blue-collar and red bandana are all cotton. The good news is while most ladies don denim, you can wear any dark blue top.
High five if you can actually find dark blue coveralls but if not, round out your look with jeans and combat boots. If you’re feeling like going the extra mile, you can grab some poster board and sketch out that infamous statement “We Can Do It!”
Thrift Store Find: Long Sleeve Shirt
Costume: Emoji Girl
Unless you’ve been living in a bunker, you’re familiar with the small people who’s gesturing have become the spectrum of emotions for millennials. You can actually make a lot of emoji costumes really quickly, but there’s one in particular that takes virtually no effort.
A long sleeve purple or pink shirt for ladies or blue for men is enough to finish this simple and easy DIY Halloween costume. Now all you have to do is a shrug, put one arm up in the air, and facepalm all night.
Thrift Store Find: Apron
Costume: ‘50s Housewife
Aprons are easy to find or make.
Find a dress, some heels, and a new pair of rubber gloves to complete the look.
Real House Moms did an excellent job on her costume and had the great idea of going out with her “Milkman!”
Thrift Store Find: Red Ribbon
Costume: Mary Poppins
Mary Poppin’s outfit was pretty fashion forward. I’m sure most ladies have a long skirt, white blouse, and grey sweater in their closet right now. All you need is a little red ribbon for a bow tie, belt, and the cherries she wears on her hat. A black bowler and some daises can easily be found at the thrift store as well.
Mary’s friend Bert makes for a quick and easy costume too. Pair any dark pants with a grey top, and red scarf then dab some dirt on your face. Bam!
Thrift Store Find: Pearls
Costume: Audrey Hepburn
There’s always a treasure trove of costume jewelry at the thrift store, and if you can find a thick pearl necklace, then you’ve got an Audrey Hepburn costume waiting to happen.
Throw those babies on with a little black dress, long black gloves, and sunglasses or a makeshift cigarette holder and everyone will know who you are.
Thrift Store Find: Windbreaker
Costume: 90’s Hip Hop Star
There seems to be a windbreaker on every rack so I had to find a good costume and this may be my favorite on the list.
The 90’s are back baby. There’s nothing more nostalgic than 90’s hip-hop, and you can relive that golden era of music with your windbreaker, jeans, boots, and some gold jewelry.
Thrift Store Find: White Sheet
Costume: Snapchat Ghost
Have you forgotten about this classic costume of your youth? The ghost is the king of cheap DIY Halloween costumes. But if you want to be comfortable in your ghost costume you’ll want to do a little more than just cut out some eye holes.
This easy DIY Snapchat ghost costume from Lucykiins is a new take on an old faithful. Take it to the next level by carrying your phone around taking pictures of everyone all night.
If you’re at the end of your rope with costumes, you can always try one of our Halloween makeup tutorials or stay home and watch scary movies all night. Whatever you choose, don’t let a lack of costume keep you from having fun this Halloween!
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