There are many commercial costumes available at the local stores, however between the cost, and lack of imagination, and the fact you end up with a half dozen kids all looking the same at a party. Nothing beats homemade. Below is some basic ideas for you to play with. All are cheap, easy, and allow for tons of imagination.
Frugal Plan Ahead TIP: Use new or old sweat clothes or tee shirts with contact paper decorations Plain white contact paper can be decorated to the theme or use colored contact paper. After the event, peel off the contact paper. No Mess and No Damage.
Price Is Right Contestant: Paste some white numbers to a rectangle of green cardboard and add a strap to hang it around your neck. Add a paper name tag and act really excited to be playing!
Alvin(of the Chipmunks): Pin a big yellow "A" to the front of a huge red sweatshirt. Add a red baseball cap and sing loud and bad!
Star Trek Red-Shirt Guy: Use a red sweat shirt with black tape to make the classic designs. A little foil and a safety pin for a communicator badge and be sure to disappear from the action after the first scene!
The old stand by a Ghost: Grab a old white sheet, cut out the eyes. Be sure its is short enough not to trip you. Take scrap piece of sheet, and sew up a simple treat bag.
Why be the same old plain ghost? A ghost going out in public might like to get dressed up a little. Use the same old white sheet, cut out holes for the eyes and a small slit for the mouth. Then dress it up a little. Put eye shadow and lashes around the eyes. Lipstick for the mouth. Put a little color on the cheeks. How about earrings and a necklace ? You could color in a beard or mustache. Use something besides just a white sheet to be a little more fancy
Clown: Sweat clothes that are too large. Decorate by using either fabric paint, or markers or use contact paper for colors that are removable. For those who dare try tie-die. Tack on some large pop-poms, add a cheap wig, hat, and make-up. You may also stuff the extra space in clothing with tissue. However this could be messy, if you need to make a "pit-stop".
Scarecrow: Over sized flannel shirt, faded blue jeans with patches, rope for belt and to tie at the cuffs of his jeans and sleeves, stuff the shirt and jeans with plastic grocery, or paper, a little bit of straw (or shredded brown plastic bags) to hang out of jeans and shirt. Add a little bit of make-up.
The American tourist: Guys loud Hawaii shirt, shorts (if weather permits), Large straw hat. Gals bright loud dress, flats, big sun hat, straw bag. Don't forget to have a camera, and maps hanging out, and that look of being lost. Guys can use a tourist bag, (like you get from travel agents, and gals can use the straw bag for their treats.
1960s Hippy: This one is hard, after all its all back in style! What is real, and what is costume? ;-) Tie die clothing, long wig (in the old days we called a "fall", sandals, headband, anything with fringe on it (vests, purse...) light colored sun glasses. Add an overwhellming amount of patchuly oil or sandlewood oil, if you dare!
Old man: Dark pants (cuffed), and jacket, most any dress shirt, man's flannel hat, walking cane. Gray the hair, with any of the commercial temporary colors, or dust with a little flour.
Old woman: Old style dress, just below knee, knee-hi stockings rolled down a little, oxfords, large black purse.
Your chance to be a real nerd. Slick back the hair, grab some pants that are too short, white shirt, white socks, penny loafers, or lace up oxfords, pocket protector, with lots of pens, dark rim glasses (don't forget to tape the corner, or at least paper clip it) briefcase, or backpack for treat bag.
Japanese Doll: My daughter won with this costume! Her face was painted white, she had red rosy cheeks all shaped in a circle, Hair in buns, thong slippers, and a kimono(chinese dress)
Miss. America: Use a old bridesmaid dress of formal, add a pair of gloves, a tiara, some oversized jewelry, and heals. For the banner, a piece of wide ribbon, and write "Miss. America" in glitter.
Soda pop can: Use a round barrel, cut a hole in the bottom. You cut holes for arms and your head. Paint it the colors of a pop can. Presto! You have a pop can!!!
Static Cling: Wear anything a solid color is good all white or all black. With safety
pins pin anything to yourself i:e: socks, underware, bounce sheets, etc. You can also spray your hair straight up in the air. From: Maria
1950’s “Sock-Hopper”: It’s quite simple, just a round skirt, a white short-sleeved shirt, and some saddle shoes. (If you don’t have saddle shoes, plain buckle shoes are fine.) You could add some cat-eye glasses if you want. Tie their hair in a ponytail, and wrap a scarf around it.
Mummy: Wrap yourself in white bandages (rolls of gauze) Use splotches of green paint for "mold". Use white make-up on face with "age lines" drawn on. The stiff-legged gait works perfectly. Quasimodo the Hunchback of Notre Dame: Build the "hunchback" out of foam or cardboard. Find an old coat several sizes too large to accomodate this. Old, ratty clothes are great! Wear a snaggly wig and keep putting hand up to ear and muttering "eh?".
Pirate: Form a fake wooden leg by wrapping one leg in brown felt. Wear sailor pants or jeans with a striped top. Tie a bandana around your head, wear an eye patch, carry an empty bottle marked XXX (for the "rum") and mutter "aargh" a lot. Ask for "Trick or treat, matey!"
Crash test dummy - After! There is a commercial costume for this, but a good one can be made with sweats and tape to make the markings on it like the crash test dummies. Use bandages and fake blood to decorate. Fashion a seat belt out of webbing and an old buckle and pin in place. (or go to a junk yard as ask for an old seatbelt).
Train Engineer: A pair of blue jeans, a blue Jean jacket, a red and black bandana. a blue and white engineer hat, a whistle, and play lantern
Mother Nature: Silk flowers and silk plant leaves in a variety of shapes and colours an old skirt and vest, a face mask, twigs (collected from your nearby park or in your own backyard) to make a nest, a foam bird that you can find at any craft store, glue gun and wire or pins. Decorate the vest & skirt with the silk leaves in a random pattern and glue into place. Decorate the skirt with flowers growing out from the leaves already put in place. Use the remaining leaves and small flowers to decorate the face mask. Gather your twigs and secure with wire to make a nest. Place your bird on the twigs and secure into place with the wire. You can add some leaves and peat moss as a filler. The child can wear a dark colored turtleneck and leggings under the vest and skirt for the evening walk to get treats.
Skunk: Black sweats with a white strip of tape or contact paper down the back.. be careful everyone may run!
Bunny: Pink, brown, or white sweats, add a powder puff or large pom-pom to the backside, and a set of ears make from construction paper and a plastic headband. Now just hop on out and enjoy.
Turtle: Green with a piece of poster board attached to the back. Simple cut the poster board into a large oval, make random marks like a turtle shell, and paint.
Puppy: Brown, tan or white, either paint, or pin paper spots on. Make floppy ears and bobby pin to hair over your ears. The tale can be most anything, depending on what type of doggie you wish to be. Add a little make-up.
Kitten: Gold, brown, tan, white. Make ears from construction paper, attach to head band or bobby pin in to hair. Sew a simple round tale, and pin on.
Spider: Black, For the legs grab some cheap black hose, stuff with any thing dark and light weight. Either sew, or staple to keep stuffing from falling out. Pin to clothing, add a little make-up
Lady Bug: Use a pair of black sweats and black sweat shirt (and a pair of black shoes). Use a large piece of poster board or cardboard and cut out a large oval. Paint it red with black dots. Staple black elastic pieces (in a loop) onto the board to make arm holes. For the antenna attatch craft pipe cleaners with black pom poms on the ends to a headband.
Snowman: Use white sweats and pompoms for the coal. Add some makeup and a top hat. Use orange construction paper to make a carrot cone for a nose-just roll up the paper, trim and staple on some elastic to hold it in place. Don't forget the scarf!
Cereal Killer: Attach little cereal boxes to a shirt, cut a slit in the boxes, glue in plastic knives into the holes, drip red paint running down from the knife hole in the box.
Black Eye Pea: When I was younger, a teacher from my elementary school dressed up as a "black eyed pea" and it was so cute, my mother dressed me up the same way the next year. It is simple and cheap. Wearing all white, with black tennis shoes, I cut out the letter 'P' from black construction paper and pinned the P's all over the white outfit. I painted a black spot over one eye ("black eye" ... get it? :) hee hee) and I was a "black-eyed 'P' "
Butterfly: Put on black sweats and black shoes. Use a piece of poster board and paint wanted color cut them out in an appropriate wing shape. punch two holes toward the edges of the wings. put black ribbon through them and tie around waist. attach pipe cleaners and pompoms to a plastic head band.
Rubics cube: Using a large card board box and five different colors of contact paper or construction paper (contact paper is easier to stick on) enough to do 5 sides, black pants and long sleeve shirt. this was done very inexpensively and we had a lot of fun with it.
Dice: Grab a friend and take 2 cardboard boxes, paint them white. Cut out several black circles (From construction paper) and glue them in the appropriate places to make you and your friend a pair of dice!