Step aside, princesses. This year, superheros will be the most popular Halloween costume choice. According the the National Retail Federation (NRF), it’s estimated 3 million kids will dress up as superheros, usurping princesses for the first time in 11 years.
But Halloween isn’t just for kids, and neither are superheros. With the holidays around the corner, many families may fear the cost of Halloween this year. Since no one wants to be left out of the fun, we've come up with 55 easy and creative costumes (including 2016's most popular!) for adults, children, couples and groups that won't cost you an arm and a leg (unless you're a real zombie, that is).
Image via Popsugar
1. Ghostbusters: With the release of the re-vamped, all-female Ghostbusters film, it’s no surprise that 2016 will see a lot of tan jumpsuits. Luckily, this costume is very easy to make from thrift store materials like beige pants and shirts and chunky black boots. Add details to your jumpsuit with colored tape. Spray paint water guns black and you’re set!
2. Pokemon GO Trainers: Another not-so-surprising trend this year is the colorfully-clad trainers from the Pokemon GO game. Whether you’re team yellow, blue or red, you’ll be able to make your costume for very little green since the outfits primarily consist of leggings, shorts, jackets and hats. Paint a soccer ball to look like a Pokeball and strap on a backpack for the finishing touches.
3. Harley Quinn: Though superheros take the top spot for costumes, this Suicide Squad super-villain is expected to be very popular this year. The look can be achieved with a simple baseball shirt, short shorts, fishnet tights and the trademark red and blue pigtails. To save on some of the signature accessories for Harley Quinn, use our Spirit Halloween coupon for 20% off your purchase.
4. Star Wars Characters: The Star Wars hype doesn’t seem to have an end date, and with Rogue 1 coming out in December, Star Wars costumes are as popular as ever. Consider this for a group, as most of the outfits can be made with clothes you likely already have. This DIY Rey costume uses gauze, fabric and household props to create a convincing costume for less, while Finn’s look can be quickly achieved with black pants, a black shirt and a cheap jacket which you customize with markers or tape!
Photo via YouTube
5. Snapchat Filters: We’ve all seen those silly filters on Snapchat, but this year they come out into the real world as one of the most popular costume choices. From flower crowns to animals, there’s an easy and inexpensive way to showcase your favorite filter with simple craft supplies. For example, for the dog ears filter,simply apply dog-nose makeup or a fake nose and add paper cut-out ears which you draw yourself. Done and done!
6. Minions: One of the easiest costumes on the list is also still one of the most popular. Kiddos can channel their inner minion with a hooded yellow shirt or sweatshirt, denim overalls and oversized goggles. Young adults and ladies: if you want to ruin childhoods everywhere, feel free to sport the "sexy minion" look with a yellow crop top, hot-pant overalls and DIY headgear.
7. Political Candidates: Since 2016 is an election year, it’s obvious there will be plenty of political getups going around. Though you can purchase masks of the candidates at Halloween stores, consider how you can cleverly create your own with materials you already have. Shop thrift stores for a basic black suit or brightly-colored pantsuit, and add a trademark feature, like wind-swept hair or a fake, toothy grin.
8. Olympic Athletes: The summer games may be over, but they left plenty of memories for great costumes this year. Gymnast Simone Biles will be popular for girls, while men might opt for Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte. These looks typically require just a leotard, swimsuit or athletic uniform, so you can make them for less. Pick up a cheap gold (or silver or bronze) medal at your local Halloween store.
9. Frozen Characters: Even if you’re not a parent, chances are you’ve heard “Let It Go” so many times you know it by heart. Though Frozen came out three years ago, it still reigns as one of the most popular Halloween options. A good tip for this one: check garage sales and even reach out to friends for leftover Elsa costumes. Chances are you can pick one up for your little princess for next to nothing.
10. Batman: Although it seems like everyone and their dog has been Batman at some point or another, this character remains tried but true. Batman and his crew made the NRF’s fourth-most popular Halloween costume for 2016. Dress yourself or your little superhero in all black and make your own Batman mask for a frugal approach to The Dark Knight.
11. Zombie: Sure, witches and ghosts are also popular “classic” Halloween characters, but as long as there are new zombie movies and shows coming out, zombies will make the top of the list for trending costumes. Luckily, unless you’re playing a specific character from shows like The Walking Dead, zombie costumes are as easy as putting on makeup and ripping up some clothes.
12. Stranger Things’ Eleven: Since its release on Netflix back in July, Stranger Things has taken the TV streaming world by storm. This year will see plenty of the show’s most popular character, Eleven. Using simple clothes like a plain pink dress, knee high socks and an oversized blue jacket, see how to create her look here.
13. Backwards Man: This simple concept was popular in the 1980s and is due for a revival. Simply put your clothes on backwards, pad your front to give yourself some "back" and voila, you're ready. Inexpensive, easy and office appropriate!
14. Beyonce’s Lemonade: Beyonce’s latest album release brought with it a new pop culture trend: mustard yellow. Only Beyonce could take what’s usually a fashion faux pas and turn it into a hot fashion statement. Get Beyonce’s look by getting clever with yellows, and don’t forget your baseball bat. Even if your dress doesn’t look exactly like Bey’s, you’ll still stand out in this trending favorite.
Via Erica Chung
15. Food: You can never go wrong dressing as your favorite food. Food costumes’ popularity has gone up considerably on Pinterest over the years, meaning more people are exploring the DIY world of homemade taco, donut and pizza costumes. Most can be created with very little effort and minimal materials.For example, check out this sushi costume that uses a pillow, felt and basic clothing. Done.
16. Luke Cage: Last year saw Jessica Jones, but the hottest Netflix superhero this year is Luke Cage. Get this look using a Carhartt zip-up sweatshirt with holes or a tight fitting tee, and add a prop chain for effect. This might also be a good fit for a group who plans on showcasing Marvel characters.
17. Emojis: If your primary source of emotion comes from pixelated text pictures, this costume is for you. Make your own emoji costume or find full versions from costume stores and save with a coupon! If you really want to impress (or shock), American Eagle has some fun masks, including the disgusting but popular smiling poo.
18. David Bowie: The costume possibilities are endless with Bowie. Whether you channel the Ziggy Stardust image with lightning facepaint or opt for the immortal Labyrinth look, you’re sure to impress with any of these iconic styles. Search thrift shops and costume stores for leotards, jackets, wigs and more.
Via Debbie Brenner
19. "Punny" Costumes: These costumes take cleverness and very few materials. For example, make an outfit out of cut up cereal boxes and get a cheap plastic knife and voila! Cereal killer. Another idea: tape Smarties candies to a pair of jeans or leggings and go as a Smarty Pants.
20. Gangster: Some may prefer the under-dressed Sopranos style, but for a traditional gangster you'll need dress pants, a vest, fedora and toy machine gun. Considering the zero-tolerance policies at most American schools, children may prefer to nix the gun for an empty violin case. The more pinstripes the better.
21. Coach: Whether male or female, basketball, football or hockey, a coach makes an easy costume for parents who want to feel comfortable all night while supporting their local “team.” Make it a family event and have your kids dress up as athletes.
22. Decade Costumes: There’s nothing quite like nostalgia. Pick your favorite decade and deck out with leg warmers, poodle skirts, bulky jewelry, acid wash jeans and more. Chances are you either have these things hiding in your drawers, or can find them for next to nothing. The best part: there’s no shaming your style choices on Halloween!
23. Little Red Riding Hood: A good one for adults and kids, Little Red Riding Hood is as easy as putting on a red cape. Of course, the basket is a semi-necessary prop, and if you really want to go all out, find a plush wolf you can carry around as well.
24. Witch: Dressing as a witch is easy-peasey since a cheap, pointy hat is all you need to convey the look. If you want to get technical, pair the hat with a black dress, striped stockings and a pair of Mary Janes. We like What I Wore's take on the classic Wicked Witch of the West -- floppy hat, trendy black coat and of course that signature green skin.
25. Grandma: While modern grandparents are more likely found on a cruise than in a rocking chair, the traditional granny is still a fun and easy costume that primarily requires you get into character. Turn an old afghan into a shawl, paint lines on your face with eyeliner and powder your hair and you’re good to go. A recent trend has parents also dressing up babies as grandparents, and it’s ridiculously adorable.
Via HYung86 on DeviantArt
26. Princess or Disney Character: Before you picture the traditional tiara and pouffy dress look, think outside the box. There are many interpretations of princesses and Disney favorites, and you can take a modern (and far more frugal) approach by trying "If Disney Characters Were in College." Like that scary look? Try “Twisted Disney Princesses.”
27. No-Sheet Ghost: Wear an old nightgown, wedding dress, or tattered clothes. Sprinkle your hair with baby powder and on your skin for a from-the-tomb look. (Honestly though, the sheet ghost will always have a place on the best-of list, too.)
28. Pile of Laundry: The perfect costume for college students! Simply pin clothes onto an old outfit or, for a more complex costume, cut the bottom out of an old laundry basket, fill it with clothes and wear it around your waist.
29. Vampire: These days, dressing as a vampire is as simple as glamour makeup and a perfected pout. If you want to go the more traditional route, invest a couple bucks in a set of plastic fangs. Pair black pants with a white button-up and affix a black sheet or piece of fabric to the collar for a cape. Paint a dribble of blood at the corner of your mouth and perfect your Transylvanian accent.
30. Tombstone: Cut two large tombstone-shaped pieces out of cardboard and paint them gray. Add moss and dirt by sponge-painting green and brown. Let the cardboard dry and paint an appropriate inscription in black. Punch two holes on either side of both pieces and fasten them together with yarn or string cut long enough so the cardboard can be worn as a sandwich sign. Make sure you wear black to set off the tombstone.
31. Monster: Cut different shapes of fabric strips of every color. Sew or glue them to a sweatsuit with hoodie, leaving no blank spaces. (Add a hat if you have no hood.) For best affect, the sweatsuit should be too large but make sure children won't trip on extra fabric.
Easy & Clever Costumes
32. Spice Girls: Get your girls together and make spice labels out of butcher paper. Add a simple red “lid” hat and you’ve got the Spice Girls!
33. Nudist On Strike: Wait, what? Just think about it -- arrive at work or your Halloween party fully clothed. Nudist on strike. If you don’t want to explain yourself, pin a sign to your shirt!
34. Tourist: Nearly everyone has a Hawaiian shirt in their closets. Add some Bermuda shorts, sandals with socks and sling a camera around your neck. For a humorous look, put brochures in your pockets.
35. Buccaneer: Attach a dollar to each ear. Buck-an-ear… get it?
36. Babysitter: Strap a baby doll to your rear end and sit on it. Sick, but easy.
37. Leaf Blower: Dangle a leaf from the bill of a baseball cap. When asked about your costume, just blow on the leaf. This same concept can be used for a snowblower costume.
38. Gangrene: This is a good one for groups. Get the squad together and everyone wears green. Get it?
39. Q-Tip: Dress entirely in blue and cover a cap and your shoes with cotton balls. Why you'd want to do this is beyond us, but if you have this particular sense of humor, go for it!
40. Melted Snowman: Here's a wet one. Douse your body with water and bring a carrot, scarf and two sticks. Continue the dousing all night for the full effect. Not advised if you’ll be spending time outside in low temperatures; you could become a real snowman.
41. Hole-in-One: Golfers will love this easy costume. Just cut a large numeral 1 out of a piece of cardboard and cut a hole in the middle of the 1. Attach the cardboard to your chest and let them guess.
42. Quarter Pounder: For the very laziest costumer, carry a quarter and a hammer. Prepare to demonstrate pounding the quarter with the hammer when called upon to explain your costume.
43. Autograph or Yearbook: This is one costume you may never want to throw away. Dress all in white, carry a Sharpie pen, then ask people to sign your clothes. This could be particularly fun for grade-schoolers or children learning to write.
44. 50 Cent: Don't be surprised if you're not the only rap fan to tape two quarters to your chest. Still funny though.
45. Pull Toy: Only the agile should attempt turning themselves into a pull toy by donning skates and tying a rope around their waist.
46. Work of Art: This couldn't be easier. Hang a large picture frame around your neck. After all, you’re a work of art! If you want to make it complicated, consider dressing up as a specific work of art, such as the Mona Lisa or a Van Gogh self-portrait.
47. Blackmail: Wear all black and glue postage stamps to your chest.
48. Chia Pet: Wrap yourself in duct tape with the sticky part on the outside then roll on your lawn. Not to be attempted during snow.
49. Web Sight: Turn yourself into a Web site by draping fake spider webs all over a pair of eyeglasses.
50. Soldier or Hunter: Fans of camouflage should already have the makings for these costumes in their closets, but make sure your gun is obviously a toy.
51. Flower Power: This one's a perennial favorite. Whether you were a hippy or merely descended from hippies. The key is to top your outfit off with a bandana.
52. Grape Bunch: Blow up purple or green balloons and attach to a simple costume or all-black clothing.
Via The Thinking Closet
53. Pea Variations: To create a black-eyed pea, pin a paper P to the shirt and blacken one eye. A split pea requires cutting the paper P in half and attaching each half to a string around the neck.
54. Pumpkin: Accent an orange sweatshirt and pants with a green baseball cap (worn backwards, naturally). Thicken the middle by tying a rolled-up towel or blanket under your shirt. For a jack-o-lantern, pin black felt triangles to the shirt in the pattern of a ghoulish face. Trend it up by adding the word “spice” to your outfit.
55. Raining Cats & Dogs: Already have an umbrella? Then raid your kids’ toy boxes for plush cat and dog toys and adhere them to the umbrella. Put on a raincoat, and you’ve got a warm, dry and hilarious pun costume.
Fake Blood Recipe: Just in case! 1 cup Karo syrup, 1 Tbsp. water, 2 Tbsp. red food coloring, 1 tsp. yellow food coloring. Mix everything together in a mixing bowl. You may need to add some blue to get the right color.