Halloween Costumes: Buy or DIY?

By Amrutha Chethikattil

It’s that time of the year…We can all smell the pumpkin in the air, feel the drop in temperature, and see the Halloween spirit all around us. So there’s that one question demanding to be answered once again, “What should I be for Halloween this year?”

We’ve all had our share of embarrassing “Halloweens-gone-wrong”. Just last year, I thought of a brilliant idea to cut holes in a pillowcase and wear it over my head in an attempt to get candy. Was it successful? Yes. Will I ever do that again? No. This year I opted for a new method, one I have never tried before: I’m making my own costume! This got me thinking; no one actually makes their own costumes anymore. However, the homemade costumes are always the ones that get the most praise at every Halloween Party.

The pros of buying your own costume are obvious; you’re guaranteed a good costume right? Best of all, it requires minimal effort, and in the end, making your own costume will always win. They tend to be the most eye-catching and creative. It’s not hard at all to differentiate between a homemade costume versus a store-bought from even a cursory glance. So why spend forty dollars on a lame costume you’ll end up throwing away and never using again, when you can make your own?

Assuming at this point the only reason you would buy your costume is either because you’re lazy, terribly uncreative, or just have no time, I have compiled a list of seven easy do-it-yourself costumes that are super cheap but still look like you put lots of effort into it.

1. Bag of Jelly Beans

Yes, this sounds incredibly weird at first but isn’t that the point of Halloween anyways?

jellybean costume

How it works: Get a large clear trash bag and cut holes for your arms and legs. Print and attach the nutritional facts of jellybeans on the back. Fill the bag up with different colored balloons, and tie the trash bag up near your neck with a bright ribbon of your choice!

2. Nerd Costume

This one should be easy for us BASIS students. Pull out your graphing calculator, Ladies and Gentlemen.


How it Works: Get a pair of big nerdy glasses and stick a band-aide right in the middle (because your glasses broke but you were too busy studying to get them fixed). Wear suspenders and make sure to tuck in your shirt. Try to avoid bright and attractive clothing in general. Fill your pockets up with pens and calculators, or keep some tucked behind your ear. Your hair should be pinned up or styled to look very preppy. Don’t forget to wear as much plaid and button-ups as you can!

3. Mime

This is great for anti- social people because mimes don’t have to talk! 😉

mime costume

How it Works: Buy some white face makeup at any Halloween store or even some drug stores, and cover your whole face with it. Wear black clothes or striped black-and-white clothes. Wear some white gloves if you have them. And don’t forget the bright red lipstick!

4. Velma and Shaggy

Seriously, would this not be the cutest nerd couple outfit ever


How it Works: For Velma, wear an orange turtleneck, red skirt, orange socks, and red shoes. Don’t forget her big, bulky glasses. If you can, try dying your hair red or purchase a wig for a greater effect. For Shaggy, first thing first, mess up your hair to the point it looks like you haven’t been out of the house in days. Then, wear a baggy green tee-shirt with brown pants or shorts. If possible, top it off with grown-out beard (or you can buy a fake one).

5. Error Code 404: Costume not Found

For all the sarcastic, non- creative people out there.

error 404

How it works: Purchase a white t-shirt and some black puffy paint or fabric markers; you can find all of this at Michael’s. Write “ERROR 404- Costume Not Found”.

6. Nyan Cat

‘Cuz why not?

Nyan cat

How it Works: Get a rainbow flag and wear it as a cape. Wear a pink top that basically looks like a pop-tart. Top it off with some cat ears and whiskers to complete the look. Disclaimer: No the rainbow flag will not allow you to fly so please don’t try to.

7. Vampire

Get your fake blood ready!


How it Works: Buy a pair of fake vampire teeth and put on foundation several shades paler than your own. Wear all black and drizzle fake blood or food coloring on the sides of your mouth. Use dark eyeliner to draw in two holes on the side of your neck, if you’re a vampire that has been turned recently. You can have fun with this one by modifying the outfit to match a TV, movie, or book character you like.


Hopefully one of these ideas inspired you! As for my costume this year, I’m dressing up as the Corpse Bride from the Tim Burton movie! Wish me luck, and be sure to comment below if you have any costume suggestions 🙂

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