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Halloween Costumes on a Student Budget

Posted on September 30th, 2016 by Bryanna Davis

Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, is coming up on October 31st. If you’re not from a country that traditionally celebrates Halloween (or even if you are) then you’ll want to prepare yourself for a lot of fun! People of all ages throughout the US dress up in costumes to celebrate this holiday. A great way to experience Halloween as an international student is to put on a costume and find a Halloween party or festival to attend. If you’ve already scoped out the local costume shop or online then you know that costumes are not cheap. However, just because you don’t have $40-$100 to shell out on a costume doesn’t mean you can’t join in on the fun, a great alternative to buying a costume is to make your own!

When it comes to making your own costume it will require a lot of creativity, brainstorming and for you to take inventory of your closet. If you’re not sure what type of costume to create, here are a few ideas for Halloween costumes on a student budget:

Where’s Waldo
What you’ll need:

  • Jeans
  • Red and white horizontal stripped shirt
  • Red and white stocking cap
  • Glasses
  • A cane

If you can’t find a red and white striped shirt buy a white shirt and hat, some red paint and start painting stripes!

What you’ll need:

  • A plain black shirt and pants or dress
  • Safety pins
  • Purple or light green balloons

Make the balloons various sizes so you can make sure you cover your entire body. Also, use the safety pins through the knot of the balloon so they have a stronger hold. Makes sure you bring a few extra balloons in case a few pop throughout the night.

What you’ll need:

  • Face paint
  • Hair spray and/or gel
  • Clothes you don’t mind ruining

With zombie culture popularity still going strong this is a crowd-pleasing choice and very easy to make. Find a YouTube tutorial on zombie makeup, then mess up your hair and make sure it stays messy by adding some hairspray and gel. Find some clothes that you don’t mind destroying (or buy some from a thrift store) then start making holes in them. If you have extra make up left over (or fake blood) smear some on your clothes for the finishing touch. Make sure you watch an episode of The Walking Dead before you head out so you can take notes on how to act like a zombie.

What you’ll need:

  • A black and white horizontal striped shirt
  • A black hat
  • White and black face paint
  • Black suspenders or scarf
  • White gloves

Most of these items are easily accessible with the exception of white gloves. If you’re not able to find white gloves make sure you check out the winter glove section!

Bank Robber
What you’ll need:

  • All black clothes
  • A white pillow case
  • A permanent marker
  • A black stocking cap or ski mask (optional)

Draw a money sign on your white pillow case, throw on an all-black outfit and you’re ready to go! This is the easiest costume to make so if you decide to dress up at the last minute this costume is a great option.


What you’ll need:

  • A white t-shirt or dress
  • White pants
  • White shoes
  • A halo
  • Wings

You likely already have some white clothes around your place. If not, it’s easy to find them at the store. A halo and wings can be found at any costume shop at a low cost.


What you’ll need:

  • A black t-shirt or dress
  • Black pants
  • Black shoes
  • Devil horns
  • A cape (optional)

Another really easy one to do if you already have black clothes around your place. If not, these items are easy to find at the store.

If you have other costume ideas that international students can make on their own, let us know!

Written by Bryanna Davis

Bryanna joined EIC in 2011 after returning to the United States from teaching English in China. Her interest in international education, sparked initially by her own study abroad experience in Wales, led her to the company. Bryanna is originally from Missouri and is a graduate from the University of Central Missouri.

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One Response to “Halloween Costumes on a Student Budget”

  1. Tom Says:

    it is a night greatly enjoyed with demons, so dress evil

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