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6 DIY Halloween costume ideas that won’t break the bank


Halloween is one week away, and whether you’re staying in and binge-watching horror movies or going to costume parties, dressing up is a fun and creative way to get into the spirit of the season.

This year, 179 million Americans plan to celebrate Halloween and will spend a record-breaking $3.4 billion on costumes alone, according to the National Retail Federation, also known as the NRF.

If that seems like a lot for a college student’s budget, here are some alternative Do It Yourself (DIY) costumes that won’t hurt your wallet.

1) The Losers’ Club from “IT” (2017)

The horror movie “IT,” based on Stephen King’s 1986 novel, was released Sept. 8 and has made international waves. It grossed more than $320 million in about one month, according to Box Office Mojo.

Moviegoers watched the struggles of the dorky but endearing “Losers’ Club” and shook in their seats at the sight of Pennywise the dancing clown. The popularity and scary nature of this movie makes it perfect to draw inspiration from this Halloween.

Ryan DelGrego, a UCF experimental animation major, chose to go as Eddie Kaspbrak, a tiny-but-fierce hypochondriac and member of the “Losers’ Club.”

“I really liked the movie, and Eddie was such a funny character,” DelGrego, 21, said. “Since his costume consists of a peach polo, a fanny pack, a pair of short-shorts and gym socks, it was easy to make.”

The great thing about dressing up as a member of the “Losers’ Club” is that the costumes are easily made with clothes you already own. If there’s an old graphic T-shirt or a pair of cut-off overalls that are collecting dust in your closet, now is the perfect time to break them out.

“I had most of the items already,” DelGrego said. “I just had to buy the polo from a thrift store, and I borrowed a fanny pack.”

While these costumes are simple in nature, attention to small details can make the costumes instantly recognizable. Richie Tozier’s coke-bottle glasses and Hawaiian shirt, Eddie Kaspbrak’s ‘LOSER’ cast and Beverly Marsh’s fiery red hair and freckles are just a few key details to keep in mind.

2. Pennywise from “IT” (2017)

If you’re looking for something more on the scary side, dressing up as the main antagonist Pennywise the Dancing Clown is the way to go.

Pennywise’s terrifyingly iconic look is one that’s easily attainable with a little creativity. His main features are his clown outfit and creepy makeup.

His outfit features a Victorian-esque puffy collar, a gray shirt with red pom-poms down the front, a gray double-layered tutu and gray pants.

As far as makeup goes, there’s a plethora of Pennywise makeup tutorials on YouTube. This tutorial goes in-depth and explains each step, so even those who aren’t makeup artists can look frighteningly accurate.

All you need to do is add the iconic red balloon, and you’re ready to get your scare on!

3) Unicorn

This year was undeniably the year of the unicorn. From Unicorn Frappuccinos, to unicorn-themed lipstick and even unicorn snot glitter gel, we couldn’t get enough of the unicorn’s magical appeal. 

If you think your Halloween should be cute instead of creepy, a unicorn is the perfect costume.

A magical unicorn costume is equal parts chic and cheap because you can decide for yourself how much effort you want to put into it.

Want to go as a full-glam unicorn? Get a brightly colored wig, put on a rainbow tutu and cover yourself in sparkles.

Looking for something more subtle? A simple leotard and tights will get the job done. As long as you have a unicorn horn, everyone will know what you are.

If you want to try and do a fun and glitzy look for your unicorn costume, a YouTube tutorial like this one can give you inspiration.

4) Belle from “Beauty and the Beast”

The live-action remake of the classic animated Disney love story, originally released in 1991, was released on March 17. The movie currently holds the title of the highest-grossing movie of 2017 with more than $500 million in sales, according to Box Office Mojo.

Belle stole our hearts all over again when she returned to the big screen, and so she is perfect for a lovable Halloween look.

Emily Fisher, a 20-year-old experimental animation major at UCF, chose to create Belle’s first outfit in the movie, which is a simple blue dress, white apron and a blue hair ribbon.

“I thought that she would be the easiest princess to DIY,” Fisher said. “I made my bow with just ribbon and hot glue. I got an apron from Michaels and cut it to be smaller, and I just wore a blue dress and shoes I already had.

“Without the blue dress, I probably paid about $8.”

5) Characters from Netflix’s “Stranger Things”

Season two of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” comes out Friday, according to a trailer released on Netflix’s official YouTube account.

The spooky and mysterious nature of the series provides the perfect inspiration for some out-of-this-dimension Halloween costumes.

There are plenty of iconic characters in the show to dress up as, from the frighteningly adorable Eleven to the hard-boiled Chief Jim Hopper. Most of the characters wear street clothes, so you may already own some pieces of the costume.

If you’re dressing up as Eleven, add a touch of fake blood under the nose or carry around a box of Eggo waffles to complete the look.

6) Witch

A witch is the most popular Halloween costume this year among adults, according to the NRF.

This costume can be simple or complex depending on the amount of effort you want to put in. If you’re going for a classic look, a simple black dress and a witch’s hat will suffice.

Morgan Phillips, a 21-year-old UCF film student, is dressing up as a witch this Halloween.

“The costume is cute and easy; I’ll be using some black clothes I already have,” Phillips said.

If you’d like to go all out, add layers of shawls and skirts to your outfit, a pair of striped tights and a ratty wig to get a truly frightening evil witch look.

Makeup is a fun way to complete the look; here are two tutorials from YouTube to compliment your witch costume.  

Check out this tutorial if you’re looking for something more glamorous, and if you want to amp up the scare factor and truly look the part of a wicked witch, check out this tutorial.

No matter what you decide to dress up as for Halloween, the important thing is to be creative and have fun with it. Use some inspiration from this list or create your own one-of-a-kind costume!

Stay spooky!