9 Budget-Friendly and Instagram-Worthy Family Halloween Costumes

published Oct 1, 2021
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What’s more fun than planning your own fabulous, head-turning Halloween costume? Putting together a whole family’s worth of spooky, festive outfits! Creating family costumes that follow a shared theme is a fun collaborative project that gives everyone an opportunity to share ideas and assist in the shopping and creation process. This makes the best part of all — collecting more compliments than Fun Size Snickers — even more fulfilling.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be a sewing wizard or DIY champion to pull off a wonderful set of family costumes. You can utilize easy-to-find costume components and add on a few key customizations, just like these families we’ve gathered here.

It’s always refreshing when a group or family costume brings an element of surprise, like a character you’re not expecting to see. Dad as Billy Butcherson is a fun and original counterpart to the requisite Sanderson sisters. These were made from inexpensive Amazon dresses and skirt components spruced up with some custom ribbon and fabric strips, with Dad’s costume being the most expensive splurge at $49.99.

Get the full tutorial here: Kristy By the Sea

Gnome Family

Credit: Kirstyn Lundquist

This trio is irresistible in their semi-homemade gnome costumes! The paper hats and cotton ball beard add a charming, vintage vibe, while the other elements are easily pulled from the closet. You’ve got to love a costume that can double as daywear. Dad’s wearing an office-ready button-up shirt with slacks, baby’s in yellow overalls, and Mom’s key components are a dotted skirt and red cardigan. All transformed through the magic of homemade paper cone hats. 

Credit: Allie Seidel

These DIY-ers are using everything at their disposal — including old, free cardboard! A great example of doing the most with the least. And with Halloween being, sadly, only one day a year, this is an easy way to keep your budget low, and the supplies to a minimum. The Hershey’s logo can be applied to felt using a Cricut machine or stencils, and the graham cracker is simply adorned with a little Sharpie love. The biggest splurge item? A poofy marshmallow hat for baby!

Get the full tutorial here: Allie Seidel

Disney’s Coco Family

You know what’s super easy to find in stores and online? Skeleton gear. T-shirts, pants, gloves, socks — it’s everywhere. But with the right makeup, a few additional clothing items and a couple of props, like this fantastic “Coco” family uses, gives you the chance to take common, inexpensive components and make them unforgettably your own. Miguel is wearing a standard child’s hoodie, while Mom and Dad utilize a blazer coat, khaki pants, a red skirt, and dress wrap. The most complicated costume is Senor De La Cruz, but by complicated, we’re talking about ordering a kid-size white tuxedo on Amazon (for around $30), and adding embellishments with textured ribbon or by hand with a silver Sharpie. And those guitars, if you’re wanting to go the extra mile with your props? Simply cut and painted cardboard.

Jurassic Park Family

We love a chance for grandparents to get in on the fun! All the adults in this group are using everyday clothing items, which can either be found already in the closet or at the nearest thrift store. The dino costumes (which, let’s be honest, will probably get wear outside Halloween by the littles) are the only things that have to be store-bought. Big bonus points for that themed wagon! You can create your own using PVC pipes spray-painted silver, cord, and a home-printed danger sign. 

A fantastic example of letting the iconic colors of bright, popular cartoon characters do the talking. Picking shirts or a dress in a recognizable color palette, along with an easy accessory or two, is all you really need. You could even add little props, like a plastic burger or spatula, to really sell the idea. The burger is your typical sandwich board costume (painted foam core with shoulder straps), and the only other special-order items are Louise’s pink hat and Tina’s knee socks. Kudos to this family for nailing the body language and expressions, which can be a fun challenge to set up for your crew!

See the full tutorial here: Highlights along the Way

The classic sandwich board costume endures for a reason. It’s a favorite that can be constructed the same day as the party, but will totally steal the spotlight from elaborate costumes that have been months in the making. Nostalgia is in, and this beloved video game is a favorite for kids and parents alike. To make your own Mr. and Mrs. Pac-Man, use poster board with a foam core for the base, and decorate with paint or construction paper. Velcro strips fastened to a throwaway old t-shirt make slide-free straps. The kids are outfitted in jagged-cut t-shirts with glued-on felt eyes. All of these supplies cost about as much as one Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte.

See the full tutorial here: Bee-ing Mommy

You know those dresses and suits you bought your kids for a one-off birthday, wedding, or holiday get-together that are now permanently hanging in their closet? The one you probably paid too much for and can’t bring yourself to get rid of? Halloween is the perfect opportunity to get a second life out of these special-yet-impractical garments, and this circus family is a fantastic example of doing just that. The girls are wearing repurposed formalwear made whimsical with the simple additions of striped ribbon, fuzzy pom-poms, fun knee socks or tights, and coordinating hats. Mom does the same with a relic of New Years Eve past, and Dad rocks the funkiest jacket on the local thrift shop rack. The look is coordinated by keeping the embellishments and accessories matching. Go the extra mile with simple face paint, and you’ve nailed a look that’s not only fun, but downright chic.

See the full tutorial here: Stephanie Hanna

Little Coven

Baby too small to trick-or-treat? Decorate the stroller instead! This was my costume strategy when my daughter was less than 2 months old. Bassinets are easy to outfit with spooky lights, streamers, webbing, or whatever else sets the mood. The night before a work Halloween trick-or-treat I used spider webbing, fairy lights, and fake spiders and crows from Michael’s to haunt up the Uppababy stroller. People kept popping out of cubicles to snag a picture! 

When doing this yourself, be sure to keep any materials out of the crib area or baby’s reach for safety.