Dressing up for Halloween is one of the best parts of the holiday, especially if you’re a creative person.
But buying a Halloween costume can get expensive, with many costing more than $50 a pop. And unless you plan to reuse the costume, it’s an expense you’ll pay every year.
Unless you get creative. Some of the best costumes don’t require much more than what you already have in your closet.
Stumped on what to wear? Read below for our picks on the most affordable Halloween costumes that won’t give your budget a fright.
Gomez and Morticia Addams
This costume is an easy one for women who have naturally dark hair. All you need is a long black dress or a long-sleeved black shirt with a maxi black skirt. Add red lipstick and a spooky smile and you’ll be good to go.
For men, you just need to wear a dark suit, preferably pin-striped. If you don’t have a thin mustache, draw one in with an eye pencil.
Wednesday Addams is another easy costume. You just need to wear a white collared shirt under a black sweater with a black skirt. If you have enough people, you can make this a group costume.
Flapper from the 20s
Using what clothes you have in your closet is the best way to find an affordable Halloween costume. If you have a dress with fringe, sequins or lots of beading, all you need to add is a twenties headband to look like a flapper.
You can decide to be a generic flapper or a specific fictional character from “The Great Gatsby.” Look up makeup tutorials for that era to set the mood, and you’ll be perfect.
Rosie the Riveter
This costume is a classic for a few reasons. Not only does Rosie represent a pivotal time for women, but she’s also got an easy outfit to replicate.
All you need is a pair of jeans, a chambray or denim shirt and a red bandana. Red lipstick will complete the outfit.
The male lumberjack character is one of the simplest and most affordable to replicate. All you need is a pair of regular jeans, a plaid shirt and a pair of boots. Some men might have this already in their closets. If you don’t, visit your nearby thrift store to see what they have in stock.
If you’re capable of growing a mustache or already have one, you can go as Ron Swanson from “Parks and Rec” instead of a generic lumberjack.
Characters from “Bob’s Burgers”
The Belcher family makes great burgers – and affordable Halloween costumes. The most you need to buy is a plain apron, a pair of pink bunny ears and a couple of fake eyeglasses.
This works as a frugal group costume or you can be a singular member of the Belcher family.
Eleven and the Gang from “Stranger Things”
The kids from “Stranger Things” have costumes that are also affordable and easy to find in a Goodwill. For the Eleven outfit, you just need a light pink dress, a waffle and a blonde wig. The boys can just wear a mixture of 80s-inspired clothes.
This is a great group costume because you can probably find most of the required clothes and accessories in your closet. Anything you don’t have can be found at a thrift store or by raiding someone else’s closet.
This punny costume is a cinch for women who have animal print clothes in their closet. First, put on all your cheetah, leopard or zebra-print clothes. Next, buy a party hat at the dollar store. Bam, you’re a party animal.
If you’re a man, you can look for an animal print cloth at an arts and crafts store and wear that instead. It’s a fun idea that won’t cost more than $5 worth of fabric.
Lara Croft from “Tomb Raider”
This costume is a classic for women who love the adventure-loving Lara Croft. This outfit is a cinch whether you’re dressing as the Angelina Jolie or Alicia Vikander character.
You can wear a black or dark green tank top and black shorts or dark pants. Accessorize with a fake knife, and you’ll be set.
Agent from “Men in Black”
This works as both an individual outfit or a couple’s costume. All you need is a black suit with a white shirt and a pair of sunglasses. Hold a black or silver pen as your memory eraser.
If you’re having trouble finding a cheap black suit at the thrift store, ask a friend if you can borrow theirs.
Maverick from “Top Gun”
Tom Cruise’s character in this 80s action flick is a classic because of his skill and cavalier attitude. But it’s also an easy costume.
Many thrift stores carry olive green workman jumpsuits. Then all you need is a pair of aviator sunglasses and a disregard for the rules. Want to make it a group costume? Find a matching jumpsuit and have your friend dress up as Maverick’s wingman, Goose.
The Cast from “Reservoir Dogs”
If you’re a Tarantino fan, you’ve probably dreamed of dressing up as one of his characters. Fortunately, the criminal crew from “Reservoir Dogs” is an easy group costume to pull off. You just need to wear a plain black suit, white shirt and black sunglasses.
Though you can do this costume on your own, it works best if you have at least a few people dressed up with you.
How to Find an Affordable Costume in Your Closet
The most affordable Halloween costumes are the ones where you don’t have to buy anything. Go through your closet and see what you can create with what you have.
Ladies with a little black dress can top it with a string of pearls for a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” look. Men who have a denim shirt and cargo shorts can dress up as Dr. Alan Grant from “Jurassic Park.”
Go through what you have and see what ideas it sparks. If you’re stuck, have a friend over and do it together. If you put your heads together, you may come up with an idea that works for both of you.
Zina Kumok is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A former reporter, she has covered murder trials, the Final Four and everything in between. She has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. Read about how she paid off $28,000 worth of student loans in three years at Debt Free After Three.