Don’t shell out the big bucks for fancy costumes off the rack this year. Instead, think outside the box with these fun and easy DIY Halloween costumes.

With Halloween just around the corner, parents and children alike are getting excited. But let’s face it, costumes can get expensive. Instead of buying one this year, ask your kids what they want to be for Halloween, and then brainstorm with them how to make the idea come to life using items from your house. Crafting can help kids concentrate and also gives them an outlet for energy.

Between the festivities, candy, and decorations, Halloween spending can be downright spooky. Save a bundle by making one of these DIY Halloween costumes, and have some fun together along the way.

Eco-friendly Ideas

If you want to be both unconventional and environmentally conscious this Halloween, the US Department of Energy offers up some creative energy-inspired costumes, like a solar panel or a wind turbine, that you can make right in the comfort of your own home. Saving cardboard boxes throughout the year will give you a great selection and supply for building the perfect costume or prop for your little trick-or-treater.

Popular Picks

The National Retail Federation shows that in 2016 the most popular costumes will be action heroes or superheroes, which can be made using a solid color shirt, some cardboard, and paint. Inspire creativity within your child by allowing him or her to paint a unique symbol on their superhero attire. The popular Star Wars characters are also easy to replicate with a bathrobe, shades of brown, and a cardboard roll lightsaber.

Classic Finds

You can always go with the classics: A ghost or witch costume can be easily made with a few old sheets or clothes and some sewing skills. It’s an opportunity to teach your kids how things are made and give them an opportunity to try using a needle and thread. Be sure to add reflective tape to costumes, which increases visibility at night, as explained by the CPSC.

YA Fictional Fun

If your teens can’t get enough of today’s popular young adult fiction genre, there’s nothing easier than a Katniss Everdeen costume: khakis or cargo pants, a solid shirt, and a jacket. Give your child a side braid and make a bow and arrow out of sticks and string. Your kids can also dress up as Tris, Four, or another one of the Dauntless faction with dark clothes and temporary tattoos.

Cartoon Characters

Turn your kids into their favorite cartoon or video game characters. Sometimes a simple costume idea combined with more elaborate props and makeup is all you need. Chances are your little one will get excited about wearing some fun makeup for the big debut. You can also invest in some face paint and do a quick internet search for ideas to replicate.

If you’re looking for creative ideas to dress your kids up for trick or treating but you don’t want to shell out the big bucks for a fancy costume off the rack, think outside the box with these fun and easy DIY Halloween costumes. Getting your kids excited for DIY projects will save you money and help your financial situation in the long run. Whatever costume you create, snap a picture and share it with us for a Halloween to remember.

Bethany Johnson

About the AuthorBethany Johnson, Contributor

Meet Bethany Johnson, pop-culture and modern corporate reporter. Before the days of SEO, Bethany was immersed in the professional snowboarding industry. Through sponsorships, interviews, press releases, and public conduct, she promoted gear, brands and concepts. In 2007, Bethany went to the National Championships and won a bronze medal (3rd place) in the SnowboardCross event.  Coming out of the world of professional snowboarding, she chose the office of a private investigator on Capitol Hill.  There, she says her hunger for a good story only grew.   Like many milennials, Bethany is industry certified in (seemingly) random things: Oracle 11g SQL, snowboarding movement analysis, Microsoft Access database systems, and pet therapy.  For years, corporate clients like Tom's of Maine and Purina have relied on her to generate buzz on their sites.  Media consumption for media consumption's sake is finally history. So get to clicking, and enjoy.