Halloween hacks for a cheap fright!


We all have fond childhood memories of trick or treating. Skulking through the brisk autumn night, not sure what was round the next corner, or behind the next door. Somewhere between excitement and terror.

Now we’re older and wiser, one of the scariest things about Halloween is how much it costs. It takes time to make a homemade costume and shop-bought outfits cost an arm and a leg. On top of that, there’s food, make-up and decorations to consider too.

Luckily, there are loads of ways to get scary on the cheap… and still impress your mates! Here are our top cheap Halloween ideas:


Although not a traditional Halloween outfit, you can get away with this one by shouting a lot in a commanding voice.

The outfit couldn’t be simpler. Just take a white bedsheet and wrap it round yourself in a toga style, pinning at the shoulder and waist. Wear with some open shoes like sandals or flip flops. For added effect, you could stick some leaves and twigs to a headband to make a wreath, or cut a lightning bolt out of some cardboard.

Add a cheeky bit of eyeliner for extra menace!


Carrying on the ancient theme, become a terrifying mummified Pharaoh in two simple steps:

1. Buy lots of toilet paper
2. Wrap yourself up


You might think assembling a fancy captain’s costume sounds like costly work, but you won’t need to dig up any buried treasure for our cut price pirate outfit.

All you need is a pair of dark trousers, a loose white shirt and a handkerchief. Tuck the shirt (preferably a size or two too big) into the trousers and tie the ‘kerchief round your head Jack Sparrow style. Then grab some eyeliner and draw on a fake goatee.

For a few extra points, get hold of an eyepatch and plastic sword.

One for the girls. This has got to be one of the most popular Halloween outfits, especially if you’re heading out to a club or bar, mainly because it’s basically just a variation on the classic ‘little black dress’.

Just throw on an all-black outfit of shoes, tights, and dress. Then use some pink lipstick to give yourself a cat nose and eyeliner to draw on whiskers. Bonus points for making a tail by stuffing one leg of a pair of tights with scrunched up black paper. Double bonus points for making your own cat ears headband.

All you really need for this one is some old clothes and a few kitchen essentials. Get some clothes you never want to wear again and take to them with a pair of scissors. Rip with your bare hands for an authentically ravaged look.

Fake blood can be made easily using this simple recipe. Mix one part golden syrup to one part red food dye, using corn flour as necessary to thicken. Smear this on your ripped clothes and all around your face, making sure to get some in your mouth (it’s delicious!). Try mixing red food dye with instant coffee for a scabby effect.


Ghost lanterns

These creepy ghost lanterns are cheap but not so cheerful. Get some big, semi-see through white bottles and cut the bottoms off. Draw a ghost face on the front in black marker pen and place the bottle over a tea light or cheap fairy lights.

Paper bats

These paper bats are super easy to make and can be used in loads of ways. Try sticking them to lampshades for a spooky bat shadow effect. To make, just cut out a simple bat shape from black construction paper. You can add a bit of detail, if you want, with liquid paper or nail varnish.

Jack-o-lantern jars

Don’t be fooled by the movies — it’s actually pretty hard to make decent pumpkin carved lanterns. For a smart, time-scarce alternative, cover some old jars in orange construction paper, using black paper for the lantern’s face. Then simply plop in a tea light, and Jack’s your uncle.


Transform your home into a creepy cemetery with these cardboard gravestones. If you don’t have your own, you can find old cardboard boxes behind any supermarket. Simply cut into gravestone shapes and paint grey, using a marker to add an epitaph of your choice.
Wicked witch vase

Remember the bit in the Wizard of Oz where the Wicked Witch of the West melted away, leaving just her shoes? Create a spooky shrine to her ugliness by using a pair of stilettoed boots as a vase. For the foliage, pick some branches from a tree in your yard with turning leaves.