Halloween is a major deal on university campuses—so much so that schools all around the U.S. have their own traditions to celebrate this spooky occasion. Whether you’re into eerie jump scares or more light-hearted fun, you can be sure that several campus costume parties will be calling your name on October 31.
Of course, the more Halloween parties you attend, the more costumes you’ll need to change into for each one. After all, you don’t want to wear the same outfit in every Instagram photo! Halloween costumes can be pricey, though—so what’s a broke student to do?
Fear not: you can throw together many looks with a few basic items in your closet or apartment. So read on for cheap, fun, easy and creative college Halloween costume ideas.
Cowboy (or Girl)
Grab a pair of jeans, a plaid flannel shirt, a chunky belt and some brown or tan boots, and you’re just about ready for a Wild West Halloween. All that’s missing is the cowboy hat which, believe it or not, you can DIY from a leftover scrap of cardboard. Start practicing your best “Howdy!” for the final touch on this simple and classic outfit.
Pop Culture Classics
If you’re out of inspiration, you can always turn to your favorite TV shows, music artists or movies for a little inspiration. This year, why not cover your face in stickers and go as Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour album cover? If you binged Ferrari Formula One F1, you know that all you need is a jumpsuit and helmet to become a top driver. Was Ted Lasso your go-to comfort show? That’s an even easier costume to recreate—all you have to do is grab a jacket, polo, khaki pants, aviator sunglasses, and a mustache. At the end of the day, you can always scour your TikTok or Instagram for trending celebs and recreate their iconic looks.
‘80s Gym Hero
You know the aerobics VHS tapes collecting dust in your parent’s basement? Re-create those ‘80s vibes with a costume that makes you want to dance all night. This retro fitness craze was all about neon colors and polyester fabrics, so break out the sweatband, leg warmers, crew-neck top, satiny shorts, tennis shoes and quintessential windbreaker.
How convenient this holiday overlaps with football season! Show off your team spirit in a college Halloween costume that pays tribute to your alma mater or favorite player. Chances are, you have at least one drawer full of gameday attire, so deck yourself out for the ultimate fall tailgate party. Look around for face paint in your team colors for extra style points.
Whether you’re a Marvel or DC fan, you won’t need superhero powers to transform into your favorite comic character. All it takes are a few essentials. Throw on a power suit and green makeup for a certified She-Hulk look. Or make a DIY stars-and-stripes shield, and now you’re Captain America. Now, this might not be the fanciest recreation of your favorite heroes… but if you hit a couple of the key points with your look, people will get the idea.
With the new Elvis Presley film in theaters, everyone’s loving the ‘50s greaser look. Unleash that inner hound dog and turn Halloween into a vintage sock-hop this year. You could even turn heads as one of Grease’s best characters, like Rizzo in a pink blouse and black pants, accessorized with a silk scarf, heels and sunglasses. Or opt for Danny Zuko vibes with a white tank, jeans, shades, greased-back hair, and, of course, the signature leather jacket—it’s sure to be electrifying!
Rely on these Last-Minute Costumes for an Epic Halloween
College Halloween costumes don’t have to be elaborate or expensive to be a hit at the party. So make an entrance to remember with these cheap and easy last-minute ideas. You’re sure to look fantastic and have a blast (without scaring your bank account).