Halloween costumes are something that we spend months obsessing over, but only end up wearing at most a handful of times in a year. What’s the point in spending a hefty amount on these costumes, for both kids and adults, if they’re just going to gather dust for the rest of the year?
As a matter of fact, many easily recognizable Halloween costumes can be forged with everyday garments and items that are already sitting in your home or can be easily purchased online. It just requires a little thinking out of the box. Even though Halloween might not be as wild as usual this year, you don’t have to miss out on dressing up.
We compiled a guide to assembling foolproof DIY outfits, along with a few ready-to-wear costumes that are low-maintenance but still command attention. Don’t panic when October rolls around — instead, stay ahead of the game with the best cheap Halloween costumes for men.
The Best DIY Cheap Halloween Costumes
1. Indiana Jones
Become the action star of your dreams in this timelessly cool outfit. Tuck a button-down into cargo pants and intentionally add wrinkles by crumpling a wet shirt and hanging without ironing. Some brown makeup and a sponge can add stubble and the appearance of dirt — you’re on a mission, after all.
What you need: A brown felt fedora or outback hat, leather belt and jacket, khaki shirt and pants, boots.
Growing a beard is necessary for this look, so either paint one on or invest in a fake one if facial hair is a challenge for you. Style the shirt with sleeves partially rolled up and a couple of buttons undone. Top it off with the classic beanie and rugged work boots for a comfy and fast costume. Suspenders are also a fun add-on if you’d like.
What you need: A red and black plaid flannel shirt, beanie, work boots, ax.
3. Where’s Waldo
You’ll be hard to find but easy to recognize in this children’s classic. If you already wear round glasses, you’re halfway there! Just a few artfully coordinated stripes and people will be pointing you out in the crowd in no time at all.
What you need: A white and red horizontal striped sweater/shirt, matching hat and round black glasses.
4. The Dude
Forever our favorite movie character, The Big Lebowski’s “The Dude” can be completed with your laziest outfit. If you don’t normally wear robes, invest in a poorly fitted tan one, with pajama pants and indoor slippers. Feel free to wear this costume a few times, stain it up and skip a couple of showers if you want to add authenticity to the character.
What you need: A slouchy tan robe, comfy pajama pants, old white tee, slippers.
5. Hulk Hogan
With some red pants, a Hulkamania shirt, a bandana and some artificial white hair, you’ll be looking just like this famous wrestler in no time, brother! Sunglasses and a boa complete the look but try to stick with the red and yellow outfit for the maximum effect.
What you need: A Hulkamania shirt, fake mustache, white wig, trucker hat, sunglasses.
6. Adult baby
We definitely prefer this cozy alternative to wearing an adult diaper with a pin in it! Purchase an adult onesie — the more childish the print, the better. Think stars, checkers and unusually bright colors that grown-ups wouldn’t opt for. Finally, a pacifier finishes off the look. You can even carry around a teddy bear if you want.
What you need: An oversized patterned adult onesie with footies, pacifier.
7. Marty Mcfly
Looking like Doc from Back to the Future is a harder feat, but to look like Marty, you just need some ‘80s classics, so hit a thrift shop or look online for a broader range of products. Most of the items required for this outfit are probably already lying around your house as old L.L. Bean buys.
What you need: A red puffer vest, plaid button-down, acid-washed jacket, Levi jeans.
If you find yourself scrambling for a superhero costume that won’t cost a pretty penny, the Clark Kent/Superman combo is always a classic. All you need is a Superman tee, hidden beneath a partially undone button-up and a suit jacket, depicting Clark mid-transition as he busts out of his suit.
What you need: A Superman shirt, dress pants, button-down, dress shoes.
The Best Cheap Ready-to-Wear Halloween Costumes
If you don’t want to put together your own costume, there are plenty of affordable Halloween looks on Amazon that can be bought pre-assembled for $30 or less. From pop culture looks to hilarious novelty picks, these are some of the best-ranked men’s Halloween costumes that are sure to turn heads.
1. TOLOCO Inflatable Adults Sumo Wrestling Costume
This costume is one size fits all and allows for plenty of breathing space. It’s a novelty to wear and inflates very quickly. If you’re someone that likes your personal space at parties, this costume is the ideal pick. It also “holds up well against lots of chest bumps” as one customer puts it.
2. Spooktacular Creations Men’s Flight Pilot Costume
Ever feel the urge to channel Tom Cruise in Top Gun? Doing a DIY take would take a lot of vintage shopping, but this green aviator suit turns you into a military fighter pilot in mere minutes. It zips up on the front and comes with dog tags, but beware: the sizes do run quite small, so get one or two larger than your usual choice.
3. Rubie’s Men’s Marvel Black Panther Deluxe Costume
This realistic costume is extremely affordable for the muscular aesthetic it provides and comes just in time for us to get excited about Black Panther 2. If you’re looking to beef up for Halloween, this popular movie character is sure to earn compliments.
4. Smiffy’s Men’s Whoopie Cushion Bodysuit Costume
Every group has a funny man. If that’s you, this costume is the only thing you need to put a smile on your friends’ faces. Transform yourself into a human whoopie cushion and get your first eye roll of the night when you ask a stranger to pull your finger. For added hilarity, get yourself a real cushion that you squeeze whenever someone gives you a hug.
5. California Costume’s Men’s Horror Robe Costume
Although they refer to it as a “horror robe,” this is a grim reaper outfit that can be turned into a Scream look if you swap the provided face shield for the ‘90s classic. However, this look doesn’t come with a scythe, so you’ll need to buy one or forge your own out of some spray-painted cardboard and a broom handle.