This post is all about generating some inexpensive costume ideas – to help you with your costumes/cosplay. Whether you need a costume for an event or for a Zoom gathering with mates, I hope this post will stimulate your creative side.
Below are four inexpensive costumes that I wore during Halloween 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017 and all are being shared to provide YOU with some inspiration. In addition to a few images, I’ve posted a quick rundown of the costume construction offering up a few insights on how I put it together.
I apologise in advance for the (crappy) quality of some of the images – they were taken prior to some partying, so getting the best shots was not my main priority at the time. Heck, I’m amazed I put my wine glass down long enough to get the camera out.
Baxter Stockman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
How to cosplay Baxter Stockman (aka Baxter the fly):
OK, so here is 2016’s offering – Baxter ‘the fly’ Stockman from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The good thing about Baxter Stockman is he is a scientist at heart, so his clothing was quite easy to come by and many of the components were found in the wardrobe (trousers, white shirt and bow tie) or via high street stores *cough* Primark *cough*.
Once I’d collected up the ‘science geek’ side of the costume, I then needed to put together the fly elements which comprised a fairly inexpensive wig, a set of (fairy) wings, some fake fly arms and an alien-bug mask – all of which I found on eBay!
The mask wasn’t quite what I wanted, as it was an all-in-one piece, so I trimmed away 90% of the mask to leave just the eyes, the nose and a small section to each side. I then added some elastic to the side pieces, so the eyes could fit neatly around my head, and I altered the colour of the eyes using red acrylic paint, with a dash of dark red for shading.
Then next step was to create Baxter’s fly arms, which sprout from the sides of his abdomen. These were simply different coloured pipe cleaners, shaped into appendages, and attached to the side of my tank-top with some clear plastic wires to make them appear as though they were floating freely.
With the tricky parts of the costume sorted, I then created Baxter’s fly skin using three different face paints: Green, light blue & purple. I’m not an expert at using face paint, so I pretty much worked it out as I went along making it look as grotesque as I needed it to be.
I painted my feet (not ideal if you’re heading out) using the same face paints and then added a couple of finishing touches – an ID badge which I mocked-up on a computer and a beaker which I filled with green liquid (food colouring + water).
Bugs Bunny (Space Jam)
How to cosplay Bugs Bunny:
This costume made an appearance during Halloween 2017 and again was pretty simple to make.
Starting with the simplest stuff first, the gloves and shorts were the easiest parts of the costume and were picked up fairly cheaply on eBay. I also used eBay to pick up the branded Space Jam vest, as well as the footwear – both items proved to be the most expensive elements of this costume.
It’s worth noting that in Space Jam, Bugs doesn’t actually wear shoes, instead he runs around with his feet exposed. For me that didn’t seem practical, so I took a little bit of creative license/logical thinking and added the pumps to fit into the overall theme. But these were sourced on the cheap via eBay.
The next part of the costume was covering the exposed areas of the body – i.e. Bugs’ skin. Body paint would have been a (messy) nightmare for this, so the best solution was a grey/silver morphsuit, which I ordered online. Easy to put on and take off, the suit covered all the exposed areas of my body, except my face.
Right, so that was the easy part, now to the fiddly areas of the costume – the mouth and ears.
The ears were made from a mix of card, pipe cleaners and felt (pink and grey). I cut two ear shapes out of card, taped pipe cleaners around the edges of the card to create a bit of a ridge and then covered them with felt – grey all over, with a pink section for the middle.
Once I had constructed both ears I used a headband to hold them onto my head and a central piece of card to hold the ears together. I’m pretty sure their is a better method than what I utilised, so a bit of trial and error here goes a long way.
As for the mouth, this was a make-shift prosthetic which I made from a thin piece of card to create the shape and teeth, as well as a fair bit of tissue paper and liquid latex, to create the bulk of the muzzle. Using a papier-mâché style technique, I built up the face piece with layers of tissue paper until it looked rabbit like. I then added a couple of wooden skewers to create the whiskers and once dry, I painted it.
I’ll be honest, I had difficulty getting the muzzle to stick to my face on the night, as it seemed to absorb the spirit gum I was using. To work around this problem, I built a small layer of tissue paper/liquid latex around my mouth area, then attached the muzzle to this – effectively creating a bond between my face and the prosthetic. It wasn’t perfect, but it just about did the trick for the night.
As previously noted, the only part of my body not covered by the morphsuit was my face, so I applied grey and white face paint (with a touch of black to make the eyes stand out) and then painted my nose pink. I sprayed my hair grey and then added a prop basketball and Bugs’ signature carrot to round-off the look.
Next up is…
The Joker (Batman)
How to cosplay the Joker:
This one – from Halloween 2015 – is actually much simpler than it looks (I promise). The key to this Joker cosplay is mostly in the costume!
For the Joker I headed straight to eBay once again where I managed to pick up a very cheap purple suit (the cheapest available), a green waistcoat, purple gloves, a green handkerchief (for the jacket pocket), a purple shirt and shoes.
Planning ahead was very important with some of these elements, the purple suit in particular, so I gave myself plenty of time to find sellers who were listing items at very budget-friendly prices. If you start looking early you have time to get what you need without spending a fortune – so start looking for the harder-to-come by items as soon as you can.
The Joker’s ridiculous tie was made from a piece of pink fabric, shaped and sewn together with some wire inside and attached around my neck with a bit of elastic. I then removed the green buttons from the waist coat and attached purple/pink alternatives.
With pretty much my entire body covered by clothing I then just needed to concentrate on my face and hair. I used white and red face paint (with grey for shading) and LOTS of green hair spray for my hair. I have very dark hair, so I had to use lots of green hair spray.
To finish the look I added a large ace of spades playing card (picked up at a joke shop) and a modified Joker-style cane (found in a fancy dress store).
Zombie Spider-Man (Marvel Zombies)
How to cosplay Zombie Spider-Man:
This one dates back to Halloween 2014 and did require a little assistance for the face mask – which I will come to in a moment.
First up, the costume!
This was simple, I took an adult’s Spider-Man costume and I basically wrecked it – chopping off one of the arms, ripping holes in the chest and covering it in fake blood and face paint.
Zombie Spider-Man looks gross, so I really wanted to dive into the part. The messier the better, so I made sure not to skimp on the details, going so far as to covering my exposed skin with white (deathly) face paint and (more) fake blood.
As I didn’t want to wear anything on my feet and I knew I couldn’t walk about completely shoe-less (I was heading out that night), I glued a pair of cheap insoles to the bottom of the costume. They added padding where needed and saved me from having to slip on any footwear.
Of course, the most complex part of the costume was the creepy exposed mouth, which was constructed by one of my very talented friends, a couple of week’s prior to our night out. Using toilet tissue, liquid latex and fake acrylic nails (for the teeth), he crafted me a prosthetic mouth which I later painted with a few acrylic paints.
On the evening of the party, the mouth prosthetic was attached to my face with ample amounts of liquid latex and spirit gum. It looked pretty damn scary, but did the trick perfectly!
And there you are, four different costumes which added something special to Halloween. Hopefully these costumes will inspire you when you’re weighing up your plans for your next costume – be it for Halloween, a gathering, or simply just for fun.
And now for some top tips…
Top cosplay tips:
- Putting together a costume can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Break down the individual components that make up the costume to get a rough idea of what you need, i.e. clothing (shirt, shorts, shoes etc) and character components (wig, gloves, mask etc).
- Cost can be a bit off putting – but it doesn’t have to be! Your costume doesn’t have to be 100% accurate, so switch out items that are too expensive and seek out cheaper alternatives. It’s OK to wear a different coloured jumper or tie if it matches your budget. Remember, it’s the sum of the parts that help sell the look and this should keep costs down.
- Never underestimate the use of a good prop or accessory – a well-placed item can really bring something extra special to your costume. Whether it’s something you carry or something you wear, think about your character and add a few extras here and there to bring him/her to life.
- Always prepare your costume in advance and leave yourself plenty of time to bring everything together. Sometimes even the best laid plans go a bit wrong so having spare time to fix your costume or touch up your make-up will stop any last minute stressing. Trust me – last minute stressing and face paint do not mix.
- A little face paint goes a long way and more often than not you won’t need to use a whole pack of paints just for a few dashes of colour. So, if you’re working on your costume in a group, work out who needs what make-up, then split the cost accordingly.
- Not every costume will work out the way you planned, but who cares? Wear your costume with confidence! Even if something didn’t quite work, blag it and let people think this was a creative choice on your part.
I hope all this information has been useful. Happy costume making!
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