Clever (and Cheap) Halloween Costumes for College Students

When it comes to Halloween, college students are often just as excited as little kids. On campuses around the country students will dress up and head out to parties or school-sponsored events.

In honor of the fun holiday, here are some clever, and most importantly affordable, last-minute DIY Halloween costumes!

Smart Cookie

Show off your academic side with this punny costume. Using either printed images or cookie-shaped buttons, add a bunch of the tasty treats to your outfit. Dig out your old high school grad cap to really sell the look, or simply go with the classic nerd glasses.


  • Winner medal

    Pixabay user AxxCL

    Award medal, loaf of bread

A good college education can lead to a well-paying job, so this costume can be a glimpse into your future. Wear a gold medal (either a plastic store-bought or even a bona fide medal you won in high school) and carry around a loaf of bread. Alternately, you could use a blue ribbon, trophy, or #1 foam finger.

Brawny Man

Sometimes the best costumes are simplest. Don a red and black plaid shirt and tuck a roll of paper towels underneath your arm and you can invoke the famed lumberjack mascot. Boom. Done.

Hogwarts Student

  • Harry Potter tie

    Pixabay user LaraHughes

    White button-shirt, colored tie

You don’t need a $70 official Wizarding World cloak to show off your love for the beloved book series. All you need is a white dress shirt and a colored tie—red, blue, green, or yellow. Grab a stick off the ground and you’re reading to start spell-casting.

Life Gives You Lemons

Here’s an optimistic option. Either get a bunch of plastic fruit or go for the real deal. Write “Life” on a name-tag and wear it proudly while carrying the iconic idiom lemons. Extra bonus points if you actually hand out some lemons to the people you see.

Fork in the Road

  • A fork in the road

    Pixabay user SunflowerGUY

    Black shirt, white duct tape, plastic fork

Place some white strips down your middle and attach a fork in the middle, then you’re ready to hit the proverbial road. Unlike some major life decisions, this fork in the road is decidedly more fun to pick.

Pumpkin Pi

Who said math couldn’t be delicious? Invoke both equations and a tasty treat with this easy costume. Simply attach the pi symbol to your shirt, or take a sharpie / fabric marker and draw it on.

Candy Rapper

Throw on a hoodie, twist your hat sideways or backwards, put on some shades, and tape a bunch of candy wrappers all over yourself and become a tasty platinum artist. Additionally, you can add a print out of your favorite rapper to pay punny homage.

Identity Theft

Ok for one night identity theft can be funny. All you need for this Halloween costumes is name-tags. Have your friends write their names on a tag and slap a whole bunch of them on your regular clothes. Better yet, bring a sharpie and a bunch of tags with you wherever you go and collect more names throughout the night!

Cereal Killer

  • Cereal killer

    Flickr user Eli Christman

    Cereal box, plastic knives, red paint/marker

Bring out your darker side with this murderous idea. You can carry around a (fake) knife and a box of your favorite cereal with a bunch of stab holes in it. Add red coloration for a more gruesome effect.

It’s Raining Men

  • girl with umbrella

    Pixabay user Dan_Park

    Umbrella, string, print outs of male celebrities

Hallelujah! You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t love this chart-topping song. String up a bunch of male-celebrity faces and attach them to your umbrella with either string or fishing wire. Add rain-boots and a rain-coat to up the ante.

Alternatively, you could print out pictures of cats and dogs to emulate a different pun. Either way, you may have to endure a bit of back luck if you take your costume indoors, but it’ll be worth it.

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