It’s about this time every year when I hear from amazing parents and grandparents that are in the midst of planning this year’s intricate, expensive, complicated, hand-sewn costumes for the kids.  At Casa Hagopian, however, a general time management problem, compounded by several October birthdays, celebrations and work deadlines, has me leaning more towards more the less time-intensive, yet still-creative costume ideas.  When I put the word out to local readers to get their input, they didn’t disappoint!  Read on for the top eight effortless Halloween costume ideas  – all created in five minutes or less, costing less than $5 each.  It could be the perfect fit for your candy-loving crew!

1.  Self-portrait – Dress comfortably, and grab a large-yet-lightweight frame from the attic or local thrift store, get rid of the glass and the backing, then take the frame and hold it in front of your face.  Ta da – You’re now a self-portrait!  Easy, inexpensive, and totally clever.
2.  Hippie – Always a solid go-to move for anyone with adult ‘70’s clothing they simply can’t get rid of.  Add a headband and a daisy behind your ear, and you’re set!
3.  Study Nerd – I was born to wear this costume.  Grab a few books and an old pair of glasses, or find a pair at the dollar store, break it in the middle and tape them back together, et voila!
4.  Website error – I adore this idea, especially if we’re getting colder weather on Halloween night!  Get an old white sweat shirt, marker, and draw the words “Error 404: Costume Not Found”.  You’re now a website error!
5.  Tourist – Get a camera with a neck strap, sunglasses, Hawaiian shirt, and print out a brochure online for your favorite tropical locale.
6.  Ceiling fan – Serious extra points for originality on this one – Take an old sweatshirt, and paint or pin on the words “Go Ceiling, Go!”.  Add some pom poms, and you are now a ceiling fan.  Love!
7.  Fork in the road – Start with black clothing from head to toe, add white tape down the sweatshirt in the form of a road (two solid lines, with a dotted line down the middle).  Pin a plastic fork to yourself.  You’re now a fork in the road!
8.  Identity Thief – Easiest costume yet.  Regular super comfy clothing, add 10-20 hand written “Hello My Name is” nametags to yourself, each with a different name.  Easy, effortless, inexpensive.  Awesome.

This Halloween, stay safe, look both ways before crossing the road, and enjoy the sugar rush, as well as the extra cash in the bank courtesy of your Costume Cleverness. Frugal On!

Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host, Columnist & Author of Brilliant Frugal Living.  “The Kristen Hagopian Show” airs Nationwide via the BizTalk Radio Network, find your local station at
She was raised in Delaware County, and now resides in Chester County with her husband and kids.  She is honored to be connected with the crew at the Detox Treatment Help Line (800-287-7891) and Elite Rehab (800-932-4082) to help get the word out about their proven strategies to steer the ones you love away from drug abuse. You can find her online at