If you have multiple parties to go to and don't want to wear the exact same costume to every one but don't want to spend money on other ones, there's always the option of jazzing up your first costume: aka, doing a dead version of your original costume. You can see that's what my friend Lizzle (the maid costume) did. I did the same thing, but just recycled an old prom dress that I'd bought on sale from Forever 21 the previous year. (I have a habit of buying dresses that are on major sale, even if I don't really have anywhere I can wear them. This sure comes in handy for Halloween though!) I just took that and to make it something new added a little blood and bruising. My back story was that I was about to be crowned high school prom queen when a jealous runner up bashed me on the head to try and take my crown!
We have Hagrid, a skeleton, Hedwig, a maid, and me in my Steam Punk getup. ^
(to the right) we have Hagrid, Professor Umbridge, Moaning Myrtle and Doby. This was at the movie premiere for the last Harry Potter movie. It was so much fun! So movie characters from your favorite movies are always an option. Doby was an easy costume to make. Buy 1-2 yards of a heavy neutral colored fabric. Fold it in half and tie knots for the shoulders to make arm holes. (Be sure to wear some neutral colored clothing underneath though!) For the shoes, (which you can't see) I took a few squares of excess fabric and just gathered them up around her tennis shoes so that she didn't hurt her feet while walking and making the costume complete.
For Umbridge, find a pink suit or other sickeningly girly colored suit. (The one pictured was another Goodwill find!) Sew or glue little plush kittens all over it.
There are some good stories behind these next costumes. This dress is one that I found at the vintage store Deco to Disco. I was meandering around the shop for a costume piece and saw a girl trying on this dress. I fell in looove with it! I left my phone number with the shopkeeper and asked her to call me if the girl ended up not buying it. Guess what? She didn't by it! I turned my little car around and swooped back in to get it. $15!! It made the perfect peacock dress. I bought peacock feathers from Hobby Lobby and glued them to a piece of felt, (I doubled the felt up around them so the feathers weren't pressing into my back,) and tucked them into the back of my dress. Of course, I had my trusty zookeeper to keep me in check. With a cupcake, an 80's glam queen and a peacock running around, someone had to keep an eye on us!
The cupcake started off with a laundry basket, crinkled poster board folded and glued around it, the hot glue the dickens out of that polyfill stuffing and little pom poms for sprinkles. I got a few hot glue wounds from helping her with that.
I put a spell on you, and now you're miiiine! Of course you all recognize Bette Midler, or Winnifred Sanderson from my favorite Halloween movie Hocus Pocus. That purple shift was another great thrift store find from Goodwill. Stockings were from Charlotte Russe. It all goes to show, when all else fails for costume ideas go to thrift stores!! There's really no need to spend exorbitant amounts of money on a costume you're really only going to wear once or twice. That way, you have more money to spend on the things that really matter, like decorations and candy. And really, decorations don't have to be all that expensive either, but that's a whole new post!
I hope I was able to give you all a few more costume ideas or at least be the catalyst for an idea of your own!