Halloween spending is expected to hit almost $6 billion this year, with the bulk of that spent on costumes. That’s an amount that scares even Scrooge’s ghost of a partner, Jacob Marley.

We here at Mother Nature Network thought there had to be some cheaper alternatives that could scare up some candy or be a hit of the Halloween party. So we’ve put our heads together and come up with a number of easy, DIY and cheap Halloween costume ideas.

Ghost

It’s a classic. An old white sheet with holes cut in the appropriate places and you’re good to go. If you want to make your ghost something special, rub the sheet with flecks of silver or gray dust from an art supplies store. Chains are always good, too. You can either buy a small length of chain from a hardware supply store or make the chain yourself, stapling together loops of construction paper.

Mime

Just as classic and just as easy as the ghost, but possibly scarier. A black unitard, a beret, and some caked on face make-up and you’re set to go. This is an especially useful costume for shy party go-ers.

Tacky Tourist

You’re probably already going to have your camera with you to take snapshots of all your friends or children, so why not go whole hog with the idea and go as a tacky tourist? Find the loudest Hawaiian shirt you can, a bucket hat, a fanny pack, and have some maps or brochures from your local tourist board. You’re all set! Be in character at your party for extra laughs, and ask for directions to the punch bowl.

Bag of Jellybeans

This is a fun one. Get a large see-through trash bag and cut some holes for your legs and arms, but make sure it fits well for the next part: colorful balloons. Blow up a variety of balloons and put them in the bag with you, and suddenly you’re a bag of jelly beans! Use some ribbon or tape to secure the bag.

Spider

Pretty easy to do this one, too. Start with an all black outfit and add either some black athletic socks or study black stockings. Fill the socks or stockings with cotton until they’re shaped to your liking. Now, take some wire or fishing line, and secure the “legs” together and attach to your elbows. Use a safety pin to keep the legs attached to your shirt. If you’re feeling bold, cut out a red hourglass shape and tape it to your back to become a black widow. Bring some stringy cotton (or even some Silly String) for webbing.

Bat and Flying Squirrel

This is pretty much the same as the spider costume, but with an extra step. Thread some sheer black fabric between the legs of the spider costume to create wings. Now you have wings. You can change up the colors as needed to suit your bat tastes, and be sure to get appropriate ears. You can also remove the middle two legs from the spider costume, attach the sheer fabric, get some aviator’s sunglasses or goggles and go as a flying squirrel (brown is a good color for this)!

Popular Politician

This one is easy. Politicians are normally in business wear, so pick out some business attire you may not mind dirtying a bit (parties can get messy after all). What will make the outfit are the accessories. Pick out add-ons that allow people to recognize who you’re going as without having to ask. A witch’s broom with a pant suit will make you a pretty obvious Christine O'Donnell, while a man’s white wig and a cigar has you looking like Bill Clinton in no time.

Got other ideas for cheap Halloween costume ideas? Leave us a note in the comments below.

See also:

Halloween music

Homemade Halloween costumes

MNN homepage photo: lenore-m/Flickr