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The best comic book Halloween costumes on a budget

DC superhero costumes
(Image credit: DC)

Hands down, Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love costumes more than your average person, which is probably why I took to cosplay so well when I realized that was a thing. I pride myself on never having purchased a store-bought costume for Halloween and only repeating the same costume once (with different outfits), but I blame my mom for that one.

Most adults I know don't have the time, energy, or care to dress up for the holiday anymore but what a lot of people don't realize is Halloween costumes don't have to be complicated to be awesome. Here are some comic book/superhero characters you could dress as this weekend, hopefully without looking like you threw your costume together at the last minute. 

Depending on your hair color/style you may need a wig for some of these but those are everywhere you turn this time of year.

Clark Kent

Cheap halloween costumes from comics

(Image credit: DC)

This one is a no-brainer. Throw on a suit, pick up some dollar store glasses, and a steno pad at Staples and you're all set. If you have a Superman t-shirt, throw that on underneath.

Death

Cheap halloween costumes from comics

(Image credit: DC)

The Sandman character is a very easy costume to put together and a fan favorite. Even if you don't already own a black tank top and jeans they are available pretty much anywhere. The mall should be able to yield an ankh necklace, and a black umbrella is also easy to acquire.

Captain Underpants

Captain Underpants

(Image credit: Scholastic)

Ok, you'd have to be slightly daring to go for this one but as last ditch-efforts go, putting on a pair of tighty-whities and a red cape really isn't that bad. Just make sure to draw little black polka-dots on the cape.

Peter Parker/Jimmy Olsen

Cheap halloween costumes from comics

(Image credit: Marvel Comics / DC)

Nerdy guy with a camera applies for either of these characters. Add a fake spider/bow tie where necessary and flash the appropriate newspaper credentials when asked.

Rogue

Cheap Halloween costumes from comics

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Rogue has had a few costumes through the years but you can totally go the civilian route with her and cover yourself up as much as possible. Don't forget gloves and streak the front of your hair white with a cheap colored hairspray. This probably isn't your best bet if you're going to be indoors at a crowded party all night. Trust me, I've done this one.

Scott Pilgrim/Ramona Flowers

Scott Pilgrim & Ramona Flowers

(Image credit: Oni Press)

This is a cute couples costume if you want to go that route. Actually, any Scott Pilgrim character would be relatively easy to pull off because they all wear normal clothes. Hardest prop? Ramona's hammer. Quick fix? Spray paint a cardboard box silver and close it around a broom handle with some double-sided tape or clay stuck to the end of it.

The Spirit

The Spirit

(Image credit: Darwyn Cooke (The Will Eisner estate))

Red tie, black everything else. His type of mask is likely to be very cheap at any Halloween store. Done.

Gwen Stacy

Cheap Halloween costumes from comics

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

She's got one of the most iconic, non-costumed looks for a female comic book character. Tan/green trench coat, purple mini-skirt, black turtleneck and boots, and a thick black headband. The best part is if you need to buy any of these items they can absolutely be used in your regular wardrobe.

Connor Kent/Linda Danvers

Cheap halloween costumes from comics

(Image credit: DC)

 If you're a guy or a girl who already has a Superman t-shirt in your closet these are great costumes for you. Of course, you need a black Superman tee for Connor but after that, all you need is blue jeans. Supergirl only needs a blue skirt and red boots.

The Goon

The Goon

(Image credit: Eric Powell (Albatross Funnybooks))

Sure, the Goon has sort of a craggy face but if you pull your newsboy cap down low enough no one will notice (especially if you're threatening to beat their face in). You can go for a striped t-shirt, white t-shirt, or a white tank, add some regular green cargo slacks, and a blunt object of your choice and you're done. Your buddy can even throw together a Franky costume to complete your look.

Alfred Pennyworth

Cheap halloween costumes from comics

(Image credit: DC)

If you already have a tuxedo or can rent one on short notice this would be a hilarious costume to do. Carry around a serving tray all night and say, "Right away, Master Bruce" whenever anyone asks you for something. Bonus points for throwing a black cape over your arm.

Sue Storm

Cheap Halloween costumes from comics

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

This is where you don't actually go to the party but tell everyone you were there. You can even do some recon on friends' social media photos so you know what to talk about.

Bear in mind, you can most likely get away with a civilian version of most iconic characters. Just brainstorm for a bit about how you can add small props or other items to a normal outfit to get the point across. I always add props to my costumes and it's that extra touch that everyone winds up remembering. You can also experiment with switching the gender of whichever character you like so that it works for you. Above all, just remember what it's like to be a kid again and have fun!

Looking for more inspiration? Check out a list of the best superheroes who don't even have superpowers.

[Editor's Note: This article was originally published on October 26, 2011.]

Jill Pantozzi

Jill Pantozzi is the editor of io9 and known in the entertainment industry as 'The Nerdy Bird.' Previously she was editor in chief of The Mary Sue and has written for HitFix at Uproxx, MTV, Tor, Playboy, Publishers Weekly, Blastr (Syfy Wire), IGN, and more. You can keep up with Jill, and her cats, on Twitter at @JillPantozzi