22 cheap fancy dress costume ideas
Fancy dress parties are great fun, but picking (and affording) a costume can be super stressful. Our list of cheap fancy dress costumes UNDER £20 should put your mind at ease!
If there's one thing you can guarantee about your time at university, it's that you'll be invited to at least one fancy dress party along the way.
You may be blessed with the ability to dream up a standout costume to wear for any theme, but even then you have to navigate the price. Is it really worth spending £50 on fancy dress you'll only wear once?
So start with our list of eye-catching fancy dress costumes, which all sneak under the £20 price tag (including delivery, at time of writing)!
Fancy dress costumes for under £20
Banana fancy dress
Price: £8.72 (free delivery with Prime)
Scientists have spent years trying to figure it out, but we still don't know why banana costumes make everything funnier. But the fact remains that they do, and at this price, you'd be a fool not to get one for yourself.
Jesus fancy dress
Price: £12.24 (free delivery with Prime)
He died for our sins, but you can be the life of the party in this fetching number.
Note that this costume only includes the robe and drape, so you may have to pray for a beard spurt (or put your faith in this accessory) if you're keen to rock the authentic Jesus-chic.
Cheerleader fancy dress
Price: £11.57 – £12.85 depending on size (free delivery with Prime)
This sporty fancy dress costume (suitable for men and women) is available in a range of colours, but we've gone for the red as a throwback to the days of Glee and High School Musical.
What team?! WILDCATS.
Hawaiian fancy dress
Prices (left to right): £2.15; £8.80; £8.59 – £15.98 depending on size (all free delivery, some with Prime)
Their pizzas might leave a lot to be desired, but those Hawaiians sure know how to spawn a fancy dress craze.
You can get the skirt, bra, cuffs, lei and headband in one set for £8.88. However, if you're not keen on skirts (or don't like getting cold), the Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses/lei set will go just fine with a pair of shorts.
Soldier fancy dress
Price: £4.99 (free delivery)
Once you've bought this, you just need to get your hands on a cheap green t-shirt (and a pair of green trousers, if you want to go the whole hog) and some face paint, and voilà – you're in the Army!
The only downside – as Julie with the average-size-head points out – is that the sunglasses aren't of a high enough quality to double up as your new pair of shades.
Gangster fancy dress
Price: £9.99 – £10.99 depending on colour (free delivery with Prime)
You know you're onto a good thing when someone appears to write their review in the form of a poem.
You'll have to supply your own shirt, trousers and shoes to complete this fancy dress costume, but we'd bet our bottom dollar that you've already got those lying around anyway.
Where's Wally? fancy dress
Price: £11.79 – £14.35 depending on size (free delivery with Prime)
God knows how Wally (or Waldo, as Americans seem to think he's called) manages to hide so well in such a conspicuous outfit, but you can't deny that it works. The perfect fancy dress idea if you're trying to avoid someone at the party.
Grim Reaper fancy dress
Price: £12.35 – £15.94 depending on size (free delivery with Prime)
Despite what the picture may suggest, this costume doesn't include the scythe. A little annoying, but you can pick one up for just a few quid and hopefully keep this fancy dress costume within the £20 price point.
Just a warning, though – you may feel like death the next morning.
Bottle of beer fancy dress
Price: £13.17 (free delivery)
Ah, Studmeister – everyone's favourite American-style lager. Who wouldn't want to go to a party dressed as the "lord of lager" (their words, not ours)? Not us, that's for sure.
And as far as fancy dress ideas go, you'll struggle to be more on-message at a party than the person dressed as beer.
Mario fancy dress
Price: £10.45 (free delivery with Prime)
You can go for a Luigi, Wario, Waluigi or Toad costume instead, but we've chosen Mario to help minimise the chance of someone awkwardly asking what the hell you've come as.
Plus, as Kaylee rightly says, the hat is so funny.
Captain Jack Sparrow fancy dress
Price: £19.54 (free delivery with Prime)
Don't let this be the day that you remember as the time you almost bought a Captain Jack Sparrow costume. Buy this bargain fancy dress outfit now!
Pink Lady fancy dress
Price: £13.02 – £13.21 depending on size (free delivery with Prime)
You and this cheap Pink Lady jacket will go together like rama lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong. Not to mention all the heads you'll turn if you walk up and down Buchanan Street.
Mime fancy dress
Price: £7.49 – £14.98 depending on size (free delivery)
I guess we shouldn't be too surprised that a mimic costume is good at mimicking a mimic.
Either way, this is the perfect excuse to keep quiet if you're a little shy, or simply don't like anyone at the party.
118 man fancy dress
Price: £10.83 – £12.40 depending on gender/size (plus £1.75 – £2.99 delivery)
118-118. We all know who they are, but nobody knows what they do.
Don't let that stop you buying this costume, though – we know that they're at least good for some affordable fancy dress ideas.
Zoolander fancy dress
Price: £15.75 depending on size (free delivery)
There's more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. But let's face it, fancy dress parties are all about appearances, so why not go for this bargain Zoolander costume?
Hippy fancy dress
Price: £16.99 for women, £11.96 – £17.03 for men depending on size (both free delivery)
Dressing like a hippy: the original cheap fancy dress costume. And as Finley notes in his review of the men's outfit, you'll struggle to find a comfier outfit to drunkenly fall asleep in.
Breaking Bad hazmat suit fancy dress
Price: £17.99 (free delivery)
For less than £20 you get the hooded overalls, gas mask, goggles and the gloves. We know Walter White dabbled in crime (to put it lightly), but this costume is an absolute steal!
Toga fancy dress
Price: £10.98 (free delivery with Prime)
If your uni doesn't hold at least one toga party during your time there, is it even a real uni? In fact, even if you've not got a toga party coming up, it's almost worth getting this cheap toga costume just because you're so likely to have one in the future.
Caveman/Cavewoman fancy dress
Price: £8.41 for men, £7.90 – £8.59 for women depending on size (both free delivery)
We'll leave you to guess whether this review was left on the male or female outfit. But we will confirm the value for money here – both of these make for great cheap fancy dress costumes.
OAP fancy dress
Price: £4.50 for women's wig, £4.14 for men's wig (both free delivery)
Once you've got your hands on a wig, all you need to do is hit up your local charity shop and find some cheap-as-chips clothes there. You'll be getting a bargain fancy dress costume and doing a good deed all at once!
Sumo fancy dress
Price: £19.99 (free delivery with Prime)
According to the product description of this sumo costume, "put one on and BAM you're a sumo". And judging by the face of the model, you'll have an absolute ball in the process.
Morphsuit fancy dress
Price: £17.95 (free delivery)
The beauty of the morphsuit is its flexibility. Literally and metaphorically.
If you're going to the party dressed as anything other than a human, a morphsuit can do the bulk of the legwork for you. Smurf? Blue morphsuit. Toy soldier? Green morphsuit. Butler? Tuxedo morphsuit.
They really are the cheap costume for any fancy dress party.
Once you've got fancy dress covered, use our what to take to university checklist to see what else you're missing.
All prices were accurate at the time of writing.