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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 ideas UNDER £20 should put your mind at ease!

sumo and hippie fancy dress

Credit (background): Vjom – Shutterstock

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)!

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Easy fancy dress costumes for under £20

These are the best cheap and easy fancy dress ideas:

  1. Banana fancy dress

    Price: £12.99 (plus delivery from £3.99)

    man in banana costume

    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.

    Get a Banana costume » 

  2. Horse and cowboy fancy dress

    Price: £17.99 (free delivery with Prime)

    inflatable horse costume

    It's time to giddy up and get your costume sorted – and you needn't look any further than this inflatable horse and cowboy fancy dress outfit.

    In case you hadn't worked it out already, the horse is the inflatable part, not the man. But you do get a cowboy hat as part of the set, so that more than makes up for the disappointment of not getting a full-size inflatable person thrown in.

    Get a cowboy costume » 

  3. Cheerleader fancy dress

    Price: £11.57 – £12.85 depending on size (all free delivery with Prime)

    cheerleader fancy dress costume

    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.

    Get a Cheerleader costume » 

  4. Hotdog fancy dress

    Price: £16.99 (free delivery with Prime)

    man in hotdog costume

    You'll be a total snack in this hotdog costume, which one Amazon reviewer boldly claims is "the best purchase you will ever make". We can neither confirm nor deny the accuracy of these claims, but it's high praise indeed.

    In fact, the only criticism we'd have is that it only features a line of mustard, and not the correct toppings of mustard and ketchup.

    Get a Hotdog costume » 

  5. Soldier fancy dress

    Price: £4.99 (free delivery with Prime)

    fancy dress solider costume

    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.

    Get Army accessories » 

  6. 80s fancy dress

    Price: £12.99 (free delivery)

    man and woman in

    The fall of the Berlin Wall is undoubtedly the most memorable thing about the 1980s – and given that the sight of these outfits would surely be seared into the retinas of anyone who was unfortunate enough to gaze upon them, that's saying something.

    It's worth bearing in mind that neither of these 80s fancy dress costumes includes a wig, so you'll have to source one yourself if you're looking to go the whole hog. But, honestly, we reckon people will probably get the look you're going for based off the shellsuit alone.

    Get an 80s costume » 

  7. Where's Wally? fancy dress

    Price: £9.79 – £18.89 depending on size (free delivery with Prime)

    where's wally costume

    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.

    Get a Where's Wally? costume » 

  8. Grim Reaper fancy dress

    Price: £9.97 (free delivery with Prime)

    grim reaper costume

    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.

    Get a Grim Reaper costume » 

  9. Bottle of beer fancy dress

    Price: £13.98 (free delivery)

    beer bottle fancy dress costume

    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 easy fancy dress ideas go, you'll struggle to be more on-message at a party than the person dressed as beer.

    Get a Beer Bottle costume » 

  10. Mario and Luigi fancy dress

    Price: £10.99 (free delivery)

    mario and luigi fancy dress costumes

    First thing's first: you can either get the Mario costume or the Luigi costume for this bargain price – not both, unfortunately. Although, little hack for you, if you're able to fit into a kids' size outfit, you can save yourself a whopping £2 by getting one of those instead.

    They also don't come with the signature gloves, but you can easily find those for next to nothing elsewhere.

    Get a Mario/Luigi costume » 

  11. Captain Jack Sparrow fancy dress

    Price: £11.47 – £19.99 depending on size (free delivery, some sizes with Prime)

    captain jack sparrow pirate costume with review

    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!

    Get a Captain Jack Sparrow costume » 

  12. Pink Lady fancy dress

    Price: £14.99 (plus delivery from £3.99)

    woman wearing pink lady jacket

    We get it. You've been scrolling down this list, and now you've seen this fancy dress idea you've thought, "you're the one that I want". You could even say that you and this cheap Pink Lady jacket will go together like rama lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong.

    Get a Pink Lady jacket » 

  13. Mime fancy dress

    Price: £11.45 – £14.98 depending on size (free delivery, some sizes with Prime)

    mime fancy dress costume

    I guess we shouldn't be too surprised that a mimic costume is good at mimicking a mimic.

    Either way, this fancy dress costume is the perfect excuse to keep quiet if you're a little shy, or simply don't like anyone at the party.

    Get a Mime outfit » 

  14. 118 man fancy dress

    Price: £12.99 (free delivery with Prime)

    118 118 man costume and review

    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.

    Get a 118 man outfit » 

  15. Zoolander fancy dress

    Price: £16.19 (free delivery)

    zoolander outfit costume

    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?

    Get a Zoolander outfit » 

  16. Hippy fancy dress

    Price: £16.99 for women, £14.04 – £15.76 for men depending on size (both free delivery with Prime)

    male and female fancy dress costumes

    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.

    Get the female hippie outfit » 

    Get the male hippie outfit » 

  17. Whoopie Cushion fancy dress

    Price: £11.99 (£2.49 delivery)

    whoopie cushion costume and review

    As you get older, your sense of humour changes. That's just a fact.

    So, while an actual whoopie cushion may be something that only your younger self would have found funny, it's safe to say that this fancy dress costume will still be funny to people of all ages.

    Plus, you can be fairly sure that everyone will try to hug you at least once throughout the night. Ah, precious human contact.

    Get a Whoopie Cushion outfit » 

  18. Toga fancy dress

    Price: £12.48 – £13.96 depending on size (free delivery with Prime)

    greek toga costume

    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.

    Get a Toga costume » 

    Fancy getting arty and making your own costume? Also try our list of Halloween costume ideas for a truly unique (and sometimes spooky) outfit!
  19. Caveman/Cavewoman fancy dress

    Price: £9.65 for men, £8.98 – £10.19 for women depending on size (both free delivery with Prime)

    caveman fancy dress costume

    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.

    Get the Caveman outfit » 

    Get the Cavewoman outfit » 

  20. OAP fancy dress

    Price: £4.80 for women's wig, £6.25 for men's wig (both free delivery)

    old woman and old man wigs

    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!

    Get the female wig » 

    Get the male wig » 

  21. Sumo fancy dress

    Price: £19.90 (free delivery)

    fancy dress sumo costume

    According to the product description of this sumo costume, "if you really want to steal the show at a fancy dress party, sumo is the way to go". And judging by the face of the model, you'll have an absolute ball in the process.

    Get a Sumo costume » 

  22. Morphsuit fancy dress

    Price: £17.99 (free delivery)

    fancy dress costume morphsuit

    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.

    This really is the best cheap and easy fancy dress costume for any party.

    Get a Morphsuit » 

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.

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