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20 cheap fancy dress costume ideas

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Fancy dress parties are great fun, but picking (and affording) a costume can be stressful. Our list of cheap fancy dress ideas UNDER £20 should put your mind at ease.

hot dog and toga 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 for any theme, but even then, you have to navigate the price. Is it worth spending £50 on a fancy dress costume that you'll only wear once? Probably not.

Start with our list of eye-catching fancy dress costumes, which all cost £20 or less before delivery costs (at the time of writing).

Most fancy dress costumes are only worn once before they end up in landfill. For your next party, consider reusing the same costume to reduce your carbon footprint and save money at the same time.

Easy fancy dress costumes for under £20

These are the best cheap and easy fancy dress ideas:

  1. Banana fancy dress

    Price: About £14 (free delivery with Prime)

    banana costume

    Scientists have spent years trying to figure it out, but we still don't know why banana costumes make everything funnier. 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: About £19 (£3 delivery)

    man in inflatable horse costume

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

    Oh, and in case you hadn't worked it out already, the horse is the inflatable part, not the man.

    Get a Cowboy costume » 


  3. Cheerleader fancy dress

    Price: About £18 (free delivery with Prime)

    cheerleader fancy dress costume

    This sporty fancy dress costume (suitable for men and women) is available in various 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: About £18 (free delivery)

    hot dog costume

    You'll be a total snack in this hotdog costume. One Amazon reviewer said, "does what it says on the hotdog tin".

    The only criticism we'd have is that it only features a line of mustard, instead of the correct toppings of mustard and ketchup.

    Get a Hotdog costume » 


  5. Soldier fancy dress

    Price: About £9 (free delivery with Prime)

    fancy dress solider costume

    Once you've bought this, you only need to get a cheap green shirt (and a pair of green trousers, if you want to go all out) 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: About £15 for men, about £20 for women (both free delivery)

    track suit fancy dress

    Lots of memorable things happened in the 80s. But few more so than the advent of shellsuits, which have been seared into the retinas of anyone unfortunate enough to gaze upon them.

    This 80s fancy dress costume doesn't include a wig, so you'll have to source one yourself if you're hoping to wear one. But, honestly, we reckon people will probably get the look you're going for based on the shellsuit alone.

    Get an 80s costume (men) » 

    Get an 80s costume (women) » 


  7. Where's Wally? fancy dress

    Price: About £18 (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: About £20 (free delivery)

    grim reaper fancy dress

    Just a warning – you may feel like death the next morning. And if you do, make sure to use our hangover cures.

    Get a Grim Reaper costume » 


  9. Bottle of beer fancy dress

    Price: About £18 (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: About £13 (free delivery)

    Mario and Luigi costume

    First things first: you can either get the Mario costume or the Luigi costume for this bargain price – not both, unfortunately.

    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 » 


    Get six months free Student Prime to bag free delivery on Amazon items.
  11. Pirate fancy dress

    Price: About £15 (free delivery)

    pirate costume

    All hands on deck! This pirate fancy dress gets you ready to sail the seven seas. Or, get to the next party.

    Get a Pirate costume » 


  12. Pink Lady fancy dress

    Price: About £14 (free delivery)

    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: About £17 (free delivery)

    mime fancy dress costume

    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: About £16 (£2.60 delivery)

    118 118 fancy dress

    118-118. We all know who they are, but nobody knows what they do.

    Don't let that stop you from buying this costume, though. We know that they're at least good for some affordable fancy dress ideas.

    Get 118 Man outfit » 


  15. Hippy fancy dress

    Price: About £15 for women, about £19 for men (both free delivery)

    hippy fancy dress review

    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 Hippy outfit (women) » 

    Get Hippy outfit (men) » 


  16. Whoopie Cushion fancy dress

    Price: About £14 (free delivery)

    whoopie cushion costume

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

    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 » 


  17. Toga fancy dress

    Price: About £13 for men, about £15 for women (both free delivery)

    toga fancy dress

    If your uni doesn't hold at least one toga party during your time there, is it even a real uni? Even if you haven't 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 (men) » 

    Get a Toga costume (women) » 


  18. Caveman/Cavewoman fancy dress

    Price: About £10 for men, about £13 for women (both free delivery)

    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 make for great cheap fancy dress costumes.

    Get the Caveman outfit » 

    Get the Cavewoman outfit » 


    Fancy getting arty and making your own costume? Try our Halloween costume ideas for a truly unique (and sometimes spooky) outfit.
  19. OAP fancy dress

    Price: About £9 for men, about £6 for women (free delivery)

    old man and grey wig

    Once you've got your hands on a wig, all you need to do is check your local charity shop for some cheap-as-chips clothes. You'll get a bargain fancy dress costume and do a good deed all at once!

    Get the female wig » 

    Get the male wig » 


  20. Morphsuit fancy dress

    Price: About £14 (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.

    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 correct at the time of writing.

Tom Allingham

WRITTEN BY Tom Allingham

Tom joined Save the Student in 2017, initially heading up the editorial team before becoming Communications Director. He has appeared as a Student Finance expert on a range of TV and radio stations including the BBC, ITV and Sky, sharing his top tips for saving money and cutting student bills.
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