Six Cheap and Easy Bay Area Halloween Costumes

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Maybe you've been glued to your television screen watching the Giants take the World Series. Or pouring over your election mailers. Whatever the reason Halloween procrastinators, we're here for you.

In under five hours and with less than $40, intrepid KQED staff were able to build the costumes below. That comes out to roughly $6.66 and less than one-hour per costume. We raided our closets, Mission dollar stores, Thrift Town, Mission Thrift and Goodwill for everything you see below.

If you've come-up with a quick and easy costume, please let us know in the comments!

(Lisa Pickoff-White/KQED)

Cold Tourist

Nothing screams tourist like a San Francisco sweatshirt or pullover with shorts. We snagged this pullover at Thrift Town for $7. For an even more authentic look you can hit Walgreens to pick up one of the quintessential San Francisco sweatshirts.

What you'll need:
Baseball cap
Logo sweatshirt or pullover
Bonus: Cable car or 10-ride Muni pass
Google bus (Lisa Pickoff-White/KQED)

Tech Bus

Whether you're pulling into a party at 16th and Mission or at the North Berkeley BART, you can ride in style with this light cardboard box (WiFi not included). We took an Amazon package, taped up the top flaps and used a pen knife to carve out the vestibule. Next, glue on your construction paper color of choice. The dollar store across from Thrift Town has packs of paper for $1 each. Then, just clip on your suspenders. The truly crafty can glue a drink tray onto the front of the bus.

What you'll need:
Colored construction paper
Pen knife
Bonus: Tech badge
(Olivia Allen-Price/KQED)

Golden Gate Bridge

Looking for a costume for two? With a little international orange paint you and a friend can be one of the Bay Area's most iconic symbols. Carve out the towers with a pen knife and punch two holes for the cables at the top of each section. Paint your boxes. Once everything is dry, attach red rope at the top of each tower for the cables, knotting it inside the box once you've figured out the correct tension. Then you glue the blue cloth at the bottom of each tower for the Bay.

What you'll need:
Two boxes
Red paint
Paint brushes
Red rope
Blue cloth
Bonus: White drape for fog
(Lisa Pickoff-White/KQED)

Mission Soccer Player

One of our easiest costumes references the much-publicized disagreement between a group of tech company employees and some local kids over whether the Mission Playground soccer field could be reserved. If you have a soccer ball, white shirt and access to a printer, you have this costume.

What you'll need:
Tech logo
Soccer shorts
Bonus: Friend filming you with a cell phone
(Lisa Pickoff-White/KQED)


San Francisco was a small town before the Gold Rush began. Be a part of our state's great past with a flannel shirt, shovel and some suspenders.

What you'll need:
Flannel shirt
Dirty ripped jeans
Fool's gold, or take the easy way out with more construction paper
Bonus: Actual gold panning equipment
(Olivia Allen-Price/KQED)

Sea Lion

Be the smartest person at your Halloween party by correcting people who call you a seal. Real Bay Area residents know sea lions have ear flaps. We were able to turn some workout clothes and a cute animal mask into this costume. If you're bothered by sounding like a sea lion all night under the mask, just apply some make-up.

What you'll need:
Grey or brown clothes
Adorable animal mask or make-up
Bonus: Grab some gloves to use as flippers

Kevin Jones and Marie K. Lee assisted with this report. Special thanks to our models Isabel Angell, Davey Kim, Marie K Lee, Adizah Eghan, Kevin Jones and Lisa Pickoff-White.