Top 11 cheap and cheerful fancy dress costumes

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 or you will be part of a sports society, which will require you to participate in dressing up in weird and fun outfits. You don’t want to be that one person who doesn’t show up in a costume, because being boring doesn’t get you far in life.

You may be blessed and be able to dream up a standout costume to wear for any theme, but 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!

1. Banana


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.

2. Cheerleader91jdPWpRqZL._SL1500_.jpg

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.

3. Mario


You go for a Luigi, Wario, Waluigi or even a Toad costume instead, but we’ve chosen Mario to help minimise the chance of someone awkwardly asking what the hell you’ve come as. So, you go out there and find your Princess Peach!

4. Pink Lady

pink ladies

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.

5. 118 Man


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.

6. Freddie Mercury


If, like Freddie, you Want To Break Free, you can’t go too far wrong with this replica of the outfit he donned in the legendary music video.

Sadly the outfit doesn’t include a wig or moustache, but you should be able to find cheap versions of these online or on the high street. You’ll also have to supply your own hoover.

7. Hippie


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.

8. Toga


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.

9. Mime


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 if you’re a little shy, or simply don’t like anyone at the party.

10. Abba


Unleash your inner Dancing Queen and turn heads with this fabulous, cheap and cheerful Abba costume. This outfit is an easy way for you to live your Meryl Streep dreams and sing your heart out.

11. Where’s Wally?


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. Perfect if you’re trying to avoid someone at the party.

You obviously don’t have to spend money. If you want to be crafty and save some coins, create your own outfits. Now that you are prepped for fancy dress, make sure you check out our handy guide to starting uni.


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