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Cheap Costume

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Your friendly, homemade, neighborhood Spider-Man!
Brian Douglas: What gives you the right!? What's the difference between you and me!?
Batman: I'm not wearing hockey pads!

A costume that looks shoddy and inexpensive, for a variety of reasons. Maybe the hero has to go into action, but doesn't have access to his official costume; so he contrives a shoddy emergency costume. Or, an imitator may want to look like the hero and fail, since he doesn't have the budget to make up a nice costume (This might lead to an I Am Spartacus scene). Or, it is Halloween, and some characters dress up extravagantly but one cannot afford anything more than a potato sack. Usually Played for Laughs. Sometimes it's even meta in that the show itself doesn't have budget for good costumes.

Compare with the Beta Outfit, which centers more on the evolution of superhero attire while lacking the iconic imagery of the character. They may start out with a sort of "dime store" outfit with crude approximation of their appearance, but it may also be a legitimate Beta Test that leads to their proper hero costume later on.

The logical opposite of Impossibly Cool Clothes. Often overlaps with Rummage Sale Reject, sometimes with Costume Copycat, or with Your Costume Needs Work, which is about the hero's real costume being perceived as an unconvincing imitation. Compare Improvised Clothes, Brown Bag Mask, Civvie Spandex.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z had the "historic" recreation of the Cell Games with the actors wearing plastic masks that had the yellow Super Saiyan hair, and were enormous. Not even Mr. Satan was spared!
  • Durarara!!: Eventually, the Blue Squares begin using cheap, shark masks to conceal their identities while removing the 'bad apples' from the Dollars under Mikado's orders. Later, Chikage and Masaomi try to lure out Mikado in a fake hostage situation. However, the Blue Squares undermine them by making it impossible to tell if Mikado is really there as they are all wearing shark masks.
    • The Yellow Scarves' wear literal yellow scarves, yellow shirts or yellow hats to signify what gang they are in. The cheapness of it eventually bites the Blue Squares in the ass after they had infiltrated the Yellow Scarves, as in order to infiltrate them, Kyohei got a bunch of Dollars to put on yellow scarves to remain undetected until the time was right to attack.
    • The Dollars have the cheapest uniform, which is no uniform.
    • After getting her helmet run over, Celty creates another one with her shadows. She also does the same for Shizuo, Anri, Mikado and Akane.
  • In Galaxy Angel, all the fake Angels have perfect costumes, but, besides the fake Milfeulle, they are also all Gonks and look completely different from their counterparts. (The Galaxy Angel gameverse versions were almost exact copies, but a sharp eye could tell them apart anyway.)
  • Deconstructed in Gamma. Light Bright wore a cheap costume when she was starting as a hero, which led to a villain uncovering her identity and murdering her best friend in retaliation.
  • My Hero Academia: After Izuku Midoriya successfully gets into UA High, his mother buys him a hero costume based on the sketches he drew that she found. It's a tacky light green costume that's very transparently based on All Might, which gets mostly shredded during Izuku's first lesson as opposed to the more professional ones the other students got via a costume designer firm. After his costume gets repaired via said firm, they made several upgrades to bring it up to par with the others.
  • One of Maron's heists in Phantom Thief Jeanne gets complicated when her Transformation Trinket ends up in the hands of the possessed Victim of the Week. Her makeshift disguise includes an altered yukata, a (much, much plainer) handmade cross, hair extensions, and spray-on hair dye. Things get even more complicated when she gets caught in a Drowning Pit, the dye washes off, and the hair extensions float away.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Zoisite, one of the Shitennou, dresses up as Sailor Moon, saves people from accidents he sets up himself, and stages his own kidnapping to trap the real one. However, the red parts of the Sailor Moon costume are deep purple on the fake costume. (It happens in the Sailor Moon Plus fan game, too, in which he also adopts Sailor Moon's move set.)
    • Sailor Venus also tries to disguise herself as Sailor Moon at one point when the latter is out of commission, although the effect is ruined by her orange costume highlights and a rather... unconvincing attempt to recreate Moon's attacks and Odango Hair. It still works.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, someone takes Yugi's deck and copies his look. His hair leaves much to be desired.

    Card Games 
  • In Super Munchkin, the villain-boosting card "Better costume than yours" shows a superhero in a cheap costume contrasted by a cooler villain.

    Comic Books 
  • Angry Birds Comics: Game Play: Seen in A New Bird in the Flock part of Red's pig disguise involves spray painting himself green, a pig disguised as a bird also has feathers tied to himself.
  • The "Burnside" costume Barbara Gordon wears in Batgirl (2011) fits this as some of her costume pieces includes a jacket, boots and a cowl that fits more like a cap. Note the costume itself is not cheaply made, it just consists of artifacts that could resemble real world clothing instead of a spandex outfit.
  • Before she became Batwoman, Kate Kane fought crime wearing tactical clothing and stolen military hardware (gas mask, flak vest, and collapsible truncheon).
  • Towards the end of the Birds of Prey series, former Batgirl Barbara Gordon met with a teenage girl who was co-opting her old identity. The cheapness of the young lady's costume — the cape and cowl of which were made from binliners — became a plot point, when it was what led Babs to figure out that she was homeless.
  • Captain America: During a time when his costume was confiscated by the U.S. Government due to accusations of treason against the nation, Steve Rogers was provided an improvised costume that eliminated the stars & stripes of his regular outfit.
  • The Creeper's rather ... flamboyant ... costume is explained in at least one version of his origin story as being odds and ends he put together from the leftovers nobody wanted to rent from a costume shop. Then he realized it creeped the bad guys the hell out, and decided to run with that theme.
  • Daredevil:
    • Gladiator used to be the owner of a costume shop that specialized in superhero and supervillain costumes (the place looked kinda like a Wax Museum Morgue). He alters a DD costume for Foggy Nelson that looks pretty darn good for a knockoff. Except for the plastic prop billyclub, of course...
    • In the Born Again arc, the Daredevil impostor hired by the Kingpin had such a convincing costume (also made by the Gladiator), the real Daredevil actually stole it from him and put it on himself. Of course he had no choice as all of his other costumes had been destroyed.
    • Another impostor, an actor claiming to have been Daredevil for publicity, also had a perfect costume.
    • D-Man's "costume" consists of a copy of Daredevil's old yellow outfit and a knock-off Wolverine mask.
  • One Darkwing Duck comic in Disney Adventures featured Darkwing's mask getting stolen by a mask thief. Gosalyn protects Darkwing's identity from the public with a Pie in the Face. Later on in the story, Darkwing confronts the thief while wearing a Mardi Gras mask, with a luchador's mask underneath. The thief steals both of those masks anyway, leaving Darkwing unmasked again. After a few other disgruntled superheroes capture the mask thief, Darkwing reveals that it had all been a Batman Gambit, and that he was actually wearing a mask of his secret identity over one of his spare regular masks in order to keep his secret identity safe. Launchpad and Gosalyn are befuddled.
  • In Dial H, Nelson has to rescue a friend without a working Hero Dial, and creates his own blue-collar-worker-themed "Rescue Jack" superhero identity with a thrown-together costume and metalworking tools as weapons.
  • The Golden Age hero the Guardian stole his outfit and shield from a costume shop. Though at least in his case, he left behind some money for it.
  • Harley Quinn's costume was just something she stole from a costume shop. The Joker's duds may count as well, given he just wears a ratty old suit. This tends to fall into Depending on the Writer at times. In Salvation Run, Joker mentions that his famed purple tuxedo is made of pure velvet. In the New 52 continuity, Harley's costume is shown to be made up of articles of clothing she stole from a cheerleader, jogger, prostitute, and fast food employee, respectively. Presumably this was done to explain the Stripperiffic nature of the outfit.
  • Iron Man: At one point when Tony Stark had retired from his Iron Man identity to recover from his alcoholism, Tony had his "Recovery Armor" (basically a modernized Mark I armor) discovered by Dr. Demonicus and taken for a test run. Tony had to scrounge up costume parts of his teammates' within the Avengers West Coast so he could go out and get the armor back. Hawkeye mockingly named him "Spare Parts Man".
  • Don Martin's MAD Magazine protagonist Captain Klutz got his costume by pure accident. The impoverished schmuck tried to commit suicide by jumping off his floor of a skyscraper when he got fitted out by various laundry items air-drying on a line (most notably some red long johns) and he landed on top of a thug who just robbed a bank. The robber called him a klutz, and when the police asks who he was, he mumbles "I'm a klutz, Captain..." The officer tells another "I think he said he was Captain Klutz!"
  • In The DCU, Nightwing had a "rival" hero called Nite-Wing with a 'costume' that consisted of a hockey jersey and combat pants.
  • Molly Hayes of Runaways tried to make her own costume with a T-shirt cape and cheap mask. This lasted a few seconds before Gert yanked the mask off herself.
  • In The Second Life of Doctor Mirage, Doctor Mirage's costume is actually just a ski outfit that he was wearing when Master Darque discorporated him.
  • In The Shadow: Year One from Dynamite Comics, Lamont Cranston is attending a party when he sees Margo Lane being abducted by gangsters who plan to throw her off the roof. Not having his Shadow accoutrements with him, he is forced to improvise a mask out of his dress scarf, and rely upon his mind tricks to do the rest.
  • When Silk started off on her heroic adventures, she ran around in basically her naked body covered in webbing. Thankfully, she learned that she could create clothing from her webbing and changed accordingly.
  • Spider-Man: Seems to happen with Spider-Man quite frequently. Makes sense, considering he is often The Woobie, The Chew Toy, or both.
    • In the comics, after getting rid of the symbiote, he had to borrow a Fantastic Four costume, but because it didn't have a mask, he had to wear a paper bag over his head (and a kick-me sign on his back, courtesy of Johnny Storm). No, seriously. He was called "The Amazing Bag-Man" and "The Bombastic Bag-Man".
    • In an early story arc, Spidey's costume gets trashed (again), but he doesn't have a spare and is forced to buy a Spider-Man costume from a costume shop. A dunk in the river causes the cheap costume to shrink, forcing him to web it in place, which leads to further problems...
    • During a Team-Up with Wolverine, Spidey once found himself abroad and in need of a costume. Luckily for him, he was able to purchase a reasonable imitation of a Spider-Man costume in a costume shop in Berlin. Unfortunately, it had "Die Spinne" written on the back, the name that the character was known by and that Spider-Man comics were sold under in Germany back then. Worth noting that Spidey's normal costume at the time was the black & white number, so it wasn't a "reasonable" imitation of his way of thinking since it looked like his then-retired red-and-blue costume.
    • The Scarlet Spider outfit started out like this. This may be where the "stenciled sweats" idea came from in the movie.
    • The Steel Spider began as a boy in a Spider-Man Halloween costume with (non-functional) aluminum arms coming off the back. He eventually developed his own, still Spider-Man–based identity, the Steel Spider.
    • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, the Chameleon was a pretty convincing Spidey, except for the fact that Pete had switched to the black costume at this point. Oh, and the Chameleon had some weak imitations of the webbing, really hammed it up with the voice, and had an "insect early warning sense". On top of all that he's a full foot too tall.
    • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Spidey had lost his costume to the Venom suit and was forced to wear a rag-tag Spidey t-shirt/blue pants combo and a loose mask. The glass piece that covered one eye of the mask fell out, and the lady he saved accidentally stepped on it.
      • Peter's first wrestling costume consisted of a red turtleneck sweater, blue sweatpants, tennis shoes, a pair of swimming goggles, and what looks like some kind of luchador or ski mask. The wrestling promoter quickly gave Peter a much better looking costume that Peter would later modify into the classic Spider-suit.
      • Miles Morales, the second Ultimate Spider-Man, started off in a ratty store-bought Spider-Man costume that was given to him by his friend Ganke. He later upgraded to a cooler, more official model designed by Nick Fury.
    • Back in the very early Steve Ditko days, Peter Parker made his own costumes. The design was silk-screened on. And there was webbing between his arms and his side, which was a real pain to sew on.
    • Fittingly, many of these cheap costumes are available to wear in Spider-Man 2 – Enter: Electro.
    • The newspaper Amazing Spider-Man had a storyline where someone stole Spidey's costume and Peter himself fought crime in a Western mashup costume under the name of "Justice Guy".
    • At one point at least, Spidey bought a Halloween costume from a store and found it was better than his current costume.
    • During one part of The Clone Saga, Peter once again found himself without a costume. He improvised with the tank-top and pants he'd been wearing in prison, a leather jacket, and the black mask, boots, and gloves left over from his cloth version of the symbiote costume (wearing his webshooters on the outside for some reason).
    • In the Infinity arc of Mighty Avengers, Ronin hides his identity with a cheap Spider-Man Halloween costume. The costume is lime-green and hot-pink in place of blue and red, and even has "Spider Hero" written on the front to avoid litigation.
    • In the Secret Wars (2015) tie-in comic The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, Peter's daughter Annie wears a costume which is just her normal street clothes with knee pads, fingerless gloves, a dog leash for a belt, a sheet for a cape and swimming goggles for her eyes. The Power Pack made it for her.
    • Penelope Parker, first seen in Spider-Verse #1 (2015), does this twice, at first with Uncle Ben's hoodie and a paper lunch bag, then more officially with leg warmers, an ugly shirt, a tutu from a failed ballet class, gloves and Uncle Ben's luchador mask. Justified because Penelope is eleven!
  • In Ridley Pearson's Super Sons graphic novels, Jon and Damian are not officially affiliated with their superhero fathers, so the boys dress in cobbled-together sports equipment to fight crime.
  • In Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool, Static makes an approximation of his cartoon outfit out of some clothing stolen from a sporting goods shop. He later ditches it after several of his friends claim it makes him look like Ash from Pokémon: The Series.
  • In Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Crisis on Infinite Earths, Lyta "Fury" Trevor becomes the new Wonder Woman after the death of her mother, the Earth-Two Wonder Woman. Her new costume is initially just her torn Fury costume with Diana's tiara and a scrap of star fabric attached to her belt. Justified, since she literally went from one battle to another. A Where Are They Now? Splash Panel shows her later wearing a costume similar to the one from the current comics.
  • Rorschach's costume in Watchmen is something of an inversion; he works in a tailor's shop in his day job and has the skills and equipment to make himself any costume his imagination could devise —it's possible he made Nite Owl II's in exchange for that rope gun — yet is content with a fairly low-key Coat, Hat, Mask ensemble with the mask coming from a fabric offcut that nobody at work wanted. It's probably the scariest costume in the comic. The pinstripe suit and shoes that he normally wears under it were probably quite expensive when they were new, for that matter.
    • After he escapes from prison he doesn't have time to do more than grab his coat, hat, mask and scarf over what he was wearing at the time, which definitely makes him fit the trope more.
    • Doctor Manhattan's "costume" consists of a circle emblem he inscribed in his forehead representing a hydrogen atom, plus whatever concessions to the sensibilities of ordinary humans he feels like making at the time... the ultimate in cheap costumes. He's perfectly happy to go around with Lower Manhattan hanging out, but people tend to complain.
  • Whatever Happened to The Caped Crusader?: In Selina Kyle's story of how she first met Batman, she's wearing a fullface cat mask and ladies trenchcoat, instead of the familiar slinky catsuit she wears as their relationship evolves.
  • Cassie Sandsmark as Wonder Girl tends towards this as a member of Young Justice (both when she started out and in 2019 series). Her original Wonder Girl outfit was black leggings with yellow stars, a skirt, and a return to a Wonder Woman-themed shirt.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Amazing Spider-Man has Peter simply wear a red face mask with sunglasses paired with regular street clothes consisting of a beanie and a jacket, shirt, jeans and tennis shoes until he makes a proper suit out of a ski suit.
  • The costumes of The Batman film serial were far from stellar. Batman's mask was poorly fitting, and the ears wobbled when Batman moved. Robin's outfit was of the same quality.
  • Subverted in Blankman, where the titular character wears what appears to be a cheaply-made costume made out of long underwear, a sock for a mask and a tablecloth for a cape. But as it turns out, the entire thing is bulletproof. Played straight with his sidekick "Other Guy", whose "Michigan" shirt and unmatching exercise pants are completely regular.
  • Brandon's "superhero" costume in Brightburn is a burlap sack and a ragged cape made from what looks like an old sheet, highlighting him as a cross between Superman and a backwoods slasher.
  • Chronicle features Andrew Detmer making a cheap but fairly effective supervillain disguise out of his dad's firefighting gear and gas mask. Unfortunately, because he wears his school backpack over the coat, the neighbourhood thugs recognize him almost immediately. Not that it does them any good.
  • The Dark Knight:
    • Batman encounters a group of vigilantes dressed in Batman costumes and is not impressed, leaving them for the police along with the criminals.
      Bat-Vigilante: What's the difference between you and me?
      Batman: I'm not wearing hockey pads!
    • Subverted with the Joker, who denies that his suit was cheap, and it's later confirmed to be entirely custom-made, though he apparently also doesn't believe in washing it. He also implies that the suit was created using the money he stole in the beginning of the film.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, when Bruce Wayne needs to take Batman out of retirement quickly, he just slips on a ski mask.
  • Woody Harrelson's costume in Defendor (misspelling intentional)
  • The Flash (2023): Barry goes back in time and meets a younger version of himself, helping him to gain his powers in a Freak Lab Accident. Modern Barry has a sleek and customized suit designed to manage all the Required Secondary Powers but doesn't have a spare, so the younger Barry takes one of Batman's extra suits and modifies it by painting it red with a yellow lightning bolt on top of the bat symbol. It's also revealed that in the original timeline Barry acquired his powers shortly before the arrival of Zod in Man of Steel and cobbled together a random costume made mostly of sports equipment in an attempt to help, but wasn't able to do much because of being unfamiliar with his powers and the Gravity Screw of the attack on Metropolis making his powerset less ideal.
  • Done in Kick-Ass, where some of the costumes are really cheesy. And yet the title character makes a wetsuit look downright awesome.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Captain America: The First Avenger: Once Steve Rogers is turned into a Super-Soldier, he's put into USO shows while wearing a sloppily-made version of the Captain America outfit (though it is faithful to the character's appearance in the comics). However, once he gets his new costume for actual missions, Steve personally sees to it that the outfit is visually based on the USO costume, having come to like the corny aspect of it.
    • In Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man starts off in a cheap, homemade outfit, but gets a more professional Avengers-style outfit from Tony Stark. Stark even makes fun of the outfit by calling him "Underoos." During Spider-Man: Homecoming, he's forced to don his old outfit again for the final confrontation against the Vulture, though he gets his hi-tech outfit back from Stark in the end. (As noted above, it's also a Mythology Gag to the Scarlet Spider outfit.)
    • In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Peter Parker resorts to a street-vendor jester mask to hide his face when forced to go into action without his costume.
  • The "heroes" of Mystery Men all upgrade their costumes to something more impressive before the final battle.
  • In Scream (1996), the fact that Ghostface is wearing a cheap, mass-produced "Father Death" Halloween costume is an important plot point, demonstrating that the killer is an ordinary person (unlike such Implacable Men as Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees) and making it much harder to identify who the killer is based on an Iconic Outfit. Indeed, in one scene we see a pair of Class Clowns run around the school hallways with Ghostface masks on to scare their classmates, as if to demonstrate that it could be anyone. The opening scene of Scream 2 also highlights this, with an entire theater full of people in Ghostface costumes that allow the real killer to blend in, as does Scream VI with a scene in a Sinister Subway on Halloween with multiple people dressed as Ghostface.
  • Spider-Man had Peter Parker in his first costumed appearance with stenciled sweats and off-the-shelf gloves, mask and shoes. The novelization of Spider-Man 2 revealed that Peter got his proper costume made by a guy who specialized in wrestling costumes. In the unfilmed James Cameron movie script, stores began selling Spider-Man costumes based off of what they saw him wearing. Peter ruined his costume and decided to buy the store costume because it was actually of better quality.
  • In Super, the Crimson Bolt's costume is clearly homemade and is pretty sloppy looking.
  • David Dunn's "Costume" in Unbreakable is a simple poncho. He probably didn't mean for it to be his superhero outfit; it just happened to be what he was wearing on the rainy night that he made his first foray into crimefighting.

  • In the American Girls Collection book Kathleen: The Celtic Knot, Kathleen can't afford a fancy Irish dancing costume, but her aunt makes one from a pair of green curtains.
  • The Animorphs' morphing outfits (which have to be tight to work) are made up of bike shorts, tight T-shirts, and gymnastics uniforms. Marco was not impressed.
  • Ramona Quimby: Ramona decides to be a sheep for the Nativity pageant, but her mother doesn't have the time or money to make an elaborate costume, and she has to make do with a costume made from a bleached white bathrobe, pink pajama pants, and a sheep tail and headdress.
  • Soon I Will Be Invincible. In a Chance Meeting Between Antagonists, Doctor Impossible is spotted having a coffee by a superhero who immediately calls in the rest of his Super Team. Forced to fight on the spot without his mask and cape, he tapes a napkin over his face to protect his Secret Identity.
  • Supergifted: In chapter 6, before going to confront Hashtag, Noah makes himself a wrestling outfit out of long underwear (the bottom of which he spray-painted black to make his shoes look like boots), a sweatshirt that was cut in half at the front, his mother's gardening gloves, and black leather shoes.
  • Worm: Most capes (hero or villain), simply don't have either the resources or the skills to make a cool costume, and as a result are generally quite cheap looking. For instance, Bitch's and Regent's costumes are basically just ordinary clothes and a mask. Mention is made of professional costuming services available for those who can pay.

    Live Action TV 
  • Batwoman (2019). Downplayed in "A Narrow Escape". Kate Kane has taken a 10-Minute Retirement and another woman tries to inspire Gotham by doing heroics in a cosplay version of her Batsuit. It's not bad, but hardly offers the protection of Kate's multi-million dollar Batsuit made of military-grade kevlar woven with enriched carbon nanotubes. She's introduced being wheeled into Mary's illegal hospital clinic with several broken ribs.
    Cosplay Batwoman: (as the suit is cut off her) No, no, no! This thing took forever to make!
    Mary: So, insider tip: my scissors should not be able to cut through your supersuit.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The Season 2 episode "Lie To Me" utilizes this trope. The episode features a gang of (literal) vampire wannabes, all of whom dress to emulate movie vampires. While some of the teens are fairly convincing, about half are sporting cheap Halloween getups. Confronted with the gang's ringleader (who is wearing a blue polyester cape and ruffled cravat), Buffy quips, "My God—could you have a dorkier outfit?" Also subverted, rather humorously, in the same episode: as Angel enters a Goth club, he scoffs that the clubgoing teens are completely ignorant of how real vampires dress; almost immediately, he comes face-to-face with a young man dressed identically to himself!
    • Oz might just win the prize of cheapest costume ever. Remembering how they changed into their outfits before, in "Fear Itself", Xander dresses as James Bond and Willow as Joan D'Arc. Oz? A name tag that identifies him as God.
  • Daredevil (2015) runs with this for season 1. Though, given Matt Murdock's financial situation it's no surprise he'd be running around in some simple bunches of black cloth, a bandanna, and some knee pads bought on the Internet. It isn't until the season 1 finale that Matt gets Melvin Potter to build him a red and black suit of body armor and a red, horned helmet, in time for Matt's final showdown with Wilson Fisk.
  • In The Defenders (2017), while Matt Murdock and Jessica Jones are infiltrating Midland Circle, Matt is caught off-guard when they need to go investigate a gunshot (from a fight going on between Danny Rand and some Hand henchmen). To do so, he steals Jessica's scarf and ties it around his head. She is not particularly impressed.
    Jessica Jones: You look like an asshole.
    Matt Murdock: It's your scarf.
  • In Kamen Rider Fourze, the Rider Club cosplay themselves as the Legendary Riders, using the same materials. They must have been taking "fashion tips" from the Shinkengers and Gokaigers...
  • Little Lunch: In "The Dress Up Day", Melanie's veterinarian 'costume' consists of an apron over her street clothes and her dog Rudy on a lead, because she forgot to tell her mother about dress up day until the morning of dress up day and her mother refused to rush around town looking for a set of surgical scrubs before school. As a result, everyone keeps guessing that she is dressed as a waitress (except for Mrs. Gonsha who guesses dog-groomer).
  • Samurai Sentai Shinkenger and Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger both featured the heroes dressing themselves as Nanashi and Gormin, using cardboard and buckets. And they manage to fool the other mooks with them, too...
  • In episode 6 of WandaVision, Wanda, Vision, and others dress up for Halloween in cheap costumes of their original comic-book appearances as a Mythology Gag.

  • My Beloved Mother: In order to infiltrate a penal colony full of robots, the human protagonist Sinbell blends in with a disguise consisting of a jacket, chest-plate and face-concealing armor. Which raises zero suspicions from the human security. To be fair, there are thousands of robots around.

  • In Our Miss Brooks, the episode "Halloween Party" sees Walter Denton dress up as a Bedsheet Ghost. Meanwhile, Mr. Boynton puts together a skeleton costume, Stretch Snodgrass dresses up as Hopalong Cassidy, and Miss Brooks announces her intention to masquerade as a witch.

    Web Original 
  • In Tales of the Starbuck Avenger, the titular heroine's costume consists of a cheap tiara, a javelin, and a Starbucks apron worn backwards as a cape.
  • In the Whateley Universe, the first outfit for Jinn Sinclair is made from stuff Jade Sinclair was able to find in dumpsters and steal from seconded lots in the backs of stores.
  • In X-Ray & Vav, the titular heroes' initial costumes are nothing more than normal clothes, their logos being printed pieces of paper, dish gloves and towels around their necks.
  • In Brazil, doing Cosplays with serious budgetary issues has become known as "Cospobre" (literally "Cospoor"). Great cases of this combined with For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself are three different videos where dubbers dressed as characters they voice, using only what they had at home - even if some had accurate props ("Picard" owns a Starfleet uniform, "Star-Lord" has both the helmet and the pistol).
  • Invoked by Lowcostcosplay, a Thai social media poster whose main gimmick is to do cosplay using cheap household goods, ridiculous props and very specific angles. The end results just about barely resemble their source material, which is the whole point.

  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, when Bob gains Super Powers, he cobbles together a costume that doesn't look very impressive. When he later loses said powers, he comments that his one regret is that he used a permanent laundry marker to make the "B" logo on a perfectly good shirt.
  • In The Pocalypse, Bernie and Jess don't have an awesome suit for Joe to battle with them in, so they just give him a green bandana that Jess kept lying around. He thinks it's awesome.

    Western Animation 
  • Inverted in the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Ember Island Players" when the cast goes to see a play about themselves. A kid wearing a very awkwardly pieced-together Aang costume tells Zuko during intermission that "his Zuko costume is pretty good, but the scar's on the wrong side."
  • In an episode of Batman Beyond, Terry has to fight his suit, now controlled by a malevolent A.I. His costume? Nightwing's mask and one of Bruce's old utility belts.
  • An episode of Batman: The Animated Series involves Batman being hunted by a villain who desires his mask as a trophy. Upon finding himself in a death trap with no means of escape handy, Batman relents and throws off his mask, revealing... that he's wearing a black handkerchief tied over the top of his head with eye-slits cut into it. Another episode gives us Condiment King, who wears a cheap looking jumpsuit with a pickle headpiece and a pair of tighty-whitey briefs on the outside.
  • Futurama: Bender is so desperate to become a Harlem Globetrotter he makes a shabby homemade team outfit - earning only derision and the threat of a lawsuit.
  • Kim Possible:
    • Subverted in the episode "Kimitation Nation" - when Kim's mission outfit becomes the latest fashion trend, she's told she can't pull off the look.
    • A few seasons later, her last mission outfit gets ruined and she can't find another one, even when she resorts to searching for "the cheap knockoffs" at Smarty Mart.
  • Man Man from Mega Man: Fully Charged wears a hero outfit reminiscent of Bad Box Art Mega Man, made out of painted blue-and-yellow cardboard and a large soda cup taped to his helmet.
  • In the Miraculous Ladybug episode "Oblivio", both heroes AND their Kwamis (The source of their powers) lose their memories due to the titular villain. When Plagg flies off in a fit of pique, Adrien fashions a custom Cat Noir suit from some cardboard boxes, complete with ears, tail, and bell, so he can help Ladybug without revealing his identity. It doesn't last long, as Plagg comes back so Adrien can transform properly.
  • The Simpsons: In line at a Halloween candy X-ray station:
    Milhouse: Check it out Lisa, I'm Radioactive Man.
    Lisa: I don't think the real Radioactive Man wears a plastic smock with a picture of himself on it.
    Milhouse: He would on Halloween.
  • An episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series has him losing his mask while fighting Venom and grabbing a sheet drying on a rooftop until he can get out of public view.
  • Spoofed in a Halloween Episode of South Park, where we see someone stomping around in an insanely elaborate ED-209 suit... and everyone instantly recognizes it as Kenny, to his growing frustration. Then, Wendy wins the costume contest wearing just a Chewbacca mask.
  • Static Shock: When the title character lost his mask while fighting a pair of bounty hunter villains, he grabbed a bandanna out of a nearby dumpster and tied it over his face, leading to derisive cowboy jokes from his foes.
  • Steven Universe: During a play covering the founding of Beach City, the Crystal Gems make an appearance, and Jamie, due to a lack of actors, has to play all three. For Pearl, he sticks a party hat over his nose, and Garnet has a cardboard box for hair and movie star sunglasses. Amethyst is just a mop with a piece of costume jewelry taped on.