- The Legend of Zelda
Link also has instant recognition going for him as a video game character in popular culture, but he's not quite popular enough to warrant pre-packaged costumes just yet. To score his look, you can do a half-assed version of the costume with just a green shirt, leather belt, and matching pants (black or brown -- pick one and stick to it), but most people don't think it's Link without the windsock-shaped hat. If you go for the hat, you may as well spring for a sword and shield of some kind -- but then you'll have to make the difficult decision about whether or not to wear tights or leggings instead of the pants. The good news is that Link's costume pieces are so basic, you can save a lot of money half-assing the clothes to then spend on expensive replica Master Swords and Hylian Shields.
Hot Topic's "Legendary Elf"
Cost: Between $35 and $65 depending on gender
Technically, this isn't a costume so much as an assortment of Hot Topic products that suggest Legend of Zelda. The cheapest way to pull this off is by shelling out $20 for the shirt, $5 for the dagger, and $10 for the hat -- then you can dig black or brown pants out of your closet to pair with unobtrusive hiking boots, plus a brown leather belt which most adults wind up owning at some point during the Job Hunt phase of life. If you're a woman, however, the $30 boots may temp you sorely, upping the total cost of this phoning-it-in number.
Option 2: DIY tunic + collector's item sword, shield
Cost: Between $35 and $100, depending on shield cost
There are tons of Hylian Shields and Master Swords floating around on eBay that'll serve the cheap to the classy, but remember to get a green shirt that's at least two sizes too large for you. Cut the collar off so that it forms a V down your chest and wear a white wife-beater underneath. Make sure the shirt trails down over your butt almost to the back of your thighs. Complete the look by cinching a brown belt around your waist (for the ladies), or just at your hips (for the guys).
Option 3: Full-on Cosplay
Cost: $100 to $400
Cosplay for Link gets intense when you factor in leather armor, or any alternate costumes Link may have worn in various games (like that scaled Zora armor from Twilight Princess). The big costs are still going to be sword and shield, so you may find a better cosplay bargain by picking and choosing second-hand accessories like the hat and leather gauntlets to pair with cheaper tunic alternatives.