Archive for Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Easy-to-make costumes suit budget

October 27, 2009


This Halloween, the only thing scarier than ghouls, ghosts and goblins is the economic forecast.

Finances are tight this fall, which means less money for freaky festivities and expensive store-bought costumes. Luckily, a spooky solution may be as close as your own closet.

Homemade Halloween costumes are cheap, easy and eco-friendly, since they often feature recycled clothes, props and accessories. Plus, most of the materials for the perfect costume can be found around the house or at your local thrift store.

Here are some frighteningly fun costumes that simply scream “Happy Halloween!” Although none of them require sewing or heavy lifting, little witches and warlocks may need adult supervision.


You’ll need:

• A prom dress with a full, poofy skirt (look for formal dresses with lots of layers of tulle and netting)

• Artificial flowers, feathers, beads, ribbon, etc.

• Fairy wings

This sweet, simple costume is perfect for full-size fairies and petite pixies alike.

Using large, sharp scissors, cut through all layers of the dress at or just below knee level. Now use your scissors to create a zigzag edge along the bottom of the dress. For best results, cut one layer at a time. (For a more modest look, keep the bottom hem past the knee. Flirty fairies can go shorter.)

Attach artificial flowers and other embellishments to the top layer of fabric with needle-and-thread or glue.

You can purchase wings or make your own using wire hangers and pantyhose.

Visit for an easy-to-follow video tutorial.


You’ll need:

• Loose button-up shirt, preferably white, or blouse

• Black or brown trousers or long, full skirt

• Belt or shawl

• Bandanna

• Boots

• Eyepatch

Or channel your inner buccaneer with homemade pirate pants.

Using large, sharp scissors, cut pant legs just below the knee. Make small cuts at 1-inch intervals. Then rip the bottom of the pants into strips about 4 to 5 inches deep. Pair your pirate pants and shirt with a long vest, or make your own by cutting the sleeves and collar off an old shirt. A wide leather belt, bandanna and eye patch complete the look.

Swords, daggers and stuffed parrot toys make great accessories.


You’ll need:

• Black clothing

• Cape

• Vampire teeth

Vampires are hot this Halloween, thanks to the popularity of “Twilight” and “True Blood.”

Choose dark-colored clothing with a Gothic feel. Velvet, satin and lace are a plus. Or channel your inner Dracula with a tuxedo-style suit and cape, or go for a more romantic look with a loose, button-up black shirt and pants.

Mimic vampires’ deathly pallor with pale makeup and a trickle of fake blood.

You can purchase fake vampire teeth at most costume shops and drug stores.

Five more easy-to-make costumes

• G.I. Joe and Jane: Military surplus stores are a great source for camouflage clothing, uniforms and more.

• Harry Potter: Dress up as everyone’s favorite wizard with an old black graduation robe, a white button-up shirt, black pants and a gold-and-red striped necktie. Wear glasses and use makeup to draw a lightning-shaped “scar” on your forehead.

• Princess: Pair a prom dress with a toy tiara and scepter. Or add a sash to become a beauty pageant winner.

• Witch: Already have a sexy black outfit? Add a witch hat and collect your Halloween candy in a cauldron.

• Zombie: This costume is ideal for trick-or-treaters with anger issues. Take any outfit — an old suit, a Western shirt and Wrangler jeans, a Hawaiian shirt and board shorts — and destroy it. Rip out seams. Fray hems.

Finish with fake blood and ghoulish makeup.


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