Halloween is quickly approaching and I wanted to share some costume ideas that we used last year. After a discussion with a friend who introduced me to the idea of a “conceptual” costume, my husband and I decided we wanted to be clever in our costume undertaking. These creative costumes are derived from popular phrases and take a relatively abstract idea and conceptualize it. Best of all, they are easy to make from items you may already have at home and are super inexpensive and thus, very thriftycrafter friendly.
My husband was a chick magnet.
Here’s what you need:
- Black shirt and pants
- Plastic Barbie dolls from the Dollar Tree or 99 cent store
- Magazine cut outs of hot chicks (from Maxim/Stuff)
- Safety pins
Here’s what you do:
Use safety pins to attach barbies and magazine cut-outs to your man, who is dressed in black. Voila! Easiest costume ever! In addition, you could spray paint a shoe box black and attach it to his back so the magnet concept is more obvious, but most everyone understood and loved his costume without it!
Cost: $8 for 7 barbies and a box of safety pins at the 99 cent store
I was a deviled egg.
Here’s what you need:
- white strapless dress (I used a white terry cloth beach cover-up I already had)
- large piece of yellow fabric (I used leftover felt)
- devil’s horns and tail (and a pitchfork, if you have one)
- safety pins
Here’s what you do:
- Cut out a large oval shape from your piece of yellow felt to represent an egg yolk and use safety pins to attach to the front of your dress.
- Wear devil’s horns, pin a tail on, wear some red patent heels and go wild with your hair. Voila! Still kinda sexy and clever…a powerful combo!
Cost: Free! (because I used leftover scrap fabric from making my dog’s costume)
Note: If you don’t already have devil’s horns or tail, but have red scrap fabric, pillow stuffing and a headband like I did, you can very easily fashion these items on your own. Here’s how:
- Draw out a horn shape on a piece of paper first, then copy to your fabric (I used leftover red felt – something less stiff would be easier to turn out but might not stand up as well) . Cut out two. Then, flip your original shape horizontally to mirror your design, trace and cut out two more.
- Stitch each horn along outside edge, leaving bottom portion open. Turn out and stuff with pillow stuffing.
- Hand sew the base of each horn closed, then spot tack one horn to your elastic headband. Look in a mirror to check spacing and angulation, then sew the second one on.
- For the tail, fold your fabric in half and draw a tail shape onto your fabric. Pin and cut out two tail shapes. Stitch tail along outside edge, leaving base open. Turn out and stuff with pillow stuffing.
- Hand sew the base of the tail closed and use a couple of safety pins to attach to the back of your dress.
These costumes are only two ideas, but the opportunities are endless! Time to get creative!
My husband I adopted a little Jack Russell Terrier mix last Christmas who is just too cute NOT to dress up for Halloween! Since he is perfectly snausage-sized, I decided he should be a hot dog this year. Unhappy with what I was finding in the stores, I decided to make my own with the help of Simplicity Pattern # 3952, purchased at Joann’s for the sale price of $1.99!
I chose material, again, based on what was on sale. It just so happened that felt by the yard was on sale for 50% off, which worked out great! A word to the wise – felt can be fairly difficult to turn out so if your patience for craft project difficulty is low, use a fabric that is a bit easier to work with.
The key to keeping this project inexpensive is to shop sales and clip coupons! I bought the felt and pattern at one visit, then the next week bought the extras – foam, batting and velcro – when coupons could be used. Plan ahead! Like everything in life, procrastination has its costs, and trying to whip up an outfit without watching the sales could end up costing you more than buying a pre-made outfit at the store.
If I’m getting dressed up for a night out on the town, or even a daytime outing, I sometimes find myself in the situation where I don’t have the perfect piece of jewelry to complement my outfit. At this point, I’ll head to my beading kit and see what I can whip up for a quick accessory.
One day, while waiting for a home furnishings store to open, I popped into a nearby Michael’s to peruse the aisles. I was wearing a fun, new sweater dress I had picked up on the clearance rack at Banana Republic for the bargain basement price of $30. I didn’t have any great accessories to pair with it, so went to check out the bead aisle to see what Michael’s had. I found a string of Jasper beads in the same color family as my dress that would make a super cute and easy-to-make bracelet. The beads were 50% off, so they definitely met my “on sale” standard. I made this fashionable bracelet in about 3 minutes. These are great for yourself or as a homemade gift for someone else.
Here’s what you do:
- String the beads onto stretchy clear cord
- Measure out how many will fit on your wrist to your desired slouchiness
- Tie off in a knot and snip extra cord
- VOILA! Instant accessory!
Cost: $2.50 (I had the clear cord in my beading stash already, but it is generally inexpensive)
Tip: Paint the knot you made in the stretchy cord with clear nail polish to help it stay put.
You could also make a long necklace with three of the strands for under $10. I just happen to be a bracelet girl, myself.
I’ve always been a big fan of Cooking Light Magazine. For the most part, the recipes are quite tasty and are a great way to cut calories and fat without losing flavor.
One of my all-time favorite Cooking Light recipes is Cashew Chicken. I’ve often found stir fry recipes bland but this is a perfect balance between salty and sweet, and has a delicious crunch. This is a meal we make at least once a month, not only for the taste, but midweek simplicity.
- 1 yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
- 1 c red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 lb chicken breast, thinly sliced
- crushed red pepper for heat
- Combine the first seven ingredients (through salt) in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat oil in wok. Add 1/2 c green onions and onion wedges and cook until browned. Add chicken to onion mixture and stir fry until no longer translucent, about 5 – 10 minutes, depending on the temperature of your wok.
- Add carrots, stir fry 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms, snap peas and bell pepper, stir fry for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add sauce to wok with pineapple, cashews and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer until thick.
- Stir in remaining green onions and serve over brown rice. Enjoy!
As with all recipes, tweaking is allowed. I am not strict in terms of the proportions of “stuff” – just don’t mess with the sauce! I usually cook for two, so I’ll often use a bit less of everything with the same amount of sauce.
Stir fry veggies should have a nice crunch, so make sure not to cook them too long. They are perfect when they are beautifully bright and colorful.
Shopping tips: Shop your local farmer’s market for fresh and inexpensive produce. Also, buy chicken breast in bulk when on sale – I usually wait and stock up when it hits $1.99/lb here in Southern California. You can freeze the breasts individually for quick weekday meals.