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15 Halloween Costume Hacks That Help You Save Money

15 Halloween Costume Hacks That Help You Save Money

Here’s the problem with store-bought Halloween costumes. They are cheaply made and terribly expensive; and you or your child will look just like a whole bunch of other people at the party or walking the neighborhoods. Years ago, before this “buying a pre-made costume” became so popular and profitable for the costume industry, kids and parents spent time making their own costumes – they dressed as ghosts, hobos, and, if mom were a really talented seamstress, some pretty cool costumes were made.

No one seems to have the time today to put together homemade costumes. Very few homes have sewing machines, and teens are pretty happy buying makeup and wigs to emulate the latest hideous creatures from the latest TV series or horror flicks – nothing really too creative there. However, with a little ingenuity and creative thought, we could come up with some very unique costumes, the cost of which will easily beat even the best sale prices.

Other people have shared their creativity for all to see, with some of the most inexpensive, creative costuming hacks that are also super easy to put together, even if you are the least crafty person on the planet.

Here are some great ideas for you and your kids this Halloween:

1. Become a Human Lego with a Box and Some Styrofoam Cylinders

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    Image via Crystal & Co.

    Legos are one of the most popular toys with elementary aged children today, probably because the company has created Lego sets that relate to every movie, superhero, and other famous character that is also popular. The latest Lego creations now relate to the new Star Wars movie soon to be released. So what could be more perfect than to go as a Lego? And how easy is this. A cardboard box painted one of the bright Lego-type colors and matching clothes is the first step. Then, buy a bunch of Styrofoam cylinders, paint them the same color, and glue them on the box. The entire costume may take an hour of work plus drying time. And the cost? $10 – $12 at the most.

    2. A Cardboard Cylinder, a Printer that Enlarges, and Some Cheap Gathered Cloth – Starbucks Latte

    IMG_1784

      Image via Ever Blooming Originals

      Here is a costume for any age, and how simple to make. Go to a big box home improvement center and buy a cardboard cylinder that is used to hold concrete pilings when posts must be secured into the ground. They come in different sizes, so pick the right one for the wearer. The Starbucks logo may be a bit trickier, but it is not that tough. Print out an enlarged copy of that logo and take it to your local office supply store to make it even bigger. Then, using it as a pattern, you can cut out green felt or construction paper and glue the logo on. The whipped cream topping? Buy a large amount of white fabric, glue a fold along one long edge, run a cord through that fold and pull – voila! Your topping is finished. If I were an adult and made this costume for myself, I would seriously consider showing up at Starbucks on Halloween morning – I’m sure it would be good for a free latte.

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      3. Strips of Felt or Ribbon, a Floppy Hat, Two Styrofoam Cones – Instant Piñata!

      tumblr_mahq8jPjM91rfjtedo1_500-e1349923509456

        Image via The FW

        Again, a costume for all ages. In this case, it appears that the underlayment for the costume may be a lightweight sleeper, but any adult could do this with leggings and a top. The strips? Depending upon how “sturdy” and maybe re-usable you want the costume to be, you can use strips of colored construction paper, felt, or ribbon – just staple them on to the underlayment. The hat? Get a floppy fishing hat, cover it with strips, and, if you want the two horns, roll up heavy duty paper.  Stapling all those strips will take some time, but if you do it over several days, not too bad! If you use ribbon or felt, the cost may be a bit higher, but certainly no more than $30. If you make one for yourself and attend a party, you may want to forego taking a stick – it’s just too tempting.

        4. Yellow Dress and Shoes and an Umbrella – the Unforgettable Morton Salt Girl

        Morton Salt

          Image via Polyvore

          Morton Salt, a company that has been around since 1848. Think about that. It began in Chicago, 12 years before the Civil War and is still the most prominent box of salt on grocery stores shelves today in 2015. Their original slogan was “When it rains, it pours,” and that is the reason, of course, for the Morton Salt girl on the package to be carrying an umbrella. The only thing that could make this costume better is if it actually rains on Halloween night when this kid goes trick or treating. Sure, you may not have such a cool yellow coat at home or those fancy shoes. However, it doesn’t mean you need to break the bank. Check out Coupofy or RetailMeNot for seasonal discounts and special promo codes. Those usually pop up in great variety a few weeks before Halloween as a lot of retailers issue special holiday discounts!

          5. Turn Yourself into a Riddle with a Tee and Glue-on Letters

          54eb8c6776afd_-_ceiling-fan-aztbwk-xl

            Image via Woman’s Day

            So, this may take you a while to absorb. And if you use this as a costume, you will have many scratching their heads for at least a few moments. If you are also scratching your head, here is your explanation. The phrase itself is a cheer that might be given at a sports event, if you are an excited fan. The operative word here is “fan.” So, you are a “ceiling fan.” What a great creative idea when you are hard-pressed for a costume and you need one at the last minute. You can easily find the letters at a fabric/craft store and glue them on in minutes. And if that’s still too much work? Stay tuned!

            6. A Neutral-Colored Outfit and Packs of Post-Its Transform You into a Bulletin Board

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            54eb8e9fd5d68_-_post-it-lady-xl

              Image via Woman’s Day

              How easy is this? A package of different colored post-it notes, some quick note-making, a neutrally colored outfit and you are an instant bulletin board. Now, that is really simple, right? Not simple enough?

              7. A Black Tee and Snack Trash Becomes a Movie Theater Floor

              1441919070-movie-theatre-floor

                Image via Woman’s Day

                We’ve all experienced this. We go the movie theater to see that brand new film that everyone is talking about, purchase our tickets and our snacks, and then as we walk down the aisle toward the best seats, our feet are sticking to the floor and crunching popcorn and candy wrappers. We know that when we go home, we will be taking those shoes off inside the front door, given what we have walked on in that theater, and that those soles will have to be washed. So why not depict that disgusting mess in a Halloween costume? Put on a black shirt and cover it with all of that stuff – you will not run into anyone else with this costume, to be sure!

                8. The No-Costume that Becomes a Costume with a Black Magic Marker

                6a8f60ea071aeb6db0263451f1e7b34f

                  Image via Pinterest

                  A black marking pen and a computer-related frustration make the perfect non-costume, if you are really stuck at the last minute – again, probably no one will have the same outfit!

                  9. Become a Minion Version with Cardboard, Poster Board and Markers

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                    Image via Pinterest

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                    Okay. This is easily less than $5. A giant Popsicle stick can be made from cardboard – either pieces taped together and then covered with brown wrapping paper, or a single piece cut from a large appliance box. You’ve only got a couple of things left to do for this one – poster board cutouts for eyes and nose. The biggest problem? Make sure that those eyes line up with your own and have holes so that you can actually see.

                    10. Turn Baby Into a Snack Bag with Felt, Cap and Real Popcorn

                    baby-costume-popcorn-e1347308145778

                      Image via Rookie Moms

                      OMG – too cute. A mom with a red bow tie and a baby carrier is the beginning. A sack made of felt with red felt stripes and lettering. And the crowning? A cap with popcorn glued on top. For moms who have older children and are planning to walk the neighborhood with them, it would be perfect to dress up the baby too. And the future uses of this photo are too great to pass up!

                      11. Turn a “Dwarf” Human (Your Baby) into Little Dobby with a Rag, Scarf, and Felt

                      nrm_1413994397-babydobby

                        Image via SugarScape

                        What could be easier and cheaper than this? A large piece of cloth, a part of some pantyhose of scarf and stuffed felt ears. The head gear could easily be used for an older child with a different body covering – perhaps brown sleeper or pajamas, and a tale made of stuffed felt too! And even though this baby is too young for trick or treating, what a great photo to send to grandparents.

                        12. A Rolled Up comforter, Headband, Brown Paper and Yellow Ping-Pong Balls – the perfect Snail

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                          Image via Pinterest

                          The only thing that has to be made for this costume is the head gear, and even that is about as simple as it could get – a headband, brown wrapping paper or stiff cloth twisted up and two yellow ping pong balls. Under $10 dollars for sure, and unique enough that there won’t be another like it at the school Halloween party.

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                          13. The Wisdom of an Owl through Leftover Fabric, a Pair of Glasses, and Some Felt

                          owl-costume-full-shot

                            Image via Alpha Mom

                            A black long-sleeve tee, a pair of knit shorts, and the only thing left is pieces of fabric and a stapler or glue. You would hardly even need a pattern for the felt cutouts that are mounted on a large pair of sunglasses with the lenses removed. The cost for this very cool costume? If you had to buy the fabric, probably about $15.00, and if there are younger siblings, boys or girls this is a great hand-me-down. This would also make a great adult costume – easy and unique.

                            14. The Classic Rubik’s Cube Via Black Tape, a Box, and Poster Board

                            1280f8c04977b14b411f6e086c45a168

                              Image via Pinterest

                              Sometimes, these can turn out looking pretty messy, so here are some tips to make one that looks every bit as good as the one in this picture. Make the entire thing first before cutting holes for the head and arms. Measure very carefully and draw the lines for the tape. If you get off a little bit, it’s not a problem, because the squares will cover up your errors. Use card stock or poster board for the squares, and use a paper cutter for these – they really need to be all even and the same size. If you try to do it by hand, it will look sloppy. Measure off the length and width of each side and be sure that you subtract the black spaces in between before you decide on the size of the squares. A cardboard box, a large roll of black duct tape, and 6 large pieces of poster board – about $15.

                              15. And The Totally Free Costume, with a bit of Makeup Added

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                                Image via Pinterest

                                Free, that is, unless you count the cost of the make-up for the beard – maybe $4. Best to hang the placard around his neck so hands are free for carrying his sack. This is a modern version of the old hobo costume that was so popular with kids decades ago. The clothing was essentially the same, except a tree branch or broom handle with a stuffed cloth sack tied to it – holding, of course, all of the hobo’s worldly possessions.

                                Halloween is a holiday celebrated by all age groups, and that is what makes it so much fun. All of the costumes depicted here are really cheap to make, don’t take much time, and, from the standpoint of kids, safety trumps all. Except for the owl, these costumes leave the face exposed, allowing for good vision for youngsters who may be trick or treating as evening turns into night. Being able to have a full range of vision is really important, and these outfits take that into account. And as for you adults? Go lean or go unique. Happy costuming!

                                Featured photo credit: John Althouse Cohen via flickr.com

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                                Elena Prokopets

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                                Last Updated on February 21, 2019

                                Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

                                Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

                                Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

                                If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

                                When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

                                In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

                                1. Salmon

                                Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

                                It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

                                Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

                                Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

                                Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

                                Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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                                2. Blueberries

                                Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

                                Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

                                Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

                                Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

                                Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

                                3. Turmeric

                                Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

                                Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

                                Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

                                Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

                                Curcumin has also been shown to:

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                                • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
                                • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
                                • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
                                • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

                                4. Coffee

                                Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

                                Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

                                Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

                                Coffee can also:

                                • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
                                • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
                                • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
                                • Improve your memory.
                                • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

                                5. Broccoli

                                What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

                                Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

                                Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

                                Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

                                Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

                                6. Bone broth

                                Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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                                Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

                                Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

                                Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

                                Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

                                With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

                                Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

                                7. Walnuts

                                Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

                                Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

                                Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

                                Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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                                8. Eggs

                                For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

                                Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

                                Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

                                9. Dark chocolate

                                You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

                                Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

                                Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

                                Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

                                Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

                                Conclusion

                                Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

                                In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

                                If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

                                More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

                                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
                                [2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
                                [3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
                                [4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
                                [5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
                                [6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
                                [7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
                                [8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
                                [9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
                                [10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
                                [11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
                                [12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
                                [13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
                                [14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
                                [15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
                                [16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
                                [17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
                                [18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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