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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 August 20, 2019

                                How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                                Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

                                I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                                You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                                Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                                When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                                I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                                Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                                Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                                Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                                1. The Inner Critic

                                This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                                • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                                • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                                • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                                • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                                The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                                Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                                2. The Worrier

                                This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                                The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

                                3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                                This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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                                This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                                The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                                4. The Sleep Depriver

                                This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                                The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                                • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                                • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                                • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                                • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                                How can you control these squatters?

                                How to Master Your Mind

                                You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                                Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                                There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                                • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                                • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                                This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                                The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                                Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                                For the Inner Critic

                                When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                                You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                                For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

                                You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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                                “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                                If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                                • They rile up the Worrier.
                                • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                                • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                                • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                                • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                                Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                                Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                                For the Worrier

                                Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                                Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                                You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                                • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                                • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                • Muscles tense

                                Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                                If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                                Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                                “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                                Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                                If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                                Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

                                Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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                                For example:

                                If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                                “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                                Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                                “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                                Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                                For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                                Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                                The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                                • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                                • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                • Muscles tension

                                I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                                Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                                Breathe in through your nose:

                                • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                                • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                                • Focus on your belly rising.

                                Breathe out through your nose:

                                • Feel your lungs emptying.
                                • Focus on your belly falling.
                                • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                                Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                                Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

                                One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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                                Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                                For the Sleep Depriver

                                (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                                I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                                Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                                1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                                2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                                When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                                From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                                For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                                If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                                You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                                • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                                • Shut down your thinking.
                                • Calm your feelings.
                                • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                                The Bottom Line

                                Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                                You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                                Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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                                Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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