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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

homemade-lego-costume--682x1024

    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

                  8dedc04cab40ad55deffd514306ef3a1

                    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

                        cb19236b676eb6aea007aa00de67aa24

                          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

                              1b302d86cbf8fc3d1dd6876b1337fc5e

                                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

                                Elena is a passionate blogger who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                                Last Updated on March 30, 2020

                                20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                                20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                                Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

                                If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

                                1. Create a Daily Plan

                                Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

                                2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

                                Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

                                3. Use a Calendar

                                Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

                                I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

                                Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

                                4. Use an Organizer

                                An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

                                These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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                                5. Know Your Deadlines

                                When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

                                But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

                                6. Learn to Say “No”

                                Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

                                Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

                                7. Target to Be Early

                                When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

                                For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

                                Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

                                8. Time Box Your Activities

                                This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

                                You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks

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                                9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

                                Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

                                10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

                                Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

                                You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

                                11. Focus

                                Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

                                Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

                                Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                                12. Block out Distractions

                                What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

                                I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

                                When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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                                Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

                                13. Track Your Time Spent

                                When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

                                You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

                                14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

                                You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

                                Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

                                15. Prioritize

                                Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

                                Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                                16. Delegate

                                If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

                                When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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                                17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

                                For related work, batch them together.

                                For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

                                1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
                                2. coaching
                                3. workshop development
                                4. business development
                                5. administrative

                                I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

                                18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

                                What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

                                One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

                                While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

                                19. Cut off When You Need To

                                The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

                                Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

                                20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

                                Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

                                More Time Management Tips

                                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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