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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

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            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

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                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

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                              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 March 13, 2019

                                How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                                You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                                Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                                1. Work on the small tasks.

                                When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                                Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                                2. Take a break from your work desk.

                                Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                                Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                                3. Upgrade yourself

                                Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                                The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                                4. Talk to a friend.

                                Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                                Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                                5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                                If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                                Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                                Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                                6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                                If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                                Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                                Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                                7. Read a book (or blog).

                                The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                                Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                                Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                                8. Have a quick nap.

                                If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                                9. Remember why you are doing this.

                                Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                                What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                                10. Find some competition.

                                Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                                Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                                11. Go exercise.

                                Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                                Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                                As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                                Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                                12. Take a good break.

                                Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                                Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                                Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                                Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                                More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                                Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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