TEEN PAGE: Online Extra: Halloween costumes don't have to cost a fortune
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- We all know how to throw together a cheap ghost costume. But it's more likely that you're begging for the full-blown Hannah Montana or "Dark Knight" Joker costume you saw at the store for $30. To help make both parent and chi...
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- We all know how to throw together a cheap ghost costume. But it's more likely that you're begging for the full-blown Hannah Montana or "Dark Knight" Joker costume you saw at the store for $30. To help make both parent and child happy, we've found a way you can make some of the most popular costumes for less than $12 by visiting thrift stores and other discount retailers. And by using materials from your closet, you can make one of the costumes for as little as $2.98. Here's how.
Buy it: $29.99 at department store (whip isn't included)
Make it: $8.56
What you need: Khaki pants, a khaki-colored button-up shirt, Indiana-style hat and whip. We found everything we needed at the first thrift store we visited, including the nearly per-fect hat ($1.99), which was over by the Halloween costumes. For the whip, we browsed the women's belt section and found a thin, suede belt with tassels on the end ($.99). But it wasn't the only option. There were several other belts that would have worked just as well.
Make it using your own khaki pants and button-up shirt: $2.98.
Buy it: $29.99 at department store, $34.88 for the adult woman's sizes.
Make it: $11.80
What you need: A white choir robe, silver or gold belt and bobby pins. We found both the robe ($5.99) and belt ($2.99) at the first thrift store we visited and picked up a pack of bobby pins for $2.82. To make it fit a 5-year-old, we simply cut off the bottom of the robe and short-ened the sleeves. Then, we turned braided pigtails into the classic Leia side buns, which finished off the look.
Make it using your own bobby pins: $8.98
THE MAD HATTER
Buy it: $59.99 at department store.
Make it: $8.29
What you need: A brightly colored robe or cover-up, top hat, brightly colored felt, pajama pants and a tea cup. We found the purple robe ($4.99), top hat ($1.99) and pajama pants (99 cents) at the first thrift store we visited and purchased one square of green felt from for 32 cents. To make the bow tie, cut the felt in half, making a triangle. Then, twist one of the tri-angles in the middle. You can secure the bow tie with a rubber band and cover it with a patch of felt and tape.
Make it using your own pajama pants and cup: $7.30.
Buy it: Various styles from $13-$49.99 at department stores.
Make it: $8.99
What you need: A brightly colored shirt, matching skirt, wand, slippers and wings. There are many cheap options with this costume. We found the pink skirt at a thrift store for $1.49. The glow-stick wand, which was a big hit, and the fairy slippers came from The Dollar Tree, and we splurged on the wings, paying $6 at a department store. You can also easily spruce up a skirt you already have by attaching feathers or toile.
Make it using your own skirt: $7.50
THE "DARK KNIGHT" JOKER
Buy it: $44.88-$49.99 at department stores.
Make it: $10.98
What you need: A brightly colored jacket, matching gloves, tie and costume makeup. We were surprised to find several different jacket choices at the two thrift stores we visited. We chose the bright blue jacket for $4.99. We also got the tie at the thrift store for $1.99. If you can't find a kid-sized jacket, try looking in the women's section -- you'll probably have to remove some shoulder pads, but the jacket should work just as well.
Make it using your own gloves and tie: $7.99
Buy it: Various styles from $19.88-$49.99 at department stores -- some with wigs, some without.
Make it: $11.98
What you need: A sparkly top, leggings, wide, glittery belt and microphone. Everybody wants to be Hannah Montana, and store shelves are packed with Hannah goodies. We found the top, leggings and belt at the thrift store for $9.98. We made the microphone from a glow stick and foam ball purchased at The Dollar Tree. The kids did complain that there was no Hannah Montana wig. We found one for $7.50 at a department store, and there may not be a way to get around that accessory.
Make it using your own leggings: $8.99
Here are a few other tricks we picked up while shopping for cheap Halloween costumes.
Use an example. Before you head out, search the Internet for a picture of the Halloween costume you're trying to make. Bring the picture with you -- it helps you stay focused on what you need to buy and what substitutions are possible.
Make it work. So you couldn't find a sparkly top in the girl's section of the thrift store. Head over to the women's section and look for a glittering mini dress. You can't expect to find everything you need in the right size, but that's nothing a pair of scissors and some safety pins won't fix. We didn't even know what size the kids were when we were shopping, and we managed to fit everyone in a costume. When in doubt, buy big.
Sometimes ready-made is worth it. Originally we wanted to include a Hulk costume, but the price just wasn't adding up. We found it was worth the extra $1 or $2 to buy many of the superhero costumes off the rack.
Be flexible. There were several racks of Halloween costumes in each of the thrift stores we visited. If you don't have a specific idea in mind, you're likely to find a good, ready-made costume there.
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