Halloween is upon us once again. If you are going to celebrate this spooky holiday the right way you have to have one of the most crucial parts: a rocking costume.

Now that we are older, costumes are more elaborate, more varied, and more expensive. The average pirate costume for a twenty-something can run up to $140. For poor college students, that’s pretty unaffordable.

However, there is still hope. You can make almost any costume with items found in your closet, your friend’s closet, Wal-Mart, or Goodwill.

“Animal costumes are pretty easy to put together quickly. Buy some felt and a headband and you’ve got ears for just about anything. Google a quick makeup tutorial and you’ve got something you can do easily and with a low cost to you. Adding pieces to existing clothes is also easy – you can add something on temporarily and take it off later,” Centre College’s Costume Shop Manager Kayla Higbee said.

You could easily put together a lion costume with a tan sweater, khaki pants, some kind of tail, and an eyeliner-black nose. Fluff up your hair a bit and suddenly you’re king of Pride Rock.

“To be honest there are a lot of costumes that can be made by putting on slight fancier things or quirky outfits,” junior Leigh Shine said. “You could always wear whatever and then put a sticker on you saying you’re a background character from X novel or T.V. show.”

Put on a tux, sunglasses, and a fedora you’re a Blues Brother. A button up, jeans, boots, and a Cowboy hat turns anyone into a cowboy.

“Pirate costumes are really easy. You just get a bunch of scarves and things you can layer, then pack yourself with weapons, like as many as you can find, and belts,” Shine said.

For something even easier you can base your costume off a cartoon character or a character from a film. “Sometimes making one little iconic accessory is all you need to make a costume – the Mary Poppins bow tie, for example. It can be that one thing that sets your costume apart from everyday clothes,” Higbee said.

Last year, junior Natalie Trammell went as Kim Possible for Halloween. “I took one of my mom’s old turtle necks and cropped it with the help of a friend then bought some cargo pants for $10 on sale at Kohl’s and some gloves from Wal-Mart. I contoured my bottom lip and put lipstick on my upper lip, used some temporary orange hair dye and wore some black shoes I already owned,” Trammell said. In total, Trammell spent $12 for this costume. That’s much better compared to a packaged Kim Possible costume which would cost twice that much.

“Goodwill and the Salvation Army are great for pieces you want to cut up or use just once, and there are lots of good ‘80s and ‘90s pieces there if you’re feeling nostalgic and want to do something like a childhood TV show character. The Halloween Express next to Joann Fabric in Lexington also stocks really good makeup if you want to go all-out. It’s way better than the Walmart brand of Halloween makeup and doesn’t cost a lot more,” Higbee said.

Though Trammell’s costume involved some sewing, most DIY costumes don’t involve more than basic sewing or makeup skills. For more complicated stitching and makeup, YouTube tutorials are an excellent resource.

“Running stitches [or putting things together temporarily] and a hemming stitch [cross stitch, slip stitch] are good if you need to take up a hem quickly. Also knowing how to tack things on is really useful,” Higbee said.

Regardless, this just goes to show that you don’t really need to know how to sew or do fancy makeup or have a lot of money to have a great Halloween costume. All you need is a little imagination.

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