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Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tip

Free or Almost Free Halloween Costumes

Don't even think about spending $20-$50 per child to get your kids set up for Halloween. Home-made costumes can be easy, and cost little or nothing.

In the last few years, here are some of the costumes my kids have done:

* a Picasso painting (cost: $2.00 for enough paint to cover a huge cardboard box)
* a geranium plant (cost: $8.00 for a fake geranium plant, with the flowers and leaves sewn onto a throw-away hat and a green shirt)
* a computer (cost: zero--cardboard and markers)
* Little Red Riding Hood (cost: zero, from old red rags)
* Dorothy Gale from the Wizard of Oz (cost: $3.00 for some used shoes)

We use old cloth (or even rags), large cardboard boxes (appliance boxes are great because they can be made into really large costumes, but boxes for books, liquor, and paper also work well), thrift-store and yard-sale finds. Scissors, needle and thread, and decorating tools such as bright paints and marketers, sequins.

Too late for this year, but one trick is to plan ahead. If you start acquiring dress-up clothes at yard sales in the summer, Halloween will be really easy in October.

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