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The Suburbanite
  • Shop your closets for unique DIY Halloween costumes

  • If you want the coolest Halloween costume on the block or at the party, you'd better not buy it at a store. The best, most unique and creative costumes are do-it-yourself, homemade.

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  • If you want the coolest Halloween costume on the block or at the party, you'd better not buy it at a store. The best, most unique and creative costumes are do-it-yourself, homemade.
    A pair of artsy/crafty experts come to the rescue to help readers come up with a few can't-miss ideas.
    IT’S CHEAP
    "DIY is better than store-bought," said Lea Stewart, Chicago-based designer and author at Inhabitat.com. "I believe that it makes the holiday more of an experience when you make your costume. Also, if you are repurposing materials, this is more eco-friendly than store-bought."
    Craft blogger Jamie Dorobek, a native Texan and current Florida resident who likes to create things for free, said making your own Halloween costume is "fun and way cheaper." Her blog is C.R.A.F.T., www.creatingreallyawesomefreethings.com.
    "Creating with freebies has been happening since I can remember. I grew up with a wonderfully crafty mom who would take me to Goodwill to my little heart's content," Dorobek said.
    IT’S EASY
    The best part of DIY Halloween costumes is that "everyone can do it," Stewart said. "One great way to start is to make a costume from a cardboard box and some craft supplies. I've seen many good ones over the years: robots, SpongeBob or even a box of mac n' cheese," Stewart said. Add six large plastic cups to the front of the box, paint it a primary color and suddenly, you're a Lego piece. Or, cut the cardboard into the shape of a dinosaur head.
    If you have some basic household skills, the task is all the easier.
    "Sewing might be tricky for some, but since a Halloween costume is typically only for one night, glue, safety pins and even hand-sewing work wonders," Dorobek said.
    IT’S CLEAN
    Sometimes, the most clever costumes are the ones that were inspired by what's around you, Stewart said. Use what's in the news or in your neighborhood to spark your creativity.
    "Last year I made myself into a food truck using a box. Food trucks are so trendy in Chicago that I wanted to pay homage," Stewart said.
    Another tip is to take a trip to a thrift store to get inspiration.
    "My husband and I try to challenge each other to not spend over $20 at the thrift store on our costumes," Stewart said. "A few years back we found the perfect gear (white robes and "lightsabers" make from parts of kids toys) to be Princess Leia and Han Solo."
    IT’S FUN
    Thrift stores such as Goodwill and Salvation Army, dollar stores, or even family and friends' closets are ideal to find accessories, said Dorobek. "Use what you've got on hand. I've made a lot of very simple dresses out of (size) XX men's T-shirts," then added accessories to complete the look.
    Page 2 of 2 - Sometimes it's the simplicity of an all-over effect that works, Stewart said.
    "One costume that sticks out was a guy who was one of the cheap, plastic, green army men toys. He wore a green stocking over his face, painted everything he was wearing the same shade of green and also had a ‘bazooka' made from a shipping tube painted green," she said.