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Martha Stewart Halloween
Craft feathers can be glued to a pair of glasses for a parrot costume.

Raid home, thrift store for costumes

If you’re thinking of making this year’s Halloween costume yourself, you can stick with simple or go Hollywood pro. Neither has to take much time or money, and either can create a convincing costume, whether you’re looking to draw guffaws, shrieks or admiring nods.

Brenda K.B. Anderson, who builds creatures and costumes for the touring “Sesame Street Live” show at VEE Corp. in Minneapolis, says some of the same theories she uses there also apply to making Halloween costumes. A good costume blurs the line between reality and fantasy, she says; even simple subterfuge, such as donning a wig or wearing thick-rimmed glasses, can suffice.

“When people can’t see what you really look like beneath the makeup, hair and clothes, you are much more believable,” says Anderson, author of “Beastly Crochet” (Interweave, 2013).

For instance, she suggests padding a costume – such as around the middle for a clown or bear – to disguise your own shape and make it more authentic.

Start pulling your costume together by visiting a thrift shop, Anderson advises.

“Thrift stores are kind of a gold mine for the beginnings of Halloween costumes,” she says. “For very little money, you can get a whole bridal gown – something that looks more authentic.”

Kim Conner, of Burlington, Vt., writes about thrifty craftiness at her “seven thirty three” blog.

“I try to utilize things that I have, and what I have to buy is inexpensive,” Conner says.

For instance, her simple pig costume: Felt ears attached to a pink headband, a plastic bottle cap wrapped in felt and topped with a pink button to resemble a pig’s snout. Her mermaid costume, a little more complicated, involves sewing.

The editors at Real Simple magazine also focus on scrounging around the house for supplies, such as brown paper bags and cereal boxes, or buying the bare minimum to fashion costumes for kids and adults. For a flapper, for instance, attach horizontal rows of fringed pink Post-it notes with red metallic tape to cover a simple dress; glue two mini cupcake liners, with gold-dot stickers in their centers, as flower decorations.

The creative types at Martha Stewart Living have turned out another Halloween Special Issue magazine full of costumes, some of which can be had in a flash: Glue blue and green craft-store feathers and a beak cut from yellow paper to green plastic glasses and wear a matching boa. Presto! You’re a parrot.

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