By Olivia DeFrances, Staff Writer

So, you’ve made your plans, stocked up on candy corn and all that’s left is getting your costume. But wouldn’t you rather save your money for your night out, rather than ditching it on a generic costume that’s going to fall apart? Well, the good news is that do-it-yourself costumes are affordable and often a lot more creative than the ones you can buy from the store. They are easy and fun to make!  Show off your personality more than that same sexy nurse costume you and two other girls were wearing at that party last year did.

I’ve been making DIY costumes forever, and even if you’ve never created a DIY costume, with a little imagination and a little cash, you can create amazing DIY outfits for this Halloween’s set of parties.

I grabbed a dress that I got at Goodwill last year, a glittery red number, and paired it with cheap fishnets from the mall. I grabbed classic black heels that every girl probably already has and a devil’s tail and horns that I found at CVS. A classic devil costume is perfect for a wicked night out.

DIY Costumes

A very simple DIY evil fairy costume

Looking for something cuter? A few years ago, I got a hot pink tunic dress at Forever 21 at a bargain, a pair of Hello Kitty ears from Hot Topic and wore my white Underarmor that I already had, and voila! Hello Kitty.

You can take typical clothes that you already have and make them stand out with accessories. You’d be surprised by how much potential your average wardrobe has. For a cute sailor girl outfit, I took a plain navy T-shirt and a pair of white shorts from my closet, cut a white T-shirt for a neck tie and bought a Navy hat at the Goodwill on Commonwealth Avenue. I was inspired by the outfit I wore as a chorus girl in the musical “Anything Goes.”

You can find ideas in the most random places. All stores are stocked up with winter attire. Those animal hats can easily be transformed into a costume and then used later in the year as a cute fashion accessory. Today as I was out running my usual errands, I found the cutest penguin hat. Just grab a black shirt and black skinny jeans and safety pin on some white felt for the belly. So adorable!

You could make something specific for you, like a costume based on your astrological sign, a sport you play or a jersey of a team you support.

DIY Costume

A vintage hippie outfit: a swimsuit from the ’60s, that I got on the cheap at a local consignment store back home.

If you want a costume that other people aren’t likely to have, look to history. Get a white dress at Forever 21, Goodwill or the Garment District, some heels and curl your hair to be Marilyn Monroe: classic sexy without being slutty at all. Go to a vintage store and get a period piece from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s or ’80s. Even better, raid mom’s closet if you’ve got the chance to go home for a weekend! Or go to a costume outfitter and get a period piece. Colonial wench? Renaissance princess? Historical pieces are always classy and fun.

In a total pinch? There was one year that I had to have a costume in an hour, and hadn’t had the chance to buy anything. So what did I do? I grabbed pink skinny jeans, a pink t-shirt and a pink hair clip from my closet, and I went as the color pink. I completed the outfit with a fluffy pink top hat that I got from my brother’s closet, and it was a great success!

Pull inspiration from your everyday life. When we were reading “The Scarlet Letter” in high school, my friend and I grabbed solid black outfits, draped black sheets around us and used felt and safety pins to attach a scarlet “A” to each of our chests. She carried baby doll to represent Pearl and I was Dimmesdale. Not many people got what we were, but we got a kick out of it and got extra credit in English class. A Halloween costume is always worth getting great reactions. A 5-year-old ran up to my friend, who was holding the baby doll, and said, “You must be the teen mom!” I’ll never forget that. Side note: what are people letting their kids watch these days?

I hope my humble DIY ideas have inspired you to go out and pull together a creative costume and wow your friends this Halloween! Happy hauntings!