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pirateRISMEDIA, October 24, 2009—(MCT)—This Halloween, the only thing scarier than ghouls, ghosts and goblins is the economic forecast. Finances are tight this fall, which means less money for freaky festivities and expensive store-bought costumes. Luckily, a spooky solution may be as close as your own closet.

Homemade Halloween costumes are cheap, easy and eco-friendly, since they often feature recycled clothes, props and accessories. Plus, most of the materials for the perfect costume can be found around the house or at your local thrift store. 

Here are some frighteningly fun costumes that simply scream “Happy Halloween!” Although none of them require sewing or heavy lifting, little witches and warlocks may need adult supervision. 

You’ll need: a prom dress with a full, poofy skirt (look for formal dresses with lots of layers of tulle and netting); artificial flowers, feathers, beads, ribbon, etc. and fairy wings 

This sweet, simple costume is perfect for full-size fairies and petite pixies alike.

Using large, sharp scissors, cut through all the layers of the dress at or just below knee level. Now use your scissors to create a zigzag edge along the bottom of the dress. For best results, cut one layer at a time. (For a more modest look, keep the bottom hem past the knee. Flirty fairies can go shorter). 

Attach artificial flowers and other embellishments to the top layer of fabric with needle-and-thread or glue. You can purchase wings or make your own using wire hangers and pantyhose. 

Men will need: a loose button-up shirt, preferably white; black or brown trousers; belt; bandanna and an eye patch. Women will need: loose, ruffled blouse, preferably white; long, full skirt; shawl and/or bandanna; belt and boots. Get ready to sail the high seas in a swashbuckling outfit inspired by “Pirates of the Caribbean.” 

Guys can channel their inner buccaneer with homemade pirate pants. Using large, sharp scissors, cut pant legs just below the knee. Make small cuts at 1-inch intervals. Then rip the bottom of the pants into strips about four to five inches deep. Pair your pirate pants and shirt with a long vest or make your own by cutting the sleeves and collar off an old shirt. A wide leather belt, bandanna and eye patch complete the look. 

For women, becoming a pirate is as easy as donning a ruffled blouse, long skirt, wide belt and boots. Tie a shawl over one hip and accessorize with hoop earrings, gold necklaces and rings. 

Swords, daggers and stuffed parrot toys make great accessories. 

You’ll need: black clothing; a cape and vampire teeth. Vampires are hot this Halloween, thanks to the popularity of “Twilight” and “True Blood.” The possibilities for vampires are practically endless. 

Gals, choose dark-colored clothing with a Gothic feel. Velvet, satin and lace are a plus. Guys, channel your inner Dracula with a tuxedo-style suit and cape or go for a more romantic look with a loose, button-up black shirt and pants. 

Mimic vampires’ deathly pallor with pale makeup and a trickle of fake blood. You can purchase fake vampire teeth at most costume shops and drug stores. 

Five more easy-to-make costumes
-G.I. Joe and Jane: Military surplus stores are a great source for camouflage clothing, uniforms and more.
-Harry Potter: Dress up as everyone’s favorite wizard with an old black graduation robe, a white button-up shirt, black pants and a gold-and-red striped necktie. Wear glasses and use makeup to draw a lightning-shaped “scar” on your forehead.
-Princess: Pair a prom dress with a toy tiara and scepter. Or add a sash to become a beauty pageant winner.
-Witch: Already have a black outfit? Add a witch hat and collect your Halloween candy in a cauldron.
-Zombie: Take any outfit- an old suit, a Western shirt and Wrangler jeans, a Hawaiian shirt and board shorts- and destroy it. Rip out seams. Fray hems.
Finish with fake blood and ghoulish makeup. 

(c) 2009, The Tribune, San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.