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Strapped for cash? DIY'ing your Halloween costume can certainly save you some hard-earned money. Best of all, you can be cheap without looking cheap, since homemade costumes equal creativity at Halloween! I've been scouring the Web for clever yet thrifty ideas for this year's scariest season and (drum roll) have come up with 15 fabulous yet super-thrifty ideas.

1. Solo Cup Lobster. Red shorts, socks and t-shirt, with a plastic cup/plate shell. Brilliant! Extra Butterfingers for anyone who comes to my house wearing this outfit.

2. Balloon Boy. Yes, it's expected to be this year's Big Thing for Halloween. And it's a pretty easy one to make. All you'll need to do is dress up in a large box (with holes for head and arms) and carry a large silver balloon.

3. Swine Flu. Another timely idea. There are various versions of Swine Flu costumes floating around online, but this one might be the easiest and thriftiest homemade version.

4. Spider Hat. Very cute for kids of all ages, and no sewing required! Dangling legs are a little creepy, but not scary.

5. Spa Princess. If you own a robe, you're most of the way there. A fun and easy costume.

6. Spaghetti and Meatballs. Awesome, pure and simple. Definitely involves some work, but a sewing machine is not required and, hey, it will blow the socks off your neighbors.

7. Bunch of Grapes. Okay, okay, so it's been done before ... many time. But I love that this purple balloon costume is economical and fairly easy to make, yet scores high points for visual impact. Plus kids enjoy blowing up the balloons.

8. Windblown. Old clothing strung with wire plus hairspray-teased tresses. Easy-peasy Halloween humor.

9. Static Cling. Socks and underwear pinned to your shirt. Another oldie but goodie, ideal for last-minute parties.

10. Bat. Dress all in black and convert an old black umbrella into some pretty darn convincing bat wings.

11. Bernie Madoff. Or just a nameless Fat Cat CEO. A thrift store suit and pockets stuffed with Monopoly money is all you need. A briefcase is a nice extra touch, naturally.

12. Ninja. Black t-shirt. Check. Baggy black pants. Check. Now cut a black face mask from cloth or cardboard. Your weapons? Cardboard cutouts, wrapped in heavy duty aluminum foil.

13. Snail. Make a shell with a rolled-up sleeping bag pinned to your back. An adorable idea for kids, as this photo testifies.

14. Deviled Egg. Part poached egg, part devil. You get the picture. Easy and sure to get a smile.

15. God's Gift to Women. Gift wrap yourself for laughs. All you'll need is a tube of wrapping paper and a large cardboard box. Not at all sleazy if done right.



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