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May the odds be ever in your favor with this costume money saver.

While summer is still here, there is no denying the wonderful, crisp fall air sneaking its way in, cutting the dreadful humidity and putting a smile on people’s faces. Soon the leaves will change, the air will become cool enough to enjoy your homemade spiced latte, you will resurrect your favorite boots, and you’ll start planning an apple picking weekend.

You know what doesn’t scream fall? Spending $100 on a synthetic, latex, glittery, tutu, spandex little number at your friendly overpriced Halloween store that just rolled into town to rob you of your hard-earned money.

The miniature-sized version of any profession’s uniform or character’s costume is sure to turn heads, though not always in a ‘see how great she looks’ kind of way.


Frugal DIY Halloween Costume

I was lucky to grow up with a mom who sewed beautiful and unique costumes every year for my three siblings and me. While all the other kids looked on-point in their topical costumes that were peeled from the packaging (which I sometimes envied), I was rocking distinctive homemade creations, such as Carmen Miranda, an English Bobby, and a Moulin Rouge extra.

As I grew up, my sister and I strove to maintain our mother’s spirit of Halloween and aimed for unlikely, tasteful costumes. While the Catsuit girls, minuscule sailors, and glittering fairies had a straight shot to the front of the beverage line, my sister and I received different attention and were complimented for standing out and being different. As sisters (and best friends), we went to a theme party as nuns…get it? Sisters? Except not the distasteful nun outfits with hemlines just below your underwear line; we donned ankle-length garbs, complete with full habits.

Different is refreshing. Tasteful choices make bold statements in a sea of showy choices.

While I do not possess my mom’s coveted creativity and sewing skills, I do still look for interesting, frugal ways to dress up things I own to avoid overspending on an outfit I’ll wear once and it will either be thrown away or possibly disintegrate by the end of the night. Last year, I opted for the character Effie Trinket from “The Hunger Games.” For me, this costume cost about $15 since I owned the outfit. Also, I did go to work in this outfit…

Effie’s Outfit

To pull off your own Effie look, start by perusing your closet (or your friends’…or your mom’s like I did) for a suit, brightly colored jacket, or a top with exaggerated shoulder or sleeves. Effie is all about extravagant, over-the-top fashion, so you’re not looking for a safe choice.

While I am lucky my mom had every ridiculous color power suit from the 80’s and 90’s to pick from, I chose the one conservative color in the bunch because of its enlarged shoulders and adorable peplum shape. Since Effie loves color, I bought a bright purple orchid stem that wrapped around my top and whatever purple flowers were on sale to add to my wig.


The wig, flowers, and foundation were my only purchases, and I ordered my wig on Amazon for $12 here: Women’s Costume Wig. I fluffed up the wig a bit and bobby pinned the flowers to one side of the part, added a grey pair of floral tights I owned, and searched my makeup palettes for the ridiculous colors forever left untouched.

Effie’s Makeup

To get Effie’s makeup look, start with a moisturized face — I prefer CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion. I bought the lightest foundation I could find that was also on sale because I knew I wouldn’t be using this color often; I went with L’Oreal Paris True Match. I started with my eyes so that if any residual color spilled on my face, I could clean it up without it sticking to my foundation.

Match your eye shadow to your outfit; since my outfit was purple, I went with a bright fuchsia base with dark purple blended into the creases. Apply your bold colored shadow from lash line to your eyebrow and choose a softer shade to blend at the top of your brow bone to soften it. Continue the bold color down past your tear duct to completely line under your eye. Choose a darker color in a complementary color family to blend well into the crease and lash line for dimension. Smudge black liner into your lash line on top and lightly line your waterline on the bottom; your face will be very washed out with your pale foundation, so this pop of liner will help.

Then I applied the foundation generously to my face, eyebrows, and neck and blended the color well all over. I added false lashes and swept my hot pink e.l.f. Blush across my cheeks. Choose a bright lip color and apply it to the inner portion of your lips, making a heart shape. The result? A slightly terrifying, but pretty spot-on Effie look!

Tip: keep your light foundation to mix with your darker summer shade for the perfect medium blend.

Yes, I went to work in my costume.
Yes, I went to work in my costume.

Looking forward to hearing your frugal costume ideas, tributes!