NEW YORK As perennial as Halloween are the princesses, Batmans, witches and pirates that the National Retail Federation says are the most popular costumes, year after year.
Then there are the trendy costumes. This year, adults and children are looking to turn themselves into the minions from "Despicable Me," Jesse Pinkman or Walter White from "Breaking Bad," foxes from the YouTube hit "The Fox," the stars of "Duck Dynasty" and, of course, Miley Cyrus.
"'Despicable Me' is almost all sold out already," said Tom Fallenstein, chief executive officer of Halloweencostumes.com. As for foxes, he wishes you well. "Our fox costume sold out in early September." Luckily, Miley Cyrus is back in stock, twerking for $68.99.
No question, Halloween has gotten expensive.
Had something a little less pricey in mind? Of course you did. It's not hard to create your own costume on the cheap, if you keep it simple and "get imaginative in your own closet," counsels Andrea Woroch, a consumer expert and self-branded budget guru.
Here's how to hack the most popular costumes this year:
Minions: Budget blogger Kyle James nailed this, for about $20. He bought office wastepaper baskets for $10 each and covered them with yellow felt and spray-paint. The distinctive goggle eyes came from round, plastic see-through jewelry boxes. Overalls were $3.99 at a local thrift shop.
Jesse Pinkman: Doesn't everyone have those yellow ponchos in their closet? If not, dig through your wardrobe for jeans, a large T-shirt and a too-big hoodie. Forget to shave for a few days. The one thing that makes the costume unique? A beanie, of course. If you don't own one, they sell for less than $10. Just remember to say, "Trick or treat, yo" when you knock on doors.
Princess: You can easily pick up a dress at a thrift shop, if not in the back of your closet. Add a tiara and wand from a party supply store for less than $2 each.
Batman: Another easy thrift shop score. But if you want to do it yourself, start with boots, black leggings, gloves and a gray T-shirt. Batman logo appliqués can be downloaded online for less than $2. If you don't want to spend $10 or more on a yellow utility belt, affix another appliqué to one of your own. And just buy a cape and mask. The fabric will set you back by as much as the store-bought version.
Foxes: The secret here is the makeup. Black nose. White mustache. Any pair of brown ears will do. Yell, "What does the fox say?"
Miley Cyrus: Wear super-short tight shorts, pile your hair on top of your head in two mini-buns and remember to stick out your tongue and twerk a lot. Just don't get so devoted to the cause that you get the actual haircut.
(The author is a Reuters contributor. The opinions expressed are her own.)
Editing by Linda Stern and Douglas Royalty)