10 Last-Minute Halloween Costumes to Make from Items You (Probably) Already Own

10 Last-Minute Halloween Costumes to Make from Items You (Probably) Already Own

Whether you’ve been fully immersed in the fall season (flannels and pumpkin-spiced everything, anyone?) or have been so busy that the days are flying by faster than you realized, the fact is that Halloween is almost here. Perhaps you’re simply welcoming trick-or-treaters on your doorstep, or maybe you’ve been invited to attend a celebration (either virtual or IRL) where your ensemble needs to be on point. 

Before you head to the costume shop or local rental service, consider what’s already lurking in your closet. After all, reusing items you already have can bail you out in a hurry. From outfits based on vocations to funny plays on words, here are ten costumes to make from things you probably already own.

If you have a plethora of pastel balloons on hand from a recent party, you’re in luck! Wear a light-colored outfit underneath, and use safety pins to attach blown-up balloons at their base. To top it off, affix full balloons to a hat or headband. Then, carry a loofah, rubber duckie, or body brush to have a complete bubble bath look.

Love a play on words? This one’s for you. Use a headband and black paper or felt to make cat ears. Wear comfy pajamas and slippers and see if anyone gets the pun. Not only may folks be stumped by your costume, but you’ll also be wearing one of the most comfortable Halloween outfits possible. 

Display your culinary skills — or at least pretend you have them — by becoming a chef. Don a black or white shirt and white apron, and carefully dab a bit of flour on your cheeks using your fingertips. If you only have a colorful apron, feel free to be an at-home chef. Place kitchen utensils in your pockets, and carry a cookbook to convince others you know your way around the kitchen.

You know that dreaded “404” that comes up when a webpage is seemingly nonexistent? If your outfit is also missing, go as a 404 error. It’s as simple as wearing black pants or jeans and topping it off with a white t-shirt with “404” on it. Make the numbers out of electrical tape, felt, or permanent marker if you’re not precious about the tee, and tell everyone your Halloween costume was nowhere to be found. 

If you love an excuse to dress up, but you also want a simple costume, go as a formal apology. Dress your best — a suit or cocktail attire will do — and use cardboard, poster board, or a sticker to make a sign that says “I’m sorry.” You may have to explain the play on words, but you’ll get a few laughs throughout the night for your brilliantly easy costume.

You can transform a red pair of pants and a white shirt in a hurry with a bit of creativity. Raid your craft stash for pom poms, or cut felt pieces or construction paper into small circles. Affix the spheres to your tee using safety pins or a hot glue gun, depending on whether or not you want to reuse the shirt. Make a small sign that says “5 cents” to affix on the shirt — using it as a name tag is a clever touch. You can even chew gum and blow bubbles for added effect. 

Own a black and white striped shirt? Perfect! Navy and white would also suffice to pull off this simple yet crowd-pleasing look. Pair the shirt with dark bottoms, and use makeup or face paint to add exaggerated features to your face. Other accessories you can add include red suspenders, a colorful scarf, and a red or black beret. 

Don’t worry. You don’t have to dress up as your favorite musician, as dressing up like a pop star is more manageable than that. Instead, scour your wardrobe for something with stars, or make a star out of construction paper, cardboard, or aluminum foil to carry. Hold a can of your favorite soda — often called pop in some areas of the U.S. — and you can be a pop star without perfecting your voice or dance skills.

A blue shirt with rolled-up sleeves and a red bandana are Rosie’s trademark accessories, so if you have those, you’re good to go! Cover your hair with a red bandana, or wear it as a headband. The bottoms are up to you, although jeans work well. Once you are out and about, be sure to show everyone your bicep so they can get the full effect. 

You (or someone in your home) likely have your jeans, boots, and cozy fall flannels at the ready, so use them to make an adorable costume. Wear the ensemble, and top it off with a fedora or brown floppy hat. Use brown makeup to add a nose, and place hay or leaves in some of the pockets. Another plus to this outfit is that it works with denim shorts, overalls, and short-sleeved shirts so you can still scare the birds away if you live in a warmer climate.

4 Budget-Friendly Habits That Make Lower-Waste Living Easy

4 Budget-Friendly Habits That Make Lower-Waste Living Easy

In a world of excess and waste, it’s normal if you’re searching for efficient and environmentally-friendly ways to go about your daily life. Sure, you might not be ready to limit all of your trash and waste to a single Mason jar, as Lauren Singer famously did, but you are far from alone if you want to do your part to cut back on your own waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States generated 292.4 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2018, a number that translates to 4.9 pounds of waste per person in the U.S. per day. (The EPA does not provide numbers for how much of that waste was generated by individuals or by companies offloading certain goods, such as unsold merchandise or expired food.) So what can one person do? One option is to consider a lifestyle shift toward a lower-waste way of living.

According to Jen Panaro, the founder and editor of Honestly Modern, tells Apartment Therapy, “Low-waste living is a set of lifestyle habits through which one consciously makes consumption choices with the intention of reducing waste as a byproduct of those choices.” She notes that “no one can live a truly zero-waste life, due at the very least to upstream waste created in many of our larger production and communal systems,” but there are plenty of easy ways to cut down on your consumption and how much you throw out every day.

If you’ve been itching to cut down your waste, here are four expert-approved tips for living a more sustainable lifestyle.

Analyze Your Consumption Habits

Anton Giuroiu, a co-founder of Homesthetics.net and MKR.S, a small architecture office in Bucharest, says the first step in living a lower-waste lifestyle is to look inward. “There are many ways to achieve a low-waste lifestyle but I think the easiest for everyone to do is to review our consumption habits.” 

He recommends asking questions such as, “How much clothing do you really need to buy in a year to clothe yourself decently?” which could then lead to questions about mending worn clothing, re-wearing beloved pieces in new or interesting ways, or embarking on a no-buy challenge for clothing specifically as a test run. The amount of food coming into your house each week is another area where you might want to reconsider your choices. “How much food do you need to buy and how often do you need to buy it to avoid spoilage?” Giuroiu asks. The answer might vary depending on how many family members are in your home at any given time, and what their dietary needs and restrictions are. 

“Simple things like that can make a great impact on waste production and reduce the need to reuse and recycle in the first place,” he says.

Upcycle (and Recycle) Everything You Can

One of the simplest ways to avoid creating waste is upcycling, or creatively reusing different things throughout the home into other things rather than throwing them out.“Don’t throw anything out without asking ‘what else could I use this for?’” Gladys Strickland, the founder of Road to Self Reliance, a blog dedicated to living with as little waste as possible, tells Apartment Therapy. “Begin keeping a list of what the item was and how you could have used it for future reference.” A great way to think creatively is to go through Pinterest, YouTube, and anything similar to see if it sparks an idea.

Along with upcycling, making recycling a priority is another way to go low waste. But looking more into recycling in your area is the key, says Kylee Guenther, a keynote speaker and a co-founder of Pivot Materials and Loopy Products. “Every jurisdiction has different requirements and guidelines as to what is acceptable for recycling,” Guenther notes. “Go deeper than just the guidelines. Ask where things go after they get to the recycling center.” 

… and That Includes Leftovers

You’ve likely been taught to save leftovers from meals, meal kits, and nights out. But Strickland suggests going even further and looking into how you use your scraps. “One of my favorite things to do is save up various vegetable scraps in the freezer, then make a batch of vegetable broth,” they notes. “Bonus points if you can compost the veggies after making the broth!”

Kevin Templeton, an executive chef at barleymash in San Diego, California, agrees. “Cross-utilize all items in the kitchen, minimizing the waste of product,” he tells Apartment Therapy. “When you’re cutting up vegetables for salad or a side to go with dinner, you can use the little end pieces of carrots, celery, onion, etc. to create your own veggie stock. This veggie stock can be used for cooking, including braising meats and sauce making.”

Invest in Reusable Products When You’ve Run Out of Single-Use Options

It can be quite daunting to make going low- or zero-waste an all-or-nothing effort, especially when the time comes around for your first shopping trip. “One of the best things you can do to go low-waste on a budget is purchase reusable swaps for single-use products, like plastic wrap and plastic bags,” Laura Wittig, a co-founder and the CEO of Brightly, tells Apartment Therapy. “Even though you’ll be spending a little upfront, those items last for years; you’ll get more for your money. Plus, you’ll be keeping a lot of waste out of landfills.” If you already have bags that you can reuse, there’s no need to invest in fancy new ones — after all, the purpose of going low-waste is to use what you already have.

This Toilet Paper Tube Hack Solves Your Most Frustrating Home Office Woe

This Toilet Paper Tube Hack Solves Your Most Frustrating Home Office Woe

Shifrah Combiths

Contributor

With five children, Shifrah is learning a thing or two about how to keep a fairly organized and pretty clean house with a grateful heart in a way that leaves plenty of time for the people who matter most. Shifrah grew up in San Francisco, but has come to appreciate smaller town life in Tallahassee, Florida, which she now calls home. She’s been writing professionally for twenty years and she loves lifestyle photography, memory keeping, gardening, reading, and going to the beach with her husband and children.

Here’s Why You Need to Buy Presents and Holiday Items Extra Early This Year

Here’s Why You Need to Buy Presents and Holiday Items Extra Early This Year

You may have just figured out what you want to be for Halloween this year, but the time to think about holiday shopping is… to be totally honest, closer to last week. The reason for this is because there are major issues within the global supply chains that bring goods to consumers. 

For those who haven’t thought about economic terminology since they closed their intro to econ textbook sophomore of high school, here’s a quick recap: A supply chain, in this scenario, is a series of sequential actions that bring a product from production to purchase. There are many in-between steps from the start to finish, including manufacturing, packaging, shipping, shelving, and more. Since it is a chain of events, one must be completed before the next in order to keep it moving. Disruptions at any portion of the process cause issues for the whole system. 

This is essentially what is happening now, with multiple parts of various supply chains in a host of industries experiencing disruptions. Because of this, experts are advising that people begin their holiday shopping sooner than ever to avoid facing product shortages, shipping delays, and further-inflated prices. According to a RetailMeNot survey of 1082 U.S. adults, 83 percent of respondents shared they planned to begin their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving. (Considering that Hanukkah begins on Sunday, Nov. 28, of this year, you might want to get a head start even sooner.)

So, what’s the deal? While the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is a major factor, to blame the issues solely on COVID-19 would not tell the entire story. While no one article could fully explain the complexities of what’s happening in every industry, here’s what you need to know — and what you can do to be prepared this holiday season.

What’s going on economically

There are many moving pieces affecting what’s going on economically. Within the context of holiday gift shopping, it is vital to understand the retail sector. Last week, Reuters reported that U.S. retail sales rose 0.7 percent in September 2021. This wasn’t because Americans were shopping more, though. In fact, consumer spending actually remained stagnant in the third quarter. Rather, economists cited rising prices as a main reason for the boosted profits. 

According to estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of July, consumer prices have jumped almost five percent since pre-pandemic times. Yep, inflation is affecting prices on a host of everyday and special items, and even though your shopping habits didn’t change, the cost did, automatically increasing the store’s sales. Thus, higher retail sales in September. 

The inflation of consumer goods is occurring for several reasons. For one, a combination of product shortages and consumer demand subsequently drives up prices. But why are there product shortages in the first place? 

What’s behind the product shortages and delays?

At its core, the supply chain is a deeply human system. Behind your favorite products is not only the person who stocked the shelf, but the people who manufactured the product in the first place, packaged it, and got it ready to be shipped to its final destination. And now as much as ever, the people who typically fill these roles are often forced to put their lives at risk to do so, often with minimal COVID-19 safety precautions, and insufficient pay and/or sick leave should they or someone on their crew or in their homes contract COVID.

This is affecting almost every transport industry, from trucking to shipping — given that shipping companies at ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, have reported they don’t have the crews necessary to unload at least 70 container ships — to trucking. And while CNBC reports that manufacturing plants in places like Vietnam are implementing restrictions meant to protect workers and limit the spread of COVID-19, there will be necessary product-line slowdowns as a result. The publication cited this as being a “headache” for retailers, but the overall health of these workers should be paramount — and it might cause you to reconsider the speed with which you expect things to be back in stock.

When it comes to specific goods, toys, electronics, and paper products are among the most vulnerable when it comes to availability. This is why making sure you start early is important, from everything to the toys on your kids’ lists to the gift wrap.

Handling holiday financial stress

Holidays are stressful for a number of reasons, but finances can be one of the biggest reasons people fret. Credit Karma just conducted a survey to determine how financially-prepared Americans felt ahead of the upcoming holidays. Thirty-two percent of the survey’s respondents said they feel financially unprepared for the upcoming holiday season, and 43 percent of respondents said they feel more financially stressed this holiday season, compared to previous seasons, blaming inflation. 

Money can be stressful even in the best of times, and you’re not alone if your finances feel more ominous than ever. But there are still ways to have an enjoyable holiday season without breaking the bank. First, keep gifts within budget — even a limit of under $10 can net you an absolutely special present. You can also reuse old gift bags to save money on wrapping (doing so is also environmentally-friendly). 

When it comes down to it, being prepared, staying realistic, and giving yourself and others grace is everything. Gifts can be a major component of the holiday season, but so is spending time with your loved ones. Isn’t that what the holiday season is all about?