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It’s that familiar late-October feeling: Halloween is just over a week away and you swore you’d start thinking about your costume a month ago. But between crushing it at work, tackling your fall to-do list and squeezing in an apple-picking jaunt, it just didn’t happen.
Now you’ve got limited time to throw together something cute, smart and affordable to wear to your college bestie’s haunted house party — and an overpriced store-bought costume is out the question.
The costs really are freaky! A recent survey from the National Retail Federation showed that Americans shelled out a record $9.1 billion on costumes, candy and decor in 2016. So what’s in store this year? An estimated average of $86.13 per person — chilling.
So to keep the fright out of your credit card statement, check out these punny costumes you can DIY for less. Each is based on an item of clothing you likely own already. And, of course, they're finance-focused — we just can't help ourselves.
Start with a gold dress ($25.99) — metallic print, sequins and glitter all work well. Wear your blingiest jewels (think rhinestones and pearls), carry a children's shovel ($2.99) and you’re all set. And maybe sing some Kanye while you get dressed.
Total Cost: $28.98
Bull and Bear Markets
Dressing up with your bestie or your bae? This one’s a great idea for two. First, here's a quick refresher on these financial terms: a bull market is an upward moving, confident stock market, while a bear market is in decline.
You’ll want to start with the bull and bear parts. It’s pretty easy to find a variety of animal costumes online, but, again you’ll save some money if you DIY. Bulls can wear all black and round out the ensemble with a pair of horns ($9.89). Bears can go for all brown (fuzzy, shaggy or fur-like knits and velvets are a plus) and don a pair of ears ($3.99). A little bit of face paint ($4.99) doesn't hurt either.
From there, grab some card stock and a red pen and fashion two signs you'll attach to the front of your body. Bulls will want to draw an upward trending line graph, while bears will want a downward trending one. Signs will probably cost less than $1, depending on what you have on hand.
Total Cost of Both Costumes: $21.32
Grab some black pants from your closet plus a plain white T-shirt you don't mind sacrificing ($7.99 for new). Add spots using fabric paint or an indelible marker ($1.54). Glue some fake hundred-dollar bills ($5.99) to your shirt and pants, put on a pair of cow ears ($6.99) and a cow bell if you're feeling snazzy, and you're ready to go.
Total Cost: $24.50
Start with blue or gray pants and a similarly colored hoodie. Purchase a pair of oversized googly eyes ($7.59) to attach to either side of the hood, along with some red and white felt ($4.99) to fashion into a mouth and teeth, which you can glue to the hood's edge. (Not sure about placement? There are a bunch of helpful YouTube videos to help guide you.)
Print out some loan application forms and use a red marker to label them "Car Loan," "Student Loan," "Business Loan" — whatever type of loan you want. Attach the loans to the front and back of the hoodies.
Total Cost: $12.58
Start with a power suit. If you don't own one, raid your closet for the most polished business attire you can find. (Need inspiration? Think about what you would wear to a high-pressure corporate interview.)
Next, throw on a pair of wings ($4.89) and a halo ($4.99) and carry a manila envelope labeled "Money for Startups." If you happen to have an old-school briefcase, you can carry that, too.
Total Cost: $9.88
The most challenging part of this costume is to make yourself look really, well, dead. Purchase a makeup kit ($10.99) and head to Pinterest for some inspiration or YouTube if you need a tutorial.
You can be flexible with your outfit but one idea is to wear clothes you feel comfortable tearing up — think zombie-chic.
If you're wearing pants with pockets, turn them inside out to show you have no money. Then make a sign that reads "ATM balance: $0" and attach it to the front of your body.
Total Cost: $10.99