Costumes don't have to cost you Alex Nursall

This Halloween will have you dusting off your parents' 80s red leather jacket and digging through vintage store bins for sequined gloves. Top costume suppliers rank celebrities and reality stars—such as Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, and Kate Gosselin—as the most popular picks for Halloween 2009.

But who's to say that your classic vampire or Western cowboy getup won’t win you Best Costume at one of U of T’s many Halloween shindigs?

The only thing you need to put together your budget-friendly Costume of the Year is your imagination. A couple of points to keep in mind as you're digging for change: Traditional faves are always a hit--but try to add a fun spin on it. Ladies, flaunt your stuff, but remember that sometimes too sexy can be a little scary.

Start with what you have in your closet. For the many of us who own a pair of jeans and plaid shirts, being a cowboy or cowgal is simple--top it off with a vintage hat and toothpick. Or, add a tool-belt and hardhat to transform yourself into a city worker.

An American Apparel bodysuit paired with an old sweatband and legwarmers will have you ready to do the locomotion. If you're a single lady, add some heels to the mix and work some diva magic. Daring types may even choose to glue a bunch of pens on their faces to go a little Gaga.

College studs who own a pair of sleek black dress pants can be transformed from the laid off Wall Street banker by day, into a shirtless, bow-tie wearing Chippendale by twilight. A little twist can turn your Halloween DIYs into staring eyes. Who knows, you may win best dressed after all—creative and economical is the new thing.

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