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Halloween costumes: Cost-effective DIY costumes that will leave an impression

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Ah, it's that time of year again. Blood sucking vampires, zombies coming out of the ground and good ol' mummies … oh, who are we kidding? Everyone knows that Halloween is a time for naughty nurses, sexy French maids and what-were-they-thinking Disney princesses -- all costing anywhere from $50 to $150.

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There are fun, creepy and still-quite-sexy costumes that can show off the bod you've been working on all summer and not leave you broke for the upcoming holidays.

One costume that can be worn year after year is the good ol' fabulous gypsy. She's mysterious, cool and can turn a dull party into a tarot-reading frenzy. The best part of the gypsy is that she can play up the role of Esmerelda, or grab a crystal ball and tell everyone their future. Gypsy costumes are actually some of the better store-bought costumes, but you can always make this at home with trendy pieces from fashion favorites like Forever 21.

Simply use a peasant top, preferably white and off the shoulder. Pair the top with a maxi skirt -- which has been all the rage this past season. Because it's somewhat out of season, these should be a cheap find. A thick belt with embellishment would add a great hint of sparkle to the look. To make your costume look more authentic, use a dark ruby, emerald or tan colored shawl and throw it across the skirt. Make sure the shawl isn't even, to give it a rustic look. Add some low heeled boots or sky-high pumps, large hoop earrings and tons of bracelets. You can curl your hair and make it big or do a messy side braid with a wrap tied on your head. Simple, fun and very cute. If you want to amp-up the sex-appeal, use a skirt with a high slit, or create one yourself.

Another great easy to-do look is the toga. This isn't your typical 'let's drape a white bed sheet around my best friend and tie one sleeve on it' kind of toga. That has been done too many times and it's just not that interesting. Take it a step further and become the queen of something. Rich colors like burgundy, emerald or deep sapphires and royal purples are best for this costume. You can always buy draping material at your local fabric store like JoAnn's in Glendale. Drape the rich colored fabric over your one shoulder. Make sure the top of your toga is tight and figure hugging, the bottom can be loose as it hits the floor. After you've created the toga, add an adorning piece to your covered shoulder. It would be best to use a different vibrant colored fabric that has a bit of shimmer -- anything with gold in it would work best. Create a layered piece by scrunching up the fabric and let it simple sit on your shoulder. You can use safety pins to hold it down to the toga. Lastly, take a thick bracelet and tie it around the top of the second piece and toga to hide your safety pins as well as to give it a wealthy look. Add a gold head piece, shimmering makeup and a tightly-curled updo and you're ready to be queen of the world -- or just that party.

When you look at a costume, try to envision actual articles of clothing that can create the same look. You are going to end up being much more comfortable all night long and your costume will definitely be one of a kind. A costume shouldn't ever cost you more than $30 to $40, no matter how detailed. Think of what you already have, and go from there. If you're going to dress up, go all-out and make it your mission to look the part. Remember, you can always be a celebrity your closet is inspired from or throw on some casual clothes and make something brilliant up. Start early and do some research before heading out -- a little bit of invested time will save you a bundle.

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