Halloween Costume Tips & Tricks
Buy a Halloween Costume Online
  1. Access Web sites that sell Halloween costumes by entering the words "Halloween costumes" into a search engine such as Yahoo or Infoseek, or simply click the appropriate boxes in the eHow shopping list and choose the "shop online" function.
  2. Check how the costumes are organized on the site. Sometimes they are arranged by size ("toddlers" or "adult women"); sometimes they are arranged by category ("Star Wars" or "Teletubbies").
  3. Check sizes. These are sometimes specific ("women's 8 to 10") and sometimes very unspecific ("child," "adult" or "one-size-fits-most").
  4. Find out what comes with the costume. It's wise to call the costume company before you order if you're not sure whether wigs, makeup and accessories are included.
  5. Order the costume. On most sites, you can fill out a secure order form online using your credit card. Some companies will also accept orders by phone, fax or mail, and payment by check or money order.
  6. Order accessories needed to complete the costume if necessary. These could include wigs, makeup and props (such as a sword for a pirate costume).
  7. Calculate shipping and handling charges. In most cases, shipping costs are based on the price of the costume you purchase, with a minimum cost of about $5 to $7. The more you spend, the higher the shipping costs will be, and in some cases the size or weight of the costume will add to shipping costs.
  8. Check the return policy. Some companies will accept returned items that are unused, while others have a no-return policy.
  9. Look at the shipping policy. Some companies guarantee that you will receive the item within a certain period of time (two weeks, for example). Others offer no guarantees, but give you the option of paying for next-day or second-day delivery. Note the extra cost for this service.
  10. Submit your order if you are satisfied with the final cost and the policies as stated on the site.
*Be sure you order your costume well in advance of Halloween.
*Costumes are sometimes pictured on Web sites along with the wigs and accessories that make them complete, but these accessories are not necessarily included with the costume and may cost extra. Understand exactly what you're getting for your money.
Make a Witch's Nose
  1. Gather your supplies: aluminum foil, masking tape, an elastic strand and green paint.
  2. Mold the aluminum foil into a long, crooked nose.
  3. Make sure it fits snugly over the nose of the person wearing it.
  4. Cover the nose with masking tape.
  5. Paint the tape green.
  6. Staple an elastic band to the nose so that it can be worn as a mask.
Thrift Store Clothes
  1. Assemble a gypsy costume with a flowing dress, hoop earrings, beads, bracelets and a scarf or shawl.
  2. Buy a white sheet to create a ghost costume.
  3. Look for bell-bottomed pants, platform shoes, a polyester shirt and beads to become a hippie.
  4. Search the racks for old pants, a long shirt, an old tie and worn-out shoes and you'll have the makings for a hobo.
  5. Become a clown if you can find oversized shoes, a long, wide tie and brightly colored (ideally polka-dotted) pants and shirt.
  6. Transform yourself into a tourist with a Hawaiian shirt, shorts, sunglasses, maps and a camera around your neck.
  7. Don jeans, a flannel shirt and cowboy boots for a cowboy costume.
  8. Turn into a prom queen if you stumble on a fancy old dress, stilettos, a crown and jewelry.
  9. Wash any items you purchase at a thrift store thoroughly.
  10. Do simple alterations to fit; pin hems and use belts as needed.
  11. Add accessories and makeup to complete your chosen costume.

*Avoid buying hats or other headgear from thrift shops.

Choose Good Antique Costume Jewelry
  1. Learn to recognize various jewelry styles. Art Deco, Edwardian and Victorian are a few of the choices, and the style of the jewelry can affect its value.
  2. Consider the value of the metal or stones without regard to the jewelry itself. Semiprecious stones set in real gold are going to be worth more than rhinestones set in a lesser metal.
  3. Learn to tell the difference between a real antique and a reproduction. The best way to do this is to read books on antique jewelry or to get on the Web and browse the antiques and collectibles sites.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the "marks." Many vintage jewelry items have distinctive marks that identify the piece's era and maker. Again, reading up on antique costume jewelry will help you recognize these.
  5. Shop with reputable dealers and at trusted shops.
  6. Get on the Web. Online you can find a wealth of information about vintage jewelry, its characteristics and its value, as well as message boards and chat rooms devoted to antique costume jewelry collecting.
  7. Buy what you like. Even serious collectors occasionally buy something not-so-valuable that catches their eyes.
Wear a Toga:
  1. Throw away that sheet. It won't fit, and cabbage roses won't look all that authentic anyway.
  2. Buy 3 to 4 yards of drapey material. Cotton, muslin or poplin will work best.
  3. Wear whatever you want on top; for example, a T-shirt, a bathing suit top or a sleeveless tank is fine.
  4. Holding the length horizontally, wrap the material around your waist 1.5 times.
  5. Pin it or tie it.
  6. Throw the rest of the fabric over either shoulder.
  7. Bring fabric back to your waist and tuck it into waistband. You can also tie it with a similarly colored sash, or pin it again.
  8. Adjust the material to cover more of what you want to cover.
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