The Non-Expert

Credit: Jennifer Daniel for TMN

Frugal Krueger

Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we help a reader in need of creative, recession-friendly Halloween costume ideas.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


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Question: My witch’s hat is past its prime and zombie prom queens are so overdone. Do you have any creative ideas for economical Halloween costumes? Yours in spirit, Victoria

Answer: Black pants, white shirt, black vest, and a toy gun make for an easy and simple Han Solo, but this is also a pretty hackneyed Halloween costume. Spice things up by carrying around a Yorkshire terrier all night, calling it “Normal-Sized Chewbacca.” You are now Giant Han Solo. —Eric Feezell

Les Miserables: You need to prepare a bit ahead of time. Stop washing your hair today. Then, the day of Halloween, slap some dirt on your face and grab a baguette. You’re young Cosette. —Leah Finnegan

Being economical goes beyond counting the dollars in your pocket: it also helps if you can save beverages and foodstuffs. Using a cleverly rigged system of garbage bags, attach some large pockets into which you can tip punch and pour beer, as well as stash handfuls of Doritos, pretzels, and dip. Simply assign a different pocket to each snack, slosh your way around the party getting steadily more rotund, crunchy, and fluidic, and leave with supplies to tide you over to Thanksgiving. —Jonathan Bell

Crown of olive leaves, toga, cheap Champagne, prescription Quaalude bottle. You’re Roman Polanski! —Kevin Guilfoile

Print out some random, enormous numbers, cut them out, and tape them to your clothes. Some plus signs, too. Now you’re “a girl you can count on.” —Clay Risen

Go as Edward Ciderhands for a British spin on Tim Burton’s classic. White shirt, suspenders, eye makeup, and white flour for a pale face. Then have a friend tape two bottles of hard cider to your hands (in the U.K. it’s cheaper than water). The bottles are not to be removed. Unable to use your hands, your friends will refill the bottles from their own drink or wallet; it’s the costume that pays for itself. —Mike Smith

You should cut out any coupons you can find, and then decoupage them into a leg cast. Voila: You’re clumsy—and cheap! —Sarah Hepola

Any chance you’ve got a partner? For the demonic duo on a barely-Beelzebubbian budget: Buy two white T-shirts. On the first, paint H1, on the second, N1. If that’s too oblique, add plastic pig snouts. Get ready to infect that Halloween bash with your incurable ingenuity. —Michael Rottman

Go as a blind ghost: a sheet with no holes. Who can afford to waste a sheet these days? —Jessica Francis Kane

Remove your shoes. You are now shoe-throwing journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi. On behalf of Iraqis everywhere, go avenge the invasion of Zombie Michael Jacksons in your backyard. —Eric Feezell

This comes from my friend Steve: Get a plastic saucer-sled ($10 or so) and attach two fake arms to it, then hang that off your shoulders. Put on a little nightcap and a pair of pajamas. Congratulations, you’re a bedbug! Now go to a party. Be kind of obnoxious. Refuse to get off the sofa. After a few minutes, say goodbye and leave. Wait about five minutes. Then go back to the party and ring the buzzer. When someone opens the door, 10 or 20 friends, also dressed as bedbugs in pajamas and saucer-sleds, should run through waving their arms and yelling and throwing food on the floor and basically rubbing all over everything and rolling around in the muck and so forth. From here you have options: everyone can stick around for as long as possible, because you’re bedbugs, or you can go crash another party. —Paul Ford

TMN’s Contributing Writers know where to find the purple couch. Long live the pan flute, mini mafia, and Michael Jackson. More by The Writers