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Share creative ideas to assist people of all ages with tips to save money and improve their lifestyle!


By Nancy and Dawn Clement


October 22, 2009 (San Diego’s East County)-Costumes are not about how much money you spend. You could spend hundreds of dollars and still have a less-than-exciting costume. What make a costume great is a little creativity--along with a few accessories. For example, take a man in an ordinary suit, slick back his hair, give him a pencil thin mustache and a string tie, and voila – Clark Gable! Take the same man, in the same suit, give him a wide tie, spectators, and a waist chain, and you have a Mobster. The clothes you wear are a mere canvas on which to paint your costume.


If you need a little inspiration, check out these sites: or for ideas. You will find that the best costumes are usually the ones you make yourself, and sometimes the only way to get a specific costume is to make it yourself. Dawn’s five-year-old daughter wants to be a bat this year. She could not find a ready-made costume anywhere, but did find a great idea online – a simple black hooded garment and an umbrella (for the wings). Her five-year old is thrilled and knows on one will be dressed up for Halloween as she is!


The best place to start looking for a great Halloween costume is your own closet. Men, do you have a bright Hawaiian shirt and a pair of jeans? Go as Magnum P.I. (you can add a model Ferrari to complete the picture). Women, do you have a plain black dress? Add your highest heels, a little powder, bright lipstick and fake fangs for a woman vampire. Dawn’s favorite costume was the year she went as a palm tree. Yes, as a palm tree. She wore brown pants, a brown shirt, and made a frond “hat” out of green construction paper. It was easy, cheap, and got many compliments. If you cannot find what you need, hit the thrift stores. Look for solid color items with no embellishment. Unless your costume specifically calls for it, you are going to want to avoid buttons and zippers as well. Choose a top and bottom that match, and then accessorize your heart out.


If you are making a costume for your child, make sure that he or she actually wants to dress up like that character. Last year, a clip from the “Today Show” showed some poor child with an example of a cute, inexpensive, homemade Halloween costume. He was dressed as Captain Underpants, and he was adorable! The only problem… he obviously (and vocally) disliked his costume. Kids love to dress up for Halloween, but they will undoubtedly change their minds more than once before the big day arrives. It does not make sense to spend a lot of money on a child's costume only to hear “I don't like Power Rangers any more” two days before Halloween. You do not have to spend a lot of money to get a good costume, and then if someone changes his or her mind, it is no big loss.


Halloween Etiquette:

Here are some great do’s and don’ts when out trick-or-treating, from our friend Elaine Swann, The Etiquette Lady, She offers some advice on handing out candy and tips to follow if not handing out candy.

Tips for Parents


1. This is a great opportunity to help your child practice good manners.
2. Teach your child to respect other people’s property by not cutting through shrubbery and across lawns.
3. Tell your child to ring the doorbell or knock on doors just once. Ringing the bell several times or knocking insistently is rude.
4. Teach your child to say “Yes Please” when verbally offered candy and “Thank You” when they receive candy or if complimented on their costume.

If you are not handing out candy:

1. Leave your porch light off. During Trick-or-Treat hours, this is a universal sign saying there is “NO CANDY”.
2. Just in case someone ventures towards your front door even though the lights are off, you can leave a friendly sign on your door saying “no candy.”

Treat giving do’s and don’ts

Do not give:
1. Home baked goods.
2. Unwrapped treats
3. Fruits
4. “Healthy” snacks (do not force your dietary choices on to other people’s children).


Do give:
1. Candy (the good stuff).
2. If you just cannot bring yourself to hand out candy for fear of promoting tooth decay, here are some suggestions: stickers, temporary tattoos, or small toys such as rings, whistles etc. Anything you would drop into a hand-out goodie bag for a child’s birthday party.

Nancy Clement is an east county Realtor®, mortgage broker and freelance writer and can be reached at 619-563-4184 or Dawn Clement is a stay-at-home mother of three, a freelance writer, and creative shopper.


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