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Video: Quick and easy Halloween costumes

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TODAY contributor
updated 10/21/2011 2:56:27 PM ET 2011-10-21T18:56:27

Instead of competing with crowds and waiting in line for a store-bought costume, why not try a DIY Halloween look this year? Today Style Editor and Bobbie.com'sBobbie Thomas shares easy, semi-handmade costume ideas for the whole family.

Video: Boo! Most searched Halloween costumes

Big-Screen Spoof
Take inspiration from recent hit movies like "Bridesmaids" and "The Hangover": Befuddled wedding parties make the perfect last-minute costume theme for large groups. If you can't get ahold of matching, colorful gowns, any assortment of taffeta or satin frocks will do — the more ruffles and shine the better! Each gal can choose her preferred personality, from confused, bruised and tattooed to a regretful "geek gone wild." If you don’t happen to have something in your closet, check the sale racks at discount department stores like TJ Maxxfor special occasion dresses. The best part is that elements you may need can come from your closet or from a local discount store like TJ Maxx. Add a touch of makeup (a blacked-out tooth or a facial cut) and some out-of-control hair, and you're good to go. RickysNYC.comis a great resource for not only make-up, but tougher-to-find accents like geeky glasses, masks, temporary hair color and more.

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Perfect Pairs
For couples, BFFs, siblings or any other duo, consider a two-part costume, like "Celebrity & Fan." One person can dress as their favorite A-lister, while the other can don a shirt embellished with a "fan." You can create a simple paper cut-out, or opt for something a little more elaborate (I fashioned mine from cardboard). For those with a sweet tooth (or a knack for painting), you can dress up as Nerds Candy, famous for its dual-flavor carton: Just pick your favorite flavor and decorate a box or posterboard accordingly.  Finish off your design with the appropriate colored T-shirt, "nerdy" glasses — and then plan to stay by each other's side all evening long.

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Clever Concepts
Consider a play on words for fun. For instance, a man can transform himself into a "Peeping Tom" by adorning a large picture frame with peek-through curtains or blinds (I used a few yards of basic red fabric and tacked it in place) and a stick-on label reading "Hello My Name Is TOM." For the ladies, get a laugh as a "Mail Order Bride": All you need is an old wedding gown or white dress and a few Fed Ex or UPS shipping labels to complete the look. Techy teens can be ‘web’ surfers: All they’ll need is a wet suit and a net to drape over their head, and a foam boogie board.

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Fun for the Family
The movie "The Smurfs" was huge in theaters this past summer, so now's the perfect time to "get the blues." With the help of a little washable body paint and some basic sweatpants and tees (American Apparel is a favorite), you can turn your whole gang into the cute and lovable cartoon characters. And here's a fun option for parents of little boys: Try a "deviled egg." A white pillow can be turned into a wearable egg (just make a few slits in the fabric and add yellow felt for the yoke): then let your little one have fun toting around a plastic pitchfork and red devil ears. If you're looking to let your daughter get creative and have a hand in building her own costume, the movie "Black Swan" can actually provide you with the inspiration. Head down to a craft store like Michaels (michaels.com) and let your budding ballerina pick out feathers, sparkles and gems to be placed on a onesie or tutu. Before you know it, you'll have pint-size, stage-worthy couture!

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Baby ‘Boos’
Who can resist a precious parent-child ensemble? For those who love a play on words, you can be a "holy cow," while your tiny tot is a "pig in a blanket." For the cow, add black felt patches to white sweats and top it off with a homemade halo (white pipe cleaners work well). For the pig, dress your babe up in pink and accessorize with pink felt ears and a snout (a decorated pacifier works too). For the finishing touch, wrap them up in a blanket. This year you can also channel your inner child with a fun twist on the classic board game "Operation." I decorated flesh-colored PJs with stickers and assorted trinkets modeled after the toy (don't forget the red clown nose!). Your little one can accompany you as the doctor in a small white jacket or coat; bonus points if you can get your hands on a tiny stethoscope! And because nothing is more attractive than a handsome dad and his newborn son, why not do a Chippendale Dancer duo? Men will finally have that excuse to run around shirtless, and baby can do the same! All you need are black pants, black ribbon for bow ties, white cloth for wrist cuffs and a camera, because you'll surely want to capture that moment forever.

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Photos: Celeb costumes

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  1. Celeb costumes

    Heidi Klum, Kim Kardashian and Mariah Carey have all turned out pretty amazing costumes — and they’re just a start. Relive the funniest, spookiest moments from Halloween’s past.

    Michelle Obama First lady Michelle Obama channeled a cat for a day, handing out candy to local school children at the White House in 2009.

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (Jonathan Ernst via Landov / InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

    Brad Pitt as D.J. Lance Rock from the show "Yo Gabba Gabba," alongside a zombie Angelina Jolie, took Zahara aka "Batgirl," trick or treating in Los Angeles in 2009.

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (Ramey Photo / InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Tyra Banks

    Tyra Banks dressed as a sultry Kim Kardashian during a holiday-themed episode in 2009.

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (Warner Bros. / InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Ellen DeGeneres

    During a 2009 episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," the comedic host dressed as "O, The Oprah Magazine." DeGeneres then actually graced the magazine cover in November 2009.

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (Mike Rozman via Warner Bros. / InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Heidi Klum and Jessica Alba

    Heidi Klum dressed as a scary crow with Jessica Alba as Dora the Explorer at Klum's 10th annual Halloween party in Los Angeles in 2009.

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (Alexandra Wyman via WireImage / InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Blake Lively and Martha Stewart

    Blake Lively dressed as Cleopatra while Martha Stewart posed as Medusa during a 2008 taping of Martha's show.

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (AP / InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Lauren Conrad

    Lauren Conrad donned some feathers while in full-on flapper garb at the 2008 Pur Jeans Halloween party in West Hollywood, California.

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (Mark Sullivan via WireImage / InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Ashley Greene and Kellan Lutz

    Twilight's Ashley Greene went as a peacock and Kellan Lutz as Robin for Halloween 2009.

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (Denise Truscello via WireImage / InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Gwen Stefani

    In 2009, rocker Gwen Stefani dressed as Jessie from "Toy Story" to take her little ones trick-or-treating.

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (INFphoto / InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Kate Beckinsale

    Dressed as a lusty Little Red Riding Hood, Kate Beckinsale hit the streets of Santa Monica in 2008 to trick-or-treat with husband Len Wiseman, dressed as a spooky pirate skeleton, and daughter Lily, who pulled out all the stops as Marie Antoinette.



    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon

    Proving that they're a match made in midnight snack heaven, Mariah Carey and husband Nick Cannon hosted a 2008 Halloween bash at New York City's Marquee nightclub dressed as a classic couple — milk and cookies!

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Katy Perry

    Katy Perry combined celebrations for the spooky holiday and her 24th birthday when she hosted a party in 2008 at L.A.'s Siren Studios. "I had a cake that was a cadaver and its guts were everywhere," said Perry, who dressed as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. "And I arrived in a hearse!"

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Roberto Cavalli and Eve

    Roberto Cavalli fooled more than a few guests when he dressed as rival designer Karl Lagerfeld at his annual Halloween bash in 2007. While Eve's ensemble was a little more subtle, she definitely got devilish when she hit the stage to perform for the crowd.

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Lance Bass and Kim Kardashian

    Lance Bass and Kim Kardashian teamed up — though it's not quite clear how their costumes sync up — when they celebrated Halloween 2008 at L.A.'s Stone Rose bar.

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Liv Tyler, Milo and Royston Langdon

    Milo Langdon flexed his Spider-Man muscles while in search of candy on the streets of New York City in 2007 with mom Liv Tyler and dad Royston Langdon.

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Scarlett Johansson

    Scarlett Johansson looked a little worse for wear between the eyes — thanks to a faux bullet hole on her forehead-when she was spotted leaving a spooky N.Y.C. bash at Bungalow 8 in 2005.

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Christina Aguilera and Jordan Bratman

    In 2006, Halloween aficionados Christina Aguilera and husband Jordan Bratman hit the Ghoulin Rouge party in New York City, dressed as a corpse bride and her ghastly groom.

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Heidi Klum

    At her annual bash in 2008, Heidi Klum lived up to her reputation as the queen of Halloween with a Hindu goddess costume. Klum's husband Seal was Heidi's sinister sidekick.

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Gwyneth Paltrow and Apple

    On the streets of New York City in 2006, a masquerading Gwyneth Paltrow might have blended in with the crowd in her bunny mask if not for the recognizable face of her adorable daughter Apple, who opted to trick-or-treat as Alice in Wonderland.

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Anne Hathaway

    Forget the sexy maid getup, Anne Hathaway was born to play the queen (of the Nile). The always-glamorous actress kept her costume classy at Heidi Klum's 2004 Halloween Party, held at New York City night spot Marquee.

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Josh Hartnett and Gemma Ward

    Josh Hartnett played it cool as folk legend Bob Dylan while model Gemma Ward unleashed her inner golden goddess at the Imperia vodka Halloween party at New York City's Rose Bar in 2007.

    Halloween Costume Ideas: Dress Like Your Favorite Star

    Heidi Klum’s Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes Ever

    Kim Kardashian's Tips for Dressing a Curvy Body (InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
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