Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:09 AM ET
With five days left before Halloween, costume stores are getting crowded and shelves are growing bare. Instead of facing frustration, why not "do it yourself" this weekend? TODAY style editor and Bobbie.com's Bobbie Thomas shares homemade costume ideas for the whole family.
Fifty shades of grey
Next to Big Bird, one of the hottest costumes this season will undoubtedly be Christian Grey, the infamous protagonist from E.L. James' novel "Fifty Shades of Grey." For gutsy guys willing to take on the role, simply shop your closet for a suit and tie or jeans with a white shirt, as described in the book. Help the message hit home by adding grey paint swatches in a variety of tones, available free at Home Depot or Lowes.
Fun and games
Next, two family-friendly concepts that are both fun to make and fun to wear! First, bring the classic computer game "Tetris" to life by gathering uniform, medium-sized boxes and gluing them together to build the game's signature pieces. Coat in craft paint, trim the edges with duct tape for an extra sleek look, and don't forget to cut holes for your arms and legs (craft supplies available at Michaels.com).
You can also enlist the kids' help in making a "Crane Game" costume. Start with a large, sturdy box painted in a fun, bright color. Then, cut out "windows" and safety pin stuffed animals inside as "prizes." For the finishing touch, hang a pair of tongs inside as the "crane."
Only on Halloween does a fashion faux pas become perfectly acceptable, so now's the time to peruse your wardrobe and take advantage of any ill-fated purchases, overly trendy items and outdated garments. Pleather pants, tracksuits, excessively large furry boots and trucker hats are all fantastic fodder for transforming yourself into a "Fashion Don't."
If you're interested in looking a little more chic, however, I have an easy-to-make costume for you too. Head down to your local TJ Maxx or discount department store in search of a black dress, tiara, pearl necklace and black sunglasses... and voila, instant Audrey Hepburn! If you have extra time and a four-legged companion, you can take the look one step further and be "Breakfast at Tiffany's."
All you need is a Tiffany blue shoebox (or blue wrapping paper) and a few pieces of children's play food (croissant, eggs, plate, fork, cup, etc). Glue "breakfast" to the top of the box, secure on your pup's back with ribbon or a harness and you're good to go.
Halloween inspiration can be found anywhere — even the bathtub, so lather up! For a few dollars, you can purchase nylon netting (also known as tulle) at a store like Hobby Lobby and swirl yourself into a lovely loofah! Just don flesh-toned clothing and have a friend secure bunches of tulle on top with safety pins. Add a loop of rope for extra realism, and get ready to splish splash in style with the rest the family, who can be bars of soap and bubbles.
For the soap, grab or make a rectangular white box, cut armholes, decorate with markers and embellish with small white balloons. To be a "bubble boy," simply affix white balloons to a white hoodie and pants; American Apparel is a go-to for basics like these and a favorite resource for blank Halloween canvases.
Under the sea
Moving from the shower to the sea, these next costumes are all about the ocean. Turn an ordinary blue umbrella into an underwater scene by hanging blue fabric from the spokes as a backdrop. Then make fish and critters from construction paper and hang with fishing wire — suddenly you'll be "Under the Sea!"
A jellyfish makes the perfect counterpart to this outfit; all you need to do is grab a clear umbrella and hang white paper streamers as tentacles. Add eyes made from construction paper and wear white clothes. Added bonus: Costumes stay intact if it rains!
Out of this world
Last but not least, a few costumes that are literally out of this world. Recreate the neon, electric look of the 1980s as a "Super Galactic School Photo." Have a photo of laser beams blown up to poster size, attach the board to the back of your shoulders and dress in your best '80s get-up (quirky glasses and pretend pimples are encouraged, but not necessary).
And finally, something for all the moms-to-be out there. Because your little one will soon be the center of your world, dress as the solar system, with your belly as the sun (a black long sleeve shirt with a hand-painted sun works for this!). Use fishing wire to hang colorful styrofoam balls from the underside of your arms, so you can create the "universe" when extending them.
Yoyo.com also offers up a great ready-made astronaut costume, perfect for a doting dad or son who's looking to get in on the fun.