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Costumes and Dress Up

Superheroes, ghosts, and goddesses -- oh, my! Get ideas for showstopping homemade costumes, easy no-sew costumes, inventive Halloween makeup ideas, and other dress-up inspiration. Here are some of our favorite costumes for adults and children, from ghoulish to sweet. In a hurry? We even have a few ideas for last-minute costumes!

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All for fun, fun for all! A night of adventure awaits our dashing Three Musketeers. It's easy to transform modern-day kids into the swashbuckling buddies made famous by Alexandre Dumas's 1844 novel. Start with a white shirt and colored jeans, then add simply constructed vests and capes, ruffled collars and cuffs, and floppy hats with plumes. Wooden toy swords and scabbards complete the legendary look.

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Our duo stays cozy in no-sew woolly vests, made simply by shrinking and trimming thrift-store sweaters; cutoff sleeves become hats. Of course, the telltale signs of any elf are pointy ears (these are stick-on) and curl-toed shoes (theirs are crafted from painted canvas drop cloths and slip right over regular shoes).

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With her streaked hair and striking red lipstick, this sinister sweetheart sure makes a fashion statement. To complement such bold hair and makeup, keep the rest of the costume simple: You need little more than an easy-to-assemble bedsheet "shroud" and some bandages to complete the look.

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A preteen's startling moonlit transformation gives new meaning to the term "growing pains." Theatrical makeup, two wild wigs (one cleverly cut and reassembled into furry details), and ferocious fangs can bring out anyone's inner animal.

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They may not have learned their French history yet, but many boys would love dressing up in Napoleon's regalia nevertheless. With a few clever tricks you can produce this look with a needle and thread and a minimum of skill: Napoleon's jacket begins as a navy-blue hoodie; it's cut and then trimmed with sections of red felt and gold upholstery fringe.

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They may not have learned their French history yet, but many girls would love dressing up in Josephine's glamorous Empire-style gown with period jewelry and a fancy updo. With a few clever tricks, you can produce this look with a needle and thread and a minimum of skill: Josephine's dress is fashioned from lengths of inexpensive cotton, with elastic to cinch the top and create a gathered bodice; another piece of fabric becomes the shrug and sash. Use crystal beads to make a choker, necklace, and bracelets fit for an empress.

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These bright fairies have nature-based motifs (left to right): One wears a butterfly crown, another dons a bouquet of flowers, and a third, a lily pad topper complete with a frog. Their ethereal skirts are a cinch -- literally -- to put together; just punch a series of holes in layers of tulle, thread cord through, and pull. Leotards and leggings complete the costumes. Nets can be used to capture woodland creatures -- or collect Halloween candy.

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Bring on the fans! This costume deserves it's own postage stamp. (Elvis Presley inspired the most popular commemorative stamp ever.) Underneath his cotton cape, lined in aqua lame, is a dress shirt shimmering with gloriously gaudy fake gemstones secured with fabric glue. The belt is a wide ribbon, also decorated with gems, safety-pinned at the back. For the pompadour, we slicked his hair back with gel and poofed it up; the sideburns are eye pencil.

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Our stark yet stylized bird costume is easily put together with just a few simple embellishments attached to an ordinary black hoodie. The hooked beak is made of stiff black felt, as are the mischievous eyes. Feathery fringe sewn on the arms creates tufted wings; feathers arranged around the eyes give the raven a tousled look.

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Everyone loves the cheerful bluebird. This costume captures the complexity and beauty of the bird's plumage with simple creases, stitching, and snipping. Moreover, it slips on and off easily and won't restrict a baby's motion. Dressed for trick-or-treating, your fine feathered baby can stretch his wings.