Tag Archives: DIY

DIY Halloween Costume Ideas

17 Oct



As fall winds down and Halloween approaches, so does the need for costumes! (But if you’ve been participating in Breakfast Club, you probably have at least one good outfit tucked back somewhere.) There are several different kinds of costume parties from come as whatever (including yourself) to themed parties (like hillbilly or dress as your favorite Star Wars character) to wear whatever you can make at home (human lamp, anyone?). No one wants to shell out a bunch of money on an outfit that’s going to be worn once. Below are a couple cheap staples to have on hand (and that you probably already own) that can work to make a cool (and cheap!) costume.

90s doodle bear

Bleach Pen

Bleach pens are great because you have pin-point precision to draw with. If you have an all-black outfit, draw stars on it and you can be a galaxy. All-pink? You can be one of those doodle bears from the 90s that you washed and doodled on again and again. Fabric markers work very similar to the bleach pens. Draw whatever you want! One of the nice things about fabric markers is there are different colors. They are also great for ironic/sarcastic tee-shirts. Tee shirt costumes are pretty simple, and tee shirts are really cheap! Besides, it can ripped up for more bloodied looks too.

Cardboard Boxes

Most of us living in apartments have these lying around just from the moving process. Youcan be a Rubic’s Cube, a robot, a Lego, or any other creation you can dream up. Need a pair of wings? Just trace the outline on the box and cut it out.

cardboard robot

An Old Sheet

And I emphasis an old one because who wants to sleep on a sheet with an old spill stain on it? You can be cheesy and go as a ghost, or it can be a cape for an impromptu super hero (waffle man, anyone?), It could even be your next toga.

Thick Black Eyeliner

While girls probably have this on hand, guys may not. It’s the perfect tool to draw an animal mask on your face. For a more masculine approach, draw tire treads on your face and have someone run over a tee shirt and you can be road kill.

Plaid Shirt

Maybe you want to be a lumberjack. Maybe you want to be a hipster Disney princess. Maybe you’re a picnic blanket. Your plaid shirt never looked so versatile.

Green Tights

Oddly specific, but a costume essential. You can be so many things: Peter Pan, a woodland faerie, Link (from The Legend of Zelda), mother nature (or something nature-esque) Robin Hood… Green is everywhere!!

Footie Pajamas

Footie pajamas are warm. Most people think of “adult child”, but itcan be far more than that. Wantto be an animal? You have a neck to toe covering! It also works for mythical creatures. Maybe you’re a person hunter and that’s your “kill”.

Flo & Mayhem insurance costumes


Now if you’re going to the party of the century, maybe your best dress clothes are not a good idea. Do you have dress pants that are just a little too short, a shirt with a hole in it, something that just isn’t quite doing the trick anymore? That would work! You can also go to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Suits are great for historical figures, for costume pairs like a runaway groom and a controlling bride, “monkey suits”, and Mayhem costumes.


And if none of these work for you, Goodwill and other thrift stores are always awesome places to find costume goodies. Grandpa/granny clothes, 80s prom dresses, scrubs, mom jeans, Daisy Dukes (in the men’s section)… I mean the possibilities are only as limited as your imagination (or your Pinterest searching abilities). So regardless of how many parties there are to attend and no matter how over-the-top your idea, you don’t need to break the bank to create an awesome costume.

Halloween on a Shoestring

4 Oct

Written by Catherine Bylak, Purdue Student

halloween on a shoestring leader.jpg

College students love Halloween. Whether it be from the joy of showing up together in the perfect squad costumes or maybe it’s the candy corn, regardless, college students scream for Halloween.

If you’re a college kid who screams for Halloween, while your bank account screams for savings, then we have a few tips to enjoy this Halloween on a shoestring!

DIY Costumes

Goodwill Stores are the perfect place to start if you’re only trying to spend a few bucks on a costume. Grab a cheap flannel and complement it with jeans and you can go as a lumberjack! There are endless possibilities. Think of your favorite TV character, generic job titles, or puns and find items that represent them.

By making your own costume you can show off your ingenuity and style, rather than spending $30-50 on a stock costume that you’ll wear maybe four times.

Plus a DIY costume is way more original.

There are three Goodwill locations near the Purdue campus and several other thrift stores nearby for all your thrifty Halloween costume needs.


You can even create identification cards in a word document to print, cut out, and wear so people will understand your costume. costume ID.jpg

DIY Decorations

There are tons of ideas for homemade decorations that can utilize anything including empty milk gallons, garbage bags, and a few permanent markers. For those who aren’t interested in Pinterest, here are some links for cheap decoration alternatives: Indoor & Outdoor by Money Crashers and Effortless Decorations by DIY Projects

Cheap Treats

We all know that fun costumes and decorations make Halloween great, but so does the candy. If you adore the treats over the tricks, here are some sites for cheap candy: Halloween Candy Warehouse and Bulk Candy Store.

Maybe your favorite aspect of Halloween is enjoying few unique, of-age drinks that ensues. In that case, check out these sites for cheap, Halloween themed cocktails: Jello shots, spooky cocktails, candy-inspired drinks, and cheap Halloween cocktails.

Now, you can scream and save this Halloween.

Mother’s Day Celebration Ideas

7 May

Purdue Student & Peer Counselor

field of dandelions; text overlay: Happy Mother's Day

So you’ve made it through another semester and can’t wait to start your epic Summer of 2015! Before you start planning your legendary road trips and summer escapades, it’s important to remember that Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Yup, May 10th to be exact! With the bustle of the Spring semester behind you, now is a good time to plan on how to make this Mother’s Day epic too!

It’s not always easy to find the perfect way to celebrate your mother or your mother-figure and how much you appreciate them in your life. Most of us struggle each year to find a unique but simple gift that speaks to both our heart’s voice as well as to our wallet’s endurance. Here are a few unique ideas that won’t break the smart budgeting you have been doing all semester!

Make your own flower bouquet!

Ever go to buy a bouquet of flowers for Mother’s Day and wish you could switch out some flowers for others or rearrange them to fit your mother’s personality? Well, you can and your mom will love that you chose flowers that fit who she is!

Super crafts!

Sometimes just taking your mom out to dinner, setting up a nice brunch, or having a movie night is a great way to celebrate your mom. Some great ways to set the mood for these gifts with style can be in homemade gifts!

Trip Down Memory Lane!

What better way to say, “Mom, you’ve made a difference” than to show that you remember every moment in which your mom impacted your life! You can do just this by trading stories with your mother, sitting down and going over photo albums and family videos, or even by showing an interest in getting to know your mother more as the amazing person she is!

Involve Everyone!

Hey, maybe it’s not just you who your mom has impacted! Set up a surprise Mother’s Day Party for the entire family, and even those who took her as their mom-figure in their lives. Celebrate the connections your mother has with everyone around her, and remind her how much she has mattered!

Everyone’s mom is unique, so sometimes it is just a matter of fitting ideas to who your mom is to you. No matter what you do, it still makes Mother’s Day truly special when you take the time to say in your own way, “Today is My Mother’s Day!”

Do you have any special ways you celebrate your mother on Mother’s Day? Share in the comments below!

Thrift Shopping: A Love Story

5 Feb

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator & Purdue Alumna

arrow sign saying second hand

Like Macklemore, I proudly declare my love of thrift shopping every chance I get. I get an incredibly proud feeling when all of the clothes I’m wearing were bought at roughly 1/16 of the price that they were in the store. I don’t go as crazy as Macklemore in his all pink get-up “except his gator shoes, those are green”. But I have morphed my style to a conglomeration of what I can buy at Goodwill. I call it thrift-store chic.

Being thrift-store-chic, I now wear a lot of skirts, buy clothes in a variety of sizes without regard for size, and spend way less on the clothes in my closet than I would have at retail prices. Thrift shopping involves a lot more creativity, flexibility, and open-mindedness with your wardrobe and with everything you buy there in general (I buy everything at Goodwill: clothes, shoes, furniture, you name it.)

I also love thrift shopping for home décor and necessities (I pretty much just love thrift shopping in general, if you can’t tell). However, if you have specific things you’re looking for, then thrift shopping can be a challenge sometimes. Some helpful tips and planning can counter this challenge! And other times you can find just what you’re looking for. I picked up my kitchen table (and its four chairs) at a Goodwill “½ Off Saturday” for only $40. And it’s a nice looking table too. Even more recently, I picked up a love seat for my living room for $20, and it sits next to my free couch that a girl from church gave me. That couch brings up another great thrifty resource: your community. Always keep your ears open for people getting rid of old things or holding garage sales (and maybe if you’re buddies they’ll give you first dibs!).

One of the best things about thrift shopping in this day and age is Pinterest. I have gotten so many ideas from Pinterest that I then make a reality. By using what I’ve learned through Pinterest and the inspiration it’s given me, I’m able to make my Goodwill shopping experience so much more fun and worthwhile. With all the DIY tutorials out there on re-purposing and re-using things, not to mention the thrift shopping tutorials, it’s impossible to not get into the thrift shopping spirit.

Do you have a love of thrift shopping too? Any great tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!

Freshman Boot Camp Week 2: Dorm Decor

11 Aug

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor

Purdue Dorm Room

Moving to college is a big adjustment! Out on your own, on your own schedule, it’s a massive change, and one often accompanied by homesickness. Decorating your dorm room is a great way to get that “home away from home” feeling and help reduce your home town blues. You can achieve decorating greatness without breaking the bank! Here are some tips on decorating your room.

Talk to your roommate(s):

Who’s bringing what? Do you really need two microwaves, and two fridges, and two futons? Deciding who brings what can really help save on costs and space.

Photo by: Kelli Mullins

Photo by Kelli Mullins


Honestly, dorm rooms are not suite-sized. There is only a finite amount of space within your room or within your space if you are sharing a room. Finding items that double as storage and decoration are often a good bet. For example, decorative jars to store small things on your desk or dresser top.  Not only are you saving money by not buying two separate items, but you also don’t need to buy/rent storage space for any extras.

Added advice: Command Strips are a life saver! Seriously, these things can be used for anything. Add a hook to one for a towel rack, or a necklace hanger. You can also hang wall art without damaging the walls. You would be amazed at all of the things that can be engineered with these things.

Furniture pieces:

Each residence hall comes with a bed, a desk, and a dresser. Do you need a futon and two chairs?  Probably not. Decide early with your roommate who’s bringing what and you can save space, confusion, time, and money. As a personal preference, one futon is awesome instead of two chairs. It’s a space saver and great to nap in…; can you say the same about two chairs?


Believe it or not, all dorm floors at Purdue are tile. In the summer that’s fine, but it can get a little chilly in the winter. While

Photo by:  Debbie Saenz

Photo by: Debbie Saenz

you can purchase a rug from any superstore, one of the best things I did for my dorm room was taking a trip to a carpet store. Left over pieces of carpet rolls are often discounted and buying the “scrap” is a cheap way to get a lot of floor covering and keep your feet warm! When I lived in Windsor, I got padded carpet that was left over from a carpet roll really cheap and it covered my floor completely. It’s definitely something to think about when pricing rugs.

Still lacking decoration inspiration? Check out some of these boards on Pinterest for some ‘pinspiration’ for your dorm this fall: this college’s dorm décor & DIY board, this girl’s dorm DIY board, and this blogger’s dorm décor board. Be sure to share any of your finds or advice below for other readers!

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