Five Halloween kids' costumes you can make at home

If you hear bloodcurdling screams and ghastly groaning this Halloween, it's coming from retailers. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) consumer spending for the holiday is expected to drop from the average of $66.54 spent last year to a recession rocked $56.31 for 2009. In 2008, revelers shelled out a spooky $2.1 billion dollars on costumes alone. Eeeek!

This year we've been scared straight. Halloween costumes will not only be judged on their cuteness or creep factor but also their cost.

With this in mind, it's time to get creative. Think Project Runway: the home version. The challenge: Create children's costumes utilizing household items to assemble a Halloween ensemble that won't haunt the budget til Christmas. Oh, and your kid has to be willing to wear it. Although, free candy is a terrific motivator...

Obvious answers include a neighborhood costume swap, or the time-honored tradition of sibling sharing. Borrowed sports or cheerleading uniforms, re-purposed bridesmaid dresses (see, it really can be worn again!) or sleepwalker-style pajamas are also fun, easy and most importantly free(!) options. The hobo look hits a little close to the nerve this year, it would be more fanciful to dress up like someone with eighteen months of living expenses in savings and flowing credit at zero percent interest...but I digress.

If you've already mined familiar themes for hauntings past, following are five fabulous costume tricks that treat your wallet right.