You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create an original looking costume. If you do have the money to spend, accessorizing a basic costume can still make you stand out.
One of the most comical costumes I have seen is a one night stand. A man had a hole cut in the top of a box that he wore over his head with a lampshade on his head. He had drawn drawers on the front of the box like a nightstand and had glued various objects to the top of the box such as an ashtray and a condom. There are many things you can do with this idea to make it your own. Maybe cut a small whole in the “drawer” and pull a sock through with a small section sticking out. Glue a bra or pair of underwear to the top of the box.
Another idea is your Facebook or MySpace profile. Connect two pieces of poster board with yarn and wear with one piece in front and one in back. On the front replicate your profile but instead of your real friends glue pictures of celebrities and change comments to ones from them. Your head becomes your profile picture.
Some people use tragedy for ideas. I once saw a man dressed as Steve Irwin with a stingray glued to the front of him. Two men were Siegfried and Roy after Roy was attacked. “Siegfried” pushed a bandaged “Roy” in a wheelchair.
If you want to start with a basic costume, accessories can still make your costume more original than others. For example, if you dress as a policewoman there are shoes and boots with handcuffs and badges available to buy. Look for original shoes or shoes matching your outfit. You could dress as a gypsy and go all out with coin headpieces and jewelry. Why not go for a dead cheerleader instead of just a cheerleader? Frizz out your hair with a little grass embedded in it, color your face white and put some brown eyeshadow to look like dirt on your face and arms.
Think outside of the box when it comes to costumes. Originality wins costume contests! Good luck and happy haunting!