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Halloween is almost here and the scramble is on for last-minute costumes.

In the old days, slap-dash parents like mine could get away with sending kids to school draped in whatever was laying around the house that morning. Throw on some old clothes, smear some ashes on their faces and ta-da!

“There ya go kid! You’re a hobo!”

“What’s a hobo?”

“Do I look like your teacher? Go to school.”

But that stuff doesn’t fly in the age of Pinterest and the Perfect Mom. Today’s parents have been crafting their kids’ costumes since August.

Don’t believe me? Google “Baby Edward Scissorhands.”

It’s going to take more than a white sheet with a couple of eyes poked out to cut the muster this year. So what’s a busy, tired, cheapskate parent to do?

You don’t need to go out and blow 50 bucks on an intricate, store-bought costume. Creativity tends to score more points than flawless execution these days. Here are a few easy, cheap costumes that will have parents thinking you’re clever instead of lazy.

• Static Cling. Dress your kid in a long-sleeved shirt, pants and stocking cap – preferably all in the same color. Pin mismatched socks, underwear, lint and old dryer sheets all over his clothes and he’ll look like something you just pulled out of the laundry trap.

• Biker dude. This works for little boys but is even funnier for little girls. Put them in jeans and a black T-shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Use an eyeliner pencil to draw a goatee and some Harley tattoos, affix a bandana around the head for a dew rag and your kid is ready to roll.

• Error message. When you see it on your computer screen it’s annoying. When you see it on a second grader, it’s funny. Write “Error 404: Costume Not Found” on your kid’s white T-shirt.

• Lady Gaga at the VMAs. This year, Lady Gaga showed up with her face peeking through what looked like a square piece of white cardboard. Cut a head-sized hole in a piece of poster board (which costs a whopping 33 cents), drape your daughter in a white sheet or terrycloth bathrobe and thank God she didn’t ask to go as Miley Cyrus.

• God’s gift to women. Remember when you were a kid and forgot to buy your mom a birthday gift, so you wrapped an empty box and told her it was filled with love? Same concept.

This is ideal for the cocky middle school boy in your life. Cut holes in a large box for his arms, legs and head, cover it in gift wrap and affix a gift tag that reads, “To: Women, From: God.” And please don’t write to me when the principal calls.

Note: Check the MoneySmart blog at BuffaloNews.com for photo examples.

email: schristmann@buffnews.com or call MoneySmart at 849-4612. Follow me at www.Facebook.com/DiscountDiva.