SAN ANTONIO – Just days before Halloween, Julia Evans was scaring up costumes for her grand-ghouls, and maybe even herself, on a bare bones budget.
"From a witch to a skeleton, just a bunch of stuff," she said.
Instead of shopping retail, she was Halloween hunting at Goodwill.
So were George and Maricela Knowles, who were creeping through the racks for the perfect shirts and blazers for their Day of the Dead getups.
For them, do-it-yourself is the way to go.
"It's way better, way better," George Knowles said. "Instead of making it plastic, keep it real."
The retail industry estimates people who celebrate Halloween will spend an average of $87.
With the biggest bite of the budget being spent on costumes, many people find ways to carve costs.
One popular way is to shop thrift stores, like Goodwill.
"You may know exactly what you want or you may have no idea, but that's the fun -- to find that one treasure, that one item, that will become the inspiration for the one-of-a-kind costume," said Penny Benavidez, Goodwill of San Antonio spokeswoman.
Inspiration and imagination are key to conjuring up a budget costume, like turning a baby blue checked blouse into Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, a black gown into a witch, vampire or Hollywood starlet, or a simple plaid shirt and overalls into a scarecrow or lumberjack.
DIY Halloween costumes enjoyed renewed popularity during the recession. A decade later, the trend is going strong.