How To Recycle Last Year's Halloween Costume

I love halloween. I look forward to the parties, the pumpkin carving, and the candy for weeks. (Fun-size Kit Kats are my jam.) My favorite part, though, is the costumes. But even though dressing up for the holiday is one of my favorite annual pastimes, I have a dilemma: My friends aren't into it. In fact, they're kind of anti-Halloween. (I know. I should probably find new friends.) And that means they don't want to spend a bunch of money on a new topical costume every year.

But, because they love me, they go along with it when I force them out for the night, slapdash costumes and and all. Since Halloween isn't a big deal in my crew, I've learned to get creative with my costumes — who wants to spend any more than $20 when your friends are hardly dressed up? Case in point: A couple of years ago, two of my girlfriends dressed up as a cowgirl and rockstar. One wore a plaid shirt and a hat, and the other wore a leather jacket. See image below. Weak. PS: Loveyoumeanit. Besides, I'm really into pop culture-y costumes, which obviously means I need a new one every year. You can go as a cat or witch any time you want. The Ice Bucket Challenge? I have a feeling that won't be much of a hit in 2015.

Due to their less-than-enthusiastic response to Halloween, I am the queen of costume recycling and making something out of nothing, both for them and for myself. Splurge on an ensemble last year and want to alter your existing costume wardrobe for a new look? Alexa to the rescue. I looked up some of 2013's most popular halloween costumes, and whether you went with a classic get-up or something more timely, here are some ways to transform last year's show-stealing costume to something brand new. Welcome to a whole new world of dressing up on the cheap, ladies.

School Girl to Mindy Lahiri

If you've gone the schoolgirl route (no judgement), repurpose that patterned skirt (plaid, houndstooth, or whatever your Catholic school throwback looked like) by tucking in the button-down shirt and adding a statement necklace. Top the look off with a doctor's lab coat. (Bonus points for a sweater layer over the button-up. So Dr. L.)

Flapper Girl to Audrey Hepburn

Got a straight-waisted black dress and some pearls? You've almost got yourself an Audrey Hepburn ensemble. Pin back the sides of your 20s-inspired dress to make it a little more fitted at the waist, put your pearls back on (double it around so it doesn't dangle like a Gatsby era girl's would), and dig up some elbow-length black gloves at your local Halloween store. Pin your hair into an updo, pile on the black mascara, and you're ready for Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Catwoman to Black Widow

Got a shiny black bodysuit? Transform last year's Catwoman to this year's Black Widow. Find a black utility belt to wear around your waist, print out the Black Widow symbol, "laminate" with clear packing tape, and fasten it to the belt. Wear knee-high heeled boots for a sassy touch. I'm gonna love you... Until you hate me... #imablackwidowbaby

On that note...

Cat to Literally Any Other Animal

You can probably wear the exact same outfit you did last year — just change the ears and the makeup. Cheetah? Done. Black bear? Easy. So many options.

Despicable Me Minion to Construction Worker

I so wish I was a Despicable Me minion in cute overalls last year, because I am dying for an excuse to buy the hottest NormCore accessory of the moment — Timberland Boots. Pair the two pieces with a hard hat and borrow some of dad's wrenches/hammers/other manly fix-it items to stick in the pockets. He probably won't notice.

Disney Princess to Prom Queen

So, so easy. Got a princess dress? Buy a crown and a "prom queen" sash and show those high school bitches who the real royal is. (I'm not bitter.)

Daenerys to Greek Goddess

Confession: I don't watch Game of Thrones, but apparently, Daenerys was a pretty popular costume last year. Store the cape, belt the flowy dress with a gold sash or ribbon, grab a gold headband, and pin your hair back into a braided updo. Hello, Aphrodite.

Hippie to Penny Lane

Sure, these are both '70s costumes, but it's easy to get a little more specific when you've got your hippie basics. Circle sunglasses? Check. Flared pants? Check. Wear a shearling coat (you know you want one) over your go-to crop top for the Almost Famous beauty's look.

Tinker Bell to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

If you've ever dressed as Tinker Bell, you definitely have a green dress. Bring a little girl power to your 8-year-old broski's costume of choice. Grab some gold or red duct tape to belt the look and add a ninja eye mask. Black heels top off the bad-ass-turtle-meets-feminine-chic look.

Miley Cyrus to...

I'm sorry. Even though her VMA's leotard was one of last year's most popular costumes, it's really hard to turn a one-piece with a creepy bear face plastered on it into anything else. I tried, but I think this was kind of a one-shot costume. (Worth it.)

Images: Alexa Tucker; FOX; George Dolgikh/Fotolia; Courtesy manufacturer (;;;;;;;