Many popular costumes today are that of anime characters. Rather than buying the premade costumes that can cost $50 or more, why not make your own?
It is really easy to actually make anime character outfits as most of them tend to wear normal clothes with some special designs. Besides, it is always different to go as the character dressed in normal every day clothes or school clothes rather than the fancy costumes if they change into them.
My example that I will use is Kagome from Inu Yasha. I will put other options for you so you can better understand how to make your own costumes.
First of all, go to thrift shops. There is no shame in going to Goodwill or Nearly New stores. The clothes are clean. They do not put dirty clothes on the shelves. You can also go to garage sales.
Find the shirt that you need. Kagome wears a white shirt, so I found a white or cream colored shirt that resembled her shirt and got that. In fact, most animed characters seem to wear shirts. Still, most tend to wear plain color shirts, so it is easy to find the shirt.
If you need a picture of the anime character to remind you of what you need to make a costume, print one out. Do not be afraid to ask workers for help. They may not know, but they may be willing to help you as well.
Find the skirt, shorts, or pants. Kagome wears a green skirt with pleats. I found a green skirt without pleats that looked enough like hers. If I had wanted pleats, all I would have needed to do was either sew them or iron the skirt that way for the time I wore the costume.
Find the shoes. Many times thrift shops have shoes that are perfect. Kagome wears brown loafers, so I found a pair at Goodwill.
If you can find the other things at a thrift shop, these will come in handy. However, if you cannot find them, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, or other discount stores probably carry these items.
Girl anime characters often wear tights or knee highs. These are easy to find and do not need to be fancy or expensive.
Then, anime character often have some type of jewelry or symbol that is their own type of identification or something that controls another thing in the anime. These can often be made from beads or other craft items.
Kagome has a necklace that has a special symbol on it that controls Inu Yasha. By buying beads that matched her necklace, some wire, and a clasp, I could make the necklace and the jewel. They were easy to put together and the clasp made it easy to close the necklace.
Many times male anime characters have some type of weapon. Of course, if this is just a stick, simply purchase a small dowel from a hardware store. If it is a sword or other type of thing, do not forget to look at the toys in the thrift shops. If no toys can be found there, check the toys at discount markets. See if you can be creative and make your own out of cardboard before resorting to spending a lot of money. If you cannot find or do any of the following, then you can always go buy the items from a costume shop.
If the hair is a different color, it is probably best to buy a wig. You can buy the colored hair spray, but it does stink and it does make a mess when washed out of hair.