Life Hacks — Tips and Tricks for Making Life Easier

There are countless problems you encounter on a daily basis that can put a little speed bump in your day. Life hacks are those “a-ha moments” where you find the simplest solution to your daily problems often using items immediately at your disposal. Each month, this column will take you through some creative hacks to use in all different areas of your life to make your day-to-day as simple as possible. For October, we’ll look at hacks that will make this year’s costume the best one yet.


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Gather up some empty pill bottles, spice tins or Band-Aid tins, and create a wonderful accessory to go with your witch costume this Halloween. Remove any labels and rough up the surface, so the container will take paint easier. Draw a design or write words on your container with a glue gun and allow to dry. Paint with a black chalk paint and let dry. Then, dry brush with lighter coats of tan or green, taking care not to get lighter colors in the indentions of your words or design. Add a woodsy topper like bark, moss or a wooden drawer pull.


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If you’re not into donning a full-blown costume for Halloween, try these spooky earrings. To create, you’ll need parchment paper, glue gun, either blood red nail polish or red-hot glue sticks, earring hooks and jump rings. Using your glue gun, create a dripping blood look. Let each layer dry and add to build to create the look you want. If you are using nail polish to color your design, apply to your finished design. Once the paint dries, put a hole large enough for the jump ring at the top center of your design, and feed your jump ring through the hole. Attach to your earring hooks and enjoy!


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If you want a dramatic costume look without braving the costume store or shelling out a lot of dough, focus on your makeup effects. A simple, non-toxic glue stick and some makeup can help you create a broken nose, cut eyebrows and busted lips. Simply use a butter knife to cut a small section, and apply where you want your fake injury. Wet your hands, mold the glue into the shape you’re aiming for and let it air-dry. Cover your new glue stick injury with translucent powder, and add your regular foundation using a fluffy brush. Mix purple and red shadows, blush or lipstick to create a bruised effect around the wound. Fill the inside of the wound with black eyeliner and then apply a red lipstick and a deep red lip-gloss on top of the black eyeliner to create your bloody look.


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If you’re considering a costume that requires painting your entire face or even full body paint, you’ll want to be prepared to apply in a way that keeps you from permanent staining the next day. Baby oil is a good tool for body paint. If you’re painting your whole body, use body oil before applying paint to your elbows, knees, wrists, ankles, neck and other areas that are likely to develop cracks in the paint. Baby oil is also a great tool for removing your standard Halloween body paint at the end of the night.


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You can also use your makeup collection to create fake blood. Grab a red lipstick, and shave off a couple of pieces. Gradually add a creamy black eyeliner to create your bloody look. The brighter blood you’re aiming for, the more red lipstick you use. For a deeper dried-blood look, add more liner. Once you’ve achieved your desired look, add a bit of clear lip-gloss.


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If you’re using a cheap wig from the costume store and it’s tangled and unnatural shiny, try soaking the wig in fabric softener. In a small bucket, add one part softener and three parts water and submerge the wig — allow to soak overnight. Rinse out, and gently comb out tangles from the bottom up. Voila, a detangled and more natural l