As red and gold leaves begin to carpet your lawn, the annual quandary arises: What to wear for Halloween?

With all the movies released this year – from animated features to storybook and comic-inspired adventures – there’s plenty of fodder for homemade Halloween costume ideas. And of course, the news — regardless of where you read it — never fails to generate creative ideas. (Truth is stranger than fiction!)

Here are a few 2012 characters you could replicate. And don’t worry if your outfit isn’t as snazzy as the original. That’s the beauty of Halloween: It’s your chance to put your own spin on an icon.

Snow White or the Evil Queen a la “Mirror, Mirror” or “Snow White and the Huntsman”: For the fairest of the land, find a blue velvet top at a second-hand store or discount retailer. Cut the neck further, gluing ribbon around it. A curtain works nicely for the puffy sleeves. Sew it to the shoulders of the velvet shirt. You can make your own white petticoat and yellow broadcloth skirt or find something comparable, topped off with a black wig and red bow.

The dress and cape of the wicked witch can be crafted from cheap satin with stiffened white cotton for the collar. Follow a basic tunic dress pattern, but with wider sleeves, for effect. Try Lycra for the balaclava mask that attaches to the crown, any gold material glued over a wire frame. Finish the look with long black boots, red glitter nail polish. And don’t forget to carry around a bright red apple.

Batman or Catwoman from the “Dark Knight Rises":For your own version of the Caped Crusader, start with a hard plastic Batman mask, the kind without a back. Cut the ears off, along with the bill of a tight-fitting baseball cap. Glue the mask face piece to the front of the cap. Use foam rubber to shape the ears and glue them on top of the cap.

Homemade Batman and Catwoman CostumesStretchy T-shirt sheets are perfect for the mask and cape. Glue the material to the cap and mask, forming the back and sides of the hooded cloak. With a basic gray shirt and black shorts, you’ve got the classic Batman look.

The cat burglar is literally a sexier version of your childhood cat costume. Don a pair of polyester leggings and a black spandex leotard. Add a pair of black gloves, mask and black boots. Tie it all together with a gold belt. You’re ready for the prowl.

We were looking for the Black Widow from the “Avengers,” but we found inspiration of a different kind from Martha Stewart, who offers this killer list of homemade Halloween costumes for adults. — even if you’ve never heard of the "Il Trucco e la Maschera." (and really, who has?)

Sometimes it’s all in the makeup. That’s the case for Stewart’s Black Widow.

Use white cream makeup to cover the brow, face and neck. With black makeup, paint high, arching brows. Add dark-green frosting powder for contouring and false eyelashes. Line each eye using black cream makeup, extending the liner past the outer corner of eye. Also from that point, sweep powder blush out and down. Apply red lipstick and liner.

A few final touches: Use gel to slick back your hair before fitting a black wig into place. Attach plastic spiders to your face using a dab of spirit gum on a cotton swab. And finish with long black fake fingernails.

If the silver screen doesn’t inspire, jump on over to TV, where newsmakers of all stripes can get your creative juices going. You can masquerade as a real-life icon!

Katy PerryPop sensation Katy Perry: Perry’s unique take on fashion has inspired many costume creations. If you want to channel your inner “California Gurl,” the simplest take-off involves decorating a bra with bedazzles: multi-colored gems such as hearts, stars and circles. For the bottoms, you can create hot pants using a high-waisted shorts pattern and shiny fabric.

Or try this more complex design: start with a white strapless dress. Sew different colored panels of sheer fabric together on a cotton backing to form the skirt section. Adorn the top of the dress with twisted pipe cleaners for swirl candy and sweets made from foam, sequins, glitter and beads.

Complete the ensemble with a brightly colored wig, a lot of body glitter, blue and green makeup and even shoes covered in silver and aqua glitter.

President Barack Obama or Mrs. Obama.

Creating the politician’s look is as easy as donning business attire and a promotional 2012 campaign button. Accessories make all the difference here. For the first lady, a sleeveless dress that shows off toned arms, a fitted cardigan, pearl necklace and earrings. An added bonus: Create a podium complete with microphones and presidential seal copied from the Internet. You’re ready for the campaign trail.

More homemade Halloween stories from MNN:

Photo credits:

Batman: TimothyJ/Flickr

Katy Perry: Featureflash/

Homemade Halloween costumes 2012
Homemade Halloween costumes can turn out better than the retail version and cost much less. From Batman: The Dark Knight Rises to Barack Obama, look no further