Costumes: How They Can Make or Break Your Halloween

With All Hallows’ Eve fast approaching many people are likely deciding that the classic store bought costume may not fulfill your costume dreams. This could be due to the fact that you’re liable to see the same costume on other people that evening, the price point is daunting for the flimsy so called fabric, or just the fact that it is an all too real fear that you might actually catch hypothermia in said outfit if you spend more than 30 minutes outside (thanks for that fear parental people).

Well, despite the fact that we are still figuring out our own lives, we have some people on the team who know a thing or two about how to make your own costume! Although their costumes are more often worn at conventions than saved specifically for a night of mischief, ghouls, trick-or-treating, or pumpkin spice parties their tips may be able to help you figure out an outfit that will scream Halloween without busting the bank or causing you to worry if your mom was right about the risk of hypothermia in such an outfit.

First we have Doc Von Derwin giving his rundown of Halloween costume creations.

Halloween. A time where people throw caution to the wind and ingest pounds of sugar filled sadness bars and I am filled with misery and guilt for succumbing to the power of the Reese’s peanut butter cup. This strange time of year is not just treating ourselves to the forbidden desire of chocolate covered guilt nuggets but also a time to acknowledge our fears and further our ability to conquer them so we can be stronger the other 364 days of the years or frighten kids, I am not sure which is more important. So before you can have your shame glazed cocoa balls, we need one thing; a costume. The metaphorical badge of honor that says “Hey, give me candy”. However, you shouldn’t wear just any costume, but the right costume that suits you for your evening.

1. Preparation: If you are reading this on October 22nd, or even later, you are a little late to the game for designing something elaborate. Thankfully that is not an issue. Retail stores provide plenty of clever options that will allow to become a discount version of anything you actually wanted to be. So wave goodbye to Freddy Krueger, and say hello to Bad Dream Melty Face who will disrupt your REM cycles as he attacks you with his spoon hands. If you find yourself complaining about only having Swan Ronson and General Canada to choose from, then you should have planned ahead. Self-created costumes routinely take roughly 2-3 weeks to get ready when accounting for material gathering and construction within your daily routine and that is if you have decided on a costume ahead of time.Doc Von Derwin

2. Setting: The setting will dictate the proper costume choice for you in a big way. Are you at a party? Is it inside or outside? If you will be in a warmer setting then you want something light weight and has minimal layers. The large amount of people confined into a small space will crank up the heat making your Judge Dredd or Black widow costumes the sweatiest and most uncomfortable leather you have ever worn. Anything makeup or paint based will also become an issue as your sweat begins turn your sexy vampire into an emo high school who can’t apply makeup. Masks will make things way too difficult by limiting your visibility turning you into a bumbling buffoon, but also making sure no drink touches your lips, leaving you sober enough to remember every awkward conversation you have. Cold temperature locations will clearly encourage almost opposite scenarios. Heavy clothing becomes a strong ally, allowing you to point and laugh at the person freezing their butt off in a yellow bikini that they are wearing to be a sexy Pikachu. Masks and make up will also become saviors as they conceal your identity on your inevitable fleeing from law enforcement. That’s the typical Halloween experience, right?

3.Costume Choice: Once you have nailed down your setting, you can choose a costume that not only fits the setting but also to who you are. The options can literally be anything. This isn’t a convention where people expect pop culture references with great accuracy and the undying passion of a thousand suns. You can be classic movie monsters, pop culture characters, elaborate avantgarde jokes, or even a giant fruit. Your costume is in some way a reflection of yourself in that it shows others what you think is cool and what you are interested in. Highlight your wackiness by being a giant Banana, or express your interest in sex appeal by being a shirtless lumberjack. Pick a costume that is for you, not your audience.Booker and Eliz (1)

4. Materials: When your costume idea isn’t sold at your local Halloween store, you will need to think outside the box and craft your own. Any discount clothing store can be your best friend. The hidden treasures of your local Good Will or thrift store can provide more than you would expect to create a great costume. Even if you don’t have a specific idea in mind, you can take the most bizarre items of clothing possible and generate your own crazy character. This allows to not only dress for the setting directly, but it also makes it unique to you and your needs.

5. Crafting: Crafting a costume can be dangerous yet rewarding. Anything that takes serious crafting will make you the bell of the ball but you run the risk of having it back fire. Costume pieces that are crafted run the risk of falling apart in the middle of your evening leaving with the option to either ditch the piece or continue without the costume being whole or bail on the evening because the costume is more important than being with friends with inferior costumes than yours.

6. Have a good time: As you may have guessed, I have had my fair share of blunders when it came to Halloween costume choices. These mistakes can lead to very annoying evenings that distract from the good time you can have with your friends. Halloween is such an interesting time of year where people express themselves in a very unique and special way (or they don’t. Everyone is a snowflake). I had to piece all this together through trial and error, so this is my call to action for you: keep it simple, make it special, and enjoy the new temporary you for the evening.

Our second costumer, Sheena, had some computer malfunctions prior to this article. However she still managed to write up a few of her suggestions and the ticks she has found effective for herself.

Sometimes all you need to do to make a costume is to look in your own closet or that of a friends. Borrowing where you can will save you a small fortune when it comes to costume making. For example, let’s say you would like to be a witch for Halloween. Maybe you have a black dress that can be added onto. Personally when I do this and don’t want to destroy my clothing by sewing, I use safety pins on the inside of the clothing to secure the additions. They aren’t very noticeable and can be easily covered. If you can’t find everything you need in the closets of your friends and family, secondhand shops sell very cheap clothing and those pieces you buy can easily be modified without the worry of being destroyed because they were bought for that reason.

With simple costumes, it’s easier to borrow or buy secondhand, but sometimes you don’t want to wear a simple or generic costume. When it comes to these you might need to make certain pieces specifically for your costume. If you can modify existing clothes by doing some slash and hack work (aka cutting them up) that is an easy way. However when that doesn’t work, starting from scratch is your only option. And let me say…..bedsheets are your friend! They come in many colors, can be found in secondhand stores for fairly cheap, and have large amounts of fabric (in case you mess up).

  • Norko Deo

    I really hate Halloween, but my wife loves it! So she always go in some theme parties or anywhere during this celebration. And yes – if she wants to prepare very well, she usually starts to plan her costume at the beginning of October, it requires some time. This year she’ll be black swan, dealing some things with make up artist now 😀

  • Caitlin

    You’ve given some great advice here for preparing a Halloween costume! I’m one of those people who would love to do some serious crafting on a costume, but I do worry about it backfiring on me. They always look so awesome though when a lot of time and effort has been put forth!