Halloween has been my favorite holiday since I was old enough to stick a candy corn up my nose. I have been a pumpkin, Snow White, a hippie, a dead bride, Tweedle Dee, a flapper, and so much more. Out of all of my costumes, only three have been store-bought, and they couldn’t rival the pink princess costumes my grandmother made me, or my neon green fairy outfit, or my devil costume that was put together with pieces from my closet, yard sales, and a cardboard box.
The point I am trying to make is that while it is nice to have a pre-packaged costume ready for you, it can be more fun and cost effective to create your own Halloween masterpiece.
Here are some quick ideas to make your own one-of-a-kind design.
Go to Goodwill, Savers, and The Salvation Army: The best Halloween costume I have ever made was when I was eight and my mother let me run around Savers for hours. I put on a purple feather boa, a purple suit, and a top hat (I was Elton John). What is great about these places is that they have clothing from many different decades. You won’t be hard pressed to find neon from the 90’s, shoulder padded sequined dresses from the 80’s, and leather shredded jackets from the 70’s. These places also have a plethora of accessories from suspenders, hats, and shoes. These little details will be able to take your costume the extra mile. In addition, most items won’t cost over $10, so you don't have to break the bank or feel guilty about "customizing" a new purchase! Want to rip out shoulder pads? Go for it. Want to pour fake blood on a dress? Love the idea. Need to add glitter to a hat because you want to be a cupcake? Way to think outside the box.
Start yard selling throughout the year: What is great about yard sales is that you can find virtually anything from clothing, trinkets, and other random objects for a small price. If you’re lucky enough, you may even find a gently used Halloween costume. Now it probably impossible to find a Halloween costume at a yard sale in October, so start looking for Halloween costumes throughout the year. Yes, you may spend $5 on an angel outfit in January and decide you want to be a turtle come October, but who knows when that angel outfit might be useful. When I did daycare, I ended up giving away my pirate costume to a boy whose mom couldn’t afford the $30 one from the store. I had bought that costume in May and it cost me less than a dollar.
Cardboard and Sheets are your friend: When in doubt, the things around the house that we take for granted can often easily be made into fantastic costumes. Cardboard boxes yield everything from a refrigerator to a racecar, laundry baskets make great turtle shells, and the traditional white sheet is always around for a spooky ghost. Use your imagination and you can come up with all sorts of ideas using the most basic of materials.
Look in the closet: Chances are, you still have your senior prom outfit or a shirt with a crazy pattern on it that you bought as a dare hidden in the back of your closet. It is recycle time. Throw on a men’s tank and boyfriend jeans, pencil in a fake beard, and you are now Lady Gaga from the VMAs. With the trend this season being 70’s inspiration, it is quite possible you can pull off being a flower child from the other pieces you have bought this year. In addition, old costumes can be interchangeable. A witch can easily become a vampire and a robe can easily become a superhero’s cape. Finally, have fun with make-up. The easiest, most cost-effective thing you can possibly do is wear your normal clothes and paint something on your face that makes you look like you are dead.
The main idea is to have fun, be creative, and don’t go for the obvious. Just let your imagination run wild!