Wednesday, October 14, 2015

5 Steps to an AMAZING (& Cheap!) Halloween Costume

Oh, Halloween. Such a fun holiday. We all love to dream up costume ideas, and wander through the Target seasonal section looking for the perfect thing don't we?

Whether you are going out, staying in, or throwing your own party, dressing up is half the fun of Halloween. (for me anyway!)

But if you are anything like me, you have really good intentions... and really not-so-good follow through. You end up with an almost awesome costume.

Well, in the past few years I've had a lot of practice coming up with a great costume, quickly, and inexpensively. So I thought I would share some tips!

Read on grasshoppers. (ewwww... grasshoppers...)

1) Pick a Character/Person That is Iconic, but that Won't Require You to Buy a Ton of Things

For example, a costume that takes a relatively solid colored dress + a few accessories is ideal. Especially if those things are inexpensive and/or you will wear them again. Be wary of picking a character that might be too generic. For example, if you want to be Ms. Scarlet from Clue.... you probably need more than a red dress. Follow advice for #2 however, and you've got a recognizable costume.

2) Props & Details Are Everything

What does your costume have to have to be recognizable? For example, being Holly Golightly in the men's shirt with the eye mask, is not convincing without the eye mask. You might as well be Risky Business Tom Cruise. Spend the money to DIY the eye mask or just buy it. You'll be glad that you did. To carry over the example from #1 Ms. Scarlet is just a girl in a red dress, until you give her a a murder weapon, like a rope as a prop. When KC and I were Natasha and Boris we carried around a fake old fashioned looking bomb and a wanted poster that KC drew. Those things cost maybe $5 and took so little time to come up with. This topic leads me to #3....

3) Just Buy the Wig (or Pick Someone Who Has Your Hair!)
If you are going to spend money on your costume, this is often the place to do it. It seems silly, when will you wear it again, right? Well, Lucy just isn't Lucy without the vintage styled red updo, believe me we tried it. We just looked like us, dressed up, and mildly vintage. Daenerys isn't Daenerys without the braided flowing blonde mane. Often times these wigs are $20, in the grand scheme of things, it's not too much. Heck, Target has some for $10 this year! You can always plan future costumes around a wig you bought a previous year. Poison Ivy's red hair could easily become Ariel's in future years. Plus, that fake hair dye never looks good, and just gets on everything else. amIright? And, it's more fun because you will look and feel different,  more in character! It's especially easy to foot the bill for a wig when you do #4...

4) Thrift, Borrow & Repurpose the Bulk of Your Costume
If you are sticking with my #1 suggestion, this part shouldn't be too difficult. Elsa? Blue dress. Cruella? Red dress. Figure out what clothing you'll need, and rummage through your closet. Old formal dresses work well for costumes! Don't have it? Check with a friend or family member. Don't have time for that? Go to the thrift store. Goodwill and The Salvation Army have dresses for $5-10, in every color and size. This is also a great place to find weird shoes you don't want to spend the money on, handbags, and other quirky accessories. For Cruella, I thrifted my red dress, used red heels that I bought for my Poison Ivy costume, a camisole and jewelry I already had. I only had to buy my wig, and a few inexpensive accessories. I thrifted my Poison Ivy AND Natasha dresses from Goodwill too. None of them were more than $10!

5) Make It Work & DIY Your Heart Out

What happens when you find something that mostly fits the bill? Get crafty. I decided to be Poison Ivy the night before a costume party one year. I found the wig, I found the shoes and fishnets, ivy was easy to come by... the dress was the most important part. I stumbled upon a dark green dress at Goodwill that was perfect but it was REALLY long. I tried it on, it fit like a glove.... but again, so long. I have absolutely no sewing skills, but I knew the dress could be utilized. I took it to my dorm, put it on and had KC cut the bottom of the skirt off (a little longer than I wanted it). Then I turned the dress inside out, folded the bottom edge up and made a duct tape hem. It took about 5 minutes and it did the trick. The dress was perfect. Moral of the story: if you think something will work, put in a teeny bit of work. You can do it, and it will be worth it. :)

The biggest thing is to remember to have fun. Pick a character that you want to be. Then get creative, it will come together, and there is certainly no reason to spend hundreds of dollars!

I'm working on updating some of these tutorials but I'm going to put in these links anyhow:

Poison Ivy Costume DIY

Cruella De Vil Costume DIY
Natasha and Boris Costume DIY
Velma and Shaggy from Scooby Doo Costume DIY
(not yet a tutorial) Little Red Riding Hood and Big Bad Wolf
(not yet a tutorial) Professors Snape and Trelawney
(not yet a tutorial) Garden Gnomes

What have been your favorite Halloween costumes? How did you pull them off?

What are you planning to be this year? Or is it a secret?



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