Halloween Costumes: Dos and Don’ts

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, which comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me. I spent a considerable amount of time as a theatre major (with an emphasis in costumes) and am always looking for an excuse to throw a costume party. So to have one day out of the year where it’s weirder to be out of costume than in it is like dying and going to heaven, as far as I’m concerned.

For the most part, anything goes when it comes to Halloween costumes. It’s like a game of dress up designed for all ages – you can be cute, scary, cute and scary…whatever bobs your apple. Traditional, original, serious, funny..the options are endless. With so much to choose from, how do you make the most of All Hallow’s Eve? No clue what to wear? Have no fear, ghouls and goblins – I have a few tricks (and treats) up my sleeve that can help turn the spookiest night of the year into a graveyard smash!

Do dress to please yourself! Unless you’re entering some incredibly strict costume contest (cosplay, anyone? I pretty much just outed myself as a huge nerd even bringing that up – and I’m okay with it), there’s no reason to freak out over small, insignificant details. For example, you don’t need to be a splitting image of the celebrity or character you’re dressing up as. So what if you don’t have Michael Jackson’s early ’80s jherri curl? There’s no mistaking the red thriller jacket or that iconic sequined glove. So long as you’re having fun, don’t worry about what other people think of your attention to detail.

Do be original. We al know it’s easy to run down to the local costume store with $20 in hand only to emerge 15 minutes later with a generic, white bread bunny/nurse/french maid pre-packaged costume. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the Leg Avenue box! If you want your costume search to be fairly painless, don’t be afraid to grab a bag. But consider a less conventional option – Yandy.com is the definitive source for sexy Halloween costumes, as far as I’m concerned. Every year they offer the traditional stand bys – the bunnies, the school girls, the sexy law enforcement officials – along with a variety of new costumes to choose from. Some of my favorite selections from this year include Olive Oyl from Popeye, a girl version of The Flash and Silk Spectre from Watchmen. With so many costumes to choose from, it’s easy to follow the Mean Girls “slut rule” without being having to be half naked Playboy Bunny #34 at the party.

Do find strength in numbers. There’s nothing quite like an amazing group costume. I’ve been part of a Spice Girls ensemble more than once, and while at an anime convention (I have no shame) this past summer, a group of my friends dressed up as Pokemon trainers and walked around together – they were a huge hit! Couples and group costumes don’t always have to be of the plug and socket variety, this is another area where you can flex your creative muscles. Consider going as a group of popular TV characters, such as the women of Desperate Housewives’ Wisteria Lane, or even video game characters – three of my guy friends came to my Halloween party last year dressed up as the Elite Beat Agents – wigs and all!

Don’t feel obligated to spend a ton of money. Have you seen the prices on some of the packaged costumes lately? $89.00 for a pirate captain costume – I’m sorry, what? It is not at all difficult to assemble a killer costume on a limited budget. During my theatre geek days, Goodwill and Savers were my best friends, with eBay a close third. For example: one of my costumes this year is a girl version of Mario. I spent $4 on a red shirt and $7 on an overall skirt jumper thing from a local consignment store. Paired with $1.50 gloves and a $3 red hat from Wal-Mart, along with $5 white thigh high socks from Halloween Express, and I had a full costume for $20. When I was a Desperate Housewife two years ago, I paired a $2 strand of pearls from Goodwill with an old prom dress that hadn’t seen the light of day since high school. Instant costume! Don’t let the Halloween costume industry make you feel like your night just won’t be perfect without that $50 sexy baseball player costume – because I can assure you, you can absolutely do without.

Above all else, have fun! That’s what dressing up for Halloween is all about, after all – one night to pretend to be someone you’re not. So run with it, trick or treaters. Have any more Dos and Don’ts? Leave them in the comments!

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