Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10 Costume Tips (from a self proclaimed expert!)

Take no offense if you find yourself in this category. But every year when Halloween rolls around I see countless people wearing the same exact costume, at the same bars/events as other people, wearing the same exact store bought thing. This has in fact happened to me when one year I wore a Wonder Woman costume I was stoked to find (granted I did customize it a bit...)

Of course I would much rather see people dressed up, than in nothing at all (wet blankets) but this year I am making myself even more available for help in this situation. I have not one, but ten suggestions on how to save
money and come up with a cool costume this year, without even stepping foot in a mall.

1. Brainstorm! It helps to have an idea, or a few idea's of
what you may want to be/do before you start the hunt. That way you can organize your search to specific items and/or keep an eye out for a few essentials while you are out and about. You never know when or where you may score something perfect. It also helps to Google images of that thing/person to take note of what would make it easy to recognize or stand out. Take these pictures with you on your search! (And, if you already look like someone famous, just go with that... it always works)
Some girl at the bar that looked (and acted) just like Amy Winehouse

Sara and her date as Rogue and Wolverine

2. Shop second hand! This time of year most thrift stores are packed with discarded costumes and weird remnants that you can use to create your own. This is also when they scour their stock for all those funky, retro items that maybe are a bit too dated for most people (to me, this is an ideal time to shop in general.) If you don't have an idea to begin with, you may get inspired just by going through some racks, and end up with something clever that only cost a few bucks. Here is a great resource to keep on hand, a pretty extensive list of second hand stores throughout San Diego County.

Front and back photos of a dress I found a week ago at a Salvation Army for less than $10. I bought it because my sister was searching for a Marie Antoinette costume, and this had all the features. For a few extra dollars it is going to be altered to fit her perfectly, and with all her accessories will look flawless. 80's prom dress= Baroque Queen for a fraction of the price.

3. Re-use an old costume by re-purposing it into something new. My sister's friend did this one year when she bought this "wet t-shirt costume" (so, so gross in my opinion) but the next year she turned it into "Beth" from Dog the Bounty Hunter's t.v. show for my party. Thank God.

4. Make your own, using cheap materials and your brain. Cardboard is easy to come by, easy to mold and attach to things, and easy to paint. Here are some of my favorite cardboard creations...

Dave, as the "The Cedar Fires" a few years ago

A robot dancing with a Teenage Mutant Ninga Turtle (turtle power) at the Whistle Stop. The head was paper mache actually, another easy material to play with.

5. Use what you already have! Some original idea's are probably already hiding out in your closet, in the clothes pushed towards the back and/or maybe on your partner's side. Try to look objectively at you have, like what it reminds you of or where you may have seen something like it on someone else, or in a different decade, in a movie or book, etc. Or, see if you can borrow something from a friend, as long as you make sure to return it in the same condition.

Leah, as a character from Hitchcock's 1963 classic The Bird's, using some of her already owned vintage clothes

My friends Marian and Barb, as a "Tree" and "David the Gnome", both hand made costumes using mostly items out of their closet, with a few custom accessories.

Katie (in her mother-in-law's old carrot costume from the 70's), Marie as Jackie O and Annie as Frida Kahlo, both in already owned clothes.

6. If you know how to sew and/or an artist, this is your time to shine. Spend a weekend, or a few hours a week putting together something you are proud of. You may have a ton of materials hanging around that aren't being used, so well, now is the time to use them. Get creative!

This amazing costume was made by my friend Matt, who literally created a life size replica of one of his own comic characters from a bunch of materials. You cannot see it but the "eye" actually lit up with the help from one of those push-top lights.

Here some friends made costumes from material purchased at a local fabric store. The Bjork costume was spot on, and made from a white dress with a stuffed swan neck that was just stitched together.

7. Pick a pair: C'mon be cutesy! Couple costumes are the best, and when you share the cost between two people, it's half the price and double points for creativity.

Jedi warriors

The Walker's as Frankenstein and Scientist

We did not plan this, but Felicia showed up as Frankie to the same dance that I came as the Bride of Frankenstein! People wanted photos of us together all night, it was fun.

Another unexpected "couple costume" happened when Sarah Palin showed up at the same party as John McCain. Although Autumn and Ian aren't a real life couple, it was fun to have them both campaigning the same room! (Maybe a good way to meet your match if you're single, would be to show up as one part of a pair, and see what happens.)

8. Safety in numbers: If you aren't having any luck on your own, find a few friends to go in on a group costume with. When there's more than one of something, it doesn't necessarily have to be perfect to work. Pick something easy, and stick together. See how the zombie's (at the top of the post) worked it out with some $5.00 bloody makeup and tattered clothing, made by just a little mirror time and fun with scissors.

9. Focus on the Makeup alone. People will always notice your face first, so if you devote most of your time and effort to decorating up top, you can get away with saving a lot of money on a detailed costume, and still create an awesome look.

Kristel's entire"corpse bride" costume was creepy and complete, this is just an example of how a successful makeup job scan be created using mostly stuff that you already own.

Here Jackie did such a unique job mimicking Captain Jack Sparrow that the rest of the costume could have been anything. She bought the wig and 'stache, but the rest was hand-done.

10. The last thing that I have to add is that if you look this cute already, I have no problem with you wearing a generic costume!
One of my favorite people, Mary as "Dorothy"

Just, if you have to buy new, at least make it ironic or something funny... So, good luck, happy hunting and make me proud!

No comments:

Post a Comment