How to Halloween Without Going Broke: Tricks and Treats of Costuming

About 60% of Americans celebrate Halloween. It’s also the 2nd most popular and lucrative holiday in the U.S, bringing in millions, right after Christmas. Century after century its traditions have survived and evolved, giving rise to new ones and adapting the old. In another words, its awesome. If you’re a Halloween fanatic like myself, you don’t need any further explanation. If you’re like me in other ways, you’ll also be broke. And in need of a Halloween costume.  But don’t worry, you’ll still be able to parade around the bars and parties this 31st, even without emptying your bank account. Here, I present to you all my tricks on whipping together an awe inspiring costume, one that will knock your friends and gawking fans dead.

1.) Ebay is your friend. Amazon is an okay pal to have too.

Buying wigs, accessories, and costume sets can get pricey. Really pricey, especially if you buy from Halloween stores like Spirit or Halloween USA. That’s why I look on eBay, the amazing auction/buy now website for my Halloween needs. Cosplayers will agree with me when I say you can score a wig on here ridiculously cheap. That also applies to used costumes, false eyelashes, novelty shoes, and decorations. Amazon also has some good deals, but I like to compare the two websites because of the shipping prices. The item price may a good deal but the shipping and item total is what determines who I purchase from.

2.) Thrift, and I mean THRIFT.

You can find a lot of the elements your costume needs in a thrift shop. If you need something to wear or ruin, like a wedding dress, an 80s leotard, or a suit, look no further than Goodwill. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, the rummage store has tons of material or existing items that you can easily alter. Thrift stores are also one stop shopping centers for decorations. I purchased a $3 Halloween wreath last month in fact. Was it ugly? Yes. Did I glue and glitter the heck out of and make it pretty? You bet. Your costume doesn’t have to manufactured and sold as a complete set. Finding the bits and pieces is the fun part about making it. As long as you have the general pieces of your costume, you can add more, which brings me to my next point.

3.) Start with the basics and work your way up.

If all else fails, start with what you already have. Add blood and rips to an old coat you never wear anymore. Dig out the tacky, unloved jewelry from the darkest crevice of your jewelry box. Create a look with what items you have on hand. You can virtually be any celebrity or icon with clothes you wear everyday. Ladies, you can pull of an easy Audrey Hepburn costume with a black dress, a strand of pearls, gloves, and flicked eyeliner. Or add parts to an existing costume, like sleeves, buttons, holes, etc. Better yet, look up easy costumes on Pinterest. I made a costume with an old jacket, skirt, dress shirt, and fake blood. Where were these items? In the donation pile, the back of my closet, and in the continuously washed pile of laundry that never seems to get worn or folded. If you have the basics, you’re closer to going full blown authentic. You just need the right parts! Accessorizing with jewelry, props, and makeup will definitely help you avoid the dreaded question of “Who are you supposed to be?” Gag me with a spoon, right?

4.) Hair and makeup can make or break your look.

The hair and makeup are the topper on the cake when it comes to your look, just like in grown up, everyday life. This is not the time to be bashful in front of that blush brush either. Halloween is the perfect excuse to wear the clown red lipstick you bought on clearance. The same lipstick that you rationalized you’d rock but secretly put it on when nobody was home and cried because you looked so bad and never looked at it since. Yes, grab it and slap it on. This time of year is your one chance to “rock” it and not be judged. Well, judged harshly. If you’re not especially handy with makeup, have a friend help you out. I myself am gifted with makeup and have been applying my friend’s for years, from the simplest to the scariest look. If you’re not lucky enough to have an awesome friend like me, Youtube is a great place to research. Find a tutorial on vampire makeup or how to style an afro wig. It’s also a key source on how to make things too, like your own decorations and special effects for Halloween parties. I’ve learned an immense amount about makeup, drag, and cosplaying via the internet. You can too.

There you have it, all my Halloween tidbits for you to utilize. It doesn’t matter what your age, income, or gender is, you can be whatever or whoever you wish on this night, so don’t stall or doubt yourself. Have fun buying or creating your costume. It’s sort of like reliving prom, but in a creepy and gory sort of way. In the words of the fantastic Dr. Frank-N-Furter, “Don’t dream it, be it!”

Happy Halloween!


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