Halloween is a great holiday. Aside from the candy and the month long flow of horror movies and the radio playing “Monster Mash”, “Werewolves of London”, and “Thriller”, dressing up is truly my favorite part. Even though I’m usually only dressing up to pass out candy to the trick-or-treaters, I take it seriously.
I have a philosophy on Halloween costumes (any costume really). I believe that a majority of it should be assembled from individual pieces and that as little of it as possible should be bought. In other words, the slutty version of whatever costumes don’t cut it for me. Buying the entire costume already put together is no fun. Buying every separate piece of the costume and putting it together yourself is more fun. Spending absolutely no money on a costume and pulling everything together from stuff you already own is the best.
For me, Halloween is a challenge. I like to see what I can come up with stuff I already own and I try to spend as little money as possible doing it. This isn’t half-assing it, either. I’ve come up with some really good costumes that have gotten me plenty of compliments.
I like to dress up as my own thing, a twist on something typical. Last year I dressed up as the perfect housewife. I put on a shirt and skirt and my flats. I did up my hair and make-up. I wore pearls. And then I wore the bloody apron my roommate made for me for Christmas (it says “Killer Cook” on it and with blood splatters and bloody hand prints; I love it) and smeared my face and hands with some fake blood (I always have some on hand) and carried around a really nasty looking butcher knife. It didn’t cost me a thing to do that year.
The one costume I did that I felt got me the best reaction was when I dressed up as a beauty queen. For less than twenty bucks, I scored a silver paint pen, some black fabric, and a cheap tiara. I put on a red and black dress, high heels, did up my hair and make-up. I then smeared my lipstick and mascara and disheveled my hair, the tiara looking like it’d been almost pulled out and put hastily black. With the fabric and paint pen I made a sash that said “beauty queen”.
While passing out candy, two little girls came to the door. One of them asked me what I was and I told her I was a beauty queen. As they walked away, one girl leaned to the other and said, “Beauty queens aren’t supposed to be scary”. To this day, I don’t know that I’ve gotten a better compliment on a costume.
Occasionally, I’ll go as actual characters. A couple of years ago, for the cost of a cheap wig and a bracelet, I went as Madeline Westen from Burn Notice. After creator Matt Nix retweeted a picture of my costume, my mentions flooded with compliments.
This year I’m going as Hetty Lange from NCIS: LA. Eight bucks for a wig is all I spent. I think this will be another good one.
Little money doesn’t mean little effort.