Halloween when I was little was like my favorite Disney movies all in one place. There were Little Mermaids and Belles as far as the eye could see, with the boys dressed as ninjas or Power Rangers. The idea is typically the same in college, as everyone buys the same costumes at the store and wears them with different shoes and with different hairstyles. Still though, the repetition kind of takes the fun out of Halloween for me, which is why I’ve been making my own costumes for the past few years. The response that I’ve received from making my own costumes has been awesome, and I’ve always enjoyed being one of the only girls at the party not in the same Strawberry Shortcake costume.
If you’re like me and noticed that Halloween is slowly (but quickly) approaching, you’ve started looking for what you want to be for Halloween. As I’m fully aware that summer hasn’t even technically ended, I figured it would be more beneficial to get your gears grinding now about Halloween so you have adequate timing to perfect your costume. If you’re a college student, I’m sure you’ve noticed that most of those carbon copy costumes from the store are anywhere from $40-50 bucks a pop. So not worth it for a costume you’re going to wear one, maybe two nights. Take it from me; making your own costume is both fun and rewarding. For me, it’s relaxing making my own costumes and tailoring them to exactly how I like them to be. The best part is when I put it on and realize that it wasn’t that hard to do. If you’re interested in making your own costume this year, here’s a few personal tips from me to save you some money and help with your creativity.
1) Be simple and accessorize- I am no Martha Stewart. I can barely sew and my stitches always look like I had a marathon sneeze attack in the middle of the process. Trying to follow some expert sewing pattern found at the craft store with no prior sewing knowledge will just leave you with a clump of fabric with dangling sequins. For the bases of my costumes, I either use pieces of clothing I already have or buy them on E-bay. You can find certain parts of your costume on E-bay and then cover them in fabric from your local craft store. Two years ago, I made a full Poison Ivy costume for under $30 bucks. All that you need to do is buy a black top and matching skirt or pair of pants off of e-bay (or similar store) and messily sew different fake ivy leaves found at your local craft store all over both pieces. I chose to pick out some fake ivy leaves with green and gold glitter already on them just to add that extra sparkle to my costume. I found some old black elbow gloves from an old costume and cut off all of the fingers except for the middle finger on each glove and trimmed that down until it was just a “glove ring”. I sewed the same leaves on the gloves, spray painted some boots green and boom, costume complete. This was a fun costume to make, and to wear. The best part was everyone was asking me where I bought it and I felt pretty crafty explaining how I made it all night.
2) Think clever- I think some of the best costumes I’ve ever seen were the most simple to make but the funniest to see. Last year I ran into “Flo” from the Progressive commercials and just had a field day with her costume. The best part was that it was so simple for her to make, and the four key elements to her costume were red lips, winged eyeliner, styled hair and the white apron. She said she just used items that she had at home and didn’t have to spend any money at all. Out of all the costumes I saw that night, that one definitely took the cake, or err, candy. Another student I saw just found a pink tutu, black leggings and a black shirt. She made a little “tooth” crown out of construction paper and wore it on top of curled hair. She wore her normal sneakers and still looked adorable. She rolled a different piece of construction paper into a pipe and taped a gold star on top. Cute, clever, and under $10 bucks. (She was a tooth fairy, in case you didn’t catch on).
3) Find a few friends and collaborate- I can’t tell you how many renditions of the “Fanta Girls” or “Spice Girls” I’ve seen college girls come up with. These ideas, along with the Ninja Turtles, make for timeless costume ideas that you can customize any way you’d like. Picking a group to dress like allows you all to buy/wear the same key pieces in different colors. This takes the pressure off of wondering what you’re going to be by yourself and going shopping for it on your own. You and your friends will have an awesome time finding pieces to make your Hangover Cast costumes perfect, and everyone at the party will be sure to love it.
4) Trade- Remember that costume your friend Jill wore last year that you loved but didn’t have enough money to buy at the time? Well she’s not going to need it again, she’s already worn it and now it’s just sitting collecting dust. Sharing costumes with your friends is a low budget way to get a “new to you” costume to wear without spending any money. The benefit to this is that Jill has surely already accessorized the outfit and can let you borrow the whole ensemble (as long as you don’t lose anything). Saving money and reusing old costumes is a great way to save money and still look great.
5) If you really have NO money- Don’t worry! Pick your favorite friend or roomie and “swap places”. You can wear each other’s clothes and do your makeup and hair the way each other would on a normal basis. Start acting out their mannerisms and even make yourself a stick on nametag with their name on it (you can use a piece of tape and write on it in sharpie). You’ll have a blast acting like one another all night and your friends will get a kick out of it.
At the tone the date will be, August 22, 2012. Go get started on your costume! With three months in advance, you have no excuse!