Okay, so Halloween is pretty much just around the corner, and you may have your awesome, attention-grabbing costume all planned out already. But perhaps you just got invited to a last-minute party, had a last minute ping of inspiration…or are just plain last-minute.
The fact is, before you even start to put some sort of a costume together, you need to solve the old issue of what you’re actually going to be. That can be no mean feat in itself, as your head swims with a flood of pop culture references, personal comfort preferences and tried-and-tested traditional Halloween motifs.
But there are a few influencing factors that go a long way towards determining your final outcome. Simply sit back and let fate take the reins as you read our guide to finding your ideal costume approach…and perhaps pick up some ideas along the way.
1. Who’s Going?
If you’re headed to a party with a group of friends, it’s definitely a good call to do a joint costume. This works best with around 3-5 people, though some costumes could indeed call for more. Not only does a joint costume take off the pressure of coming up with an impressive idea, it also means you can make a fun evening of preparing your costumes together and then getting ready beforehand.
Some ideas are: Pokemon characters (Ash, Misty, Team Rocket); Tetris blocks (the perfect DIY option using cardboard); Pacman creatures (just use coloured sheets), or zombie versions of your favourite Disney fairytale cast or 90s pop band.
Couples also have their own fair run of the costume domain. Not only is there a whole bunch of famous onscreen couples to impersonate (Fred and Wilma; Danny & Sandy), you can also do makeshift interpretations of silly or mundane objects that go together; e.g. salt and pepper, or bacon and eggs (just use felt!)
Finally, if you’re going it solo, don’t sweat it. Just choose a character or creature that needs no introduction. Everybody loves an Edward Scissorhands, a Pacman (see above), or even a scary TV personality like Simon Cowell or Gordan Ramsey.
2. How Much Time Have You Got?
Time is admittedly an advantage in any situation. A couple of weeks is easily enough time to purchase, scrounge, construct or otherwise pull together a half-decent costume. It enables you to perhaps attempt the more adventurous of those fantastical figments you always wanted to be, and shop around for the best materials (or at least wait for your pre-ordered costume to arrive in the mail).
On the other hand though, time spent doesn’t always equal show-stopping greatness. Sometimes the best costume ideas are the simplest, so if time isn’t on your side, use this opportunity to think outside of the box. Legendary favourites include a Sim (learn how to DIY your own plumbob headband); a scrabble tile (just some wood or cardboard required, along with some paint and a bit of string) or the classic self-portrait (use a large frame big enough to show your head and shoulders, dress in dark colours, tie back your hair, and wear the artist’s ‘signature’ as a nametag).
3. Got Much Cash?
Money is something that is very often rearing its ugly spanner-shaped head just when you have something planned. The chances are you’re not going to want to pay over the odds for an outfit you’ll only be wearing for one night, especially if you’re a skint student.
Luckily, there are a lot of fancy dress websites that sell ready-made costumes from major suppliers but at cheaper prices (a boon for the more time-strapped among us). Try the Flash Fancy Dress Instant Kits section to pick up a couple of props for next to nothing and make a simple yet effective Halloween outfit.
When it comes to thriftiness, pun costumes can also be a winner. Write ‘book’ on your face and go as Facebook. Tape numerous sweet wrappers and packets to yourself and be a candy wrapper. Wear a raincoat with an apple drawn or stitched to the back and be an Apple Mac. Yep, you get the idea…
The most important thing to remember is that almost anything goes. You can make up your own rules; whether that’s deciding what legitimately counts as an authentic costume…or ruining somebody’s memory of their favourite childhood character (a common occurrence). Just don’t be afraid to put your own stamp on it and give your costume that makeshift charm that people love. Remember: sometimes it’s so bad…it’s good. Isn’t that what Halloween is about?