I love autumn. I love the colour palette, I love the crispness in the air, and I love the opportunities it gives for layering (I mean, warm summer weather is lovely – but for me, the more clothes I need to wear, the more fun I can have).
PLUS it’s when we get to celebrate Halloween, which is absolutely the best holiday. I know some bemoan adults celebrating what they see as a kids-only holiday, but in truth, I have little patience for those people. As a little kid, you can dress however you want, whenever you want. Want to go to crèche as Spiderman? That’s cool. Want to spend an entire afternoon playing dress up and pretend? Excellent! Everyone will praise your imagination. But as you get older, the chances to let your fancy run completely wild grow smaller and smaller. Which is not to say they disappear completely – cosplaying is extremely popular, and obviously there are ways of life that allow for more flexibility with one’s wardrobe. But for someone who works 9-6 is a fairly casual environment, Halloween is my holy season.
All that being said – sometimes there just isn’t enough time (or money!) to source and buy and make the perfect costume. Or sometimes you get a last minute party invite and haven’t even considered a costume. I am here to tell you that that’s not an issue. I am POSITIVE that within your closet lies costumes options you never even considered, and I have some tricks to help you uncover your hidden Halloween Costume.
- What do you like? Halloween doesn’t have to mean horror. I’m no fan of gore – I just like looking different. Think about your own interests. Are you a Katy Perry or Lady Gaga fan? Do you love The Great Gatsby and 1920s looks? Are you a big fan of Wes Anderson films? Or Back to the Future? Or American Psycho? Books, movies and music can really help you narrow down a costume – and in some cases might have informed your wardrobe already. I love art deco styles, and have a couple of dresses I just like to wear out and about; but a little extra makeup, more jewels and some long gloves and I’ve gone from 20s “inspired” to full on 1920s costume. Love Bruce Springsteen? Jeans and a white t-shirt with a bandana in your pocket.
- Who – or what – do you look like? Are people constantly saying you look like Florence Welch? Pop on a flowy dress and feather earrings. Do you think you have certain owl-like features? Be an owl!
- “Bound” it! Disney Bound is a brilliant website that takes “normal” clothes and pairs them together in ways that capture the essence of various characters (Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, etc.) And she’s not the only one doing it. A search on Polyvore can provide similar sets and ideas. Think about the essential elements of a character and see where your mind takes you. A pair of green pants and a purple tank top is enough to conjure up Ariel from The Little Mermaid; a fuzzy sweater and mini skirt can put you on the road to being Cher from Clueless. I tend to think of this as theme-dressing, and it’s a great way to “secretly” be in costume.
- Your regular makeup is capable of wonders. A little pink eye shadow streaked up the cheek can give you the basis of a glam rocker a la David Bowie as Aladdin Sane. A bit of red nail polish dribbled from the corner of your mouth gives you away as a vampire. Layer purple, green and your most yellow gold eye showdown to create a bruise. Mascara can create a great beard (Bearded lady! Babe-raham Lincoln!) and layering on extra powder can help you to appear un-dead, if you so wish.
- What are you wearing already? Black dress and pearls? Cool, tell people you’re Coco Chanel. Long skirt and sweater? You’re Elaine Benes from Seinfeld. Or any of the women in Twin Peaks.
- USE THE INTERNET. This is the most important piece of advice I can give. We are not special snowflakes, and someone has probably attempted whatever costume you’re thinking of. Or if you’re stuck for ideas just start Googling characters/celebrities/historical people you like. It doesn’t even have to be people! When trying to think of a costume for my boyfriend for a Shining themed party, we decided he would go as the maze. This will mean picking up some green garland (thank goodness the shops stock early for Christmas!) and pinning it in a maze shape on his regular clothes. Easy, cheap, fun.
I’m pretty lucky this year as I have three Halloween party plans all allowing for different costumes, but I always have a backlog of costumes ideas that I can’t use so if you’re stuck, feel free to say something in the comments or get at me on Twitter (@chelsea_morgan).