No, it’s really not too early to think about Halloween costumes. You have a long hot summer ahead of you to prepare. I see a lot of people buying store-bought costumes and I’m totally cool with that. But, why not tell a story with the costume that goes beyond just being a pirate or a barmaid?
For instance, this year I hope to have a Halloween party with a “Dancing in the Graveyard” theme (and hopefully hubby’s band playing). I’m a ghost hunter and folks who want to attend would like to learn more about what I do, so I figured I’d wear the gear and let them play with it. It seems like an easy costume; some cargo shorts, a tank top, some boots, and my equipment belt. It's not telling a story, though. So, how do I take it up a notch? I’m using a Tomb Raider/Resident Evil feel to it. Some leather wrist straps with small flashlights attached, leather garters with more equipment in the holsters, and boom—you have a sort of sexed up hardcore version of a ghost hunter.
Here’s three very easy and extremely affordable ways to take an old costume and make it something more than just the typical. This works with every costume, so choose the one that sounds good and go with it:
VAMPIRE BITES: One simple way to take any costume to a new level is a vampire bite.
My costume (above) is a French Maid. Easy to buy and women like to look nice for parties (the hope) or just be annoyed by men all evening (the reality). My twist? I put a realistic vampire bite on my neck and made my face more pale than usual.(In looking back, I should have probably played up the vampire maid thing a bit more with whiter face makeup and blue lips). How to: A little bit of fake flesh can be bought online at places like spirithalloween.com. I formed the flesh into two lumps and placed them on my neck, spreading the edges out to blend in with my skin. I took a pencil and stuck it into the lumps to make bite marks. Inside the bite marks I used some liquid black eyeliner to make it dark (you could also dab it with a tiny paint brush and some craft store acrylic paint that’s usually 89-99 cents a bottle). To apply some bruising around it, I used eyeshadow powder. The outer area outside of the mounds I dabbed with purple eyeshadow using my finger and along the edges of the dabbed some yellow. Atop of the mounds, I dabbed some green eyeshadow. A few drips of fake blood oozing out of the holes, and you’re set! This is an ideal costume for females who want to go sexy to a party, but also want to be a bit scary without being ugly.
ZOMBIE: Any costume can be turned into a zombie. Remember “Night of the Living Dead?” Folks of all professions became zombies. It turns something that’s cute and benign like say a shepherdess or doctor in scrubs and makes them something sinister. You have to be willing to ruin the costume a bit by cutting the edges of the fabric, pulling on it and tattering it. Try rubbing some dirt on it too so you get a “out of the grave” look. Mess your hair up and spray it in place to remain crazy looking all evening. The makeup is key to this. If you’re lucky enough to have a high-maintenance girl nearby, she can bring her makeup to the table to really get you going. If not, stores like spirithalloween.com do have the makeup you’ll need. Whites and blues will be the main ingredients for the zombie face. Mostly white, a bit of blue worked in under the eyes and on the lips. I’d go a bit further myself and use the fake flesh on your skin of your cheek. Spread it on and make it a bit thick. Now, you can carve a long jagged cut into the flesh’s surface or peel it back. Either way, you get a creepy flesh look. Dab the makeup on top of it. Seal it all with face powder. You can add blood dripping from your mouth or your wound. Making this a zombie will depend on your ability to act a bit spineless, walk a bit awkward and stiff, and a bit of stumbling. If you want to freak out the folks a bit more when you’re doing your imitation of Dudley Moore in “Arthur,” you can follow them around and tilt your head and study them silently. Now and then emit a wounded growl. This one is a great choice for men who usually don’t mind so much looking a little sloppy.
PRISONER: Lastly, if you’re going with someone else to a party and your costumes don’t seem to go, such as he’s a knight and you’re a dark angel, why not have him clamp a fancy decorated leash on you and guide you around the party all evening? The story behind it would be interesting. How did this knight gather up this dark angel and what does he use her for?
There is no reason not to take a costume and bring a story to it. It’s even more fun in numbers. I always thought that a shipload of folks going dressed as ghostly pirates would be really eerie, with pale faces and blue lips, wandering the party as a wild pack of undead merrymakers.
Let your imagination soar. You have a good five months to sit on it and stew. Look through your old costumes. You just might be able to come up with something new and intriguing.