Tap into your artsy side: DIY Halloween

With Halloween just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to be thinking about your costume for this year. Skip the trip to Spencer’s and dodge the big box Halloween stores, because this year I dare you to DO IT YOURSELF. Why spend $40 on a generic outfit made of shoddy material, when you have the ability to utilize your creativity and create something unique? With a few tips to point you in the right direction, I promise you that DIY can be a truly rewarding experience.

The first step in the process is deciding your concept. Do you want to be a popular TV character? A pop culture figure? Or perhaps a classic monster like a vampire, werewolf, or zombie? Whatever inspires you, I say go for it. And please, don’t let the gender of a particular character dissuade you. Since you may not be interested in cross-dressing, you can easily gender-bend a character to suit your preferences. Want to be the female version of James Bond? Put on a pencil skirt and rock it. The possibilities are endless, so feel free to let your creativity flow.

Okay, you’ve figured out a fabulous concept and are wondering how to take the next step. There are several approaches to putting together your look that are incredibly effective. What’s best for you is based upon time, budget and availability. Again, I promise that creating your costume is something everyone has the potential of accomplishing.

The first and easiest approach is what is referred as the “closet costume.” As the name suggests, this involves  walking over to your closet and figuring out if you can create a decent look out of items you already possess. Many people already have a few odds and ends from past Halloweens or a cool key item such as a jacket that a costume can be built around. A clever twist on a well-known character, such as Hipster Princess Ariel is a great way to utilize the closet costume concept.

If you can’t find something in your wardrobe that works, I highly recommend going to secondhand shops. This is personally the first place I look for all of my costume needs. Stores such as Goodwill are a great place to look for general, cheap clothing items. If you are looking for something more stylized and interesting, however, The Athens Underground on Court Street is a great hidden gem that has an impressive array of vintage pieces. Remember, altering clothing to fit your needs is always an option. A shirt can become a vest, a dress can become a blouse, pants into shorts and much, much more.

If you are the super crafty type, looking to win a costume contest or just want to look incredible, then I suggest creating your costume from scratch. Jo-Ann Fabrics is the go-to place for materials and patterns. For around $10-$20 you can buy a pattern for whatever you need. There are always a plethora of how-to guides for making anything from capes, dresses, suits and corsets. The staff is usually more than happy to guide you on how much and what type of fabric you may need, the type of thread suitable for your piece and more.

Costume supplies for the ultimate DIY guru.

Costume supplies for the ultimate DIY guru.

Now that you’ve completed the main bulk of your outfit, there’s only a few finishing touches left to sort out. A great statement piece such as a interesting wig, good makeup or colored contact lenses have the ability to take your costume from ordinary to extraordinary.

Arda Wigs, a Chicago based company, is the best choice for costume wigs available on the market today. Featuring dozens of styles and cuts in a full spectrum of colors; this is the best place to go to get the most bang for your buck. Also, if you have an unusually large head like me and struggle to find wigs that fit, don’t worry! Arda Wigs fit comfortably on people of all shapes and sizes and are guaranteed to impress.

For contact lenses, look no further than Pinky Paradise. Pinky Paradise is a very reliable online store with high quality colored contacts for both people with a prescription and without. They have a variety of colors and styles ranging from cute to creepy, so whatever you’re going for, they are likely to have it.

For makeup, you can either use professional brands or simply stick to the generic products they sell at the pharmacy. In order to be the most cost effective, I suggest using a combination of these two options. Depending on how extravagant you want to go, Ben Nye is an incredible makeup effects brand that are commonly used by studio professionals. They offer a variety of items from paints, cremes, powders, sprays and more. Experimentation with such products is not only fun, but a great way to hone your makeup application skills.

The one thing I hope you take away from all this advice is this: Halloween is a super exciting time of year that involves endless oodles of creativity. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries and take some risks. By doing it yourself, you’ll not only impress your friends, but have a great time exploring your creativity and craftsmanship! 


Author Caitlin Harrison in full costume mode.


Ben Nye Face Pain in White

Ben Nye Blood Paste

Maybelline Eye Master Studio Drama Creme Studio Eyeliner in Master Midnight

Dracula House Size Large Dracula Fangs

Arda Wigs Inigo in Charcoal Blue

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