How to Find a Perfect Last-Minute Halloween Costume

todayOctober 28, 2021 406

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By Celeste Parler
Web Content Contributor

The only thing scarier than Halloween frights and festivities is realizing that Halloween is days away and you haven’t found a costume. In my opinion, costumes are essential for Halloween and speak to the history of the holiday. I find myself almost every year rushing to throw a few costumes together for several Halloween events.

Now that I have years of experience putting together last-minute costumes for me, my friends and my family, I believe I am the perfect person to help you choose your Halloween costume this year. No more cat whiskers from eyeliner, repurposing another party dress or scariest of all… buying a costume from the store.

Chances are if you are reading this article, you are in need of a Halloween costume and under short notice. First, I will help guide your direction on how to choose a costume, and then I will help you style yourself for a costume so amazing no one will know it was last-minute.

Part One: Choosing a Last-Minute Halloween Costume

Whether it’s an everyday outfit or a special occasion, I have to start planning anything I wear by considering the key conditions. The obvious factor to search beforehand is the weather. In Texas, Halloween day can be anywhere between 40 and 80 degrees which call for two different costumes altogether. Two of the last things you want are to be visibly sweating through your costume or covering it with a hoodie or sweater.

You also have to consider logistics that are in your control. How long do you have to put a costume together? Two weeks or two days? Are you working with a budget? Although there’s no need to spend anything on an awesome Halloween costume, how much are you willing to spend on an outfit you’ll most likely only wear once? What skills of yours can you apply to your costume? If you are amazing at makeup or sewing, using those skills to your advantage will only take your costume to the next level.

Now let’s get to deciding a character or concept to portray on Halloween. I would start with looking at trending topics because it is what you are the least likely to see online already. Some of the trendiest subjects right now are Squid Game, Noodle the pug and Harry Styles’ Love on Tour. Is it more likely you’ll see these costumes at Halloween parties? Maybe, but that’s always part of the risk of putting together a last-minute Halloween costume.

If sticking to trends is too risky, then consider some classic characters or celebrities everyone knows. Part of the fun of Halloween costumes is making them unique to you. Especially when it comes to last-minute costumes, it’s pretty mainstream to reimagine or even dress down a famous character’s look. We aren’t going for exact lookalikes here. For example, if you wanted to dress as a Disney princess, there’s no reason to wear a ballgown if your costume is as recognizable as wearing a dress with a casual silhouette. Or perhaps you’d like to “gender-bend” a character like Beetlejuice to make it more suitable for your style.

But the route I have chosen with my Halloween costumes this year is dressing as what I’ve nicknamed “open-ended costumes”. In my opinion, these are the most common on Halloween and the easiest to accomplish. If there is no one way to interpret a broad archetype like “ghost” or “vampire”, I’d consider it an open-ended costume. Some of the most popular include devils and angels, witches and fairies or costumes related to a decade like the 1960s. Not only are they easy and broad, but they are also some of the most recognizable.

Part Two: Assembling a Last-Minute Halloween Costume

Onto styling your perfect Halloween costume. Of course, you want to start with what you already own. This can also be a major guiding factor in what you choose to be for Halloween. But specifically, the clothing pieces you want to pick out first are some basic pieces like a solid black shirt or blue jeans. What’s great about these pieces is that they are versatile enough to be worked into dozens of costumes. In the end, you might not need these, but they are the best place to start.

A woman dressed as the character Edward Scissorhands stands on the bottom step of a brightly lit staircase at night. She wears white face paint, a white button-down shirt tucked into black dress pants, with black suspenders and black boots with a glossy finish. She is posed holding up her arms to display black gloves with attached long silver cardboard fingers meant to resemble the blades of scissors.
My Halloween costume from 2020 consisted of basic clothing pieces I already owned such as a white button-down shirt and black dress pants. By Kelly McGeehon.

Once you have decided on a costume, it’s usual to not feel like you have everything you need. But before you go shopping, take a second look at what you own to see if anything can be altered or styled in a way to fit your costume needs. For example, bandanas, scarves and fabric belts can be switched out for each other and so many other uses like a sexy wrapped top.

For a lot of last-minute Halloween costumes, shopping at the last minute is often inevitable. But it’s important to shop wisely and only for things you could see yourself using or wearing. I would suggest that the place to buy the most unique pieces and accessories for your costume be thrift stores. Thrift stores are known for their one-of-a-kind finds and cheap prices. Of course, this option isn’t available to everyone, and it’s easy to resort to online megastores like Amazon. Just make sure when shopping online you are certain to order the correct item and that you’ll receive what was advertised.

My last Halloween costume tip is to look up YouTube tutorials to bring you one step closer to your envisioned look. Not all of us can complete a DIY project and make it look seamless. That’s why experts in makeup and costume-making create helpful tutorials for the less artistically inclined people. Chances are that YouTube and Pinterest have every step-by-step process you could need.

So, stay safe this Halloween and have one less thing to worry about by having the best last-minute costume of all your friends.

Featured Image by Celeste Parler

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