Happy Halloween! I’m so excited to be able to share my favorite holiday with you all! This month, I’ve got more costumey goodness than I can get into one blog post, so I’m staging a special event. Today on Below the Fold, I’m going to hit you with some practical ways to bring the sexy to your costumes. Tomorrow on my blog, I will have actual costume suggestions.
Some of you are going, “Yay! I love costumes!” Great! I need you all to gather up over to my right for just a second. I need to have a word with everyone else.
A brief word for those of you who are “too cool” to dress up. Or “too old.” Or frankly, too insecure. That’s fine. I’m not going to try to change you or whatever. I will tell you, however, that those of us in costume are going to have more fun than you are, because we are going to participate in the holiday festivities. You’re welcome to join us, of course; I would never tell you otherwise. But you’ll be a spectator, and we’re going to feel kind of bad for you. Even that guy on the other end of the room – the one wearing the wise-ass T-shirt that says “this is my costume” or some such – he feels bad for you.
The truth is, those of us who are dressed up are daring to spend the evening pretending to be someone else. Just for tonight, we have the confidence to tell the world, “I’m a superhero. I’m a cheerleader. I’m a pilot, or a princess, or a police officer.” And confidence is sexy.
So if you want to join the confident, sexy people and dress up, we’re going shopping right now! If not, well, enjoy the sidelines.
Okay. Before we actually leave for shopping, take a second and decide what you want to be. It is *very* easy to overspend if you do not have a clear vision of what you want to be. If you’re not clear, go online to one of the costume sites, Halloween Express, Spirit Halloween and Party City are all great resources. I have an Uhura costume and a Storm costume from buycostumes.com. I prefer it because it’s got loads of outfits that will cover your body. Not that I’m timid – I’m really not – but I do not relish waking up with pneumonia the morning after my Halloween carousing. Plus the variety is nice. Not everyone is trying to dress up as the slutty version of whatever you might have in mind.
(If you are, don’t let me stop you! But if I catch your cold, I will not hide my displeasure. And remember that argument you had with Mom about having to wear a coat over your costume? Okay, then.)
Take a second and think outside the box. About half a million people are going to be Catwoman this year. If the site ranks the costumes by popularity, start at the back and work forward. You can explore all the women’s costumes in one fell swoop (at press time, BuyCostumes.com had almost 2200 women’s costumes, and Spirit isn’t far behind), or you can check out the various categories for superheroes, historical outfits, and the like.
Don’t go as you. It is possible to wear a costume and still be dressed as you. I stubbornly refuse to wear an outfit that represents any part of my reality, so that means no outfits representing any of my day jobs. If I’m a bartender, and I go somewhere dressed as a bartender, a slutty bartender, an old-timey bartender, or a zombie bartender, I am dressed as myself. The idea is to go dressed as someone or something else. You can go back to being you in November.
Got your vision? Don’t look at the price right now (keep it in mind, though – sales abound this time of year). Just get an idea for what that outfit looks like, what comes in the box, and how excited you are to wear it. I’m going to help you do all that sexy in a practical way.
First stop: Your closet.
Yep. Root around in there for some stuff you already wear. I pulled almost all of a biker outfit out of my closet – jeans, T-shirt, jacket and bandana. I found the white shirt, Mary Jane shoes, blazer, and white knee socks for my schoolgirl outfit right here at home and borrowed (stole) my brother’s school tie. A long, full skirt works for fortune tellers. Wear your regular clothes out of their regular context, and you’ve taken a big step toward costume victory.
Next stop: The thrift store.
Go thrift shopping early. Like now. If you are in a college town, the students are already doing what you’re doing. When I dressed as a schoolgirl, the only thing I needed to buy was a plaid skirt, and I got one from the neighborhood thrift for less than $5. It was a wool blend, too, so I was nice and comfy with no coat – much warmer than I’d have gotten online for ten times as much. Keep your vision in mind and look for whatever you can. Straw cowboy hats. Black biker belts. Those little hoop earrings Uhura wore before the reboot. The lightning bolt earrings Storm wears now. Thrift stores have all that stuff.
If you have shopped your closet and thrift (go to more than one thrift store, and go more than once), it’s time to make the first trip to Wal-Mart. Do NOT go to the Halloween area. Remember your vision and shop the rest of the store. Cowgirls, go to accessories for a straw hat and a bandana. Police hotties, head to the toy section; the badges and cuffs there are often cheaper than the ones at the front of the store. Need a magic wand? Grab a knitting needle for Potter style or head to toys for fairy princess style. If you absolutely cannot find what you need anywhere else in the store (and make an effort, it’s a big place), try the Halloween section, but keep your receipt.
Last stop: that Halloween place.
There are a few costume chains that pop up this time of year – some are the brick and mortar offshoots of those sites we looked at earlier. They are a great resource for costume accessories, makeup, even whole costumes if the above three steps didn’t work out for you. They are also staffed by people who love costumes as much as I do. Go during the off hours -- take a lunch hour there on a weekday – and you’ll have the place to yourself. Tell the folks behind the counter what your vision is. Last year, I uttered one word – “steampunk” – and the clerk’s eyes lit up. Before I knew it, I had a pair of goggles (to wear on my head, of course), a faux pocket watch for my vest, and a bandolier. They’ve got the badges, the jewelry, and wigs like you wouldn’t believe. If you find what you need here, check the price against that Wal-Mart receipt. I bet you’re going back to Wal-Mart to return something.
And one last thing:
Enjoy the ride, neighbors! One year, at a dance party, I saw Batman making out with Catwoman under the stairs, Ric Flair swishing his hair and his boa, Michael Myers dancing to his song (we let him have the dance floor to himself), and a stormtrooper and a Tusken Raider drinking patiently through straws. That was probably seven or eight years ago, and I can still see it in my mind.
Here’s to anonymity, fantasy and wonderful memories! Hit me up with your Halloween memories and plans in the comments, and I will see you tomorrow on my blog with costume ideas!**Halloween is the intersection of Everyday and Sexy -- no wonder it's Alexa Day's favorite holiday! Now that you've got a Below the Fold shopping plan, be sure to check out alexaday.net on Thursday for 23 hot costume ideas. You'll be sure to find something that suits you!