Thursday 29 Sep 2016

Halloween Costumes
Eileen Rush

Halloween brings to mind falling leaves, jack-o-lanterns, delicious candies and great parties, but a big part of Halloween celebrations is often a second thought. That is, costumes. Halloween is an excuse to dress up and is of run-of-the-mill without costumes.

Yet, with everyone in masks or costumes, the night transforms into something more magical or filled with more debaucheries. Whether you choose a costume that’s traditional, exotic or even erotic, deciding on a costume for Halloween night can be one of the –best pun – parts of your celebration.

When choosing a costume, here are some practical strategies to think about before you get started. First, always be yourself. Choose a costume that suits your personality. If your friends have told you that you resemble Katie Perry or Bob Ross, don’t be afraid to take on that persona for a night.

Second, go for a laugh. If you can impersonate Austin Powers, the Dude or Old Gregg, then go for it. Impersonating that character for a night might be a hoot.

Third, be original. Although there’s an abundance of naughty nurses, referees and creepy ax murderers, there aren’t that many Cindy Loo Hoos. An original costume might need a little more thought and work, but in the end will pay off.

Finally, when in doubt, go for a classic. Are you unable to decide on a costume? Do you need to throw together a costume last minute? If so, go for something tried-and-true. There are certain costume themes that come together in a matter of minutes or with one trip to a dollar store.

Traditional, recognizable and guaranteed to look good, a classic costume theme can come together in a matter of minutes. There are many examples of a Halloween classic costumers. The witch, with a black hat, black dress and a broomstick is always good to go.

The cat, the mouse or a dog are always winners, too. If you can dress in one colour, pin a tail to your pants or add a set of ears and you have a costume. You can pump up the Halloween revelry by impersonating the animal. Got a little more time, and want to branch out? Make yourself a peacock costume or be an armadillo.

The jock only requires a sports jersey and black paint under your eyes to get you read to hit the field. Go retro in a workout costume, as, say, Jane Fonda about 1983. A flapper, from the “Roaring 1920s,” or a flower girl from the 1970s are easy costumes to pull together and sure to be a hit. Be groovy.

Take flight; give your costume wings. You can buy a set of wings at any Halloween store. With a cute dress, for example, you can be an angel, a fairy or some kind of evil fallen-angel fairy hybrid.

Be a crazy celebrity. From Dolly Parton to Charlie Sheen, the key to pulling off a crazy celebrity costume is to become the celebrity, take on a few of his or her quirky mannerisms, way of talking or catch phrases, such as “Tiger blood” or “Winner.” A celebrity is as much character as wardrobe.

Some Halloween parties just wouldn’t be the same without these traditional, but still spunky, costumes. Someone always dresses as a pirate. You can spend the night saying, “Yarr, matey!” With a set of boots, a hook hand and a skin-tight scarlet corset, you too can sail the open seas from the comfort of your own hometown. Exactly, where did the rum go?

To become one of the currently popular zombies, all you need are your regular clothes and a face make-up kit for you to hit the Halloween parties scouring for brains, braaaaains! A vampire, from “Twilight” to Anne Rice, is easy to design. What you is a set of fake teeth, classy clothing and a Romanian accent. Pop culture character costumes, from the Mario Brothers to the Ninja Turtles, you can find pre-packaged at Halloween stores; if you’re artistically inclined, make your own.

To spice up your Halloween night, wear a costume no others will wear.  Be newsworthy, reference a news event or a politician. For example, party goers, costumed as Chilean Miners, attended Halloween parties across the USA, in 2010. Dress up as a caricature of your favourite politician. Don’t be afraid to cross the line.

Be indie. For these costumes, the more obscure your reference, the better. You’ll know that you’ve succeeded when you make it through the entire night without anyone recognizing your costume. On second thought, this may not be your goal.

Be literary. From Anne of Green Gables to Harry Potter, there are hundreds of characters at your fingertips. Pick a character from your favorite book and design a costume around it. Not into characters, try a notorious author like William Shakespeare or Hunter S. Thompson, using an obviously plastic gun.

Be boozey. If you’re really looking for a good time, impersonate Jack Daniels or Captain Morgan. Carry a bottle of your favourite beverage for added emphasis. Want originality, dress as Four Roses Bourbon. Be literate and boozey, dress as Jack Kerouac.

Halloween isn’t only a great time to dress up, but it’s also a socially accepted chance to show some skin. If you feel like making an exotic or erotic impression on Halloween, you have many choices. Here are a few ideas.

Wear anything but a costume. You can impersonate Adam and Eve with a few strategically placed leaves. You can be a “troll doll,” with some hair gel and a nude leotard. You can turn yourself into a delicious confectionary with a sprinkle-covered bra.

A bit of naughtiness is okay, but err on the side of caution. Use tape to cover your naughty bits and give fair warning. This costume could double as a Lady Gaga or Madonna impersonation. Duct tape is also a great idea; if anyone’s sink springs a leak you can be there to help.

Give the gift of you. Cover yourself in bows, ribbons, wrapping paper. Perhaps, you could wear a large bag around your torso and stuff the top of it with tissue paper.

Halloween is a night for fun. Costumes add much to the fun. Think of all the camera phones clicking as you enter the party.

Eileen Rush is an LA-based writer and journalist.

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