Americans, on average, spend 87 dollars per person on costumes for Halloween alone. And with so many other fun activities that require costumes - role playing, conventions, stage productions, Disney-bounding, school events - who can really afford to spend that much on a seasonal costume? If you can sew, you can massively cut down on the price of those costumes. But, sewing from scratch takes patience, technique, and a lot of trial and error before you are able to throw an ensemble together in a few days. That’s a lot of effort if you’re making these outfits as a hobby. Here are some ways to whip up a simple but stunning costume without cutting corners on style.
“Everything old is new again,” right? Some of us don’t have time to wait for fashions to cycle back into trend. Maybe you’re cleaning out your parents’ garage as a favor. Maybe you’re a performer with lots of old costumes lying around. Or maybe you just can’t resist a sale. But we all have or stumble upon pieces of clothing that aren’t receiving the love they should. Enter, upcycling. Upcycling is defined as "reusing in such a way as to create a product of higher quality." This essentially means upgrading and updating pieces of clothing that aren’t useful to create something better. That old button down you found may be a perfect fit for a Clark Kent costume. An old bowtie and cumberbund? Poof, you’re a magician. The prom dress you wore once and promptly forgot about? Add a tiara and you’re a princess. You’re welcome, Your Highness.
Parody Pop Culture
If you’re like the majority of millenials, pop culture references are like a second language to you--and it’s always fun and exciting when someone understands those references. An added layer of fun? Dressing like your favorite characters in day-to-day life. Whether it’s a cartoon character, your favorite superhero, or a celebrity, it can be easy and affordable to spend everyday in costume. Many of your favorites wear clothes clothes you can DIY; many of them with clothes you already own - colored t-shirts, jeans, high top sneakers, and hats. Other more “costume” pieces, like fishnets, gloves, and tutus, can be easily obtained at discount Halloween stores, dance supply stores, or online at low prices. You can also find many usable items at your local thrift store.
Many of the pieces you’ll find can be used for other costumes as well. A good pair of overalls will give you Chuckie, Minion, and scarecrow options. A long black dress can be used for all sorts of things--Breakfast at Tiffany’s, witches, and beauty queens. Button down shirts have tons of uses: wear it over a Superman shirt with a pair of glasses and you’re Clark Kent. Use that tie and cumerbund with it to be a magician. Wear it with a pocket protector and a pair of Converse, and you’re a member of Chuck’s Geek Squad. A long trench coat will also prove its worth: you could be Gru, The Doctor, a spy, anyone from the Matrix, Inspector Gadget, or the Undertaker
The best part about buying or making these costume pieces? Many of them can be reworn for everyday use as well. Your possibilities are literally endless! So scour your closet with all your favorite characters in mind: you never know when inspiration will strike.