5 Tips for Picking a Halloween Costume (From a Costuming Hobbyist)

It’s near October and that means Halloween is right is coming! That also means it’s time to start buying or even making costumes for a Halloween party or for a child.

Even though I do not consider myself an expert in costumes, I’ve sewn for a hobby over 20 years and do make costumes to occasionally wear to my local renaissance festival and, sometimes, to pop culture conventions.

Since I’m used to sewing and budgeting for buying fabric and supplies for new sewing projects, I wanted to share five tips to picking a Halloween costume that I don’t see discussed very often. Even though I learned these tips from sewing costumes and sewing in general, they can be used for simply buying a new costume for a Halloween party when you are on a budget or want to be frugal with your money.

Decide on a price range.

Before deciding on what character you will be, it is very important to decided on a price range you are willing to purchase a costume for. Price of a costume can dictate how the costume will fit, the quality of the fabrics used to make it, and how well it is made. The less the costume costs, the more likely the costume is not going to be well made. But, then again, sometimes if you own a costume that you paid a lot of money for, you will feel obligated to keep and wear longer than you want to. Deciding on a price range requires research into the various costumes that are the character, creature, ect. you want to be.

Decide what you feel most comfortable wearing.

Picking a costume you feel most comfortable wearing is not very easy because you normally cannot take the costume into a dressing room and try it on, especially if you order a costume online. Although it’s hard to find a costume that feels comfortable when you wear it, there are a few things that you can take into account when picking the costume based off the accessories. Some of the questions I ask myself about a costume I want to make are:

  • Does the costume have wings? Are they heavy?
  • Will you be walking and standing a lot? Can you wear the costume with comfortable shoes or will you need to wear uncomfortable ones to make the costume look good?
  • Are there any accessories you know will bother you if you need to wear them for long periods of time?

And always keep in mind the amount of time you’ll need to spend in the costume! This will affect the way you’ll feel at the end of the day/night and possibly how sore you’ll feel the next day. For an example, if you are not used to wearing heels or wear of shoes you did not break in before hand for three hours straight, you’ll probably be sore and/or have blisters the next day.

Decide what character you want to be…. while taking into account how popular/well known they are.

It’s a great feeling when everyone knows the character you’re dressed as. It’s not so much fun when you believe everyone knows your character and someone asks you “I love your costume! Who are you dressed as?” It’s also not fun to dress up as a character that is so popular you cannot find a costume because it’s sold out. So, when you pick the character you want to be for Halloween, remember that the costumes for popular characters will sell out fastest, especially in the larger sizes, and, if you’re dressing up as someone not well known, do not expect everyone to know your character’s name.

Know the weather conditions in your area.

I live in Arizona so it’s mild in late October (80 degrees Fahrenheit), but it has been almost 100 degrees on Halloween. On the east cost of the United States, it could get cold. That’s why it’s so important to remember what kind of weather conditions whenever it’s Halloween time. If you’re going to be outside for long periods of time where the weather gets so cold you need a coat, try to plan for a costume that will have an element that will keep you warm. If you’re in a warm climate, don’t wear heavy layers.

Plan Ahead

Where you want to buy your costume depends on your price range, how far you need to travel to buy the costume, how popular the character is, how fancy and complicated you want the costume will be. This is why if you are very invested in the costume you are going to wear, you will need to start planning ahead (Late September, Early October at the latest) to figure out what costume will fit into your budget. It’s ok if you didn’t pick out a character, by just searching online and in stores you’ll be able to see the pricing of certain costumes for the year and, if you walk into stores, you can see the quality of them as well. By doing doing research and planning ahead, you can decide where you can purchase your costume, know how much money you will need to spend, and, if you purchase online, you have time to receive the costume online.

I hope these tips help anyone looking for help about their costume!

Thank you for reading!

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