Halloween may be only a day away but that’s no excuse for a sub-par costume (or worse, a rush-ordered Sexy Carrot).
As a pro cosplayer, I’ve learned a few things over the years that make Halloween costumes better, more comfortable and more forgiving, even after the maximum number of orange-and-black vodka shots. Here are a few ways to ensure you have a killer costume.
1. Get a top notch wig. Obviously, you don’t need a lace-front Beyonce-level number, but investing in a good wig can change the whole look of your outfit. And it’s not expensive to upgrade over the Spirit Halloween special. Search for an “anime” wig or “cosplay” wig on Amazon and you’ll find great options. If you plan a day or so ahead, you can order from Match Wigs or CosplayStuffStore. Express shipping is $5.
2. Fix your face. Cosplayers live and die by great makeup, and there’s nothing more essential than MAC’s Prep + Prime spray. Zap your skin before you put makeup on and it’ll keep your skin calm, even if you’re slathering your cheeks with greasepaint. Zap your makeup after it’s done and it’ll stay for hours.
3. Can the cheap corset. Even experienced cosplayers resist corsetting for more than a few hours at a time, but if you must insist on belting in your bust, order a size up so that you can still eat and breathe, and swap the lingerie-style corsets that you get at Halloween stores for more substantial pieces. The cost is essentially the same, but better support (and more structure) will help you stay more comfortable longer.
4. Stock up on toilet paper, spray paint and hot glue. You can get really gross without high-end latex makeup effects. You can DIY a truly disgusting zombie-like moulage effect using stuff you have in your linen closet. For facial scars, I squeeze out some hot glue, construct the wounds I want while it dries, paint with nail polish and adhere with eyelash glue (you can buy it in the makeup section of your local drugstore).
Bonus tip: You can find a tutorial for pretty much anything you can imagine online.
5. Stay light. No matter what the accessory, stick with lightweight materials like foam, light plastics and balsa wood. They may not last as long, but they’ll be easier to carry, they’re less likely to be confiscated, and if you’re in a crowd of people, your friends are less likely to be stabbed.
6. Pack some extras. I am a big fan of the tiny tactical messenger bag, so that you (or your date) can carry a collection of emergency items (a little extra cash will even get you a badass holster bag). Pack it with a small sewing kit, safety pins, double-sided tape, a Tide pen, deodorant spray (wearing latex can get stinky), and emergency flats.
7. Pick the right panties. I can’t stress the importance of proper undergarments for your costume. Spanx are a godsend. It not only keeps you smooth, it prevents pervy partygoers from seeing a tiny bit too much. And figure out how to use the bathroom ahead of time.
8. Visit the thrift store. There’s bound to be a Goodwill in your town, and during Halloween, they have entire sections devoted to Halloween, often with great used props and costumes, often stocked with vintage clothes, and hard-to-find treasures. If you’re missing a belt, bag, or ceramic kitten necessary to make your costume work, you’ll find it here.
9. Don’t get bogged down in the details. The top priority of any kind of costuming is fun, not fantastic. The more details you have, the bulkier things get. No one will know that that scarf is technically the wrong print except you.
10. Have fun!