6 Costume Tips from a professional shapeshifter
I have been playing dress up pretty much my whole life.
I have been being paid to play dress up for about 10 years now.
(I’m a performer, stilter, & face painter)
My inner child is thrilled about it.
Dressing up in costumes is fun, creative, and occasionally truly glamorous, tranformational or therapeutic.
I go out in public in costumes on a regular basis. I love Halloween because everyone else shifts shapes and comes to the party as something new (& hopefully) interesting. So maybe you are not a dress up type but you just want some ideas for Halloween costumes so you don’t feel left out. Or perhaps you are a clothes horse and want to up your game in terms of costuming yourself.
1.) Choose a character direction that is currently genuinely inspiring to you.
It could be compellingly attractive or compellingly disturbing, but it should be compelling. If it is tired, or more true to the old you, it won’t make you come alive when you wear it. If it doesn’t have juice for you, you won’t really rock it
2.) If you don’t have a great idea, use your friends.
If you are drawing a blank then make a brainstorm game out of it with some friends and bounce off each others ideas until you get one that makes you really excited. Or you could ask everyone you know what their all time best Halloween costumes were, and then just steal your favorite idea. (provided it meets tip 1 criteria)
2.) Give it time. Don’t wait till just before the party/gig/event to pull it together.
If you know you are going out for Halloween or are invited to a masquerade ball or need to pull a _____ themed costume out of the hat for an event soon to come, give yourself as much time as possible to daydream ideas, shop at stores, yard sales & thrift stores, and pull it together. This way you won’t feel stressed and be tempted to sucker out. This way the magic and synchronicity have time to help you get it together. (costume fairy’s do exist!)
3.) Strive for Originality. Don’t go for a made in China ‘costume in a bag’.
Oh it can be tempting to go online or sneak into some halloween superstore and just grab yourself one of those one size fits all costumes in a bag. If you do really want to be a sexy nurse or a vampire or a pirate or some other trendy character- find a way to do it so that you don’t look like the other 20 people at the party who bought the same cheap-o costume. Browse google images for inspiration. Repurpose fabrics & clothes in new ways. Bribe a friend who can sew to actually make you something. It is worth the effort to not look like you came off the assembly line.
4.) It is all about the Face Paint and the Attitude.
If your face paint looks great and you are totally in character, it can make up for a shabby costume. It goes a long way to actually try to be the character your costume is indicating. Get into it. Have a different accent and do things you wouldn’t normally do. That is a huge part of the point of costumes in the first place. Intimidated by the face paint part of this tip? Find a friend who is good at it or look up videos on you tube. (or hire someone like me:))
5.) Bring a Prop and have a Schtick. *
This is crucial for having a fabulous time in your getup and contributing greatly to the overall social dynamic. You will have a lot more fun if your character has some sort of playful gimmick or way to engage other party goers. IDEAS & GENERAL EXAMPLES: If you are a geisha, bring a fan and cool down the sweaty folks on the dance floor. If you are a giant banana, bring a banana and tell people they have a phone call on it. PERSONAL EXAMPLES: I was once a princess of hearts and I went around painting hearts on people with my red lip liner. Last year for Halloween I was a genie and I had this super cool lamp filled with yummy oils and I asked people to touch the lamp and make a wish and they smelled the oils and closed their eyes and made their wish and I told them it would be granted. This was infinitely more amusing than just wandering around looking like a genie. It is all about interaction. Schtick Schtick Schtick.
So, I hope this helps and I hope you have fun creating another costume for your arsenal.