Halloween Costume Tips

As Halloween is fast approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about costumes. One idea that I keep coming back to is to dress up as Pan, the greek god who is half man and half goat. Maybe it’s because I always liked mythology as a kid, or maybe it’s because when you do a google image search you find pictures like this and this. Greek mythology also makes me think about live action role playing, or LARP, which always puts a smile on my face. Anyway, as I’ve been thinking about this and talking with friends and coworkers, I realized that it would be worthwhile to compile a list of tips when planning your costume. So here it is:

  1. Come Up With a Solid Idea
    • Funny vs Scary – I’ve always opted for the funny route. It’s a greater risk (what if nobody gets the joke?) but the reward can be so sweet. As with all comedy, you can try something offensive (this year I’m sure someone is going as Steve Irwin with a stingray in his chest) or just silly (my Pan costume). Either way there is humor to be found in the subject matter and the execution.
    • Think about your audience – One of the easiest ways to guarantee that people will “get” your costume is to reference pop culture. You can take something that’s popular now, but it’s usually even more fun to take something from your past. If you and the people you’re partying with are mid 20’s, then go as your favorite cartoon character from the 80’s.
    • Play to your strengths – If people always tell you that you look like someone famous then you’re already half way there. Or if you’re like me and can grow a killer mustache, then do that.
  2. Plan Ahead
    • Coordinate with friends (power in numbers) – My most successful costumes have always been group efforts. It makes all of the prep work a lot more fun and the final result has a much greater impact. Unfortunately, I haven’t found too many friends (meaning none) willing to go along with the greek mythology theme.
    • Think about your comfort – Many factors play into this, a few important ones are the weather and ease of using the bathroom.
    • Don’t wait until the last minute – this is where I always screw up, before I know it, it’s mid afternoon on the day of the costume party and I haven’t found all of the pieces.
  3. Execute
    • Purchased vs Homemade – Sure it’s tempting to buy a pre-made costume, but making one yourself has a lot of advantages. It’s going to be unique, you’re not going to run into anyone else with the same costume (that would be SO embarrassing), and I guarantee that people will appreciate it much more.
    • Look in your basement – Assuming that you’re going down the homemade route, the best thing to do is look through all of the stuff that you already own. You’ll probably find something weird to incorporate into your costume and minimize the amount of time you need to spend at places like Ragstock.
    • Think about the details – It’s the small things that make a costume. You’re not going to get everything perfect, so think about the things that will make the costume believable.

With all of that said, here is my favorite halloween costume from a few years ago:
Rett, Dan, and Russ dressed up as Mario, Luigi, and Wario from the Super Mario Bros


  1. check my facebook prof–the pic is from last year when i was a sock monkey. not the best image, but trust that costume was da bomb diggity.

    and this year? alice in wonderland caterpillar complete with skirt-as-toadstool.


    - smallesque stister (Oct 15, 2006)

  2. did you consider a broader theme…maybe not greek mythology so much as upper-body-humans? i mean clearly top on my mind is mermaids, but you could also be partying it up with some centaurs this way etc. etc. how could people turn THAT down?

    - me again (Oct 15, 2006)

  3. Caroline, that is an amazing idea! I especially like the term “upper-body-humans.” Way to bridge the gap between satyrs and mermaids.

    - rett (Oct 16, 2006)

  4. hahaha. these costume tips are great. theres also nothing like a whole group of halloweeners looking foolish, together… as ninja turtles!

    - Eric (Oct 23, 2006)

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