There are few holidays as exciting and dynamic as Halloween. For all ages, it’s a chance to dress up, get creative, and throw a killer bash with friends. Even so, despite the fact that Halloween has all the trappings for a great night, the festival has a certain reputation when it comes to costumes.
Some stick to the horror theme, creating frightening get-ups with cobwebs, fake blood, and spooky cloaks. Others opt for minimal coverage to show off their bodies, from black cats to risqué Wonder Women. The bold opt for costumes with social commentary and the witty for ‘deep cuts’ from pop culture; even more just try to find something to wear.
But building a truly unforgettable Halloween costume is an art. It involves a cheeky idea and an ability to pull together a convincing costume—but an outfit’s success is also highly dependent on its audience and the event it will be worn at.
Consider the most famous Halloween party of all: Heidi Klum’s annual Halloween costume party. Celebrities of all stripes attend with seamless costumes that cover a range of themes, from horror to pop culture to glam. The lesson here? It doesn’t matter what you want to do—just go for it, and don’t look back.
Ready to craft an incredible Halloween costume? Keep these three pointers in mind.
Create a Cohesive Idea
Those looking for inspiration will find more than a few interesting ideas in Vegas—and not just from those who pose for tourists along the Strip. Typically, pros are known for stoicism, but many have also embraced Halloween with great enthusiasm, opting to dress up for the cameras each year.
One pro, Phil Hellmuth, dressed as Thor at the 2018 World Series of Poker tournament. Another, Phil Laak, literally disappeared under a Hollywood-level aged face prosthetic at the 2008 World Series of Poker. As expected, Hellmuth’s Thor drew massive attention, while it took attendees hours to figure out who Laak was because of the quality of his mask and his dedication to walking and sitting like an elderly man.
Both pros show total dedication to their look. No matter what idea you’re tinkering with, make sure it’s hyper-specific, as this will inform other key details from accessories to body language.
Know Your Audience (and Location)
The costume-wearer won’t be spending the entire night staring at their own look, which means it’s important to cater the outfit for the crowd and location you’ll be attending. This is most relevant for horror looks; no one wants to stare at Alien if the party is Wes Anderson-themed. The same goes for gore-heavy bashes; no host wants to see a bunny in a leotard at their Last House on the Left party.
Another piece of advice is to always dress for the weather. Most parties are hosted partly inside and partly outside, which makes factoring layers an important part for many party-goers who live farther north.
Lastly, keep in mind where the party will be hosted. Some venues will be jam-packed, which makes heavy or larger costumes more complicated for yourself and those around you. This doesn’t mean you can’t dress like Ursula from The Little Mermaid… but maybe consider making some of her tentacles removable in case of space-saving emergencies.
Avoid Costume Stores
Never, ever head into a tacky costume store and expect anything positive to come of the experience. Instead, stick to cosplay stores. Most costume stores cater specifically to single-use getups made from latex and polyester, which look as cheap as they cost. Cosplay stores, on the other hand, tend to cater to a more refined demographic that relies heavily on costumes.
Another pro tip is to skip out on costumes and cosplay pieces as much as possible, and instead purchase pieces that can be adapted to everyday outfits. Not only does this minimize waste, but it also leads to a few interesting accessories, in many cases. While not every look will allow for this, it’s a great philosophy to keep in mind when building a Halloween costume.