Shopping the Closet for Halloween

7 years ago

We've still got three weeks and change until Halloween, a holiday that doesn't really creep up so much as start appearing in August. The big-box stores started opening before Labor Day, there are pumpkins crowding around outside the supermarkets and popping up in abandoned lot pumpkin patches, and the corn mazes are standing tall.

But still, I know I've found myself in two situations in the past couple of years. One, standing in one of those big box Halloween stores on October 29th, staring at a gutted wall and trying to be helpful with costume suggestions from the dregs ("You could... buy the Franciscan monk robe and be a Jedi? You already have a lightsaber..."). Two, ordering a costume piece online... and the Post Service loses/delays it until October 29th, forcing me to make panicked calls to the postmaster and take a sharp look at my closet to see if there's anything I can pull for a last-minute costume.

Of course, it doesn't always have to be last minute -- Jennine of The Coveted did a recurring series last year called Halloween in My Closet, where she pulled items from her closet and turned them into cute and stylish Halloween costumes. She's doing it again this year, and is taking suggestions for this year's go-round!

But even if you don't have crinolines or fancy hats in your closet, there are certainly costumes that can be pulled together with either what you have or a quick trip to a thrift store or standard clothing store!

- A striped shirt can turn into Edie Sedgwick, a cartoon bank robber, or a French mademoiselle. If you don't already have one, they're available (and inexpensive!) at Old Navy.

- One of my "what if my costume doesn't arrive??" last minute ideas last year was a MAC Cosmetics girl -- dressed all in black with silver jewelry, a brush belt, and some wickedly intense eyeshadow. I don't think I'm the only one who has a whole bunch of vivid eyeshadows that I don't really wear, so it would be a good way to get that bright teal shadow out of the drawer!

- A little black dress with different accessories can easily turn into Holly Golightly (black gloves, tiara, orange stuffed cat if you like), a Sterling Cooper secretary (cardigan, neck scarf with brooch, notepad), or a femme fatale (backseamed stockings, smoky eye and red lip).  It's all in how you wear it!

- Speaking of little dresses, one of my favorite costume ideas is "Devil With the Blue Dress" -- all you need is a blue dress and devil horns.

- Love 'em or hate 'em, American Apparel usually has a decent Halloween costume suggestion section on their website -- one year they showed how to create the whole Scooby Doo gang with AA pieces. But apparently I'm too early for them -- they say it's "coming soon" as of today. Of course, a lot of their clothing is, uh, a touch on the hard-to-wear side (to put it quite nicely) and can be pricy, but it's a good way to get some inspiration.

Have you ever found yourself in the "I need a costume and have no time to get to the store" situation? What are some of your favorite costumes from the past? Have you already decided what you're going to be this year?

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