Saturday, October 24, 2009

Calling All Halloweenies

So you waited until the last minute to come up with a Halloween costume, did you? I've been there. It's a stressful time.

Fear not: your favorite thrift store is here to help. Forget costume and party stores that charge you fifty bucks to look like a sexy cop, or a sexy referee, or a sexy frying pan. Get creative on the cheap.

Many thrift stores have a special costume section especially for this time of year. Look in the front of the store or tucked away in a corner for rack of costumes you could have bought at a party store.

But it's Halloween, so the more creative you are, the cooler your friends will think you are. For instance, my roommate and I are going out this year as two doctors from every girl's favorite doctor show. You know which one I'm talking about. It took a few visits to find the right sizes, but we were able to get scrub pants and tops as well as lab coats for a whopping $10 each. We're anticipating a chilly night, and plan on adding our own personal touches from home: long-sleeved shirts to wear under our scrubs, and a pair of beloved high top Chucks for yours truly.

And I've got some beef with whoever let me go so long without knowing the immense comfort and joy that comes from wearing scrubs around the house. Not only do I feel insanely professional and important, but I'm also surprisingly warm and toasty. It's nice.

But I was talking about being creative, and this is a lazy year for me in comparison with past years. It helps if you have some sewing skills or can con someone into running a sewing machine for you. Last year I had three (I was popular) costumes, each of which I constructed from items I already owned and thrift finds. To be Wendy from Peter Pan, I found a nightgown for a few bucks and did a little altering to adjust the size and sleeve length. But my pride and joy was my nurse costume. I took in and shortened a 70s-era nurse uniform. Then, I bought cheap sheets from the section of Value Village to create a black cape with red lining (that's it in the photo, along with the slip I hemmed to go under the uniform). I cut up an old white pillowcase, and with the help of a whole lot of starch, was able to fashion myself an old-timey nurse hat. I threw on a pair of white stockings and some suitable footwear and I was done. We'll look past my dependable errors in measuring that always leave me missing about two inches of skirt length--I swear I'll learn to "measure twice, cut once" someday. The nurse costume cost me $15 max. And the cape came in really handy when the wind picked up after dark.

My mother isn't a big fan of Halloween, so she wasn't much help when I was a kid. She once put a tin foil pie tin on my head and called me an astronaut. But I grew to love the process of creating a costume almost as much as I love wearing them. And when you tell your friends at the party that you made your outfit yourself or found your original getup in a thrift store, you'll no doubt get toasts of approval.


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