Yes, I know it’s only the second Friday of October, but even if it’s still 80 degrees in Texas it’s October damnit, and that makes it Halloween season. I’m not saying every blog this month will be Halloween themed, but I’m not saying they won’t be either. Let’s be real, I don’t put that much planning into the blog section, and I think that spontaneity makes it more fun. That’s the excuse we’re going with this week, anyway.
Now, to actually get to the topic at hand, I love dressing up for Halloween. Well, truthfully I pretty much love costumes in general. There’s a reason I did so well at theatre for so long after all. Costumes are just fun, and while some years I like to do really intricate ones with lots of pieces and effort, sometimes it’s great to pick something simple and really run with it. To illustrate, I have devil and pirate costumes with at least six pieces each, but last year I dressed up as a giant beer. It was what I was in the mood for, and I had loads of fun doing that. Aside from general inspiration, you need to really put some thought into your Halloween outfit selection to maximize overall enjoyment. These are the rules I employ to make sure my favorite night of the year goes as well as possible.
1) Know Your Activity
There are a lot of different themes and variations in the categories of what you’re going to be doing on the most party-tastic night of the year, but generally they can all be classified into one of three categories: Party, Bars, and Outdoor. Maybe it’s a house party, or a jam at a local movie joint doing a scary film marathon. Perhap your outdoors plans involve taking children (hopefully your own) around to Trick or Treat, or going out to a haunted hayride. Bars… there’s really only so much variety there. The point is, you need to have a game plan as far in advance as you can. And yes, life changes, so make backups, but try to keep them in the same general category. It makes a big difference in planning your outfit.
If I’m doing a Party night, for example, then I can wear some more elaborate shit, including costume shoes that are uncomfortable but look awesome, because I know there will be places to sit whenever needed. Bar or Outdoors, you better believe I’m making a selection that gives me comfy feet, because I’m past 30 and that’s now officially something I’m old enough to complain about. Doing a Bar means keeping a costume sleek and easy, since you’ll be packed tight and don’t need to be bumping into people all night, but if you’re doing something Outdoors then you can do crazy shit that stretches out a bit. Just make sure you can run and drive in that outfit however, as nobody likes waiting ten minutes for the guy dressed like a dragon-human hybrid to get his tail in position so we can finally start the car and get moving.
Point is, know your desired category, talk with your friends ahead of time, put out feelers wide, and make choices that give you the Halloween you want so you can dress for it.
2) Know Your Climate
Now I say climate, not weather, because no one can really predict the weather very far in advance. Fun Fact: I used to work with meteorologists, and they would refer to predictions more than 5 days out as “throwing bones” because if you used chicken bones to predict what the weather would be, it was about as accurate. However, you do know your area, so there are some general possibilities you should be able to brace for. If you live in the North, pick a costume that either incorporates a coat or can fit under one. If you live in Seattle, assume you’ll get rained on the minute you leave the house. If you live in Colorado, do not dress like any kind of junk food because that fog isn’t clouds and you don’t need a stoner trying to take a bite out of you. And, if you’re like me and live in Texas, you know to make either two costumes, or something highly changeable.
In Texas, we do get semi-chilly falls/winters. Not what anyone above the Mason-Dixon would consider cold, but enough that having exposed skin while walking around for hours makes for a shitty time. The thing is, we never really know when the cold will hit. Sometimes it’s in November, sometimes it’s in September, and often it’s midway through October. But until it comes, we don’t know if it will be here for Halloween, which means having a costume that’s good for both warm and cold weather. Of course, this is only really relevant if you are spending the night doing something from the Bars and Outdoors category, however it’s still wise to plan close to the right edge of the temperature spectrum. Life takes weird turns, and it never hurts to have a jacket accessory if yours leads you out into the cold.
3) Keep It Comfy
I know a lot of you, especially the younger ones, are going to ignore this bit and that’s why I saved it for last. Yes, there is a time when you can pick a costume that straps you in tight or leaves most of your torso exposed to open air, but sooner or later you’re going to reach a point where the endless discomfort is just no longer worth it. Once you arrive at that point, come back here and consider this simple strategy: keep it as comfortable as possible.
I’m not saying you can’t do fun characters, but I am suggesting that you perhaps put your outfit together with more care than just grabbing something cheap from Spirit and hoping it fits. Don’t break the bank, thrift shops are still all over the place and sewing isn’t that hard to learn some basics on. Or, if you have lots of cash, just custom buy the shit you need. Point is, pick an ensemble that you can lounge, walk, or drink comfortably in, depending on your exact plans. Choosing something enjoyable to wear will make it easier to press on later into the night, when otherwise sore feet or bunches of ill-placed fabric might drive you to call it done early. With comfort on your side, you can really push your Halloween for all it’s worth, and that’s important. We only get so many in this life, don’t waste one having to constantly adjust the poorly fastened waistband of sheer-fabric costume pants.
Personally, I think this year I’m going to dress as Bob from Bob’s Burgers. Gray sweatpants, comfy shoes, and the ability to carry around emergency burgers that are technically thematic. It’s no giant beer outfit, but I do think it will be a lot of fun. If you’ve already got yours picked out, share it in the comments below! Maybe some of our folks still pondering will get ideas.