I have no one to blame but myself that our boys grew up favoring Halloween over all other holidays—except for Christmas.
From the time they could walk, I poured my heart and soul into ensuring they had the best costumes. One year we had Popeyes-a-Pair (two tiny boys dressed identically as the Sailor Man). Over the years we did the traditional magician, ninja, hobo, and gangster and of course an entire array of super heroes.
The boys are both adults now, and while I assumed this costume thing would have wound down by now, not that long ago I found myself helping to create Luigi of Mario Brothers fame and he looked fantastic, let me tell you.
Just this week, I was reminded how far we’ve come in this costume thing, and I don’t mean that in a good way. I’m talking about at least $200 to become Kylo Ren and not any old Kylo Ren but Authentic Kylo Ren. I understand from a friend whose husband is contemplating this seriously, that might be a low estimate by the time you figure authentic hooded cape, authentic robe, authentic belt and gloves, authentic voice-changing mask, authentic electronic lightsaber, and boots. And don’t forget everything must be authentic. When I heard about this, I had only one thing to say. Ack! Even that got stuck in my throat.
Here’s the problem I see with taking the pricey route (learn this well, because it’s a tactic you could use with your kids): Too many Kylo Rens. Imagine showing up at the party only to see yourself in triplicate. It won’t matter who’s the most authentic. Quantity will quickly diminish quality as you are reduced to one-of-many.
The way to avoid this is to be unique, be clever. Be one-of-a-kind. Be cheap! Several ideas come to mind:
STATIC CLING Wear anything in a solid color, all-white or even all black. With safety pins attach stuff to yourself such as socks (no matching pairs allowed), underwear and dryer sheets. Spray your hair straight up into the air and you’re good to go.
MISS AMERICA. Use an old bridesmaid dress or prom formal (and you thought you’d never wear it again); add a pair of gloves, a tiara, some oversized jewelry, and heels. For the banner write your title of choice in glitter on a wide white ribbon.
1960s HIPPY. This one is difficult because the style has curiously returned, giving us the age-old “what is real, what is costume” question. Still it’s a worthy contender. Tie die clothing, long wig, sandals, headband, anything with fringe on it (vests, purse…) pale-colored sun glasses. You get the picture.
THE ALL-AMERICAN TOURIST. Guys: loud Hawaiian shirt, shorts (if weather permits), large straw hat. Gals: brightly colored loud dress, flats, big sun hat, straw bag. Don’t forget to have a camera and maps hanging out, and that ”We’re lost!” look.
REAL NERD. Slick back the hair, grab some pants that are too short, white shirt, white socks, penny loafers, or laced up oxfords, pocket protector, with lots of pens, dark rim glasses (don’t forget to tape the corner) and briefcase.
This year, use what you’ve got to make a costume. And if all else fails, there’s always a ghost. You’ll definitely be unique among those authentic, high-priced getups.
Whatever you decide, the good news is you’ve got time. Halloween is still weeks away. And don’t forget that I’d love to see the pictures.