That does NOT mean you are limited to something involving a plastic mask with tiny holes the size of a pencil top to breathe out of. There are a lot of good Halloween shops out there.
If you want something more elaborate, your best bet is to go with a rental. Why pay $400 for a replica Southern belle dress to wear one night when you can rent one for the same time period for $50. Check out your local costume rental shops. If nothing else, the rental shops usually have good costumes for purchase.
Although my mother and mother-in-law are/were wizzes with a sewing machine, I somehow missed that gene. I get my Halloween costumes the old fashioned way - I buy them. Other than your obvious local mega-stores (i.e., WalMart, Target, Kmart), here are a few national stores with decent costume choices:
- BuyCostumes.com - I've bought several costumes from this store. The sizing can occasionally be off, but the customer service is excellent. I got a new Wonder Woman costume the day after I called to exchange it for a new size. They have a pretty wide selection as well. They also often have discount codes for free shipping or a percentage off. For example, my latest catalog included coupon codes for $20 off purchase of $100 or more and $10 off purchase of $50 or more.
- Fright Catalog - I would recommend the Fright Catalog if you're going for scarier costumes.
- Halloween Express - similar collection as BuyCostumes.com. I have not had an opportunity to test their costumer service.
- Spirit Halloween - If you have a store that appears randomly in the mall or a strip mall around Halloween-time, it's probably a Spirit Halloween store. Check the store first to get an idea of the scope of products before going to the store. But realize that there may be more items in the store than on the webiste and vice versa.
- Disney Store - If you want to be a storybook princess, this is the place to go. You can visit local stores or check out the website. Some regular costume stores also carry Disney-branded costumes. I bought a Snow White costume from a Disney store and it was well-made, true to size, and looked like the real Snow White. Althought their choices seem to have dwindled in recent years.
There are a ton more costume stores on the internet. It all depends on what you're looking for. Sexy women's costumes seem to be the most prevalent (e.g., 3 Wishes, Cupcake Intimates, Annie's Costumes). But there are stores for every genre. The key is - DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE!!!!!
The longer you wait, the fewer you're choices. For online stores, you'll have to pay expedited shipping and deal with out of stock items the longer you wait. For local stores, expect to wait in long lines and findmissing costumes or costumes missing pieces. If you're truly torn between two costumes - buy multiple costumes and decide later. It's always better to have a spare costume that you haven't used, than to need a costume and not have one
DIY:There are some basic Do-It-Yourself costumes out there that even I could make. A few ideas include:
- Spider - Fill three pair of black tights with newspaper, plastic bags or some type of stuffing. Cut the legs off and sew or glew them shut. Glue the legs to a black sweathshirt ans wear with black pants.
- Scarecrow - Do I really need to give you directions for this one? Step 1: Put on a pair of jeans. Step 2: Put on an old flanner shirt. Step 3: Put on an old straw hat. Step 4: Paint some red rouge circles on your cheeks and use some mascara or eye liner to draw fake eye lashes. Steph 4: Not absolutely necessary - but stuff some hay in your neckline and at the bottom of our sleeves and pants legs.
- Rubics Cube, Dice or a Leggo - Get a box and get creative. Spray paint and a pair of scissors or box cutters and you're set.
- Hogette - Okay, this is a D.C. thing, but seriously, who couldn't be a Hogette? Put on a Redskins jersey, a sock hat and a hog nose. Throw in a grass skirt if you're feeling frisky. You're a Hogette!
- Fruit of the Loom Bunch of Grapes (or perhaps a Wino?) - Put on a purple, black or green sweat suit. Use some safety pins to pin purple or green balloons to your sweat suit. You're a bunch of grapes.
- Butterfly - Buy wings and attach them. Or make your own using cardboard and paint/colors/makers. Don't forget the headband with pipecleaners for antenna. The more colors the better!
- Charlie Brown - super easy for bald men - Black shorts and a yellow shirt. Draw a chevron stripe across the yellow shirt with a black marker or paint. Carry a football if you want (but never ever kick the football, because let's face it Charlie Brown - it just never happens).
- Cereal Killer - Seriously. Take some empty boxes of cereal and glue/pin/staple them to a sweatshirt or t-shirt. Get a fake knife. You're done. If you want to be a little more creative, cut some holes in the boxes and put some fake blood on the boxes and on the knife.
So really. There is NO EXCUSE for someone NOT having a costume for Halloween! Even if they are invited to the party 15 minutes before hand. Look around your house and closet and be creative. And don't forget Goodwill! Because although you may no longer have a tie dyed mini skirt to become the 80's rocker you once were one very last time, Goodwill likely does...