Sunday, August 17, 2008

Costume Prep Guide

We're in the home stretch to October...have you even started thinking about your costume? No?
Well, I have. Actually, I begin to think about what I'm going to be immediately following the Christmas season. Usually, something will happen: someone will say something, I'll see something on TV, I'll be somewhere and the idea will just hit me. In fact, this year's Halloween costume came to me in the beginning of Aughost. Hence why I'm blogging about it now-because time is running out!

As a seasoned Halloween admirer, I've learned that it is NEVER too early to get your costume together. Nothing is worse than waiting until the last minute and struggling to buy a cheap costume-in-a-bag. I had to do that when I was Ms. Mustard,

and I think it's pretty safe to say that there are few things that are more rewarding than visualizing your costume, and creating it with your (or in my case-my mother's) bare hands. People will appreciate the effort and admire your tenacity in creating your own costume.

Creating Mr. Peanut wasn't as easy of a task as many may have thought. To be honest, I hardly even know how difficult it was because I found a picture of him online, printed that sucker out, and gave him to AMR (mom) and said "CREATE HIM!" And she did. I think she used that egg-crate type of mattress, put yellow fleece over it, and history was made.

The key though, is starting EARLY. You need time to find everything and make sure that your costume is not only perfect, but accurate. Personally, I think it's easier to find what you need before the rush of season starts and everyone else is scrambling around and buying everything and all your left with is a clown wig and a pair of toy binoculars...then what?

So, I guess your next logical question would be, "Monster Bash Blog, where do I begin?"

Well reader, I say, start with something you like. For me, two years in a row, I liked obscure objects, and yellow things. In 2006, I was at a loss for ideas. I walked around the costume store, and I was torn between banana costume or Mustard. Ultimately, Mustard persevered. I had originally longed to be Mr. Peanut in all of his top hatted glory, but my timing was off. It was too late to begin to craft him, and I don't know if you're aware of this, but an official Mr. Peanut mascot costume on eBay is close to $300. no. way.
In 2007, I was much more prepared. I was going to be Mr. Peanut. or bust. I started early, and got my costume underway.
To think of what you'd like to be, I immediately go for the less mainstream. I like to first think of things that nobody else will be. I'd hate that feeling of having a monster bash and having 3 people dressed exactly like, or even better than, you. How will you win best costume that way? It's impossible! Also, when you're something so insanely popular, it becomes difficult to keep the price range down and to find what you need.
You really need to break out your creative hat and think it over. If you start early enough, dedicate enough time to planning out what you'd like to be, and how feasible it really would be to create. Some ideas I've thought of, and am not using are: porcupine, alarm clock, teapot, Jason Giambi, and Jenga game. You are more than welcome to those if your creative juices haven't been flowing. Of course, if you're hellbent on being something wildly popular and well known, try to take an obscure route with the character/item. Maybe, instead of being a plain a penguin mailman. Just a thought. Not saying you should be a penguin mailman, but if you were, that would be pretty obscure.

Next, think about how you will create this character. For the peanut, I knew that once the body was created, the rest would be minor detailing. I made sure to examine each part of the creative process-from the material to the textures to the overall design. While AMR crafted the masterpiece that is his peanut body, I would go each week to the party store/costume shops and locate the top hat, walking stick, shoes, monocle, gloves, and tights. You want to make sure that you keep it as accurate as possible. If you do too loose of an interpretation, nobody will know who you are. I can't think of anything worse than this conversation:
A: "wow, what...a are you supposed to be?"
B: "i'm __________ (insert what you are)"
A: "oh...uh...yeah...i guess i can see that....."
I was uncomfortable even typing that scenario. You don't want to be that guy/girl...
A helpful hint is to find a picture or drawing of the character/object you want to recreate...and use that when shopping. I print out pictures from Google images and use them. I like to get 2-3 different shots, just to make sure I have as many angles as possible to work with.

Of course, when being a detail perfectionist, you also may want to determine a max. budget. You don't want to spend $75 on a hat that is absolutely perfect when you could easily have altered a hat that costs $9.99. In many cases, the slight imperfections of your costume can be what makes your costume endearing to people. You want it to be spectacular, but believable. You want other costume runner-ups to think "Wow, I could've made mine and I would've looked just as cool...but I didn' they win". A great place to look for costume details is thrift stores. Don't snub them. They'll have some great, authentic looking pieces for 1/4 the price of the costume shop, and probably better quality.

Continuing on with costume making 101- what I like to do is take a picture of the character/thing I'm going to be, and make a list. What exactly do I need to make this work? Then, as I locate things, I check them off. I like to list them in order of priority. What is/are the most important components of this costume? Is there a wig, or outfit that the character wears? Is there a label or tag on the object that makes it so recognizable? Make sure that is one of the first items you buy/make. Once you get the major details down, you have plenty of time to work out the rest.

So far, I have 3 items I need for my costume. I need one more major detail, and then the rest is all alterations and minor detailing. Once we're halfway through September, more and more people will begin their costume search. You want to make sure that you are in pretty good shape by then, because that is not only when more things will become less readily available, it is also when prices will increase. That clown nose that was once $.99 is now $3.95. Get out there and get that bargain!

Anyway, I hope this blog has either lit that fire under you to start creating your costume masterpiece, or even given you a little insight on alleviating the formidable task of how to make your costume spectacularly spOoOoOoOoky!


Jim said...

"Maybe, instead of being a plain a penguin mailman."

This was honestly a great "how-to."

I'm gonna start shopping now.

Jim said...

I got all the materials today for your "Stapler" costume, honey.

Oops...did I just give it away?

Monster Bash Blog said...

nice try....although stapler is pretty good.

I'll try that! said...

Most people don't know that your "mustard" lipstick was actually mustard flavored... yellow, not spicy brown... that would just be gross.

Monster Bash Blog said...

That's correct, I'll try that!

Lip Smackers actually made a limited time only "mustard flavor" chapstick/lip color to compliment the "hot dog" eyeshadow and "cheese steak" lip liner.

I'll try that!-as an avid reader, i demand more blogs!