College Survival Guide: Halloween costumes

By Coraline Pettine
October 19, 2017

csg halloween

Many students have grown up in a society where cultural normative and ideal perfection is constantly projected on them. While it is important that we learn to accept and love who we are, it can be nice to escape reality and be someone else, even just for a day.

The concept of escapism and the opportunity to embody a different persona is what makes cosplay so appealing. You might not be ready to commit to official cosplay, but you are never to old to dress up for Halloween.

When selecting a Halloween costume, it is important to give proper though. Here are my tips for choosing a Halloween costume that you will feel good in and be proud to show off.

Think about characters you love.

Pettine, inspired by the strength and resilience of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s character Tauriel, cosplayed her. Photo by Coraline Pettine.

You might be really into a television show right now. Maybe you just finished a book with a strong female lead. Perhaps a singer recently released a music video that you love.

One of the best things about costumes is that they allow you to become a character you admire. Take inspiration from the things you love in life— both real and fictitious— and aim to exemplify a character you commend.

Take the opportunity to let your passion shine through and do justice to a person you wish you could be all the time.

For one day every year, you have the opportunity to push aside who you actually are and enjoy being someone else. Make who you choose to be count.

Some people will tell you that you need have a certain skin tone, body type or personality to dress as another character, but the whole point of Halloween is that you get to be someone you are not.

Be whoever you want to be and do not people who disagree say that you cannot.

There are no limitations except for your imagination.

Makeup helped Pettine complete her Sally Skellington costume. Without the blue skin and the stitches, she would have just been a redhead in a suit. Photo by Coraline Pettine.

Utilize makeup.

Makeup can make or break a costume. Your clothes might be perfect, but without the correct makeup, no one can tell who you are.

Just like with any everyday outfit, the right lipstick or the perfect shade of eyeshadow can your look to a whole new level. Adding a little bit of color can complete a look.

Additionally, some characters have signature makeup looks. Without that makeup, your costume is incomplete.

Use makeup to compliment the outfit and finish off the look.

Makeup is not just for complimenting a costume. Makeup can be the actual costume.

When do you not have an outfit, makeup can help you throw together a last minute ensemble. You can use it to turn yourself into a mermaid, doll or zombie with just a few shades of eyeshadow and maybe some fake blood.

Be creative.

Cats. Ghosts. Police officers. Harley Quinn. Most of the people you run into on Oct. 31 will be dressed in these cliché costumes.

Just because everyone else is wearing basic outfits does not mean you need to. In fact, that is more incentive to think outside the box and wear something no one else will.

Pettine created a unique costume by taking a character and twisting her fate. Photo by Coraline Pettine.

If you have an idea but you are worried not a lot of people will understand the reference or appreciate the costume, remember that what you are doing is for you, not them.

My personal favorite type of cosplays are the ones that take characters and twist them in a unique way.

For example, instead of dressing as Sally or Jack Skellington from “Nightmare Before Christmas,” I combined the two to make a gender-bent Sally Skellington.

When I decided to cosplay Coraline Jones from Neil Gaiman‘s novel of the same name, I considered what would have happened if Jones had not escaped the clutches of her other mother and created a horror version of her character.

There is value in creating a costume that is creative and uncommon.

Be creative when it comes to building your costume as well. I have experience sewing and so I am comfortable modifying clothes or starting from scratch, but not all costumes need to come from fabric. You can create something neat with cardboard or just a jumpsuit and paint.

Think creatively and you will be sure to have an outfit you are excited to wear.

Have fun.

At the end of the day, do not stress out about the quality of your costume or if people will like it.

It is exciting to take advantage of the holiday and unveil an outfit you are proud of, but if elaborate costumes are not your style, that is also perfectly fine.

Whatever you decide to wear can be as elaborate or as simple as you’d like. It can be as unique or as cliche as you feel like making it.

Simply enjoy the holiday and be comfortable with who you decide to be, even if that is yourself.

From left to right, Pettine has recently dressed as an elf, Loki, a sailor, (top) a Salem witch from “American Horror Story: Coven,” (bottom) Morticia from “the Adams Family,” a panda, Daphne from “Scooby Doo,” Minnie Mouse, a dia de los muertos girl, Tauriel from “the Hobbit,” (top) Freddie Kreuger from “Nightmare on Elm Street,” (bottom) Leia from “Star Wars,” a renaissance maiden, a comic book character and Rapunzel from “Tangled.” Photo by Coraline Pettine.

Coraline Pettine

Writing Managing Editor for Loquitur Media.

Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap