halloween

When you don't know what you're dressed as

For halloween I don’t dress as anything in particular (like green skin, black fairy wings, all black, pink hair with no overarching theme), or something pretty obscure, and I get a lot of “Oh! What are you?” type questions I can answer, but not so many times in one evening. Any advice on how to handle that, without having to change my costume?
 realsocialskills said:
 
Would it work to say: “I’m dressed as a costume!”, and then ask them about their costume? (Eg: “That’s an awesome rainbow tail. Are you Rainbow Dash?” Or “Your sparkly makeup is amazing, how did you do that?”)
 
I’ve found that most people will take the opportunity to talk about themselves if it’s offered.
 
What have y'all found effective in this situation?

Blackface Halloween costumes hurt people

If you are white (or not black), it’s very important that your Halloween costume not incorporate blackface. Blackface means painting your face brown or black as part of a costume of a black character.

Blackface is racist because it is part of a long tradition of white people dehumanizing black people. White people put on shows where they would paint their faces black and act out extremely racist stereotypes for their entertainment.

This was an extremely popular form of entertainment among white people, not limited to particularly horrible people. Blackface as a form of intentionally racist entertainment has become a lot less socially acceptable since the 60s, but it has not died out completely. (And many people are old enough to remember it being extremely popular, and many more people are old enough to have parents who remember that.)

On Halloween, some white people continue the blackface tradition. They paint their faces black or brown and dress up as racial stereotypes. (Eg: calling themselves thug or ghetto). That’s wrong.

But even if you’re not doing it on purpose, even if you don’t mean to dress up like a stereotype, if you paint your face as part of dressing up as someone who is black or a character who is black, you will end up dressed as a racial stereotype. You will end up participating in the same tradition of mocking black people, together with the people who are doing it on purpose.

For instance, if you admire President Obama greatly and want to dress up as him for Halloween, you would still be invoking a racist trope and hurting people if you painted your face brown as part of the costume. If you want to dress up as the President, dress as the President, not a racial stereotype.

Some other forms of face painting are different. For instance, it’s ok to paint your face white and dress up like a clown. That’s because clowns are just clowns; they’re not part of a tradition of dehumanizing others for entertainment. History and symbolism matter, and they’re about how they’re perceived as much as your intentions.

If you use blackface in your costume, regardless of what you intend to dress up as, you will inevitably actually be dressed a racist symbol, and that will hurt people.

If you need ideas about other things to dress up as, this post on costumes might be a starting place.

teenage trick or treaters?

I got a lot of replies to my post about trick or treat etiquette in the US about different customs about teenage trick or treaters.

Some possibilities:

  • It’s frowned upon locally
  • It’s totally fine
  • It’s only ok if they’re accompanying younger children
  • It’s only ok if they’re wearing a costume
  • It’s only ok if they’re not doing obnoxious things like pushing younger children or wearing costumes that are inappropriate around children

What is the custom in your area (and where is that, if you’re willing to say?). What do you think? Are you comfortable giving candy to teenage trick or treaters?

This Halloween, don't be a jerk

On Halloween, some people end up being really mean to other people, sometimes unintentionally and sometimes on purpose.

Some considerations for avoiding being a jerk:

Not everyone likes to be startled or scared:

  • Scaring people is a major part of Halloween tradition, and it’s ok to like it
  • But it’s also ok not to like it
  • And it’s wrong to scare or startle people who don’t like to be scared
  • Being scared when you don’t want to be is really, really unpleasant
  • It can also be physically or psychologically dangerous for a lot of people.
  • If you know someone doesn’t like to be scared, don’t scare them
  • If you don’t know whether someone likes to be scared, don’t scare them
  • If you think someone likes to be scared and it turns out they don’t, apologize and don’t do it again
  • If scaring people is really really important to you, consider working or volunteering at a haunted house, or making your own haunted house.
  • Scaring is ok, but it needs to be consensual

Don’t wreck people’s stuff:

  • Some people like to smash jack-o-lanterns or other decorations, sometimes at the end of the night
  • This is a mean thing to do, especially because some people, particularly children, get really emotionally attached to their decorations
  • (Especially if they have put a lot of work into creating them)
  • Some people might try to convince you that it’s just the done thing and that it doesn’t really upset anyone, but they’re wrong
  • Breaking people’s stuff is mean
  • If you want to smash pumpkins, get your own pumpkins to smash

Don’t be a jerk to people who don’t participate in trick or treating:

  • Most adults who live in areas in which kids trick or treat are happy to participate
  • It’s a good thing to do, but it’s not something anyone is obligated to do
  • Some adults don’t participate, and that’s ok
  • They might not be able to afford to buy candy
  • They might not be able to get up so much or tolerate constant interaction/doorbell ringing.
  • Halloween might be against their religion
  • They might not want to participate for any number of other reasons
  • That’s a legitimate choice, no matter why they don’t do it
  • Some people punish people who don’t participate by egging or tping their house, or banging out the door over and over.
  • Those are really mean things to do. Don’t do it.
  • Trick or treating requires consent, and it’s not ok to be mean to people who don’t participate

Just, generally speaking - if something would normally be mean, it’s mean on Halloween. If something would normally require consent, it requires consent on Halloween. Don’t be a jerk.

Trick or treating might not be on Halloween

Several people have pointed out that trick or treating isn’t always on Halloween itself.

In some towns, trick or treating always happens on a weekend regardless of when the 31st is.

If your town does that, it will probably be announced through the schools, on the radio, on TV and in the paper. You can also google “[your town] trick or treating”. In some areas the designated time for trick or treating is called Beggars Night.

It’s possible that a few people will show up on Halloween itself, because some people won’t know or will forget.

Halloween when you're too old for trick or treating and don't like drunken parties

do you or your followers know of any social acceptable ways for teenagers to celebrate halloween? my friends and i are 18-20, so unfortunately I feel too old to be trick-or-treating, and none of us like to drink or go to those kinds of parties. do you have any ideas? thank you.
 realsocialskills said:
 
Many people your age like to go to haunted houses around this time of year. In a haunted house, you walk through and look at spooking things and various actors scare you. Most areas have at least a couple of haunted houses. There are also haunted hayrides, which are similar except that they are outdoors and you ride through them rather than walking through them.
 
Many zoos and museums have Halloween events. Most of them are primarily targeted towards children, but some of them also welcome adults. If there are zoos and museums in your areas, you can find out about their programs on their websites.
 
Different cities have different events. If you google “[your city] Halloween events” you might find something interesting. Here’s a page of events for Philadelphia.
 
Some people your age enjoy going to the Rocky Horror Picture Show on Halloween. I don’t really know how to explain what that is or why people like it. But here’s a link to the Wikipedia page, and a fan page that can tell you where to find a showing.
 
That said, a party is also an option. Parties don’t have to be drunken, large, or crowded. They can be a small group of friends getting together to do something they enjoy.
 
The party can be a Halloween party just because it is a party and it is on  Halloween. (Maybe with Halloween-related decorations or food). You can also do Halloween-specific things.
   Some things that some people enjoy doing at Halloween parties:
  • Telling ghost stories in the dark
  • Wearing costumes
  • Painting each others’ faces
  • Having a bonfire and roasting marshmallows
  • Carving and lighting jack-o-lanterns
  • Making pumpkin pie, or just eating it
  • Eating other pumpkin-based foods
  • Eating and/or making Halloween-themed cookies (you can buy tubes of dough to slice and cook if you’d like to make cookies but don’t want to do complicated baking)
  • Watching horror movies
  • Watching Halloween-related movies (Nightmare Before Christmas is a good one.) or Halloween episodes of shows you like
 You can also take things you already like and make them Halloween-themed in some way. Eg: If you write stories together, write them about black cats. If you play roleplaying games, play a Halloween scenario. If you like playing Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity, make a bunch of Halloween-themed cards and add them to your deck.
 
Other people reading this who want to do something other than trick or treating, drinking, or the stereotypical college student Halloween party - what do you like to do on Halloween?

about the adults on Halloween, I don’t think most people mind as long as you don’t disturb or try to scare kids walking around. Often walking your dog while you do this can decrease people suspicions, or walking with a small group of friends, as walking around on your own in the dark can often be perceived as something more sinister and weird, however there are often lots of parents around anyway so normally walking about on Halloween is considered normal.

Another Halloween activity

not-gay-4-cops answered your question “Things to do on Halloween besides parties”

it can be nice to walk around the neighborhood looking at decorations even if you don’t go up to doors and ask for candy

realsocialskills said:

That’s a good suggestion. I hadn’t thought of that, but it makes a lot of sense. Do you know if it bothers people if adults who aren’t with kids do that during trick-or-treat hours?

Things to do on Halloween besides parties

I’m in college and too old to trick-or-treat, but I’m autistic and even if I went to a party I’d be miserable. Since I moved out, I live in a building where I won’t get trick-or-treaters. I don’t know if there’s anything I can do for Halloween this year, do you have any advice?

realsocialskills said:

There are several things you can do on/for Halloween that don’t involve parties or trick or treating. I don’t know what kind of stuff you like, so here are some things:

Pumpkin carving:

  • You can carve pumpkins (most grocery stores in the US sell pumpkins suitable for jack-o-lanterns this time of year)
  • You can use them as decorations, even if there are no trick-or-treaters
  • You can also enter a pumpkin carving contest
  • (There may be some that adults are allowed to enter in your area; there are also some that take place online such as this one.)

Fandom:

  • You can read Halloween fanfic. AO3 has a Halloween tag.
  • You can also write Halloween-related fic or make art.
  • That can be a good way to be part of a community doing Halloween (and can be fun even if it’s not a community thing for you)

Arts and crafts:

  • If you like to make things, you might make some Halloween things
  • Craft stores have a lot of Halloween-related supplies, projects, and suggestions this time of year
  • If you want some ideas, browsing a craft store might help
  • You can also just make orange things, or orange and black things
  • Or things involving ghosts or black cats
  • You can also post pictures of what you make on Tumblr/Pintrest/other places

Sensory activities:

  • If you google “sensory activities” or “sensory play”, you get a lot of instructions for making fun things to stim with
  • Most of them are created by parents or therapists for kids
  • There are a *lot* of holiday-themed sensory activities/play
  • Here is a page with some Halloween suggestions

Food:

  • If you like to cook, there are a lot of Halloween recipes. Here’s the allrecipes.com Halloween page.
  • You can also make pumpkin pie (or other pumpkin things)
  • If you don’t want to or can’t cook, stores have a lot of Halloween-themed food
  • You can get Halloween candy, or cookies, or cakes, or any number of other things.

Watching movies or TV shows:

  • A lot of shows have Halloween episodes
  • One classic Halloween episode is “It’s the great pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”
  • Halloween episodes aside, some people enjoy watching horror movies on Halloween.
  • There are also some Halloween movies that aren’t horror movies. One excellent one is The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Reading scary/ghost stories:

  • Some people like to read scary stories or ghost stories on Halloween
  • If you like that sort of thing, Project Gutenberg has a ton of stories by Edgar Allen Poe, almost all of which are scary or creepy.
  • (There are also non-scary ghost stories, but I don’t know where to find them offhand).

Hosting a gathering that you’d enjoy:

  • Even if you don’t like parties, you still might like to be around a few other people.
  • Maybe having dinner together
  • Or baking cookies together
  • Or watching a movie

Those are some things I know about. What do y'all know about? What do you like to do on Halloween that isn’t trick or treating or a party?

Dealing with confusion in a costume store

Costume stores can be really overwhelming and difficult for some people. Here are some reasons, and some things that can help.

Sensory overload:

  • The most obvious problem is sensory overload
  • Costume stores tend to be loud and have a lot of strange sounds
  • Sometimes costume stores have spooky music or scream tracks, which can be scary as well as physically unpleasant
  • They also usually have bad lighting and often have strobe lights
  • Costume stores also usually crowded with loud people
  • They also might smell weird, especially if there are a lot of masks and makeup

Things that can help with sensory overload in a costume store:

  • Go at an unpopular time of day so it won’t be crowded
  • (And if the lights are a big problem, going during the day might be better than going at night)
  • Carry a stim toy to help manage overload
  • If you get overloaded and disoriented, holding onto something solid like a shelf for a few seconds can help to reorient yourself
  • Wear headphones or earbuds to block out the sounds or make them more tolerable
  • You might need to take a lot of breaks to be able to tolerate the store long enough to successfully buy something. That’s ok
  • If you’re helping someone else get a costume, it’s worth saying explicitly that it’s ok for them to take breaks if they need to
  • If you think they might need a break, it can be good to say that they look overwhelmed and ask if they want to go outside for a minute (but also take no for an answer. Sometimes we’re overloaded *and* want to keep going)

Unfamiliarity

  • Costume stores are temporary, and they change from year to year
  • So you aren’t familiar with the layout, which can be disorienting if you depend on memorization to navigate stores
  • Also, most people don’t buy costumes very often
  • (and aren’t necessarily familiar with what is sold in a costume store, even they buy costumes every year)
  • This can be disorienting if you rely heavily on routine to navigate stores and make purchasing decisions efficiently

Things that can help with unfamiliarity:

  • Think beforehand about what’s available in a costume store (eg: they usually have several different kinds of costumes in bags. They also have masks and wigs and hats. They also have facepaint and accessories.)
  • If you’re helping someone else, talk to them about the different kinds of things that costume stores have before you go
  • Sometimes you can look online to find the layout of the store
  • It might help to walk through the store once or twice together just to see what is there, without trying to make decisions right away
  • (Orienting is hard. Making unfamiliar decisions is hard. Doing both at once can be *really* hard).
  • If you’re planning to help someone else (especially if it’s a child) it can help to visit the costume store first yourself so that you know what is in the store and where the various things are
    (It’s easier to help someone else orient if you are already oriented)
  • You can look online to see which costumes are likely to be available this year
  • (You can also buy costumes online, but that runs the risk of ending up with something that’s not tolerable to wear.)
  • It might be better to buy costumes in a familiar store such as Target rather than an unfamiliar costume store. (That can also help with sensory overload since ordinary stores are less likely to have strobe lights, scream tracks, and extreme crowding)

Difficulty narrowing things down

  • There are a lot of options for costumes. It can be difficult to narrow down options
  • It can be especially difficult to narrow things down if you’re not sure what you want, but you know that you don’t like most of what you’re seeing
  • Or if you are having trouble processing what you’re seeing because of unfamiliarity, overload, or disorientation.

Some things that help with narrowing down options for someone else (I don’t really know any effective way to do this for yourself; there probably is one but I don’t know it):

An example of narrowing things down using categories:

  • You: Do you want to dress as a person or a thing?
  • Them: A person
  • You: A TV/movie character, a job, or something else?
  • Them: TV character
  • You: A superhero, or something else?
  • Them: Batman

Another example:

  • You: Do you want to look at the bag costumes, the makeup, or something else?
  • Them: Makeup
  • (then you walk together to the accessories area and they still look confused)
  • You: Do you want help narrowing it down, or do you just want to think about it?
  • Them: Think about it.
  • Them: I want cat makeup.
  • You: Do you also want a hat?
  • Them: No, a tail.

General advice for helping other people:

  • Don’t panic. It might be hard for someone to pick a costume no matter what you do
  • Helping means that you support them in ways that they welcome and find helpful
  • That doesn’t necessarily mean that buying a costume will be easy or comfortable for them
  • Things can be ok even if they’re hard or uncomfortable
  • If they don’t want to buy a costume in a costume store, that’s ok. If they want to do it even though it’s hard, that’s also ok.

It’s also possible to wear a costume without having to go to a costume store. Some other possibilities might be easier for some people.

For those of you reading this: What has helped you select costumes in an overwhelming store? What have you found effective in helping other people? Which things do you wish you knew a solution to?

ghostsneverleave:

realsocialskills:

lostlittleelephant:

realsocialskills:

impfreak replied to your post “Some strategies for wearing costumes”

If you paint your face like a wolf, you can wear regular clothes and be a werewolf/ teen wolf! All you need is face paint, and if your clothes are old and you don’t mind shredding them up a bit, that can be a little extra fun.

realsocialskills said:

Note that if you are going to do this, it’s important to use face paint and not another type of paint. Paint not designed to go on skin can cause problems.

lostlittleelephant said

Also there are multiple types of face paint; the really sticky (but cheap) créme-kind is irritating for me, multiple others have claimed this to. The more waterpaint-alike type works better, it doesn’t itch, you don’t feel it and in heatened places it won’t feel like a bag on your face. 

realsocialskills said:

Where do you get the more waterpaint-alike kind? Do they also sell that kind in costume stores?

ghostsneverleave said:

This may be of interest to you peeps: http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=233#halloween

Further down the page there’s DIY recipes for face paint. You can make it with food colorings or even stuff like turmeric and raspberries.

Or here: http://www.mommypotamus.com/how-to-make-homemade-face-paint-thats-safe-enough-to-ea/

It’s all food-safe stuff, so if you want face paint for young-ins that might try to eat it, this is a pretty safe bet. ^_^

loki-zen:

realsocialskills:

lostlittleelephant:

realsocialskills:

impfreak replied to your post “Some strategies for wearing costumes”

If you paint your face like a wolf, you can wear regular clothes and be a werewolf/ teen wolf! All you need is face paint, and if your clothes are old and you don’t mind shredding them up a bit, that can be a little extra fun.

realsocialskills said:

Note that if you are going to do this, it’s important to use face paint and not another type of paint. Paint not designed to go on skin can cause problems.

lostlittleelephant said

Also there are multiple types of face paint; the really sticky (but cheap) créme-kind is irritating for me, multiple others have claimed this to. The more waterpaint-alike type works better, it doesn’t itch, you don’t feel it and in heatened places it won’t feel like a bag on your face. 

realsocialskills said:

Where do you get the more waterpaint-alike kind? Do they also sell that kind in costume stores?

loki-zen said:

Snazaroo (www.snazaroo.com) is pretty good for not feeling like it is on.

evalilith:

realsocialskills:

lostlittleelephant:

realsocialskills:

impfreak replied to your post “Some strategies for wearing costumes”

If you paint your face like a wolf, you can wear regular clothes and be a werewolf/ teen wolf! All you need is face paint, and if your clothes are old and you don’t mind shredding them up a bit, that can be a little extra fun.

realsocialskills said:

Note that if you are going to do this, it’s important to use face paint and not another type of paint. Paint not designed to go on skin can cause problems.

lostlittleelephant said

Also there are multiple types of face paint; the really sticky (but cheap) créme-kind is irritating for me, multiple others have claimed this to. The more waterpaint-alike type works better, it doesn’t itch, you don’t feel it and in heatened places it won’t feel like a bag on your face. 

realsocialskills said:

Where do you get the more waterpaint-alike kind? Do they also sell that kind in costume stores?

evalilith said:

I’m not sure where to get the different kinds (though a quick search for water-based facepaint turned up some results at Walmart and craft stores), but another tip for if you are worried is to try out a small amount on the back of your hand or somewhere else where it won’t be as big of a deal if you react to it. It is a good plan to do that when trying out anything you plan to put on your face in large quantities, especially if it is cheaper stuff.

I’ll also add here that while people mentioned to get a warm costume if you are going out, you should also be careful to make sure you have a cooler costume if you are going to be indoors, especially if there will be several or more people present. This is even more important when doing facepaint, as too much sweat might affect the paint.

Some strategies for wearing costumes

Some people like to buy bagged costumes for costume stores, but that isn’t a good option for everyone.

Some reasons bagged costumes are not a good option for everyone:

  • Bagged costumes are often really expensive
  • They tend to have unpleasant textures, fabrics, smells, and seams
  • It might be hard to find one in your size, especially if you are a woman and don’t want to wear a sexualized costume.
  • You might not find one you like
  • The costume store might be too unpleasant or overloading to tolerate

Luckily, there are other options.

One option (probably the hardest one) is sewing your own.

  • That’s a lot of effort, particularly if you do not have a sewing machine
  • The advantage is that if you go to a fabric store, you can pick a pattern
  • There might be some less-difficult patterns available
  • There are a lot more non-sexual options for costumes in fabric stores than costume stores
  • Also, you can pick the fabric and make sure it’s a texture you like or can at least tolerate

Another option: Making a costume out of a box:

  • If you have a big cardboard box, you can cut out a hole for your head and your arms, then paint it or draw on it
  • The easiest box costume is to go as dice. You just draw the right number of dots on each side (or glue pieces of construction paper).
  • If you google “box costume”, you will get a lot of different options and instructions for box costumes.
  • This is fairly cheap and can be fairly straightforward (it can be complicated too, but it doesn’t have to be)
  • If you use paint, it will be messy. So either make your costume outside or put down newspaper or a tarp first
  • The major downside of box costumes is that they are unwieldy. They make it harder to move, and especially to use your arms. This might be very uncomfortable.

Another thing you can make out of a box or cardboard: flat cardboard costumes:

  • Cut out a piece of cardboard in a shape you like.
  • Some shapes that work well: Hershey’s kiss, star, Easter egg, rainbow
  • (You could probably make a Tardis costume this way too)
  • Decorate the shape you’ve made.
  • Some things that work well as decorations: aluminum foil (works great for a Hershey’s kiss or star costume), markers, colored duct tape, paint, stickers
  • Attach a string to the costume and hang the costume from your neck with ribbon or string. You can either poke holes in the top of the costume and tie on ribbon/string, or tape it on with strong tape (regular scotch tape will not be strong enough to hold it up for long)

Wigs or hats:

  • Buying just a hat/wig can be cheaper and more tolerable than buying and wearing a whole bagged costume
  • You can dress as a clown by putting on a big rainbow wig.
  • It helps to paint your face and/or use a clown nose, but it is not necessary.
  • You can wear a jester hat and go as a jester
  • You can wear a witch’s hat and go as a witch. (Wearing black clothing helps, especially a black skirt. Or, if your hat is not black, clothing can be the same color as the hat)
  • If you wear a crown, you can go as a king/queen. This works especially well when paired with velvet clothing.

Going to a party dressed like one of your friends:

  • Eg: if you usually wear tie-dye and flowing skirts, you could borrow clothes from a friend who dresses conservatively.
  • Make sure that this is ok with the person who you’re dressing like. If you show up in a them costumed and they think you’re making fun of them, it will end badly
  • Be careful about costumes that involve cross dressing. Make sure that you’re not making trans or gender nonconforming people the butt of a joke.
  • Be careful about dressing in clothing associated with an ethnic group or religion other than your own. That usually ends poorly.

Minimalist or pun costumes:

  • Costumes that aren’t really a full outfit, but will look like a costume.
  • If you google “last minute costumes” or “minimalist costumes” you will get a lot of suggestions
  • Eg: holding a sign that says “nudist on strike”.

A fairly easy cat costume

  • Get an old pair of tights to use as a tail.
  • Stuff one leg with newspaper
  • Tie the other leg around your waist to hold the tail on
  • Paint your nose pink and draw cat whiskers on your fac
  • (Preferably with face paint. You can use a marker for this, but it’s likely to be very annoying to get off later. OTOH, (non-toxic) markers might be more tolerable from a sensory perspective)
  • If you like, you can make cat ears out of paper and attach them to a headband or hair clips

Other things that look vaguely costumey:

  • A hat with flashy fake plastic jewelery
  • Spraying or dying your hair a bright unnatural color (this will create a smell though; it’s probably best to check if you can tolerate the smell before putting it on your hair). You can also dye your hair with koolaid if you hair is light.
  • A feather boa
  • Face paint
  • Zombie makeup can be particularly effective. Because you can wear whatever clothes you want and be like “A zombie college student” or wear a tie-dye shirt and be a zombie hippie (might be inadvisable around kids because could be read as a drug reference) or a suit/tie/jacket and be a zombie executive
  • A mask, even without other costume pieces (be aware that in some areas, it is illegal for adults to wear masks, or illegal to wear masks that cover your whole face)
  • A prom dress can look like a costume on Halloween

You can also go to a thrift store and find interesting stuff to wear or build a costume out of. That is usually pretty cheap.

Anyone else want to weigh in? What ways of wearing costumes have and have not worked for you?

lostlittleelephant:

realsocialskills:

impfreak replied to your post “Some strategies for wearing costumes”

If you paint your face like a wolf, you can wear regular clothes and be a werewolf/ teen wolf! All you need is face paint, and if your clothes are old and you don’t mind shredding them up a bit, that can be a little extra fun.

realsocialskills said:

Note that if you are going to do this, it’s important to use face paint and not another type of paint. Paint not designed to go on skin can cause problems.

lostlittleelephant said

Also there are multiple types of face paint; the really sticky (but cheap) créme-kind is irritating for me, multiple others have claimed this to. The more waterpaint-alike type works better, it doesn’t itch, you don’t feel it and in heatened places it won’t feel like a bag on your face. 

realsocialskills said:

Where do you get the more waterpaint-alike kind? Do they also sell that kind in costume stores?

sabrinix answered your question “Some strategies for wearing costumes”

wings are pretty versatile. goes with any outfit. mostly you’ll find fairy wings, angel(feathers)wings, bat wings also magic wands maybe?

realsocialskills said:

That’s a good point. Wings pretty much always count as a costume. Particularly if you also have a wand, particularly if you are wearing bright-colored or sparkly clothing.

Some strategies for wearing costumes

genderhaunt:

realsocialskills:

Some people like to buy bagged costumes for costume stores, but that isn’t a good option for everyone.

Some reasons bagged costumes are not a good option for everyone:

  • Bagged costumes are often really expensive
  • They tend to have unpleasant textures, fabrics, smells, and seams
  • It might be hard to find one in your size, especially if you are a woman and don’t want to wear a sexualized costume.
  • You might not find one you like
  • The costume store might be too unpleasant or overloading to tolerate

Luckily, there are other options.

One option (probably the hardest one) is sewing your own.

  • That’s a lot of effort, particularly if you do not have a sewing machine
  • The advantage is that if you go to a fabric store, you can pick a pattern
  • There might be some less-difficult patterns available
  • There are a lot more non-sexual options for costumes in fabric stores than costume stores
  • Also, you can pick the fabric and make sure it’s a texture you like or can at least tolerate

Another option: Making a costume out of a box:

  • If you have a big cardboard box, you can cut out a hole for your head and your arms, then paint it or draw on it
  • The easiest box costume is to go as dice. You just draw the right number of dots on each side (or glue pieces of construction paper).
  • If you google “box costume”, you will get a lot of different options and instructions for box costumes.
  • This is fairly cheap and can be fairly straightforward (it can be complicated too, but it doesn’t have to be)
  • If you use paint, it will be messy. So either make your costume outside or put down newspaper or a tarp first
  • The major downside of box costumes is that they are unwieldy. They make it harder to move, and especially to use your arms. This might be very uncomfortable.

Another thing you can make out of a box or cardboard: flat cardboard costumes:

  • Cut out a piece of cardboard in a shape you like.
  • Some shapes that work well: Hershey’s kiss, star, Easter egg, rainbow
  • (You could probably make a Tardis costume this way too)
  • Decorate the shape you’ve made.
  • Some things that work well as decorations: aluminum foil (works great for a Hershey’s kiss or star costume), markers, colored duct tape, paint, stickers
  • Attach a string to the costume and hang the costume from your neck with ribbon or string. You can either poke holes in the top of the costume and tie on ribbon/string, or tape it on with strong tape (regular scotch tape will not be strong enough to hold it up for long)

Wigs or hats:

  • Buying just a hat/wig can be cheaper and more tolerable than buying and wearing a whole bagged costume
  • You can dress as a clown by putting on a big rainbow wig.
  • It helps to paint your face and/or use a clown nose, but it is not necessary.
  • You can wear a jester hat and go as a jester
  • You can wear a witch’s hat and go as a witch. (Wearing black clothing helps, especially a black skirt. Or, if your hat is not black, clothing can be the same color as the hat)
  • If you wear a crown, you can go as a king/queen. This works especially well when paired with velvet clothing.

Going to a party dressed like one of your friends:

  • Eg: if you usually wear tie-dye and flowing skirts, you could borrow clothes from a friend who dresses conservatively.
  • Make sure that this is ok with the person who you’re dressing like. If you show up in a them costumed and they think you’re making fun of them, it will end badly
  • Be careful about costumes that involve cross dressing. Make sure that you’re not making trans or gender nonconforming people the butt of a joke.
  • Be careful about dressing in clothing associated with an ethnic group or religion other than your own. That usually ends poorly.

Minimalist or pun costumes:

  • Costumes that aren’t really a full outfit, but will look like a costume.
  • If you google “last minute costumes” or “minimalist costumes” you will get a lot of suggestions
  • Eg: holding a sign that says “nudist on strike”.

A fairly easy cat costume

  • Get an old pair of tights to use as a tail.
  • Stuff one leg with newspaper
  • Tie the other leg around your waist to hold the tail on
  • Paint your nose pink and draw cat whiskers on your fac
  • (Preferably with face paint. You can use a marker for this, but it’s likely to be very annoying to get off later. OTOH, (non-toxic) markers might be more tolerable from a sensory perspective)
  • If you like, you can make cat ears out of paper and attach them to a headband or hair clips

Other things that look vaguely costumey:

  • A hat with flashy fake plastic jewelery
  • Spraying or dying your hair a bright unnatural color (this will create a smell though; it’s probably best to check if you can tolerate the smell before putting it on your hair). You can also dye your hair with koolaid if you hair is light.
  • A feather boa
  • Face paint
  • Zombie makeup can be particularly effective. Because you can wear whatever clothes you want and be like “A zombie college student” or wear a tie-dye shirt and be a zombie hippie (might be inadvisable around kids because could be read as a drug reference) or a suit/tie/jacket and be a zombie executive
  • A mask, even without other costume pieces (be aware that in some areas, it is illegal for adults to wear masks, or illegal to wear masks that cover your whole face)
  • A prom dress can look like a costume on Halloween

You can also go to a thrift store and find interesting stuff to wear or build a costume out of. That is usually pretty cheap.

Anyone else want to weigh in? What ways of wearing costumes have and have not worked for you?

genderhaunt said:

If you play a sport or have some kind of uniform from a job that you’re allowed to wear outside of work you could use that as a costume as well.

I spent a number of years being a soccer player/referee for Halloween because I do both of those things so I have the outfit and I know that it’s comfortable.

Something like that can be a good idea to wear under a box costume because the box can get uncomfortable/damaged and you might still want a costume.

theoriesofminds:

Some strategies for wearing costumes

realsocialskills:

Some people like to buy bagged costumes for costume stores, but that isn’t a good option for everyone.

Some reasons bagged costumes are not a good option for everyone:

  • Bagged costumes are often really expensive
  • They tend to have unpleasant textures, fabrics, smells, and seams
  • It might be hard…

theoriesofminds said:

If you’re going to be outside and it’s cold out, you may want a warm costume. A queen’s costume with a robe will be warmer than a costume that uses a leotard and tights (like some superheros or a ballerina). Other costumes that involves warm clothes might be a 50’s guy with a letter jacket, or a zombie-something-warm (zombie Christmas caroler? Zombie lumberjack?). You can also wear long underwear under some costumes.

If the weather is unpredictable, you may want a backup warm costume just in case.

If you’ll be wearing the costume for a long time, comfort can be important, especially for people who have sensory issues. Some costumes are scratchy or overly tight. You might want to try wearing it for a while ahead of time to make sure you can put up with it.

ischemgeek:

Some strategies for wearing costumes

realsocialskills:

Some people like to buy bagged costumes for costume stores, but that isn’t a good option for everyone.

Some reasons bagged costumes are not a good option for everyone:

  • Bagged costumes are often really expensive
  • They tend to have unpleasant textures, fabrics, smells, and seams
  • It might be hard…

ischemgeek said:

Shopping at used clothing stores  can yield good pieces for making costumes on the cheap, without having to sew your own if like me a total lack of fine motor coordination makes sewing hard-to-impossible.  You have to be flexible with what you’re going to go as, though. Once, I lucked into a beautiful white, embroidered, hooded coat at a used clothing store . It had a coffee stain which I was able to remove with spot treatment, bleaching, followed by lemon juice and sunlight. Because it was stained, they gave it to me for $1.

I combined this with some white on-sale, discount scrub pants I found at the dollar store ($1) and a pair of white boots a friend was willing to give me since she’d bought them without realizing they were the wrong size and they’d been sitting in the back of her closet for a year. A spare banister end from a friend (free) and a wooden dowel ($2) with a screw (nickel) made a staff, which I painted (I had extra white paint on hand, and spent $2 on toll paints for the rest of it).

It made an excellent - and warm, which is important in Canada if you’re going to an outdoor halloween event like I was - white mage costume, which all together cost me about $5.05. A lower-quality and not warm at all costume for the same concept was going for about $30 in stores.

If I’d been really hard up for cash, I could’ve just grabbed a prop on hand from my martial arts stuff and eliminated the staff, which would’ve given me a costume for $2 and some stain-removal work. If I didn’t get the white boots, I would’ve gone with sturdy hiking boots I already had on hand, under the reasoning that a white mage adventurer should have sensible shoes. :P

impfreak replied to your post “Some strategies for wearing costumes”

If you paint your face like a wolf, you can wear regular clothes and be a werewolf/ teen wolf! All you need is face paint, and if your clothes are old and you don’t mind shredding them up a bit, that can be a little extra fun.

realsocialskills said:

Note that if you are going to do this, it’s important to use face paint and not another type of paint. Paint not designed to go on skin can cause problems.