How to Create an Original Costume

Ever been invited to a costume party, or Halloween rolls around and you don't know what you want to be? well in this easy to follow guide, you can guarantee an original costume, that's sure to draw attention.


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    Start collecting cardboard boxes and tubes now. These will always come in handy.
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    Select a kind of costume: this is possibly the most vital part of creating your costume but sometimes it is also the hardest. Sometimes the theme for your fancy dress is already set, e.g. you must be dressed as a witch, but other times the theme is more general, e.g. book character.
    • When choosing your outfit, think about any props you already have or will be able to get hold of. Sometimes it’s better to have a simple idea and a great costume than a fantastic idea and a poor costume.
    • If you know any young children then it is likely they’ll have lots of common props such as swords, toy guns, pirate eye patches.
    • Talk to people you know and ask for their ideas. Be smart about who you ask, if you need to dress up as a book character then talk to someone who is interested in books, if you need to dress up for a science fete then talk to someone interested in science.
    • Make sure that you like the idea, you are going to have to wear it after all.
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    Look around for parts of your costume. Don’t try fancy dress shops until you’ve looked at charity shops and pound/dollar stores. Goodwill is a good example. Don’t forget to raid your wardrobe, fancy dress box and your relatives’ old clothes. Don’t be left feeling gutted because you bought something you already had at home.
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    Plan your costume. Evaluate your finds from the step above and plan your costume. Some costumes rest on their simplicity but on the whole don’t let your costume rely on one prop, but try to make every part count. It is not advised to plan your outfit before you’ve checked out the shops as it may lead you to ignore a really good prop.
    • Don’t make the project too big, after all you want it finished for the big day, plus you’ll probably only wear it once. While planning you should consider how long it will take you to make it and also how easy it will be to get your hands on key items.
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    Select your base costume item, a top and a bottom (trousers etc) or a dress. For most outfits you don’t need to customize the trousers much but the top may be a completely different story. Go for plain and cheap. If you are not customizing much, it may be worth spending a little more, but if you’re only going to wear it once then quality is not that important.
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    Buy the rest of your stuff too. You may need fabric paints, PVA, wigs, glasses, hats, jewellery, stickers, glitter.
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    Make your costume. This depends on what you’ve chosen to be but make sure you start well in advance. Some costumes may not need much customising, but you will probably need to make at least one prop or customise one piece of clothing if you want to stand out from the crowd and show that you’ve put in the effort.
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    Test out your costume and your makeup before the day. If you’re a guy who doesn’t wear make-up but you need a bruise, scar, motif etc on your face, then you should get advise from a female friend.
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    Keep looking for props even when you think your costume is complete, you don’t want to miss anything!


  • Take time to browse multiple stores
  • Remember that people won't judge your costume on how much it cost, but will admire creativity. Even if you're someone who is usually embarrassed to shop in charity shops, when you're dressing up, people are sure to admire your thrift.
  • If you have to money it's easy enough to buy a great costume in a fancy dress shop, but to truly stand out you should customise your own clothes. Plus, a really original idea won't be available ready made.
  • Goth-like stores like hot topic and purple moon can be great places to find scary/cool costume props. Beach, sports and other specialized stores may also sell what you're looking for. Think outside the box and tailor your shopping trip to your costume - don't just visit your usual stores.
  • If the theme is a general "fancy dress" then it's not always necessary to think of an idea, just lots of crazy clothes and props.

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Categories: Costumes | Halloween Costumes