As an actor, I get to play dress-up for a living, so it's no wonder that I absolutely LOVE to dress up on Halloween. And I'm not alone in my adoration. Did you know that Americans are expected to spend $6.9 billion dollars on Halloween this year according to the National Retail Federation? That's $6.9 BILLION.
What I find most horrifying about that statistic is that people throw away so much money on a costume they'll only wear once. Why spend $200 on a naughty nurse costume you'll wear one time (well, maybe more than once, but only one time OUT of the house) when you could buy a fabulous pair of shoes to wear year round instead?
Each year I try to limit my Halloween costume budget to around $20 bucks. I like to make a game of it and challenge myself to come up with a really creative and fun look for little cash. I've learned a few "tricks" along the way, so I'm sharing them with you in this special Halloween edition Stylaphile post.
3 Steps to a Creating a Fabulous Halloween Look Without Breaking the Bank
1. Think of people that you get told you look like. I get the same ones: Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Jessica Rabbit, and lately, with my new bangs and a ponytail, I get Pebbles Flintstone. So this year, I decided to dress up as Pebbles. No need for an expensive wig, just a bone, which I got at Petco. COST: $4.99
2. Get inspiration for your look by Googling your chosen character or person. The key word here is "inspiration." It doesn't have to be the exact dress or costume down to every detail. It's more fun to just get an idea and then make the look your own. Plus, you want to be comfortable enough in your costume to have a good time, since that's really what the holiday is all about.
3. Once you have an idea of your costume, hit the discount clothing stores such as Marshall's or TJ Maxx instead of the expensive costume shops. I found my "Pebbles" dress in the clearance section at TJ Maxx and it's so cute, I can wear it again next summer (minus the bone in my hair, of course). COST: $10.00
After you've assembled the basics of your costume, then you can tailor your makeup and accessories accordingly. This is where you can really spend a lot of time and effort (but not necessarily money) in making your look unique. For the Pebbles look, the makeup was pretty easy...bright lips and Bambie eyelashes.
Although I know that bare feet were a big fashion trend back in the Flintstone days, I still felt the need to add a little "Barbie" to the Pebbles ensemble in the form of these electric pink and purple stilettos by the one and only Betsey Johnson. And since they were already part of my "collection," I didn't even have to spend money on the shoes. COST: zero dollars
And remember the rules when it comes to "sexy" Halloween costumes (or dressing in general). If you're going with a really short skirt, then make sure you're covered on top. If you're opting for a strapless, low cut, or one-shouldered top, then make sure your hemline hits at the knees or lower. Unless of course, you actually did purchase the $200 naughty nurse costume, or you are, in fact, a naughty nurse. If that's the case, then no rules apply. Especially if you never make it out of the house.