Affordable Conceptual Costumes for Halloween

It’s that time of year again when ghosts and vampires and other monsters almost seem real, the time when children dress up in all sorts of costumes and walk from door to door of strangers’ homes to be scared and eat an excessive amount of candy. And it’s the time for you, dear Reedie, to start thinking about what Halloween costume you want to wear while going trick-or-treating — or perhaps at the next Halloween party if that’s more your style. And since this is college, it is likely you are looking for a cheap solution, and perhaps also some creative inspiration. If you want a cool costume, and you want it cheap, here’s how.

First, think of a phrase which a lot of people know. This could be a funny catch phrase, a metaphor, play on words, a concept, a quote from a politician or singer, or anything you like, as long as it is possible to describe visually. An example of this might be “fishing for compliments.” Characters, people, animals, or mythical creatures are good too, but those costumes are more common, so I recommend trying the former.

Then, look around you for stuff to make your costume in your dorm, the Reed College Bookstore, outside, Goodwill, or another nearby store. This can be tricky, but first think about what you want to make. For “fishing for compliments,” you might want a fishing rod with a compliment fish on the end of the line and some compliment fishes swimming around on your clothes.

So you might decide to use those boxes which you never threw away, blank pieces of paper which a librarian kindly gave to you, some string from the hardware store, a stick from outside, a Swiss Army knife which you borrowed from a friend, a blue shirt and blue pants from Goodwill, your black sharpie, or a white paint marker and a glue stick which you bought at the bookstore. Maybe you have outdoor clothing like a jacket, a wool hat, or boots which you want to wear as well. So you become the person fishing and the fish at the same time, because why not?

Finally, put it all together. So you have the idea and some supplies. Now you have to make the costume. This might take some time. But now you know what you want to do, what to use, and have a general idea of how to make the costume. In some ways, this is the easiest part. If you are trying something new, such as whittling a stick when you have never whittled before, this task may be more challenging. But you can always ask if you need for help from the internet, or from other people with experience.

Back to “fishing for compliments.” You decide to glue a blank piece of paper on either side of a piece of cardboard, trace the outline of a fish, and cut it out. This is your compliment fish for your fishing rod. To make the fishing rod, you strip the stick of bark, tie the string to the end of stick, and then to the fish after punching a hole in it. You use your sharpie to write “that is such a great costume” on both sides of the fish. Take your blue clothes and draw white fish on them with your paint marker, large enough to fit words. Then you write some compliments over the fish using your sharpie. You put on the blue clothes, the jacket, the boots, the hat, and pick up the fishing rod to see how they feel. You did it! What an accomplishment. Now all you have to do is do it yourself this time. But maybe the creative process isn’t as complicated as you first thought. And have fun, of course! It’s Halloween!

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