Costume Conundrum

Okay, confession time. I hate wearing costumes. I just don't like people gawking at me or being any center of attention. BUT I love seeing really fun creative costumes on Halloween night. Weird right? So I consulted the best spiritual sources to come up with the following advice on what to wear and where to find it.

Where to Find a Costume

Seasonal Halloween Shops
The obvious choice with a trending selection costumes-in-a-bag, but they can be somewhat expensive (and cheap). Always look for special offers or coupons via their free emails or social media.


National Retailers
The big box stores focus on the little trick 'r treaters, candy and home decor. The costumes selection for adults is usually very limited, so unless "millennial" is your costume, you might strike out.

Online Shops
Yes, they have unparalleled selection and size BUT you can't try them on and shipping times can be disappointing. Order very early since some offer exchanges before the season ends.


Closet & Attic Raid
Respectfully raid your grandparent's closet for treasures! You are bound to find a sequined disco blouse from the 70s, a shoulder-padded jumpsuit from the 80s, or even a perfect flowery granny outfit.

Deluxe Costumes
Many retailers now offer higher quality fabrics, more intricate designs, and often include one or two accessories. Some of the matching deluxe accessories are still sold separately.


If you want to impress or win the contest at a reasonable price, try a costume rental shop. Many shops work with theater & tv productions so they are better made, fancier costumes.

Thrift Stores
Vintage era costumes and accessories are easy to find at second-hand stores and a great way to upcylce used clothes. Look for distribution point stores that have the best picks.


DIY: Do It Yourself
Creative types can take cardboard, a glue gun and paint and create made from scratch outfits that are both unique. This embodies the very essence of what Halloween is all about.

How to Choose Your Perfect Costume

So what should you wear? The chart below gives you the factors to consider when choosing a costume. For additional help, check out the WikiHow page How to Choose a Halloween Costume.


Sexy Sailor
Naughty Nurse

Slutty Lunch Lady





The uninhibited blessed with great genes and few body image issues; often win costume contests with very little actual costuming; for those who believe that even on Halloween they must look pretty and they do


Movie Character


Total Extrovert

Addicted to Selfies


Those who like the spotlight and want to take lots of pictures with strangers; people who already resemble famous people; men who like to wear tights and capes in public; for the ruggedly handsome man


Deviled Egg
Hot Dog

Drag Queen

Borderline Extrovert

Sense of Humor
Doesn't Care


Party animals, jocks, people who enjoy sexual innuendo; former class clowns; hipsters who like to wear clothing ironically; last minute shoppers who find only these kinds of costumes on the shelves; couples


Renaissance Garb
Victorian Lady



Moody Introvert


Skews Older


Older people reliving yesteryear; the highly educated; those who afraid to get too wild; safe for work parties; serious costumers; History Channel fans; people who get cold easily and need many layers of fabric




Non-sexy Witch


Full Introvert


Darker Inclinations


For those who believe that Halloween should be scary; loners or goth-inclined; those who want to hide behind a mask and avoid chatting; those who like complicated costumes; often very creative

Recommended Costume Resources


A great selection of period costumes and steampunk attire. A bit on the pricier side but many exclusive looks.

Fantastic selection, expertly organized, clear directions for measurements. Make sure to follow their excellent blog.

One of my favorite mask purveyors offers classic movie masks as well as unique original creations.

A brilliant costume designer whose site provides incredible inspiration in the fantasy and cosplay arena.

Bewitching Books About Costumes

Halloween Handbook: 
447 Costumes
by B. Clark & A. Dodd 
(Workman, 2004)
A good book for ideas rather than a how-to book. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.

How to Win the Halloween Costume Contest!
by Per Kapper
(Dansk Biblioteks Center, 2011)
A step-by-step guide to easy fabrication and makeup tutorials.

How to Make Masks
by Jonni Good
(Wet Cat Books, 2012)
Learn step-by-step techniques for creating paper mache masks.

Elegantly Frugal Costumes
by Shirley Dearing
(Meriwether, 1992)
Learn to create low-budget period costumes from existing materials and where to splurge on details.

Extreme Face Painting 
by Brian & Nick Wolfe
(Impact, 2010) 
Get fiendish tutorials from the twin brothers to make a very (super) natural appearance.

Halloween: A Grown-up's Guide To Creative Costumes...
by Joanne O'Sullivan 
(Lark, 2003) 
Simple costumes, great pictures and few ideas for theme parties.