October is a cold month, and platform shoes and low-cut bustiers (and sleazy dudes) are a party-going nuisance. Unfortunately, retail Halloween costume options for women still consist mostly of “sexy” this or “naughty” that. Which means you’ll probably want to make your own.
Here are some of my favorite costume ideas, most of which are no-sew:
1. Pop Art/Comic Book Character
So cool. It’s a popular look, but the makeup is time-consuming enough that it’s not been overdone:
- Lichtenstein-inspired makeup by Karin Stone for MAC Cosmetics.
- “Homage to Lichtenstein” photo by Eva Mueller, makeup by Andrew D’Angelo.
- Comic-inspired headbands, $23 by Janine Basil.
- Another Lichtenstein-inspired photo by Shannon Brooke Imagery (makeup by Jennifer Corona).
2. Celestial Beings
Pair an elaborate star (made with foam glitter stars & wire) or moon headdress with simple dark clothes:
- Hedy Lamarr photo from Ziegfeld Girl.
- Cosmic headdress from Martha Stewart.
- Image from Alexander McQueen FW07 runway from Style.com.
3. The Grim Reaper
Paint all exposed skin black, and cover everything else with black or dark brown fabrics. You want a shredded, tattered look, like you’ve been wandering the world from end to end:
- Still from a Tsolmandakh Munkhuu runway show via Twisted Lamb.
- Wandering spirit portrait by Elisabeth Frederickson.
- Still from Asher Levine’s SS11 collection, via Trendhunter.
4. Silent Movie Femme Fatale
Go for the dramatic look of a turn-of-the-century vamp:
- Photo by Salomé Vorfas (makeup by Cosmashiva).
- Greyscale costumes from Boing Boing.
- Dramatic eye makeup by Tanya Skinner (photo by Adam P. Fuller).
- Vintage Pina Menichelli photo from How to be a Retronaut.
5. A Whole New You
Use makeup to make your features really “pop”:
- Bleach Ichigo Hollow mask makeup (with video tutorial!) from Chuy Yang.
- Zombie makeup by Lyzius.
- Two face makeup by KyleeGreider.
- Big eye makeup by Killer Colours.
- Fake smile makeup by Sh*ttyLiquor.
6. House from Up
You may prefer to leave this one to the kids (it’s better suited for outdoor trick-or-treating than indoor parties):
- House That Fell on the Wicked Witch costume from Coolest Homemade Costumes.
- Hot air balloon costume from Country Living.
- Real-life Up house by National Geographic.
7. Creepy Doll
Dolls are always terrifying:
- “Doll Face” by Pascale Douglas. Obviously altered by the computer (see her neck), but lots of great makeup ideas. I’ve also seen eyeballs extended with white eyeliner or paint to appear more doll-like.
- Joint stockings from Japan.
8. Japanese Ghost
All you need is white makeup, eyes rimmed with black liner and red eyeshadow, white sheets tied with a thick belt, handfuls of red yarn (attached to wrists with elastic), and (optionally) a white wig. Simple but eerie.
- “Yuurei” editorial by Nikolai de Vera via Twisted Lamb.
- Photo from “Eternal” photo set by Olivier Shows.
- Another image from the “Yuurei” editorial by Nikolai de Vera.
More Good Ideas:
Row by row, from left:
- Glamour mouse, part of Chanel’s FW11 ad campaign.
- French burglar family, featured on Oh Happy Day!
- Mary Poppins & chimney sweep costume from Keiko Lynn.
- Ziggy Stardust/David Bowie costume idea from Mini Rodini.
- Easy Guinevere dress instructions from Charter-Magic.
- Beekeeper costume from Martha Stewart.
- Helga from Hey Arnold! costume by Suzanne Bonanno.
- Morton Salt Girl costume concept by Doxophobia.
Finally, see more costume ideas at these posts: Jane Asher’s Fancy Dress; Arachnophobia Party Concept; Witch Party Concept; Mad Masquerade Concept (link coming soon); & Sugar Skull D.I.Y. (link coming soon).