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By Shannon Wand

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If you are anything like me you have planned a few Halloween costumes out of season. It gives you time to bounce your ideas off a friend. That's not to say that last minute costumes can't be fantastic, too, though. I just think that you should do whatever is necessary to not have to rent a previously used (read unoriginal and sweaty) costume that costs way too much. Creating your own costume is fun and inexpensive. Dress up as a stick of glue and act insane-you're “Crazy Glue.” This is the time of year to be as zany as you want, go nuts.

Take this idea as an example; use pipe cleaners and wrap your hair around them as though your hair is blowing in the wind. Wear loose fitting clothes tightened across your front and ballooned with wire out back. You would be “Wind Blown Person”. A simple back-up costume is to glue cotton balls all over a toque and a pair of old boots while wearing all white fitted clothing. Worn together with white face make-up you should look like a Q-Tip. It's a good runner up costume as it wouldn't take long to make or cost more than a few bucks.

Think back to all of the parties you've been to. I'll wait... Okay, now try to remember the best costume you've seen. I bet it wasn't a store bought gorilla or gypsy outfit. The homemade ones are the best. They are creative, unique and best of all, inexpensive. They can be found at your local thrift store for under ten bucks or right in your own home. There are even great costume ideas in your tool shed or kitchen drawer. Put two-sided tape all over you and go to the party as “Sticky Spice.” It's quick, cheap and you will come home with a few interesting items stuck to you. Now that's a good time!

A couple of years ago my girlfriend, Jen, and I decided last minute to go to a mandatory costume party. With little time we had to use our imaginations. We found an empty case of beer each and cut out places for our heads and made sure that they fit on our shoulders. We decorated each of our cases with construction paper and magic markers to look like houses. We used the front flaps as driveways, drew some bushes and then added the piece de la résistance; toy cars taped to our driveways. Jen had a motor cycle and I had a lovely red sports car. We then took a piece of yarn and stapled each end to the sides of our houses. We found doll clothes and stapled those onto the line between our homes so that it looked like a clothes line. With our “houses” on and the line keeping us together we went to the party as “Neighbors.” We still laugh about that one.

You may be thinking that you just don't have that great of an imagination and that this Shannon gal must be pretty smart to come up with so many great costume ideas. You would be absolutely right about my intelligence but just plain wrong about your lack of creativity. Keep in mind that sometimes the best thing about a person's costume is the name they give themselves. Think of superhero names. Go as “Pork Man or Woman” saving all the party goers from the evil pork products being served. Wear tights and a cape (easily made from a sheet) and draw a pork chop or piece of bacon on an old white T-shirt. Presto-you are a superhero! When asked who you are say your name like you mean it-remember it's all in the attitude! Not all superhero's work, though. A friend of mine went as “Boobie Touching Man” one year. I don't recommend this costume at all.

The party Jen and I went to was filled with the aforementioned gypsy and gorilla rented costumes. No one was amused by our homemade costume. I thought Halloween was about being silly and hamming it up a little bit. I've had way more fun chatting with the costume designers about where they came up with their ideas then I ever had asking someone about the good times they had renting their costume. I have such respect for those fly by the seat of your pants costumes that have more to do with having fun than looking good. Keep in mind, too, that many pictures will be taken and trust me when I say the sillier you look the harder you will laugh later. The idea is to have as much fun making the costume as you have wearing it. You could even have a pre-party party where everyone makes their costume together.

If you are, once again, just like me you will come up with a few not-so-great ideas. Take for example my “Moron” costume. What I would do is wear all of the clothes that I could possibly get on. I would then have “more on” than anyone else making me a “Moron.” I love the idea in theory but not the part about wearing all of the clothes. It would be difficult to use the washroom and I would get hot. Also, I have mentioned it to a few people and nobody gets it as either they are not as clever as I am or the idea is just plain stupid. Whatever. They can't all be winners but its still fun trying and that's the whole point. Besides, it would be a great costume if I were celebrating Halloween in the Antarctic.




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