Halloween allows for creativity

Erica James and Dalton-Jesse Cummins dressed as Blue and Steve last year for Halloween. Photo contributed by Erica James

As the leaves change and the air gets cooler, department stores fill with costumes, masks and wigs. But many Castleton students prefer homemade costumes to the store bought versions.

Last year, Karsen Woods was looking for a store bought costume, but found that simple may be the way to go.

“I searched tirelessly last year for a costume and ended up with an old mechanic’s jumpsuit I found buried in the corner of a thrift store,” Woods said. “Probably my best costume to date and it was like $8.”

According to Forbes, Americans spent $6.9 billion on Halloween last year including costumes, decorations and candy. They spent $2.8 billion on costumes alone and, wait for it, $350 million on pet costumes. That averages out to each American spending $74 on the holiday.

But perhaps in part from budget concerns, for Castleton students, themed and homemade costumes are popular.

Student Chelsea Pine and alumna Katelyn Daly have had fun making homemade coordinated costumes you can’t find in stores.

“We wanted to do pair costumes that are fun and ones that aren’t seen very often,” Pine said. In past years they have been Peter Pan and his shadow, and Wednesday and Pugsly Addams from the Addams family. 

Junior Erica James and her boyfriend, senior Dalton Cummins, were Blue and Steve from Blue’s Clues last Halloween, fitting the theater department’s 90’s theme.

“Since we both used to watch that when we were younger, we decided to go with that,” she said of the Blue’s Clues pair. “I made my costume pretty much out of an oversized t-shirt and used another t-shirt to cut out polka dots and I hot glued them on the dress. For Dalton's, we bought him a striped shirt and then I made him a handy dandy notebook out of construction paper and a pipe cleaner and I bought an oversized crayon and made the green stripes on it.”

James likes homemade costumes because you can make them unique.

“I think it's cool to make your own costumes because you can add your own little twist to them. If you buy the costume as a whole, it's hard to change it, but if you buy parts of it you can change it up still,” she said.

Alumna Kim French and her boyfriend, student Andre Hathaway, also did a couples costume last year going as a butterfly and butterfly catcher.

“I love doing couples costumes because it’s really fun dressing up with your significant other. The costumes allow you to be goofy and express yourselves in a different way,” French said. “It’s a bonding moment for you and your significant other. It’s fun!”

A benefit of homemade costumes is that they are usually cheaper than the $45 store bought costumes, but often take more time and effort and don’t always turn out the way you hope, according to a blog on Doughmain titled “Pros and Cons of Homemade and Store-bought Halloween Costumes.”

French and Hathaway’s costumes combined homemade and store bought elements.

“The cool thing about our costumes last year was that mine was store bought and Andre’s was homemade,” she said. “He used his own clothes and then bought some butterfly stickers and a fishnet. Store-bought costumes are great for those who don’t have time to make a costume, but homemade ones really allow you to show your creativity and personality.”



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