Halloween parties are growing in popularity as an excuse to have fun, and are one of the few high profile social events through the year where dressing up is what it's all about. Choosing what to wear to a Halloween Party can be a little frustrating.
There are certain themes that keep repeating themselves. You can rest assured there will be several people dressed like Caspar the Ghost, quite a few dressed as Count Dracula and his long fanged Gothic lady friends, a number of witches and a few other outfits that everybody thinks of first. Or is it just that these are the outfits the costume hire company stocks in bulk?
To be distinctive, you could set out to design and make a completely different costume from scratch. However, most people don't have the time, money, imagination or inclination to go to that bother. Some find the answer to standing out in the crowd is to do something radically different, even outrageous, by showing up in a costume that has little if anything to do with Halloween. Especially if it is topical, witty, controversial or daring they will be noticed. That approach can take more courage and judgement to pull it off successfully than most of us feel comfortable about.
There is another simpler but equally effective approach to making your costume distinctive. All you need is something unexpected to act as a conversation starter. You are looking for a twist, and a brief story about it that you can use to attract some attention, and get a few laughs.
Let's take an example. Instead of going as a ghost, go as one of the Ghost Buster movie characters, and work the room meeting all the ghosts with the line you are there to bust them. Soon everyone will know you are there at the party.
If you go as a group, coordinate your costumes and show up, for example, as the Adams Family. It gives you an excuse to ham it up with each other. You won't be the first to use that costume, but people will notice all of you and want to talk about your distinctive united approach.
Suppose the only costume left at the hire company by the time you get there is yet another Count Dracula costume. To be different you could wear the tuxedo top half of the costume, but replace the trousers with your golfing pants and carry a golf club, or with tennis shorts and shoes and carry a tennis racket. Your story would be along the lines you are wearing what Dracula would wear when playing sport - and you would soon discover someone at the party who shared your interest in your favorite sporting pass time.
If you can't be bothered with going to too much trouble, focus mainly on your story with a few simple props. For example, cover a hat with cotton wool and hang a few fluffy bundles from the brim, and go as a Dreamer, with your head in the clouds.
It only takes a little imagination and not much expense to quickly turn a mundane choice of costume into something distinctive that gets other people interested in you and to start conversations. Best of all it adds to the fun and the laughs you can share with other party guests, and that is what Halloween costume parties are all about.
Elaine Hodges is a eBay entrepreneur and writer.
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