I love Halloween. I love the silly plastic decorations, the fake spiders (the only good kind in my opinion), the jack-o-lanterns with silly yet menacing grins, the awful “spooky sounds” music you hear. I love how having Thanksgiving and Halloween so relatively close in the year makes for some interesting mixes of displays in stores, with fake hay bales and jolly scarecrows offering their price-tags right next to Spooky Mr. Bones and the Pumpkin brigade. I also love having a second time of year to enjoy the wonderful creation that is the peanut butter egg, or rather PB bat I guess since it is Halloween themed this time of year and not Easter themed.
Since I’ve been watching the progression of store displays (avoiding looking at the Christmas sections that have already begun springing up; I refuse to look at or consider the Winter Holidays until AFTER my spooky Halloween has had a chance to happen!) I’ve been thinking more and more about costumes; especially those available for plus-sized folks. Putting aside for the moment any discussions about the ramifications of spending a day (or more depending on if you’ve a bunch of parties lined up for the holiday) pretending to be someone you’re not; I thought I would post about my findings and suggestions for costumes.
It has been my experience that most costumes available for anyone beyond a size XL in the “Only open for the two months around the holiday” type Halloween Shops are either sorely lacking in diversity (Oooo I could be a Geisha…or a Goth Vampiress), or so shoddy in construction that I find the costs FAR outweigh the actual value. Perhaps my ideas will help out someone looking to be more than just a “Gothic Vampiress” or whatever can be wrangled up from the closet last minute. After all, for me the fun of Halloween is HAVING fun; not in stressing out over wondering if you can find something that will FIT and not run you into the poor-house!
I am hesitant to buy costumes (or anything really in the “All Sales Final” type of category, into which I place any outfit you plan to buy for a holiday/event coming up in less than a month) online. Yet, I have to say that the selection and prices at a few sites merit at least a cursory glance. Take care to note which accessories DO NOT come with a costume when you look to buy one online!
- BuyCostumes.com~ Prices range from the mid $40s to over $100 (There are a few in clearance for $20). The quality is un-known (if anyone has used them before, let us know) but it would be likely fair to assume the fabrics aren’t high-quality or intended for wear without something worn underneath.Their “Plus-Size” is only 18-22 so that does limit the range of folks to whom the costumes might be useful. However there ARE a couple outfits available with 2X and 3X sizing options. Those are only the “Elite” collection, from what I’ve seen, and those tend to be more expensive than the other costumes.
I like the range of costume selection, which gives you the generic items you’d find in a Brick & Mortar store, but which also has a few Disney look-alike princesses, storybook heroines, historic figures and even some creative different ideas like “Peacock” and “Seahorse Queen”. There IS a very large tendency for the outfits to be “sexy” in label or appearance, a lot of short skirts/dresses (only a handful of outfits with pants actually) and an eye-rolling insistence on “Sexy Exotic “Others” Cultural Outfits” that might make some folks cringe. While it is nice to see a few of the outfits actually worn by plus-sized women, there is not a lot of diversity in the models used, which might also turn folks off from using the site.
I myself am someone who would much rather sew together a costume than spend lots of money on a chintzy version of a great outfit. Even if you’re not an avid seamstress you can still make some fun costumes for low-cost.
- 1Halloween.net ~ This is a fun site that shows some great costume ideas that you can make yourself. A lot of the pictures are geared towards children but the basic principles can be applied to anyone at any size. Costs vary depending on the project you select but can be very low (For example, being a “Lady Bug” requires having a red sweater and black pants, some black felt, 2 pipe cleaners and 2 pom-poms).
- FamilyFun.Go ~ Some VERY crafty ideas for using stuff you already have and a few other things, plus a bit of project craft time to make fun, unique, even family-themed costumes. There is even a VERY quick section of ideas for last-minute folks. The projects give step by step details that seem very basic and easy to follow.
- Simplicity~ I love to use Simplicity for their patterns. Their costume selection is always fun and the sizing is decent and goes up to 32W depending on the pattern. If you even have a simple knowledge of sewing and have a machine then these are a great option. If you go to a Walmart or the like (some place with a fabric section) or JoAnn’s or some other fabric store (stay to the clearance sections for fabric though at pricier places) you can usually find deals this time of year on patterns so the price of the pattern alone won’t be $10; it could be much lower. Fabric cost depends on your pattern’s complexity and your desire for fancy fabrics.
Anyone with other ideas please feel free to share. Is there a Brick & Mortar store in your area that you love, which carries fun Plus-sized costumes? Is there a website you love? What has been your favorite costume growing-up and now? I used to LOVE being a Flapper (even had a matching Mother/Daughter outfit that we wore a couple years in a row), but being a cat was usually the fall-back plan for low-budget years. Now I tend to just over-jazz up a Belly Dance performance outfit and go as a dancer. Though this year I’m really looking at trying to make a Belle Costume for myself!