Halloween can be scary. Not because of the jump scares, horror movies and ghosts, obviously. The most daunting part of the spooky season is finding a costume.
Being a college student in the month of October means balancing sexy with practicality, funny with recognizable, TikTok-worthy with affordable. We’ve been there and, through trial and error, have learned the ropes. So, let us guide you through the dos and don’ts of picking a Halloween costume.
DO: Make sure you can breathe in your costume. One of our members recounts being a ninja for the last several years and, last year, they began seeing spots and passed out on some dude’s futon. Not cool — keep your airways open for things like oxygen and a late-night Cosmic run.
DO: Be sustainable! Reduce, reuse and recycle a costume or clothing you already have, so you don’t add to the last-minute Amazon Prime orders coming through for Halloween. If you do buy something, make sure you can use it multiple times. It’s good for the environment and your wallet, and let’s face it — Prime two-day shipping doesn’t exist when everyone in the country is scavenging for the last touches to their costumes.
DO: Hit the thrift stores. Whether you’re looking for costume inspiration or trying to find the last touch on the look of your dreams, second-hand clothes are a great place to start that doesn’t break the bank. It's also an environmentally friendly option!
DON’T: Be insensitive. Halloween opens the doors for a lot of… questionable costume choices. A good rule of thumb is to avoid costumes of any cultural significance (yes, Cleopatra falls under this category). Don’t mimic clothes or hairstyles important to groups of people you do not belong to because, well, it’s simply not a costume. Also, please read the room before you settle on a sexy cop. We are begging you.
This is more of a ‘do what you will’ recommendation, but if your plan is to stand out this Halloween, dressing up as a sexy angel or devil will not cut it. Sure, you can dress like that for a party if the theme allows it, but if that’s not the case for you, it’s time to step it up. Do something quirky and have a fun twist with your costume. You’re not going to win any costume contests when there are already hundreds of other people dressed exactly like you.
Try to make basic costumes more specific to stand out! For example: be the Wicked Witch of the West instead of just a witch. Be Tinker Bell instead of just a fairy. Be Puss in Boots instead of just a cat. Be Jack Sparrow instead of just a pirate. (And let us know if you take us up on any of these!)
DON’T: Ignore the weather. We all make the mistake of being a Playboy bunny or shirtless lifeguard in subzero temperates. Conversely, attempting a Cruella de Vil-level fur coat in an unseasonably warm October might produce more pit stains than Dalmatians. Keep your layers light and your costume salvageable without them.
DON’T: Wear high heels. Just don’t do it. Take it from us, you will regret it. Opt for costumes with less dangerous footwear. You can’t avoid blisters, but you can avoid face-planting on Franklin Street.
DON’T: Dress for anyone else. Cliché, we know, but bear with us. Picking out a costume, balancing the comfortable-but-still-sexy tightrope and wanting to stand out among your peers is hard. Pick a costume that makes you laugh, and don’t be afraid to indulge in inside jokes with your friends. So what if you’re not a sexy Rameses? (Jot that one down). As long as you’re safe, happy and comfortable, you’re doing Halloween right.
Happy trick-or-treating, Tar Heels.
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