Halloween for Everyone! Recommendations for Every Costuming Type

October 17, 2013 | Posted by rissvandal

Happy October, everyone! I hope you’ve been enjoying Fall and that your Halloween preparations are well under way. To tell you the truth, I haven’t really been taking as much time as usual to really soak in the season. Maybe it’s because this month has been so busy for me–every weekend I’m out of town, most weekdays I’m running around setting up shoots for my special Halloween photoset (more about that later). Or maybe it’s because I can’t eat candy, or because making costumes is no longer a grand, once-a-year type of thing in my life. Whatever it is, I hope to get in the spirit this weekend when I take in the beautiful sites of the country, visit a notable haunted house attraction (Easter State Penitentiary in Philly), and hopefully eat lots of pumpkin stuff. That should do it, right? Maybe? I hope?


Now let’s talk the serious stuff of the season–costumes. If you haven’t chosen your costume yet, what are you doing and how can you be so casual? If you’re still debating, let me give you a couple of recommendations, hopefully help to guide you in the right direction. But first and foremost, before I throw a bunch of shops and websites at you, let’s break it down a bit. What’s your costuming type? Are you…

The Big Spender

If you want an eye-catching costume but lack the skill (or are too lazy) to make one yourself, this category is for you. It’s the simplest way to go about Halloween, but the one major downside is cost. Granted, making your entire Halloween costume from scratch could end up just as expensive, but when you’re getting a store bought costume, you’re rarely ever getting quality that matches the hefty price you pay (if you’re paying for something custom-made, that’s an entirely different story).

Here are a couple of ready made costumes that actually made me think “yeah, okay, that’s actually not terrible.” The Keroppi costume is my all-time favorite since it does double duty as a costume and a super-cute casual dress, and the kigurumi suit and kitty maid costumes would also be perfectly fitting for an anime convention or comic con.

Super Cute, Super Simple


Keroppi/Corgi Kigurumi/Maid Kitty



Attack on Titan/Sailor Scout/M. Bison (Street Fighter)



Wicked Rabbit/Demon Bride Dress/What IS this

If you want to skip the Halloween stores in favor of custom-made, Etsy and Fanplusfriendgarden are two good places to start from.

 The Customizer

Nine times out of ten, this is the category I fit into. I’ve never quite mastered sewing an entire outfit, but I can make hand-sewn alterations like nobody’s business, and I love taking cheap, low-grade Halloween props and transforming them into something epic. Two weeks from now I’ll be attending the PA Renaissance Faire and I’ve recently been working on a dark sorceress costume. The first image is an early progress picture of the wand I made. The picture was taken before I baked the clay and painted it, so believe me, it no longer has a weird Skeletor color scheme, but I’ll wait until the entire costume is complete to show the final project. Next to it, the violin started as a silly looking children’s toy and after some paint and clay, turned into a classically spooky prop for one of my past photo shoots.


For those of you that also favor customization, the thrift store should be your best friend. Here’s a picture of my family from a couple of Halloweens ago. About 80% of everything you see in this picture was thrifted. Michael Jackson, Pimp, Scarecrow, and “Miss Halloween.” We’re a crafty little family, eh?


Without a ready-made costume pack, you’ll likely need a wig, won’t you? Unless you intend to wear it one year and one year only, do not get a wig at a Halloween or party store. Those things are atrocious, they rarely look like the picture displayed, and there’s little to no flexibility on the shape. There are a lot of wig options on the internet, but if you want high-quality, durability, and a distinctive wig that can be additionally styled if need be, my go-to is always Gothic Lolita Wigs. I’ve purchased four of their wigs so far.


 The Craftsman/woman

Do you actually know your way around a sewing machine and are you daring enough to put a costume together virtually from scratch? Well I’m jealous, teach me your ways.


You may have already seen the above picture when I blogged about last year’s anime cosplay dance party. My friend Vicky game over and whipped up a Poke-hoodie in one afternoon. Below, we revisit when I went to Wizard World Comic Con in Philly a couple years back, when my friend Donald put together his spaceman costume miraculously in one night.


For those of you in this category, keep an eye out for insane fabric sales at your local craft store around this time. Since everything is rush rush rush these days, JoAnn Fabric already has their Halloween fabrics marked down to 60% off. And if you’re opting for something a little more industrial, don’t forget that places like Lowe’s and Home Depot will remain your consistently-priced friend for all eternity.

If you aren’t afraid of a little wig styling and maintenance, might I recommend AliExpress.com and eCrater.com. Here I’ve found high-quality heat-resistant wigs for super low prices ($10-15 range), but the  hitch is that the wigs often come unstyled–I’m talking super long, no bangs, lacking distinctive shape. When I purchased it, this teal wig was primarily all one length with long bangs that covered my eyes. But I went for it because it was only $12, and after one quick haircut, it was perfect. And if you don’t trust yourself to style a wig, it may sound funny, but ask a hairstylist you know to give you a wig “haircut.” That’s what I did.


If you’re doing your own makeup and actually want it to last through the night, Mehron brand theatrical makeup, my friend. That was my go-to when I created this sugar skull look. Their pressed powders, Creamblend Sticks, and Makeup Sealer Barrier Spray are products I can vouch for and would undoubtedly use again for any ornate or makeup-heavy looks.


With all this talk about costumes, you might be wondering, Riss, what the heck are you going to be for Halloween? Well, Halloween itself is up in the air–I’m either going to be Poison Ivy or undead Sakura Kasugano. But wait! Before you call me a hypocrite, I do realize I kind of picked on readers that left their costume selection for the last minute. In my defense, since Halloween falls on a weekday, the weekend before is when my main costumed celebration will take place, which is when I’ll be at the Renaissance Faire. So my big costume this year is a dark sorceress costume, which you will soon see.

On a final note, what is this special Halloween photo set I mentioned at the beginning of the post? If you follow me on Instagram (@rissvandal), you’ve already seen a couple of sneak peaks. If not, well on Halloween night I’ll be debuting a Monster Cereal  (y’know, Count Chocula, BooBerry, etc) inspired photo set, with photos taken throughout the month featuring multiple models and multiple cereals. It’s been really fun to work on and I can’t wait to show you guys! ^_^

Well, I’ll check back in soon. I have so many exciting things planned to share with you guys soon, even beyond the Halloween photo set. Stay tuned…


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