Image from Mean Girls

put a hex on that sexy witch costume, this is your alt guide to halloween

How to navigate halloween costumes in 2017? This is the year to step. it. up.

by Sophie Peacock
27 October 2017, 10:53am

Image from Mean Girls

Halloween always falls on the same cold, dark and windy night that makes you want to stay at home in your pyjamas, but society says you must go out and party wearing an unwieldy and weather-inappropriate outfit fashioned out of things you found under your flatmate's bed. How do you strike the right balance of impressive, cost-efficient and wearable enough to dance in, without being boring or cliché?

Sometimes the oldies are the goodies. Maybe you go for a skeleton onesie or the old sheet-over-the-head-ghost routine. Maybe you don a pair of horns and paint yourself red from head to toe at your friend's behest, even though you said you were allergic to body-paint and nobody else had to wear it. Because turning up to a Halloween shindig in a costume that nobody 'gets' can go two ways: either it's a great conversation starter, or you are ostracised as a Weird Person who "might have come as something from Star Wars, I don't know, haven't seen it". Own it, and confidently announce what your costume represents, because hearing "Apparently that guy came dressed as nuclear fission" is way cuter than, "Who invited the donut-wizard-king?"

Sexy witch
If you want a sexy outfit that neatly caters to the amount of black clothes you inevitably own, the witch is a natural solution. So with such an effortlessly cheap costume, you can afford to step. it. up. Be a freaky witch with three eyes and blue lips, fill a carpet bag with tampons and an elderly cat, cover your Uber in cobwebs, turn your Dyson into the Tesla of broomsticks. Get some friends involved and form a wandering coven of witches and refuse to talk to any men all night. Brooms before grooms witches!

If any particular genre of costume sums up the false dichotomy of having a convincing costume and having a sexy costume, it's uniforms. You can be either a regular policewoman, or a slutty policewoman; a regular pilot or a slutty pilot; a regular doctor or a slutty doctor. Well how about a flying cyborg policewoman? Or a pilot whose right side has aged twice as fast as his left side? A doctor who also happens to be a zombie Velma from Scooby Doo? Introduce some more variables!

The reason why so many tried-and-tested costumes are much better off in their 'sexy' incarnation is because otherwise they just look like the 'fraudulent' version. Buying a cheap fireman's outfit just makes you look like a suspiciously unprofessional fireman. No one wants to be reminded of their interactions with the emergency services, so if you're going down the uniform route, make it more 'Halloween spooky chic' and less 'trying out some role play with the wife.'

Out of character
Don't be concerned about being on trend and getting all Blade Runner or Bad Moms or whatever's hot rn, because where there are costumes there are film nerds. Avoid having your Pulp Fiction costume mansplained to you, and instead go with your imagination. If you really want to dress as a fictional being, at least combine genres and franchises to enrage the enthusiasts: mix your elves and your aliens, or wang two random Robert De Niro characters together to create an even cooler one -- there's plenty of purists to annoy.

Please don't devise an 'ironically offensive' costume. Please. Because I promise that however funny you think it is, it is actually much less funny than that.

Ears, wings and tails
Last-minute accessories posing as a costume -- you know the type of thing: David says he has come as a bee, but he's just a man in a Superdry shirt and his niece's princess wings. His girlfriend has drawn a quick but mercenary cat-nose-and-whiskers combo on her face with a blunt eyeliner. Their eyes are devoid of dignity.

It's a crime I have regularly committed, but it comes with a warning. One year I went to a Halloween party as 'vagina dentata' but it was just me in a black dress with some very crudely cut out paper fangs stuck to my crotch that fell off and went missing half an hour in. Unless your accessory application is undeniably stylish, leave the damn thing at home or you can bank on it being lost or, worse, co-opted by another party-goer. Humiliating.

Stand out by blending in
If you want to convince and impress -- and you have a surprisingly high threshold for physical discomfort and a strong bladder -- go camouflage. Disguise yourself and deceive others! Go as a telephone booth, a urinal, a trash can -- fade away into the background to avoid feeling distraught and misunderstood at the party. Or go the other way and come dressed as the host of the party and infiltrate his good friends and ultimately oust him from his undeservedly high place in the social hierarchy. You can even skip the party entirely and say, "Oh, I'm so sorry Toby, I must not have had a chance to say hi. I was very definitely there, I was dressed as your fridge."

For the people who want to cop-out
I feel you, I do, I really hate to dress up. But sometimes peer pressure means you have to bite the sociable bullet and don a ridiculous outfit just to fit in. Keep it lowkey. Tell people you've come as the person you always feared you would become when you were 12. Explain that you are wearing a costume but it is only visible in other territories, and was actually quite expensive. Put on a pair of thick framed glasses and let other people decide who you are, then play them off against each other. Dress to your strengths and give yourself a reason to wear that yellow pleather waistcoat everyone hates but that you secretly think is cool. Easy.

Mean Girls
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