How to Win a Halloween Costume Contest

With Halloween right around the corner, costumes are on every ones mind right now. Everyone wants to have a unique costume that blows people out of the water and makes a memorable impression, but sadly, most people fail. Well grab a drink and take notes because whether you’re competing in a parade, at a friend’s party, or at an event, I’ve got the inside secret on what the judges look for.

Rule number one: Discard all notions of hitting up the local costume shop for a gaudy rendition of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Not to say that the local costume shop is completely worthless, but it should be a sounding board for ideas or the start of your costume. Not only do the costumes sold there look cheap and you look cheesy wearing them, but they are completely unoriginal and boring. Focus more on finding an idea from the combination of their costumes that’s new and exciting.

Rule number two: Pick a costume that fits your personality AND your body. You may want to dress up as a stripper nun, but there’s nothing more displeasing than seeing a person who spent more time getting into their costume than they did making it (and unless you come up with a master plan to hide some needle and thread on your overly exposed body, don’t risk it). There are plenty of wonderful ideas for the people who don’t fit the Barbie mold, don’t stress over it, accept reality, and spend your time more usefully (like thinking of costumes that can mock the Barbie mold).

Rule number three: Avoid dressing up like unknown characters/people or making your costume hard to “get”. Although you may think it’s a great idea to dress up as the rejected character “Pansy” from Teletubbies, no one is going to know who you are. You are also not going to get the chance to explain that you are plant during the process of photosynthesis.

Rule number four: Run your costume by at least 5 people before the big event. No, your mother doesn’t count either (we all she loves anything you do). Get the opinions of at least 5 people who will NOT lie to you. If they don’t get it, think its lame, or just too clichÃ?©, take their advice and try and mix it up.

Rule number five: Cute only works for kids. Grown up costume contests don’t have to be all serious, but stay away from “cute” ideas. A five year old in pig tails dressed up like a baby is adorable, a grown up doing the same is just lame. Know when you’re too mature to pull it off.

Rule number six: This one is for all the couples out there picking out costumes. Couples costumes are probably the hardest of all to make unique. Please avoid the popular yet utterly unoriginal ideas of going as things such as Romeo and Juliet, a pimp and a hooker, or the inane costumes being sold all over the costume shops right now like handcuffs. Try for something that is not usually a “couples” theme. You don’t have to be a man and a woman or even something that people would normally associate of going together. For example (not necessarily a good one) you could go as the before and after of Michael Jackson’s changes.

Rule number seven: Making fun of popular culture is a gold mine. The more hilarious your costume is and the more it mocks a famous person that has been in the spot light recently the better. Just make sure it’s someone and something lots of people know about. Do not however make fun of people’s horrible misfortune like a disease or handicap.

Rule number eight: Popular costumes that seem unoriginal can be a success. You just have to know how to put a new twist on them. The favorites can be a good thing when used correctly; you just have to come up with your own unique concept of them.

Rule number nine: Be the character you’re portraying. If you don’t like your costume no one else will either. This rule especially applies to horror costumes; they are the hardest to pull off. In order to fully win people over with your costume they have to believe it. Anyone can dress up like Freddy Kruger but don’t try unless you can seriously scare someone by doing it.

And last but certainly not least…

Rule number ten: HAVE FUN! All in all, costumes are supposed to be fun and exciting. It is a chance for you break out of yourself and put on someone else persona for a while. No one likes a spoil sport and even if you don’t win, you’ll still be happy if you had a blast doing it!

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