Tribune senior correspondent
October 12, 2012
There is so much to love about Halloween. Free candy. Fake blood. Pumpkin art. Decorative spiders. And the very best part: the costumes.
Who doesn't love a little dress-up, fantasy, capital F-U-N? Part of all that is the anticipation. A lot of us spend weeks and weeks pondering that all-important question: What will I be for Halloween?"
In fact, the only downside of Halloween, as far as I can tell, is that costumes are a one-shot affair. You can spend a lot money getting dressed up and then what? Your carefully crafted outfit is stuffed in a closet and forgotten. And you haven't even paid the credit card bill.
It doesn't have to be that way. Let me help you put together a costume with clothes you have or new ones that become part of your wardrobe after the big day has passed.
Lush phony eyelashes and your old wedding gown, and you're Kim Kardashian. Add two of your girlfriends in their tightest dresses and highest heels, and you've got the Kardashian sisters, Khloe and Kourtney. White face makeup, dark around the eyes and a trickle of red at the mouth can turn any regular clothes into zombiewear. An untucked shirt, sloppy khakis, latex gloves and a bloody knife from the costume shop makes you Dexter Morgan, the Miami police blood splatter expert (and serial killer) from the Showtime TV show.
On Halloween, everybody seems to be in a good mood. Maybe that's because it's a holiday without the baggage of Thanksgiving (all that food prep, family angst) or Christmas (food prep, family angst and the pressure of finding — and paying for — the right gifts).
Kids and adults, even my 83-year-old landlady, say Halloween is their favorite holiday. It sure is mine, and not just because it's my birthday (although that helps). What will make it even better this year is that I'm spending almost nothing on my costume and will use it over and over.
No more one-wear cast-asides like the used Superman cape I've stored in the basement for years. Ditto the Beavis and Butthead masks, the devil horns, the angel wings, the Super Mario overalls, the Lady Gaga wig. No more money spent for a single night of revelry.
To prove the point that you can play Halloween dress-up and still be a practical shopper, I put together a Halloween look made of pieces that can become your go-to wardrobe basics.
The costume shown here is (loosely) based on Anastasia Steele in E.L. James' best-seller "50 Shades of Grey."
In fact, it's so versatile you can even wear it to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. But I'd leave the handcuffs at home.
The key to a costume you can wear in your real life is to portray a character who wears street clothes. Books, movies, politics, people and events in the news are sources of inspiration.
Sometimes all it takes to get the point across is a few props, like the book and handcuffs. Instead of the cuffs, a man's tie wrapped bondage-style around the wrist also would work for this character.
With free paint chips from the hardware store, chain, glue and other items from Michaels, designer Amber Voorheis, a Michaels staffer, made this necklace and earrings. Not crafty? Poke small holes and thread and tie paint chips to fishing line for a simpler necklace.
If this striking eye by Kristina Marie of FactorArtists is more than you can handle, a more simple smoky eye works fine. Use black cream eye shadow with gray powder shadow on top, black eyeliner on top and bottom and plenty of mascara. For extra impact, add silver glitter. (Ulta, ulta.com, has many options.) Or just buy a sparkly mask at the drugstore.
Skirt: Halogen, $59, Nordstrom, nordstrom.com
Sweater: Classiques Entier, $158, Nordstrom, nordstrom.com
Tights: Berkshire, $9.95, Macy's, macys.com
It's easier than it looks.
1. Use a swatch of lace (with big-ish holes) as a stencil. Place the lace -- fishnet works too -- where you want the facial design. (Use masking tape or hold it by hand.)
2. Using a stippling makeup brush, lightly dab black cream eye shadow through the lace.
3. With a skinny brush, finish the details by hand, including glitter.
Michaels staffer Amber Voorheis offers these how-tos for the necklace she designed and made:
1. Draw leaf-shape stencil on cardboard and cut it out.
2. Trace stencil on the back of free hardware store paint chips in many shades of gray; cut out.
3. Using 4-inch cardboard disc ($1.49) as base, attach one screw eye ($3.99 for 36) on opposite disc sides -- 180 degrees apart; Place glue on the screw first for extra security.
4. Arrange petals in overlapping pattern as shown.
5. Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge ($6.49, 8 oz.) to entire disc surface using foam brush ($.49); individually attach petals to disc with more Mod Podge.
6. Cut to desired length; attach chain ($3.99, 4 feet) to screw eyes.
7. Attach necklace closure (6 sets, $2.99).