It's almost Halloween, and while it's nowhere near as big here as it is over in the US, you've probably got a costume party or two to go to. Want to have the best damn costume in the house, or maybe win a local costume contest? There's no one better to turn to for advice than the people who do costumes best, all year round: cosplayers.
While for most people, Halloween is a single-weekend scramble to put together a decent costume, cosplayers do this every time a convention comes around. We know a thing or two about slapping together a costume at the last minute — and we make it look awesome, too. Need some quick tips to take your Halloween costume to the next level? We've got you covered.
Make It Bloody
Even if you haven't got the most detailed or impressive costume, you can make it interesting with the addition of fake blood. Buckets of it, in fact. Blood is really all you need to take a Halloween costume from crappy to creepy, whether you're dressing as a zombie, a bloodthirsty demon or even just a warrior fresh from battle. You don't have to go broke buying the blood that the pros use — you can make your own at home.
One of my favourite tips is to add a teaspoon or so of cocoa powder. It makes the blood dry a convincing brownish colour instead of bright red and pink, and looks a treat on both skin and clothing. Tastes pretty good, too.
Aside from blood, special effects makeup is a sure way to impress. Silicone or latex wound appliances can be bought from many costume shops and specialty makeup shops, and applied with a fair amount of success even by makeup newbies.
Here's what Australia's cosplayers had to add:
Blood and gore is one thing, but if you want a cleaner costume you can also look at bodypaint. Now resist the urge to use acrylic paint all over your body, it's really not good for your skin. Most craft shops will have some kind of body paint available, but if you want to make your look even more pro, look for professional water-based body paints like TAG.
Now that you've made yourself all bloody and messed up, or painted yourself red, blue or purple for the night, you can't touch anything until you take it off again, right? That is, unless you seal it. You can get all sorts of different sealing powders and sprays to make sure your colours don't budge onto the furniture, walls or the other people around you. If you have time, do a test run (or at least a test patch) to make sure you won't bleed colour everywhere.
Here are some more cosplay-proven tips:
Skip The Costume Store
It's easy to jump down to the local costume store to pick something up the day before your party, but is that really going to result in having the best costume? Of course, you can upgrade any level of crappy store costume with just a few of the tips listed above (and below) but maybe you don't need to spend the money on a satin-and-lace monstrosity.
While you might not think it, you probably have enough for a costume sitting in your closet at home already (though not everyone has the same access to wigs and accessories that cosplayers do), or you may have more luck going down to a local op shop.
Here are some other ideas that may help:
Learn From The Pros
YouTube is your best friend. Usually that statement wouldn't be true in any way, but when it comes to quick costumes, accessories and makeup tips, there's nowhere better. No matter what you want to dress as this Halloween, if you put it into the YouTube search bar, you'll probably find a makeup tutorial for it.
Aussie makeup brand Napoleon Perdis is particularly good with this, putting out makeup tutorials every Halloween. This year they're all based on Greek mythology, such as this creepy-sexy Minotaur look. Want to do something cool with your face but have no idea how makeup even works? Learn it from the pros:
Make It Fun
Above all, it's important to remember that Halloween is meant to be fun. It's a party night, for most people, and not something to take too seriously. Not only should you chill out and remember to enjoy yourself on the night, you should take that into account as you're planning your costume.
Can you sit down in it? Can you eat in it? Can you drink in it? Can you actually converse with your friends in it?
All of these things are a little more important to having a good time than having the 'best' costume is, so remember to take comfort and fun into the equation when you're putting together a costume.