I love Halloween more than the average nerd. Over the years I have funneled pumpkin buckets full of cash into commissioning costumes that sate my desire for pure celebratory and sartorial excess. But even I get sick of dropping dollars on intricate outfits whose price-per-wear can only be divided by one. I haven’t once purchased a costume that could later be worn out on an average Friday night in NYC.
Unless you can think I can get away with this at the bar?
In fact, I’m pretty sure the most consistently used item I have ever bought for a costume was a $6 hot pink Revlon Lipstick I purchased to give a final pop to a Peggy Bundy getup a lip color that has since been used almost every year on Halloween, and beyond.
Still, it would be nice to purchase a costume that could actually serve some use after parading it around and sloshing it with pumpkin-flavored beer at 3 AM. Before we get into where a person might be able to find some such outfits and accessories, a quick tip:
This place is your enemy. There is no way you are going to reuse a single item purchased from this store between October 1st and 31st. Where are you ever going to wear those I Dream of Jeannie harem pants? Or that shiny, poly pirate shirt you used to magically turn yourself into The Goblin King? The answer is nowhere, and I can personally attest to the uselessness of that satiny, ruffled abomination. As a rule, if a costume comes in a hanging plastic bag, it goes in a garbage bag after one wear. I’m pretty sure Halloween’s fairy godmother actually turns all those mass-manufactured costumes back into pumpkins the day after Halloween, right around when the clock strikes “brunch.”
So the question remains: If you’re looking to make a purchase that you can wear both on, and long past All Hallow’s Eve, where should you look, and what should you buy?
Etsy.com‘s handmade marketplace is definitely a good place to start. The site’s sellers are expert at putting a modern spin on classic costumes, and turning out effortlessly wearable garments injected with just enough humor and/or drama to make them costume appropriate. Because I love playing the Handmade Halloween Fairy, I curated a special selection of wearables and accessories that will lend you a magical air on Halloween night, and fit right into your wardrobe the next day. Let’s get this costume party started:
Nautical-themed pieces are endlessly reworkable. On Halloween you are a pinup sailor girl, and on vacation you are the lady with the killer retro swimsuit.
These superhero long johns will help you fight Halloween crime, and also keep you warm when the cold comes in. And as we all know, winter is coming.
One of my many sartorial mottos: Leopard conquers all. I particularly love the single long-sleeve on this incarnation. Just put a bone in your hair, and you’re ready to get out there and meet the caveman of your dreams.
This exposed brain headband takes zombie makeup to the next level, and, for the quirky among us, is a fun everyday accessory. If you’re a little more on the conservative side, you can always save it for special occasions. Wear it to the next family holiday dinner. Grandma’s gonna love it.
Can Halloween justify the purchase of these gorgeous gem-encrusted epaulettes? Maybe you can be a bandleader. Or a member of some ultra femme army. Or Janet Jackson in 1986. All I know is, I would wear these now. To the market.
How about something for the fellas?
You can’t go wrong with an ascot. Sherlock Holmes? Scooby Doo’s Fred? Even Michael Corleone wore one upon occasion. And those things look pretty dashing on fellas who can actually figure out how to tie the things.
For the couples in the house, why not get a little multicultural in these Lederhosen tees? With some knee socks and a Bavarian beer in your hand, it’s a costume. With just the beer in your hand, you’re drunk. And adorable.
So costume away, folks! Share your best ideas in the comments below. And if you do manage to find something that can be worn on Halloween and in the days after, just try to wash it before you take it out for a second spin. No one likes a smelly dinosaur.
Stacey Brook is a writer in New York City, and the creator of fashion blog, EtsyBrook.com. She is a proponent of all things handmade and has her Master’s Degree in Halloween Studies. You may see her walking around the streets of NYC this year with a machine gun leg, which will be totally wearable post-Halloween. You can follow her on Twitter @staceybrook.