The tricks and treats of costuming

By Nicole Belair, Staff Writer

Now that Halloween is just over a week away, it’s time to start finalizing our costumes.

Halloween in college is arguably more fun than it was when we were little, despite the fact that we don’t get to go trick-or-treat for free candy. Nowadays, Halloween is a good excuse for us to get dressed up, have a good time, and let loose after the stress of midterms.

When it comes to Halloween costumes, there are a couple of options: you can either do it yourself or spend tons of money. There is no in between.

Before I transferred to UMass Dartmouth, I spent my first year at a college where “Hallo-weekend” happened to be one of the most anticipated weekends of the entire year. You were expected to have two costumes – one for Friday night and one for Saturday night.

So there I was, a broke 18-year-old student who didn’t think to bring any costumes to school and who couldn’t dare to buy just one.

About a week before Halloween, my roommates and I walked to one of the local costume shops downtown. There was an inappropriate version of everything: pirates, soldiers, dancers, superheroes, and so on. There was even a costume for an edgy bottle of ketchup.

I was out of my comfort zone. In high school, all we had to do for Halloween parties was wear all black and a pair of cat ears and call it a day. But there I was, standing in the fitting room of the costume shop wearing a 60-dollar risqué Wonder Woman dress with a matching headband and cuffs. 60 dollars for something I could absolutely never wear again.

Looking back, it was a nice, good-quality costume that got tons of compliments. But that was just night one.

I had no idea what to do for night two of Hallo-weekend. I was still frantically piecing it together that day, searching through ideas on Pinterest for hours. I finally settled on going as the “Where’s Waldo” dude, figuring it might be a little bit cheaper.

I wasn’t allowed to have a car on campus as a first-year, so I could only rely on stores within walking distance. This meant that one of my only options at the time was Urban Outfitters, which can be incredibly overpriced.

Sure enough, I found a red and white striped t-shirt (for 38 dollars) and a 10-dollar red hat that would suffice. All of a sudden, my attempt at a do-it-yourself costume was just as expensive as the one I bought from a store. 

My roommate had a pair of prescription glasses with round frames, so I borrowed them to complete the look. It was a disaster! She had a stronger prescription than I had originally realized. I couldn’t see anything all night, but if I took them off, no one would have any clue what I was supposed to be. 

I learned my lesson. Last year my friends and I simply stuck with the traditional “angels and devils” costumes that you can piece together for less than 20 bucks.

Never, ever again will I spend that much money on a costume for one night. Another friend of mine ended up going as “a bag of M&Ms.” All he did was wear a black trash bag and cover it with pictures of Eminem – it was both hilarious and cheap.

This year, my boyfriend and I were invited to a few Halloween parties by coworkers, so we have been trying to figure out some affordable, appropriate couples costumes.

We’ve narrowed it down to Meredith Grey and McDreamy (okay, I narrowed it down to that one), Tom Brady and Gisele, and Curious George and the Man with the Yellow Hat. 

It’s fun to have an elaborate costume, but we shouldn’t feel pressured to spend a ton of money (especially with Christmas less than two months away).

Trust me, it’s not always worth it. Even if you have to throw something together at the last minute, just go out, have fun, be safe, and enjoy the weekend!

Photo Courtesy: Nicole Belair

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