Viewpoint — Costume conundrum

Growing up ultimately changes the way holidays are celebrated, and Halloween is no exception.

Bringing treats to your classes is weird, and trick-or-treating without any children can be pretty creepy and should be avoided. But there is one exception of this rule to Halloween in that adults can still dress up without getting a lot of weird looks.

With Halloween less than a week away, many straggling students and faculty members might be struggling to figure out what they want to dress up as.

The natural first place to begin for many is one of those weird-smelling costume stores that are only open for about a month and a half every year. These are located in rundown Circuit Cities and stores that used to be Mervyns.

The problem with those costume shops is that they are all pretty much copies of each other, but it’s sometimes hard to realize that until you’ve gone to seven or eight of them.  If finding a costume is difficult at one of them, chances are it will be about the same odds at any other costume shop.

The next places to look are the Internet, used clothing stores and department stores. Any of these can be treasure troves or major flops in the costume department. Savers, for example, has a used costume section that consists of about six different-colored graduation robes.

Another issue with adult costumes is the fit, especially for women. For every costume that fits well, there are 100 more ill-fitting or flimsy costumes. Some are too short, some are made of see-through materials and some make the wearer question what shape the model was whom the costume was fit around. Utah in October is cold, and finding a way to stay warm and have an awesome costume can be a bit of a challenge.

The other costume options for women are the weird, giant, mascot kind of costumes. They’re very large and awkward and generally are versions of unsexy animals (i.e., not cats or bunnies) and human-sized food.

For the most part, children have it pretty good when it comes to costumes. Making the decision is pretty easy, and if it fits weirdly they don’t really mind. For the most part, parents will either pay for their costumes or help put it together.

That is one major drawback to adult costumes: They can get expensive. For a college student, asking parents to help pay for an adult-sized Batman costume probably wouldn’t go over well. Sacrificing a week’s worth of groceries to wear something only once isn’t ideal either.

But if money is a problem and costume shops have failed, the natural next step is to put together a costume. Some of the best and most original costumes come from your own mind, even if it’s just a simple zombie costume or a clever pun written on a T-shirt. Don’t hesitate to mix and match; perhaps that old prom dress you thought you’d never use again could be paired with something from your parents’ wardrobe to create a totally unique costume idea, like, say, a groovy ’80s princess.

Or, if you’ve spent good money on costumes in the past, you might as well make it a worthy investment. If one of your favorite costumes still fits, unless it’s going to be seen by the exact same people who saw you in it last time and therefore isn’t going to get you any new compliments (or if it’s, you know, one that no longer reflects your tastes or maturity, like a Pikachu costume), go ahead and recycle a costume. Or, if you’re ruthless, you could cut it up and reuse the fabric (Pikachu could be reincarnated as a sexy bumblebee). Get creative with where you find your fabric; an old tablecloth might even have potential.

There’s no need to shell out $70 for a costume if you don’t want to, or to forsake dressing up due to limited selection. Don’t underestimate personal creativity.