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DIY Halloween Costumes

by Caroline Shamon

photography courtesy of Sahana Sreeprakash

As a child, Halloween is always a big deal. Children wear their costumes to school, help their parents decorate the house and go trick or treating. The night always ends by trading candy with siblings and best friends before going to sleep with a tummy ache. During childhood, Halloween is about candy and nothing else.

However, college turns Halloween into an entire weekend—it becomes less about the candy and all about the costumes. This beloved weekend we all know and love is called “Halloweekend.” An extreme amount of pressure is placed on students to craft the most creative looks. Not just one creative costume, but two, three or even sometimes a whole week’s worth of them.

Categories of costumes can range from celebrities and television characters to animals and scary costumes. Buying Halloween costumes at local party stores has become less common among college kids. Instead, DIY costumes are all the rage because they are inexpensive, creative and can be made out of existing items in one’s closet.

The newest and most popular costume this year was Halloween makeup. Girls wore basic clothing and did elaborate Halloween themed makeup, with the most common one being a “skeleton face.”

Nicole Davis, a senior at Syracuse University studying graphic design, used a YouTube tutorial to create her skeleton makeup look. Davis put together an all-black outfit with skinny jeans, a leather jacket and heeled booties, paired with the dramatic use of makeup.

“I wanted to do something low budget where I didn’t have to buy a costume that I’ll never wear again,” Davis said. “I was able to spend $10 and make my face paint the center piece and wear clothes that I already had in my closet. It was a simple way to make myself stand out.”

Davis wasn’t the only one who opted for a Halloween themed makeup look. Gigi Hadid, international super model and fashion influencer, flaunted her Halloween makeup on Instagram.

Hadid did a jack-o-lantern makeup look. She painted most of her face orange and added some stripes for dimension. She used black paint to color a triangle around one of her eyes and a zig zag smile around her mouth. As seen in her Instagram picture, Hadid kept her look casual with a black hoodie.

Another popular DIY costume this year was “the mummy.” Pooja Venugopal (CAS ’20) created her look using gauze and fake blood.

“I used about 5 rolls of gauze,” Venugopal said. “It was a simple, easy and cheap alternative for a Halloween costume since I didn’t want to buy something I would never be able to wear again.”

Venugopal was not alone in her costume, as several DIY mummies were spotted on Commonwealth Avenue throughout Halloweekend.

Variations of DIY cat costumes were a big hit again this year. This look is increasingly common because the accessories are inexpensive for a college student’s budget. Monica San Luis (QST ’19) created a Catwoman costume on the first night of Halloweekend.

“Because of my budget as a college student and the fact that we need so many costumes for the weekend, I chose my costumes based on items I already have in my closet!” San Luis explained. “To create my Catwoman look, I used some leather pieces and boots that I already own. All I had to buy was a cape and cat ears. This was so much easier than buying the typical $60 all-inclusive costume.”

College girls not only love the lower prices of DIY costumes, but they also love the personal touches they can add. Creating a costume allows room for self-expression and creativity. There might be a lot of makeup looks, mummies and cats running around; but, no two costumes will ever look the same with DIY.

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