Costume Commandments: Advice From A Costume Veteran
I have a few quirks... and when it comes to trying to enjoy a Halloween party and have a good costume, especially one you're DJing, you need a few guidelines. I have learned these over many years. While these hints lean towards a host's perspective--all of the info rings true.
1) Wear nothing that covers your face...or most part of it. I broke this commandment at our most recent gig, and immediately regretted it. Make-up, prosthetics, mask, even eye-patch messes with your ability to host a party. From trying to announce on mic, to the simplicity of buying a drink. Your face is 80% of your communication, and when nobody can see your expressions, or recognize you to begin with, you're already fighting an uphill battle to entertain them. Exception: Sunglasses. Always a winner.
2) Wear nothing that restricts your movement. Damn I wish I could take back the year I wore a self-made nuclear reactor cooling tower...oh, it was realistic, tapered to flare at the top and bottom...smoke and lights around the top...and IMPOSSIBLE to sit in, or dance, or shake anyones hand, or wave, or lift a drink to my mouth (which was obstructed by the COM ED logo anyway). If there is even a slim chance that you will be the guy sitting NEXT to your costume by the end of the party, do not choose that costume.
3) No Couple/partner costume unless it will also stand alone and be recognizable. I violate this one a lot...but it's not a deal breaker. Recently, Michaels and I were Speed Racer and Racer X. Okay, but I did spend a great deal of time telling people who I was...which always ends with them saying, "uh-ooh yeeeeeah...." in a tone that tells you that they have NO idea who you are, even after you explain it. The year we went as Wham! was much better in that regard. If your couples costume is "Dr. Who and The big red call box," someone is getting screwed.
4) If you need help into or out of the costume, you should abandon the idea. You are not a bride...(well, maybe you are), and if you need help to pee, or can't get on stage without an act of congress, ditch it for more mobility, even if less spectacular-ness. Same deal for large go-with props...by the end of the party, you will curse carrying the giant axe there, Executioner. Stilts in this category also a no-no...one of my best costumes was dressing as the local Godfather's Pizza mascot who stands on the street playing a fake guitar. Hoodie, t-shirt, jeans, fake guitar. that was it...and listeners immediately got it...
5) This one is wavering for me, but I still hold that no guy should EVER dress up like a woman. It's like wearing chick repellant. Maybe instead just wear a sign that says, "I'd like to do this everyday, but today is the only socially acceptable outlet for my desire to wear your pantyhose." However: I have noticed in the last few years, the younger girls seem to pity these fellas in a way that might allow them to score. So if that is your goal, girl-on-fake-girl may be your road to success...
There you have it. Other items are a case-by-case basis, and I've made many of these mistakes myself only to survive, but Halloween parties are a slippery slope. Tread carefully young Skywalker, and maybe you'll end up with a lonely attention-whore's golden lariat under your bed come Nov. 1st.
Be sure to join us at the Dwyer & Michaels Halloween Costume Ball on October 26th.