Halloween is nearly here: the perfect excuse to dress outrageously and/or embarrass yourself. But, with so much emphasis on looking the part, what is the real cost of the costume?

The fancy dress business is a booming one. With Morphsuits and Onesies becoming a student necessity, it’s no wonder that holidays, socials and birthdays tend to involve a costume theme.

In America, it was estimated that last year alone $2.5 billion was spent on Halloween costumes! The Morphsuit company AFG Media has experienced a growth of 300% year on year and the retail party goods business is estimated to be worth $10 billion per annum with Halloween worth $6 billion!

So, what is the best way to go about finding the perfect outfit?

Image by Rebeccan Hopkinson

The pre-prepared costume.

Easy, convenient and often very professional looking. Most people I spoke to appreciated the simplicity, but all of them commented on the prices. Celebrities like Heidi Klum may be able to spend thousands of pounds on their Halloween gear, but on a student budget? One 2nd year student said: “I’m not spending £25 on something I’ll only wear once!”

Portswood economics dictates that a £25 costume is the equivalent of nearly 17 triples. Even re-using the costume to get your money’s worth can be seen as a cop-out and it is very difficult to use a Dracula outfit for any other theme. A simple Grecian toga can set you back about £15 and some reach more than £50!

Another concern is size; one student told me “they never fit properly and you end up looking stupid”. After spending all your wonga on a nurse costume, you don’t want to have to constantly tuck in baggy bits or suffocate if it’s too tight. Who are these costumes made for? It is very rarely one size fits all.

The D.I.Y. costume.

These allow for much more creativity and originality; there are very few shops where you will find costumes for a tap faucet or a wristwatch. “It’s much better to make it yourself. I’ve been to parties where loads of girls have the same cat outfit!”

From personal experience, I’ve found that my costume visions tend to result in wasted time and money and end up looking bad. One English student revealed she spent three days sewing together an elf outfit. Obviously this can be very satisfying, as students always welcome procrastination, but with lectures and other activities, finding the time to get down to Primani can be difficult. However, when it pays off, the results can be legendary.

Ultimately, the most important thing is the event, yet there is definitely a pressure to don our thinking caps and become something amazing or risk ridicule and awkwardness. Sometimes with so much emphasis on the costume, fancy dress can become more of a chore than a laugh!

By the end of the night, no one will worry if you’re in a hand knitted ‘Where’s Wally’ jumper or a soggy cardboard box. Just make sure you are comfortable with what you wear and most importantly have a great time with it.

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