Themes offer a lot of potential when it comes to developing costume and makeup ideas. If you're having trouble, though, these suggestions will get you started:
- Focus on the mask. If your guests are lukewarm about wearing full costumes, make it a mask-only party instead of a full costume affair. Masks are easy to find or make, and your party will have the requisite mystery with less fuss all around.
- Wear a hat. It's amazing how a hat can typify a period or theme. From sombreros to motorcycle helmets, hats add authenticity to costumes -- or make great costumes all by themselves.
- Decorate a T-shirt. For an informal party, have guests decorate T-shirts with party themes. Dripping blood, musical notes, Mardi Gras colors and quotes from famous people all work as quick costume solutions for the right themed party.
- Buy your costume. That gorilla or Snow White costume may not be as expensive as you think. Halloween is now the second most popular holiday in the U.S. That means the costume business is booming -- and hungry for customers in the off season. Costumes and other related merchandise are competitively priced online, and quality in the $50 price range is typically fair. For around $200, you can buy a Queen of Hearts costume complete with petticoat, hoop, choker and tiara. For local shoppers, costumes are sometimes sold in party outlet stores, and there are more dedicated costume shops in metropolitan markets these days, too. With so much to choose from, you may be able to find a costume that reflects your inner storm trooper at a price you can afford.
- Paint your mask right on. If the idea of wearing a hot, scratchy mask all evening leaves you cold, you could mount your mask on a wooden stick or holder -- or just paint the mask right on your face with a combination of face paint and makeup. Of course, it's probably easier to create a painted mask that looks like your favorite feline than it is to channel Cleopatra in all her gilded glory, but makeup and paint are still great costume enhancement tools.