6 Tips for your 2016 Halloween costume

Ah, Halloween - the climax to my favourite month of the year. No matter how old I get, I always get this tingle of nostalgia that activates my imagination and creativity. When it comes to costumes, somewhere along the way, the original meaning of Halloween got lost. It all started as the Gaelic festival of Samhain that marks the end of the harvest season and the transition into the darker side of year, winter. Since this celebration is all about celebrating the cycle of life and death, it is believed that this is the best time to contact loved ones who have passed on. The tradition of dressing up as creepy creatures was thought to ward off evil spirits. Somehow, this tradition has evolved to be a day of self-expression and an opportunity to be anyone other than you. And that's great!

I always make it a point to DIY any costume I ever wear. It’s so satisfying to compile all the details for an original piece that is something you can really be proud of. I even made a collar for a Wednesday Addams costume once out of paper towel. Yes, paper towel! Here are some tips that will help get those creative juices flowing.

1. Choose a mood

The best place to start is how you’re feeling. Some years I’m feeling particularly dark, so I’ll reach for something scary. Other times, I feel like getting a laugh so I’ll come up with either dressing up as my favourite parody or comedic character. You could also go for a superhero theme and channel your inner superhuman, or be a pun or your favourite inanimate object. The possibilities are endless!

2. Look up top costumes for 2016...and don’t do any of them

Want to score originality points at your next party? Try to stay away from the costumes that everyone will be wearing. For 2016, expect to see many people dressed up as Harley Quinn, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Sexy Harambe and anything Pokémon related. I mean, if you have some really original or funny interpretation of those ideas, go ahead, but otherwise you’ll be just as cool and original as everyone else (which is to say, not very).

3. Go as your favourite pop culture character

There is something about being able to look and act life someone else who you know inside and out - someone you have watched time and again in your favourite movie or TV show. Maybe it could be a musician or athlete you admire. You don’t even have to resemble them: they key is in the details. Bonus points if you’re good at imitating them and can stay in character.

4. Hit the second hand store

Sometimes, I am so torn between ideas or I have no clue what I want to be. When this happens, I find visiting my local thrift shop to be very effective. Not only do second hand stores like Talize and Value Village stock reasonably priced and new Halloween accessories, you can also pair them with second hand treasures to make a completely unique costume. Just walk up and down the aisles and I can guarantee that you will see a single item like a hat or a shirt that will inspire your entire Halloween persona.

5.  Never underestimate the power of your closet (or someone else's)

You’d be surprised how you can put together a great costume just going through some of your own wardrobe. If you’ve kept an archive of all your previous costumes like I have, go ahead and see if you can re-use some wigs or accessories to create a new persona. Some of my friends once dug up their old high school uniforms and went as students. This is especially fun if you’re going to a Halloween party with old friends.

6. Don't dress up at all

You could always opt to be that person that dresses up as yourself and denounce the costume world. Perhaps nothing catches your eye or you're playing the "I'll dress up next year" card. Whatever your reason is, maybe handing out candy and being the person that takes all the pictures of others dressed up is your route. And if it is, that's absolutely OK.