1. "How much time do I have?"
Since there's approximately two weeks left until Halloween, you still have ample time to DIY an over-the-top creation, but if your calendar is already packed with appointments, family get-togethers, and fall outings, then chances are you may need to resort to a costume-in-a-bag. Luckily, most seasonal pop-up Halloween stores also have online retailer extensions and many even offer same or next-day shipping, like Party City and Spirit Halloween. Etsy is another great resource for unique accessories and handmade items. Plus, Yandy has one of the largest inventories of costumes, especially if you're looking for something on the slightly edgy or glam side, like the classic flapper, or fairy tale princess.
2. "Is my costume just for me — or am I going as part of a couple, family, or team?"
When it's just you to consider, sky's the limit, but if your husband, boyfriend, friend, or family is accompanying you on October 31, then there are more opions to take into account. Family costumes are not only adorable for photos, but many can be made with a few simple items — and oftentimes a cardboard box — like these outer space get-ups. Other ideas for families include: Woodland creatures or the popular Pokémon Go clan. "If you're still trying to catch 'em all, you can create your own costumes using assorted color accessories, red, yellow, or blue clothing, and wigs, face paint, and socks from our 'Color City,'" says Party City Costume Expert, Melissa Sprich. As for couples, Spirich says the following twosomes will always be trending: Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, Brad and Angelina, Hillary and Donald, Popeye and Olive Oyl, bacon and eggs, and Wilma and Fred.
3. "Do I want to focus on the outfit or the hair and makeup?"
If you're going the superhero route (Wonder Woman, Batgirl, or Captain America), you really only have to worry about what you're wearing, since those costumes have masks or a headband and don't involve intricate eyes or very detailed hairstyles. Anything more whimsical (like a Frozen Snow Queen, Breakfast at Tiffany's Zombie, or Motha) requires more effort in the beauty department. Luckily, we have several tutorials that break down the steps for almost any conceivable look.
(Are you feeling inspired yet?)
4. "Will I mostly be inside or outside?"
October 31 can be warm or cool depending on where you live, so if you're going to be anywhere outdoors (like in the middle of a pumpkin patch or cornfield maze), you should plan accordingly. "Opt for an ensemble that involves cozy outerwear, thick hosiery, or a full-body catsuit," advises Yandy Vice President of Merchandising, Pilar Quintana. Our Snowy Owl costume does come with a fleece cape for a reason...
5. "Will people get it?"
Punny costumes are great, if everyone around you is in on the joke as well. Make sure you poll a few friends — who won't steal your idea! — before making any final decisions so everyone isn't left saying "Huh?" when you walk in the door. You can also go the character "mash-up" route, which was a huge hit at Comic Con this year, according to Trisha Lombardo, Spirit Halloween's Manager of PR and Media. "Merging two characters or costumes together creates a unique look and often a funny play on words — just don't forget the accessories. The right sparkly glove, feather lashes, or bright wig can up your costume game to a whole new level!"
6. "How many other people are going as this?"
The most important thing to remember about popular costumes is that they're popular! Chances are a classic will be spotted a few times at any given gathering, so if you're going this route, make sure you really stand out with completely original makeup or an unexpected element.
7. "Will it be comfortable and practical?"
The Wizard Of Oz's Dorothy wouldn't be complete without sparkly red shoes, but you could settle on a 4-inch stiletto for this, or a more practical flat instead. Think about how many hours you will be out — at a party, or trick-or-treating with your kids — and then base your wardrobe conclusions off of that. No one wants to be in pain 10 minutes into the night. Pick a costume that's comfy, even cozy.