Halloween can be painful– and for reasons besides buying bags of mini-candies at the drugstore, eating them all at once while lounging in bed watching Netflix, and subsequently worrying about tummy aches/lack of dental insurance/pants button-popping (haaayyy). Rather, Halloween can be a financial pain for people on a budget, a.k.a. us. There’s so much pressure to have an outrageous costume and parade around while getting wasted– all of which costs more than a few ghastly galleons and a lot of time and energy. We spendthrifts don’t have the luxury (or desire) to head to the nearest seasonal Halloween Emporium and pick up a plastic-y “sexy Elton John” costume for $75 (false gap-tooth not included). Thus, we get resourceful and create our own costumes from junk lying around the house, thrifted items, and our tranny friends’ wig collections (just me?). Thus, shit gets a little makeshift. Things fall apart, or just get embarrassing. Here are my favorite broke-ass Halloween costumes gone wrong, worn by myself and my little bro:
Animal Abuse: One year, I dressed up as a Crazy Cat Lady. Sporting rollers in my hair and a size 2X pair of loud (screaming!) floral pajamas borrowed from the attic of an old lady my friend was house-sitting for, I was excited by the Grey Gardens-esque ridiculousness of my animal-hoarder outfit. I collected a cabal of stuffed animal cats at various thrift stores, and– not wanting to ruin the borrowed floral loungewear– opted to velcro them all over the pajamas for easy removal. Well, turns out removal was a bit too easy. I went to a party with about 5 Lady Gagas, 3 Beyonces, and a whole lot of sass– what could I do besides shake my dowdy, floral-covered booty all night? Well, shimmy and wave my arms like a monkey, duh. All of my ass-shaking caused my precious kitties started falling off, getting crushed on the dance floor by size 11 extra-wide spiky stilettos. Even worse, my vigorous dancing made me start sweating, melting the glue on the velcro strips and driving even more felines to death-by-diva. By the end of the night, I had exactly 2 cats left. The next day, my friend told me that he had even found one in his freezer.
Sonny Oh-No: Another year, I dressed up as Sonny Bono in an attempt to get the most out of my bowl haircut. Forget the fake mustache that fell off anytime I tried to speak or breathe through my nose– I had also picked up a pair of size 0 snakeskin bell bottoms at the Goodwill that were far too small for me. Not only did I have to lay down on my bed to get the zipper up (a fact to which a flamboyantly gay partygoer responded, “Honey, if the zipper goes up, then they are your size!), not only did I have both an extreme muffin top and a mondo wedgie, I also split my pants and spent the entire night trying to cover up my exposed bottom with my hippie tunic. Next time, maybe I’ll just spring for the “Sexy Congressman” costume at the Halloween store and borrow my WASP friend’s skis (ouch).
Gym. Tan. Leakage: My brother dressed up as a “Douche Bag,” which basically consisted of wearing the bedazzled Ed Hardy t-shirt and distressed True Religions that a nouveau riche acquaintance didn’t want anymore. To take his douche factor to the next level, my bro carved his facial hair into an careful AJ McLean-esque skinny goatee, and wore aviators and flip flops with his bootcut denim. The piece de resistance was his bronzed gym bod, which he created by borrowing an Indian friend’s foundation and sponging it all over his body. There were only two problems with this frugal fake bake tactic: 1) my bro forgot to bronze his flip flopped feet, which remained about 10 shades lighter than the rest of his body; 2) he learned what any girl who’s tried on white tops at Forever 21 already knows– that pancake makeup rubs off onto anything it comes in contact with. Like Blue Man Group understudy Tobias Funke, my poor little bro left bronze traces of douchey-ness all over San Francisco that year– from the neck of his dragon-emblazoned tee to the Guidettes he tried to mack on.
Homemade Halloween costumes don’t always turn out as expected, but they definitely provide us with more stories than their prepackaged counterparts. Not only are broke-ass costumes one-of-a-kind– they require ingenuity, craftiness, and often, a complete loss of dignity. Rather than restricting, homemade costumes free us from a world of overpriced garbage and let us get creative with themes and construction– just double check the durability of your costume before you leave the house, you don’t want to be caught in a sticky situation bronzer-handed. Have a beautiful Broke-a-ween!