Barbara Hartnett ’76, owner of Costumes by Barbara, offers the following basic tips for choosing or creating a great costume:
Accessories are the key to your costume. They define who or what you are, even more than whether the dress or suit you are wearing is historically correct. As the pictures on this page reveal, well-chosen accessories define the look. In the first three photos, Wilkes alum Breanne Ralston ’12, with some help from Hartnett, finds that the same red bandana makes her a cowgirl or pirate. Wilkes student Alyssa Ralston chooses a hat to be a Titanic passenger, a cape for red riding hood, or gear to become a French maid. When it comes to being a clown, Mickey or Minnie – it’s all about the nose.
Don’t make complete facial covering the key to your costume. Driving is completely out of the question with an obstructed face (“You’d be surprised how many adults want to do this,” Hartnett chuckles.) and walking, socializing during a party and enjoying food and drinks also may require taking off the mask or head. If that’s the focal point of the costume, you could spend most of the party out of costume!
Choose footwear for comfort. Unless you’re dressing as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (think ruby slippers), it really doesn’t matter. That also goes for the overall costume choice: keep comfort in mind for costume choices for both kids and adults. It can be a long parade or party if you’re miserable.
Buying costumes on the internet may not be the best choice. Revelers often find costumes are not what they expected when the UPS man arrives.
For costume tips during the Halloween season, you can visit Hartnett’s Facebook page, Costumes by Barbara.