Fandom Friday | Costumes on a Budget!

I am a big advocate of the budget costume. For the past few Halloweens I’ve been a poor student, and this year I’m a poor graduate – I have budget costumes down to a T, and by now I think I have enough tips to write at least a post about it!

1) Don’t buy a costume!

Okay, hear me out – of course you’ll have to buy a few things, that’s obvious, but don’t buy a full costume. They may be quick and easy, but they’re also generally speaking cheaply made, overpriced and nothing you can’t do yourself! Unless you’re really pressed for time or intend to wear it several times, they aren’t worth the expense.

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I had to buy the apron & headband for this Magenta costume because I ran out of time & don’t have the sewing talent! I only got one wear out of them – not worth it. 

2) Come up with an idea based on what you already own.

I must admit that most of my wardrobe is black. This makes Halloween pretty easy – just add a few accessories and some face paint to an LBD and I’m good to go! A lot of costumes can be based around normal clothing, and don’t forget any unwanted clothes that still even vaguely fit – they could be zombified! My costume in first year was a zombie look based on a dress with a hole by the waistband; add some more rips and holes and some brown/black eye shadow & it looked great.

zombie-costume
If in doubt, coat yourself in fake blood.

3) Things that are worth buying: face paint, coloured paper, glue, fake blood.

Last year I was a scary clown. As a crafty person I already had things like card and glue, so it was a no brainer to make my own accessories – a ruff, hat and buttons. I already had the dress, so all I spent money on was a face paint set (on sale at a toy shop before I went back to uni), tights and some neon orange paper. If you have a good stash of craft things you’re probably set – if not, there are plenty of places that sell the basics pretty cheap. Unless it’s something you really, really can’t make, I’d say try DIY!

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I was so proud of this costume tbh. Getting blackout drunk was an appropriate way to show it off. 

4) Not crafty? Not a problem.

There are plenty of easy peasy costumes that require little to no crafting ability while still looking good. As previously mentioned, zombie costumes are so easy – just scruff up some clothes you don’t care about using scissors and some dark eyeshadow – you can’t go wrong because they’re supposed to look messy and ripped (although if you don’t want to flash I would suggest tactical ripping!). Another easy one is a mad scientist – you’d have to get hold of a lab coat, but what you wear underneath is up to you; as crazy or normal as you’d like. Mess your hair up, put some blobs of odd coloured eyeshadow on the coat/your face et voila! I did this one for a SciFi social, basing my look on Steam Powered Giraffe’s Walter Workers, and won best costume! If you’re really last minute and stuck, don’t doubt the power of some pound shop/dollar store fake blood – turn dark clothing into a vampire look with a few dots on your neck and some drops on your chin. There’s no excuse not to make even that little bit of effort!

walter-girl-costume

5) Have fun & get creative!

Halloween is a great excuse to explore your crazy, wacky, fun side and express yourself in any way you want – so go for it! Don’t be scared of having a ‘Mean Girls Moment’ – I have before and while it was a little bit embarrassing at first, I had the most fun putting my costume together and I think I probably felt the best.

Just have fun & so long as you feel good in your costume, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks! These last two are two of my favourite costumes from uni (the other favourite being my clown costume) – in the first I was a gothic loli girl & wore a lacy black dress, ripped tights and boots, all of which I already owned. The second is my Megara cosplay – I did spend money on this, buying a stretchy lilac dress, a violet scarf for her waist and a long, grecian style skirt; but I’ve worn it several times and definitely got my money’s worth, as well as wearing the individual parts for other costumes.

I unfortunately only have pictures of my full body in the costumes with other people and most are pretty messy (read: drunken) so unfortunately shoulders up shots will have to do! I think they illustrate my point well enough though! What are you going as for Halloween? Have you got your costume together yet?

See you soon,

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Sweet ‘stume. [x]

Books on a Budget: The Miracle of The Charity Shop.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this, but charity shops are a beautiful thing. Not only is your money contributing to good causes, but they’re also incredibly cheap. I have a lot of love for the charity shop. I just finished my book (review in two weeks – you’ll see why on Wednesday!) and although I have another on the go, I’m not quite in the right mood for the style of writing it’s in – it’s not an easy one to get into, and the language can be difficult to tackle. Having only just finished Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, another one with rich and heavy language, I need a break.

I’m travelling to London for a few days on Monday, so I need plenty to read for the train journeys as well, but don’t have a lot of funds – here’s where the charity shop comes in. I bought 3 brand-new books for 49p apiece at Barnardo’s, a children’s charity. All 3 have prices printed on them, and should’ve cost £22 at retail value – not a bad discount!

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my Kindle – I’m not a snob when it comes to paper vs electronic – and I love a brand new book, but charity shopping for books is generally speaking cheaper, and works much better than Kindle when you don’t know what you want exactly. Of course, you’re less likely to find independent authors or self published works, but they tend to be fairly cheap on Kindle anyway. The main problem I have with charity shopping for books that you don’t get with eBooks is that I never get rid of any – while I should donate my existing books before I buy any new ones, it never happens and the mountain of books I need to sort through just gets bigger and bigger!

I had the added benefit last summer of working at a charity shop, and intend to return once I’m settled in a paying job. I worked at a Cats Protection shop, and not only was the experience incredibly rewarding and something I thoroughly enjoyed, I also often got first look in with the books! I used to sort donations, particularly gift aided ones, so I was often the first person to look at the stock. Clothes go through the process of being steamed, tagged and priced before being ready to be sold, which could take a while if we had a backlog, but books could be put out straight away – meaning I could hoard any I wanted and buy them at the end of the day. This was not a healthy environment for my purse to be in.

Even if you don’t have the time to volunteer, I would definitely recommend going into charity shops for books, especially if you’re on a tight budget or looking for something different and unexpected – you never know what you’ll pick up!

See you soon,

Ro x