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Glamorous, Ghoulish, or Ghostly One-Night Outfits

Tricia Deed is a writer of recreation and leisure activities. Making and wearing costumes for different events is fun.

A woman is wearing a fairy costume complete with wings and a garland of flowers on her head.

A woman is wearing a fairy costume complete with wings and a garland of flowers on her head.

October 31st Celebrations

Anyone can make an original glamorous, ghoulish, or ghostly costume with their creative ideas and talented skilled hands. Halloween is one of the major celebrations for wearing costumes, but there are also many other occasions when costumes may be worn throughout the year.

Construction skills may include sewing, ironing, pinning with a variety of pins, adhering iron-on bias tape, stapling, or gluing fabric. The supplies you will need will depend on your skills and the purpose of the costume. Costume supplies will include patterns, fabric, paper, scissors, a sewing machine, glue, a ruler or measuring tape, a pen, pencil, or marker, practical and novel accessories, appliques, trims, and other notions.

Four Costume Solutions

  1. Purchase a ready-made costume
  2. Rent a costume
  3. Hire a seamstress to make a custom-made costume of your choosing
  4. Design and make your own costume enhanced with makeup or masks

Regardless of whether you purchase, rent, borrow or make a is done with the intention of having fun dressing as someone else.

Two woman dressed in fitted garments wearing half face masks with rabbit ears.

Two woman dressed in fitted garments wearing half face masks with rabbit ears.

Sexy Costume

Look in your closet. Find a dress that can be altered by cutting away unwanted fabric in order to reveal your sexy feminine curves.

Redesign a Dress for a Sexy Appeal

  1. Cut neckline to reveal cleavage. The proper push-up bra will give added lift.
  2. Cut neckline in a low circular fashion for partial cleavage.
  3. Create an off the shoulder or strapless top.
  4. Make a backless dress.
  5. Make a diamond cut in the midriff area and wear an attractive naval jewel.
  6. Cut a one-piece dress into a top and a hip skirt. Wear a chain accenting the bare waistline or the hip line.
  7. Cut a side slit in a skirt to introduce a leg view. The cut can be either on the side front or along the side seam. If the cut is made too deep, wear an attractive pair of glamour shorts.
  8. If you feel uncomfortable being "too bare", purchase a nude fabric bodysuit, leotard, or nude stretch fabrics that can be purchased by the yard.
  9. Wear an appropriate hairstyle or wig. Jewelry, gloves, and 3" high heels will complement the sexy glamour look. Create a beautiful face with your stash of personal cosmetics. Use long eyelashes, rouge, and lipstick, or if you wish, mimic the makeup and hairdo of a famous glamorous celebrity and attend the party as her lookalike.
A young man wearing a red hood with a stitched mask, a red cape, red leggings, and a yellow body leotard representing his favorite super hero.

A young man wearing a red hood with a stitched mask, a red cape, red leggings, and a yellow body leotard representing his favorite super hero.

Hooded Costume

  1. Use an old queen-or king-size sheet.
  2. A pillowcase makes an instant masked hood.
  3. Dye sheets in colors of gray, black, or green.
  4. Use one corner of the sheet to form the hood portion.
  5. Use the remaining portion of the sheet for the cape. Insert an elastic casing between the neck and shoulder.
  6. Pass a drawstring through the elastic casing and fasten in front of the neck.
  7. An everyday hoodie is a very quick costume.

The unexpected surprise is to cover your face with black, green, or white facial makeup or purchase a mask to suit the character.

Cover face with netting, fabric with cutout eyes, mouth and nose. or a pair of sheer stockings worn over the head and face which causes a distortion of features.

Other props to enhance your character are gloves, a handmade wooden staff, cane, or walking stick. A chain with a hanging cross, a ragged fabric belt, a rope. or another object swinging from the waistline. Interesting boots, sandals, and other footwear offer a statement on behalf of the character. There are unlimited props to be used to create or refine the character being represented by the costume. .

A young man wearing an  over-sized paper mache head as a mask to complement a wrinkled lightweight jacket and tee shirt.

A young man wearing an over-sized paper mache head as a mask to complement a wrinkled lightweight jacket and tee shirt.

Types of Masks

Select or make a mask that represents a character of your interest. The mask can cover the eye part of your face, 2/3 of your face, or a full mask. Masks that can be purchased at party department stores will have supplies of simple eye masks, celebrity, political, monster, and more.

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Masks are made of fabric, plastic, foam, paper, and rubber. The character being represented will determine if the mask can be made or would need to be purchased.

You can make your own mask with materials you have on hand, such as cardboard, newspapers, and poster board. Or use an everyday facial cover such as a sports guard helmet, a gas mask, motorcycle goggles, or an underwater diving mask.

Men may consider removing or adding a mustache, beard, eyeglasses, hat or headscarf, removable teeth, a cardboard box; let your imagination take over. Wear something which is out of the ordinary for your type of personality.

Masks for historical, political, celebrities or more complex characters that cannot be made in the home will need to be purchased.

A headless man dressed in everyday clothing jumps about in an open field.

A headless man dressed in everyday clothing jumps about in an open field.

Make a Headless Costume

How to Make a headless costume:

  • Use an old suit and shirt or a blouse, skirt or dress.
  • The male can wear a necktie or an ascot. The female can wear a scarf or a female necktie.
  • You may be able to pull both the suit and the shirt above your head and keep it in place during the time this costume is being worn.
  • But if not, construct a supporting structure from a cardboard box that will sit on the shoulder of the wearer. This form needs to be able to support the weight of the shirt and suit coat.
  • The cardboard box cutout should be able to sit on the shoulder with ease. If the box does not balance, add straps that can be tied around the back and chest of the wearer.
  • The neck portion of this costume is worn above the head of the person. Make sure no hair is showing.
  • The necktie or scarf should be fastened narrowly to create the neck portion of the headless costume.
  • The individual wearing the costume should be able to see through the shirt or blouse. If not, cut holes in the shirt and create blood-like stains with ketchup, red-colored water paint, food coloring, or ink from a red marker pen. The holes will appear to be gunshot wounds.
  • Do not forget to wear pants and shoes. Details are critical.

Contemporary Ideas

  1. Wear regular everyday clothing
  2. Design a costume to fit the character
  3. Boxes instead of clothing
  4. Wear a robe or ghostly attire
  5. Firemen, policemen, and military uniforms
  6. Dress in clothing not representing your gender
  7. Movie and television characters
A man wearing a simple white cloth over his head presents a ghostly figure.

A man wearing a simple white cloth over his head presents a ghostly figure.

Make a Flowing Gown

  • Wear a one-piece white leotard. Connect as many sheer white or gray or dull yellow curtains that will fit your body and create a long flowing gown. To create floating as you walk, wear your gown 2" or 3" beyond floor level.
  • The easiest way to make a flowing gown is to stitch the curtains into a perfect square. Measure the distance from your neck to the floor plus an additional 2" or 3" if you wish to appear floating.
  • Fold the fabric in half. Fold in half one more time. Place the tape measure on the corner of the folded corner. Mark your measurements at the edge of the gown. Cut the bottom circle and cut about a 3" circle at the tip for the neckline.
  • Open up the fabric, place your head into the smaller cut, which will form your neckline and let the seamless fabric cascade and flow about your body.
  • If uncertain about these directions, make a sample on a small sheet of paper to avoid making a large mistake. Folding the fabric incorrectly will result in multiple cuts, which will require seams to be sewn.
  • An instant substitute is a tattered wedding gown.
  • Paint your face with white makeup, continue to accent your eyes, eyelashes, and lips. Do you not like makeup? Purchase a white mask. Wear a glamour hairdo or a wig.
  • Look in the mirror to confirm that you are a beautiful ghost.
  • Do you want a simple ghost costume? Wear a sheet with painted facial features.
Two women with painted faces.

Two women with painted faces.

Halloween Makeup

Are you creative and love makeup?

An inexpensive Halloween makeup kit is great to have on hand, but if you do not, use standard eyebrow pencils, eye shadow tints or powders, rouge, and lipstick.

  • Protect your skin by applying a moisture cream to face. Use the eyebrow pencil to draw intended markings.
  • Fill large areas with eye shadow tints, rouge, or lipstick.
  • The Walking Dead facial makeup is very easy to do. A white base with eyebrow pencil markings, and blood is all that is needed.
  • Look into grandma's closet and locate a very old wedding gown. One from the late 18th century or early 19th century would be great. If the gown is not old or dingy looking; make a hot bath of tea bags. Let the gown soak overnight in tea, and this will cause the fabric to turn into a sienna color.
  • If tea bags are not available, use dry onion shells in a bath of hot water. This will colorize the gown yellow.
  • Second choice is to visit a second-hand store until you find an ugly lace dress. Use a lace bonnet or a crocheted circle for your headcover. Add textured netting for eerie effects. Let your hair fall wild and loose about your face. A recently shampooed head with no hair conditioner gives a great flyaway hairdo.
  • On your legs wear a pair of white leotards which have been deliberately dirtied and have cuts or runs.
  • An added option is to add blood to the facial makeup or to the clothing.
A white death skull highlighted strategically with black coloring.

A white death skull highlighted strategically with black coloring.

How to Apply a Simple Skull Makeup to Your Face

This skull makeup seems to be very popular because of its ease of application and is also easy on the budget.

Supplies Needed

  1. A Halloween Makeup Kit or
  2. Individual tubes of white and black facial cream
  3. Black soft and liquid eyeliner
  4. Full cosmetic brush and a thin brush


  1. Apply several layers of white cream makeup with fingers, use a cosmetic brush to even each layer of color. Repeat applications for several layers until the desired whiteness is achieved.
  2. Use a soft pencil to outline the upper and lower eyelid. Then apply a layer or two of black cream makeup following the bony outline of the eye socket and covering the eyelid. Use a thin brush to define and refine the black eye socket circles.
  3. Coat the tip of the nose and the nostrils with black cream. Refine with a thin brush.
  4. Slightly open your lips or show a shallow smile. With liquid eyeliner in hand draw vertical strokes matching your teeth on the upper lip, then do the lower lip. Complete the strokes working towards the desired appearance.
  5. Lastly, outline with the black pencil the bones of the facial skull. Fill the shallow cheek areas with black cream, and be sure to emphasize the chin with lines. You may wish to add a black circle around both eyes.


  1. Wear any hairstyle which will complete the entire costume ensemble.
  2. The makeup kit has several tints. You may wish to work with different colors for a more colorful skeleton or to create a gentler appearance for children's makeup.
  3. You may not want to work with just black and white, use the different colors in the kit.
  4. Plan both the makeup and the costume for a finished product to receive praises from onlookers.

© 2014 Tricia Deed

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