When Your Costume Doesn't Fit - Making it Work!

  • October 10, 2012
  • Jenna Maxwell

Halloween Costumes are supposed to be fun and you can bet that when you (or your kids) have picked out that perfect costume ensemble and are set to head out for some exciting Halloween festivities, you will all be ready to rock the house! But what about when things don’t go quite as planned?  Sometimes an unforeseen problem can loom over your best-laid costume plans.  Here are some of our solutions for your most common costume dilemmas!

Costume Is Too Small:  This is one of the most challenging of the costume woes, and takes a bit of creative thinking in order to solve the issue gracefully. 

  • If a costume is hopelessly too small, consider taking critical elements of the too small version and reattaching them to a larger basic clothing item that fits, such as a t-shirt or leggings.
  • You can also consider wearing a body hugging non-obtrusive leotard or tights under the outfit so some of the snug parts can be left unfastened.
  • If the back of the costume has a zipper you can use very wide safety pins to attach the opening in the back, giving you more breathing room. A cape, a jacket, wings or many other character-appropriate accessories can be used to conceal the opening in the back.


Costume Is Too Big:  This costume dilemma is one of the easiest to deal with and solving this issue will ultimately make you a lot more comfortable (not to mention safe) while you are wearing your costume. 

  • Tripping over a costume that is too long can be hazardous to trick or treaters (or anyone really!) so hemming up a costume to the right length is of upmost importance.  This can be accomplished in a number of ways. Obviously the most ideal solution would be to have the hem properly sewn or taken up using a fusible web product from your local craft or fabric store.  When this isn’t possible, a quick hem fix can be accomplished by taking up the hem with safety pins or even masking tape. 
  • Double stick tape can solve a plethora of costume woes and is useful to keep straps in place or to hold in place inappropriately gaping necklines.
  • If the costume is just too big all over, try it on inside out.  Safety pins can be used in a pinch to take in the costume in all the critical places.
  • Once again, creative use of accessories can solve many of your costume fit issues.  For a costume that is too big, the use of sashes and belts can help tremendously.

TIP:  Even the most hopeless fit issues can be redeemed with some clever distraction techniques.  Put the focus on your face rather than your body to alleviate the attention that may be on the fit issues you are having.  Fabulous makeup that really gets you into your character can be a great solution and no one will even notice that your costume is a little tight or a little loose! Check out our how-to videos for some really great character makeup ideas to help get you started!

Measuring Tips For a Perfect Fit:

If you haven’t made your costume purchase yet and want to avoid any potential fitting issues altogether, here are a few tips to make sure you get a costume that fits you perfectly in the first place!

  • Measuring.  For the best fit, you must take accurate measurements, especially of the areas of your body that the costume will fit around most snugly.  Have your bust, waist, hip and inseam measurements handy and read the sizing information on each costume selection carefully.
  • In order for accurate measurements to be obtained, make sure you are wearing undergarments, a tank top or bra, etc. when you measure.  Measuring in street clothes is not a good idea and you may end up with a costume that is too large.
  • Keep in mind your planned activities while wearing your costume and then decide if you are going to need a little “breathing room” or if you want a more precise, snug fit.

Having the correct fit for your Halloween costume is very important.  If you spend the entire night tugging at or fussing with your costume and feeling uncomfortable, your focus is not where it should be, and that is on having fun! 

One Final Note on Sizing for Seasonal Costumes

Seasonal costumes are typically designed to be worn for one or two events. They are not professional, theatrical grade costumes (and are not priced as such). So while the sizing information provided by the manufacturer is generally accurate for the measurements indicated, a seasonal costume will rarely fit every person as if it were tailor made for that person. This simply means that even though a costume may fit based on waist or hip measurements, it doesn't mean the inseam length or sleeve length will fit every body style with the same waist measurements. In some cases, alterations may be required and in others, you may need to order another size. And because seasonal costumes tend to run small, we suggest buying the larger size when in doubt.