Halloween Randomness

  • October 31, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

Our favorite holiday is finally here!  (PHEW!) We’ve waited for this most spooky day of the year for a very long time, and we know you have, too.  To celebrate what has to be the most epic holiday ever, we’ve put together lists of some of the very best things about Halloween with everything you need to know about the scariest day of the year…and then some!

Top 5 Halloween Candies:  According to USA Today, the top selling candies for the 52 weeks ending on September 8, 2013 were:

#1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups-$590.85 million dollars in sales
#2. M&M’s-$500.82 million dollars in sales
#3. Snickers-$456.91 million dollars in sales
#4. Hershey’s-$324.63 million dollars in sales
#5. Kit Kat-$306.51 million dollars in sales

It was not surprising to me that all of these popular candy favorites are made from chocolate!  Bring it on! 

Top 5 Scary Movies:  It’s all a matter of opinion of course, but here’s mine!

#1.Psycho (1960)
#2. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
#3. Scream (1996)
#4. Friday the 13th (1980)
#5. Halloween (1978)

Top 5 Halloween Strange Facts:

#1.  The first Jack-O-Lanterns were created from hollowed out turnips, not pumpkins.
#2.  Ancient people wore scary costumes on Halloween night in order to keep evil spirits away-hopefully by tricking them into thinking they too were also dead.
#3.  Trick or treating came from a tradition known as souling.  Souling was an annual ritual done by poor villagers who offered prayers for the dead of wealthier folks in exchange for a pastry known as a soul cake.
#4. In Hollywood, there is a $1000 fine for using Silly String on Halloween.
#5. American’s will spend over $330 million dollars this year on costumes for their pets.

Top 5 Halloween Costumes:

Adults:                                         Kids:                                          Pets:

#1. Witch                                    #1.  Princess                           #1. Pumpkin
#2. Batman Character            #2.   Animal                             #2. Hot Dog
#3. Vampire                               #3.  Batman Character        #3. Cat
#4. Zombie                                 #4.  Action/Superhero        #4. Devil
#5 Pirate                                     #5.  Spiderman                      #5. Superman

Top 5 Halloween Songs: 

#1. Thrilller-Michael Jackson
#2. Monster Mash-Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers
#3. Ghostbusters-Ray Parker Jr.
#4. Werewolves of London-Warren Zevon
#5. Highway to Hell-AC/DC

From all your friends here at Halloween Express, may all your Halloween adventures be safe, sane and nothing less than spook-tacular with no tricks, just treats!  Happy Halloween! 

P.S.  Don’t forget to show us YOUR D.I.Y. Halloween style by entering the 2013 DIY Halloween Costume Contest.

Last Minute Halloween Costume Tips

  • October 30, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

Last Minute Halloween Costume IdeasHas procrastinating got the best of you again?  You are not alone my friend and I think it’s fairly safe to say that there are legions of folks out there who are just now thinking about what to wear for Halloween.  Just because you’ve waited until the last minute, doesn’t mean your costume has to suck--in fact, here are a few tips to help you pull together a last minute costume look that will be truly memorable as well as fun.

Dust Off Those Attic Duds.  Retro looks make great costumes and if you have some authentic clothing from another decade collecting dust in your closet or attic, now’s the time to drag it out.  Fashion looks from the 1970’s and 80’s are popular in a very big way.  Bellbottoms, hot pants and three-piece suits are a great place to start for a legendary 1970’s look.  A truly epic 1980’s look might begin with parachute pants, big shoulder pads, large plastic jewelry and leg warmers. 

The key to creating a memorable retro look as a Halloween costume is to go a little over the top with it and don’t be afraid to exaggerate your hair, makeup and accessories in order to accomplish this.  Have a sense of humor when putting together your costume look and really go all out in order to make a big costume statement.  You will want to make sure that your costume looks like a costume and not like you are just having a frumpy day with your wardrobe. 

Season of the Undead: Procrastinators may be in luck when it comes to one of the hottest costume trends out there.  Zombies.  Because of television shows like The Walking Dead and movies like World War Z, the zombie character is a sizzling hot costume choice this year.  The beauty of the zombie is that there are really no rules as to what character you can choose to zombie-fy, so now is the time to get creative and zombie up just about anything or anyone.  And yes, in case you were wondering, it’s quite okay to be a “sexy” zombie, too--adding the word “sexy” to just about any character seems to be the order of the day, so if you are so inclined to be a sexy zombie, go for it.  (And because what could really be sexier than skimpy clothes on an undead corpse covered with oozing wounds and open sores…)  Let’s face it; any character can be made into a zombie.  Rip up and shred the clothing a little bit and with the right costume makeup--suddenly you’re a lumbering, growling, flesh-hungry and rotting zombie.

Tradition Rules:  You can’t really go wrong with some of the old stand by’s when it comes to last minute costume choices.  The National Retail Federation says that this year’s top five Halloween costumes will be:

  1. Witches
  2. Batman
  3. Vampire
  4. Zombie
  5. Pirates

If all else fails you may want to stick to one of these more traditional costume looks…or perhaps even a clever combination of these looks.  Like say, for instance, a zombie-fied Batman?  Have fun and be creative--after all, that’s what Halloween is all about.

Halloween History Lesson

  • October 29, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

We all love Halloween…obviously!  What’s not to love about this beloved and traditional holiday that is filled to the brim with costumes, parties, trick or treating and a whole plethora of other scary and fun stuff?  Have you ever wondered, however, who came up with all these rather bizarre traditions that we embrace at this time each year?  What’s up with all the scary monsters anyway?  And why do kids knock on doors, begging for candy?  What do we even mean by trick or treat?  For all you folks that just need to know, today’s post is going to be a little Halloween history lesson.

To get to the roots of Halloween tradition you have to go back into history thousands and thousands of years to the time of the ancient Celtic people then living in Europe.  Pagan people that lived during this pre-Christianity time period had many gods and goddesses that they worshipped, many of these entities being associated with the harvest.  A festival known as Samhain was celebrated each year at the end of the harvest season in order to pay due homage to the gods and goddesses that were responsible for their harvested bounty.  During Samhain, many interesting rituals took place amongst these groups of people.  Celebratory bonfires were held with various offerings and sacrifices to the gods they worshipped also taking place.  Great feasting and celebrating was also a common practice as was dressing up in scary costumes, but their reasons for the costumes might strike you as a little bit odd.  These superstitious people of old believed that during the close of the harvest season and at the dawn of the winter months, the spirits of the dead could come back to the earth to wander around amongst the living.  Samhain became not only a festival celebrating the end of the harvest season, but it was also a time to honor the deceased who were believed to be closer to them than ever during the time of Samhain. 

In spite of Samhain being a designated time to remember and honor the dead, there was a great deal of fear and misgivings about the notion of having spirits coming back into the world of the living.  The people were very fearful of any spirits that might actually be evil or had malevolent intentions.  In order to scare off any evil spirits and keep them away, folks took to dressing up in frightening and scary looking costumes.  These people believed that if they themselves looked like one of the dead guys, any spirits lurking about would just leave them alone.  Dressing up in scary costumes became an annual event, and in the process a very long-standing Halloween tradition was born.

As the years went on, Samhain and its festivities became melded into All Saints Day and other holidays that were now celebrated as part of newly taught Christianity.  Many of these ancient traditions and customs came with immigrants when they migrated to the United States.  One of these traditions was a very old ritual known as souling.  In the old country, on the evening before All Saints Day, it had become customary for poorer folks to go to the doors of wealthier folks in order to offer prayers on behalf of their dead.  In return for these prayers, the wealthy would offer up small pastries to the poor known as soul cakes.  It is believed that this tradition was the very beginnings of what we now know as trick or treating. 

In the early days of the 20th century, after the tradition of souling was re-kindled in the United States by groups of new immigrants, things did not go so well.  In fact, things got so out of hand that Halloween had become a time of profuse vandalism and completely disruptive mayhem in many cities throughout America.  The phrase “trick or treat” was likely started during this time period as kids who went out trick or treating actually would damage a homeowner’s property or perform other acts of extreme mischief if they weren’t “treated” properly or to their expectations. 

With the advent of WWII and the sugar rationing that became necessary during this time in history, trick or treating fell out of vogue and became basically extinct.  When the tradition of trick or treating was rekindled in the 1950’s, the ritual was reinstituted to the new generation as a fun, kinder and gentler activity with a much more family friendly vibe.  Thankfully, the holiday of Halloween has remained a fun holiday for families to enjoy together for many decades and through many subsequent generations. 

Although the Halloween we celebrate today is a far cry from the ancient festivals that were once revered in the old days, it’s interesting to note how much of those ancient commemorations we have retained in our modern day.  As you wander down the street on Halloween night seeing your neighborhood filled with ghosts, goblins and the like, you may want to ponder a bit on where some of these old traditions came from.

Finishing Touches To Give Your Costume Look Professional Flair

  • October 28, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

We’re down to the wire now folks, and the countdown into Halloween has officially begun.  As you finish assembling your Halloween costume supplies, do you have everything you need, or perhaps you have that nagging, gnawing sensation, suggesting that something still might be missing?  Pulling off a fabulous costume look is more than just getting into the actual costume.  Sometimes what you add at the end that may even seem like small things or extra touches can end up making a monumental difference.  The right makeup, special effects and costume accoutrements can make what once was a simple and ordinary costume, nothing short of spectacular and perhaps even make you look like a Hollywood pro. 

Special FX: Hollywood professionals have used cinema-style makeup and prosthetics for decades, but now these items have been cleverly adapted for the masses for easy use at home with some pretty spectacular results.  You don’t have to be a professional makeup artist to get very good results with some of these truly amazing products.  Depending on your chosen character, consider adding on prosthetic noses, wounds, scars or any number of truly vile looking bruises or lacerations in order to give your character a little more Halloween style reality. 

Makeup:  Ordinary makeup that you would use in your everyday life is often not vibrant or bold enough for use in a costume look. Costume makeup is designed to fit your unique needs when it comes to getting into your Halloween character.  Whether you are making yourself up as a shockingly green Halloween witch or a brightly colored blue Smurf, you want your color to be bold and long lasting.  A good costume makeup followed with a setting powder is going to get you dramatic results that are sure to enhance your chosen costume character.

Hair:  There is nothing that can get you into your chosen character faster than correctly adding hair to yourself in order to complete your costume look.  Whether it’s just a little facial hair or even a full-blown character wig, giving your costume the added benefit of character-appropriate hair (through a little costume magic, of course) is going to give you some pretty amazing results with very little effort or stress involved! 

Need some last minute ideas or help with application techniques?  We have over forty how-to videos showing you precisely how to add costume makeup, special effects, hair, blood and all sorts of costume details to a wide variety of popular character looks.  Make your costume come to life in a very unique way with some of these truly amazing products! 

Halloween Costumes: When Sexy IS Scary

  • October 23, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

Sexy CostumesHalloween, a holiday so old and steeped in spooky tradition and folklore that it’s history is impossible to ignore.  At some point, however, Halloween costumes and getting dressed up for Halloween effectively morphed from the classic scary characters and moved in an entirely different direction.  These days, unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve had to notice that Halloween has taken a whole new, much sexier kind of attitude.   Halloween is that time of the year--when a woman must now ask herself what kind of sexy slut she wants to be for Halloween. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against girls looking hot and sexy.  It’s all about timing, appropriateness and of course, good judgment.  There are some instances however, where a super sexy costume is only going to work against you, no matter how good you look in it.  For example, if you wear that super sexy costume to work in (what once was) a very professional environment, can you ever undo the image of yourself gallivanting around the office as a Naughty Nurse or Sexy Scallywag? And then there is the age factor.  Shouldn’t a woman be just that--a woman--before she even should think about (or be allowed to) dress up in some of these overly sexually charged getups?  If you look around, you will notice that there are some very sexy costume looks that are made specifically for little kids or even very young teens.  When it comes to wearing the sexier costume choices, how young is too young?

Costume manufacturers haven’t done a lot to help when it comes to this whole issue of promoting sexy costumes across the board.  Some costume characters that have been “adapted” into a new, sexy version boarder on the line of good sense and teeter over into the land of complete and utter ridiculousness.  For example, some of the most classic and beloved children’s television characters have been completely mutated from something that once was fun and very innocent, into something scandalous, embarrassing and definitely not something you’d probably want your kids to see, let alone wear.  When it comes to sexy costumes, have we gone way to far? 

No matter how you feel about using Halloween as a means to get your sexy game on, there is no doubt that sexy costumes are here to stay.  Used appropriately, these sexy costumes are absolutely a great way to have some grown up fun while expressing yourself in a way you which you may never have been able to do before.  However, making Halloween into too much of a sexual free for all or even a bit of a sleeze-a-thon might just be something you want to reconsider. 

“Reel” Halloween Fun

  • October 20, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

Curse of Chucky

Yes, there are Halloween parties.  Yes, there is also trick-or-treating. Yes there are dozens of Haunted Houses and spook alleys cropping up all over the place and yes, of course, there are also tons of opportunities for you to get dressed up in that perfect Halloween costume. But don’t forget that Halloween is also the perfect time to hit the movie theatre in order to get scared absolutely silly!  Hollywood has willingly obliged your desire to up the fear factor with some very thrilling offerings that you will not want to miss out on seeing.  These films are the perfect spine-tingling solution that is sure to get you into that spooky Halloween spirit! 

Insidious Chapter 2-This supernatural horror film is the sequel to 2011’s “Insidious”, thus if you haven’t seen the first installment, prepare to be mildly confused during this latest chapter.  In this thriller, Josh and Renai Lambert try to uncover what is really behind their secret and frightening connection to the world of spirits.  The fright ante appears to have been significantly upped for this contemporary horror tale.

We Are What We Are-The Parker family looks so innocent and wholesome on the outside, but as often is the case, things clearly are not always as they seem.  When a bizarre, torrential downpour of flooding rain comes through the town, it sets into motion a series of events that cause tragedy to strike and send the Parker’s into secretive turmoil. 

Curse Of Chucky-Yes, infamous and notorious Chucky is back for the sixth installment of this legendary horror franchise.  There may not be much that foul-mouthed Chucky can say or do that hasn’t been done in previous films, but you should see it just because let’s face it--the Chucky character is a horror movie legend.

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane-Mandy Lane got quite hot over the summer and as the title says, all the boys are suddenly in love with her!  When invited to a ranch party for the weekend, suddenly many of Mandy’s potential paramours mysteriously are beginning to disappear…has one of her new crush’s taken a truly diabolical turn?

Ghost Team One-This horror-comedy film might be just what you need if you are looking for a scary themed flick with a little bit of comic relief mixed in.  The plot of the film takes a couple documentary filmmakers through their misadventures as they attempt to make a film about a haunted ex-whorehouse, which is actually a lame ruse they use in order to hopefully get some action.  What the boys get instead is actually a lot more than they may have bargained for.

Carrie-This film is a remake of the 1976 classic horror flick by the same name, and believe it or not, also promises to be as frightening as the first installment.  Starring Julianne Moore and Chloe Grace, these big name actresses along with a well-known story that has stood the test of time, practically guarantee a Halloween thriller with box office success written all over it.

Big Ass Spider-Move this film to the top of your Halloween must-see list.  What could be better for Halloween fun than a creature-feature headlining a 50 ft. giant spider that goes on a rampage through Los Angeles?  Yep, we agree--not much.

Make your game plan now to see one of these deliciously frightful films this Halloween season.  Thrills and chills a-plenty, these seven horror movies should all officially be on your must-see list for some “reel” spooky Halloween fun!  

Costume Faux Pas: Halloween Dress Up Gaffes You Should Always Avoid

  • October 17, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

Halloween is supposed to be fun; that is the point.  Making a smart costume choice to wear for your Halloween celebrating is a huge part of that fun.  There are pitfalls, however, that you costume fans out there will always want to try and avoid.  Having been around costume land for many years, we are here of course to help you out, ensuring that you survive the Halloween experience completely unscathed, without either scandal or remorse.  Avoiding terrible costume blunders will help you to have an absolute blast on Halloween and may very well also keep you from being the topic of conversation at the work water cooler.  Take heed.


Lack of Effort:  If you are heading to a Halloween party or dressing up for Halloween for a work party, you have to have something cool to wear.  Think of it as an opportunity to express a bit of your personality. Your costume does not have to be store bought, expensive or even super elaborate--but please, put some effort into your get up.  This obviously requires some thought, planning and…some effort.  Don’t be that person that wears Mickey Mouse ears to a party and calls it a costume---or worse yet, the one that wears the truly pathetic “this is my costume” t-shirt. 

Too Sexy:  Sexy costumes have taken over the costume universe and with good reason.  Halloween has become an accepted time for even good girls to dress up a little vampy and playful--all in the name of good clean fun.  Be aware however, of where you are wearing your sexy costume and how sexy it is.  Showing too much skin at a family event where a lot of kids are present might not be very cool and wearing an overly sexy costume in the workplace is probably a very bad idea as well.  Save your sexy look for a grown up Halloween party.

Completely Inappropriate: Funny and very hilarious costumes are extremely popular these days.  Be careful when making your costume choice and be forever mindful of where you are wearing the supposedly funny look and who is going to see it.  Sexually graphic costumes with saggy, droopy or overly exaggerated body parts might be truly funny with your buddies, but your boss might not find the humor in them as much as you do. 

Insensitive or Offensive:  Political correctness is the new buzz word when it comes to costuming, so be aware of who you might offend if you are walking a bit of a fine line with your chosen costume look.  Costumes depicting various ethnic groups or religions may be something you want to avoid wearing in certain situations, particularly at the workplace. 

Just Plain Questionable:  What could be worse than spending your entire Halloween event trying to explain what you are supposed to be?  If your costume message is that vague, perhaps you need to rethink it and go for something that is a little more obvious to the more feebleminded amongst us. 

Playing it Too Safe:  Didn’t you wear that last year?  <yawn> And the year before?  Wearing the same old costume year after year is just plain boring.  Unless you have a brand new workplace or new group of friends, please (oh please) come up with something new this time around so you don’t put your friends to sleep.  

Logistics:  We always love as well as applaud your creativity--but please think through the logistics of maneuvering around in your costume.  Make sure you can walk, bend over, work (if you need to), sit down, breathe, go potty…stuff like that.  A costume that completely destroys your basic functionality just will not fly. 

Underneath It All:  Sometimes it’s very easy to get so wrapped up in the costume itself that you completely forget about something very important that can have potentially serious repercussions--that is, what is going to be worn “underneath” your costume.  This little detail will have varying degrees of consequence of course, depending on the costume you have chosen, but please take a moment and give it some thought.  The right underwear or clothing you put on underneath as a base layer, can be a lot more important than you think.  

Most Popular Halloween Costumes for 2013

  • October 16, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

Popular Halloween Costumes 2013

It is mid-October, folks.  In these parts, that always raises the really BIG question that comes up this time of the year.  What are you going to be for Halloween?  There’s still plenty of time to get that perfect Halloween costume that is sure to set you apart from all the rest of the crowd and make you the shining star of your Halloween party.  So what are you waiting for?  Here is our list of this years hottest costume trends to help get your costume inspiration juices flowing! 

They Don’t Call Them Classic For Nothing!  This year, as in many others, the classic Halloween characters are hugely popular.  Zombies, vampires, witches, princesses and pumpkins are the top picks of many soon-to-be Halloween revelers.  If you have always wanted to try out one of these timeless personas, this is the year to do it!

  • Over 5 million adults plan on dressing up as a witch this year for Halloween.  With so many variations on the witch theme, it’s easy to find that uniquely beguiling witch look that will surely cast a spell on your Halloween festivities. 
  • Batman characters are extremely popular for adults this year.  Consider being Batman himself, one of his legendary cohorts or even one of the Batman archenemies.
  • Feel like you really are a princess? Then you should BE a princess.  You will not be alone, as nearly 4 million kids will be joining you in wearing their royal costume regalia, Disney princesses always topping the list in popularity.
  • You want to hear me ROAR?  Animal costumes are expected to be one of the top choices amongst children, with over 2.8 million kids expected to be dressing up as one of their furry friends.
  • Superheroes, particularly female ones.  Superheroes always make a popular costume choice, but this year many females are getting into the action packed adventure found in the superhero gig.  Our favorite chick-power superstar?  Wonder Woman.


Television, Movies and Pop Culture:  You can always count on favorite television shows and movies to have a huge influence on costume trends each year.  This year popular television and movie costume choices include:

  • Monster High-With cool outfits, epic hairdos and a monstrous lineage to boot, it should be fairly obvious why these character looks are flying off the shelves.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Still #1 on many kids want list, these fictional anthropomorphic reptiles are sure to be out of the sewer and soon seen trick or treating in a neighborhood near you.
  • Avengers.  Any of these bad boys are ragingly popular, including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Hulk.
  • The Walking Dead, Duck Dynasty and The Great Gatsby are also all creating strong media influence on this years costume choices.

There you have it--the most popular costume looks for Halloween 2013.  Now, let me ask the BIG question once again.  What are you going to be this year for Halloween? 

Pimping Your Pad for Halloween

  • October 14, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

Graveyard TombstoneIf you haven’t already started thinking about it, now would be the time.  With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about how you are going to completely trick out your yard, Halloween style and it doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.  In fact, we have some great suggestions for even you lazier people out there (like me). 

Lights.  Let’s face it.  There is no Halloween fun in having trick or treaters tripping over things in your yard and knocking over your Jack-o-Lanterns.  Having a brightly lit pathway to your door is essential--but that’s not to say that it can’t be eerie and spooky at the same time.  Pathway lights (made extra scary with additions like creepy skull toppers) are a practical addition to your Halloween décor that will also add some seriously spooky ambience at the same time.  What could be better?  

Jack.  He’s a Halloween staple and if you don’t have a Jack-o-Lantern on the premises for Halloween then you probably really don’t know Jack.  There’s a very high likelihood that you (along with the rest of America) will be carving up your own pumpkins with all sorts of clever, silly and evil grins and setting these masterpieces out to greet your local trick or treaters.  A few jack-helpful essentials will assist you with all your pumpkin carving needs.  Make sure you have a pumpkin-carving kit handy (with lots of those tiny, groovy, serrated carving tools to get into all those tight places) and a good pumpkin light to illuminate your Jack, which is actually a lot more reliable (not to mention safer) than a candle any day.

Skull Pathway LightsBats, Spiders and Rats.  There is nothing like the use of good ol’ ordinary pests to really spook up your abode for Halloween.  It never ceases to amaze me how effectively scary a rubber rat can be as he sits next to your Jack-o-Lantern or pokes his head out of your shrubbery.  Everyone knows that sickening ghoul hanging from your tree isn’t real--but the rat?  He has to power to send people running--the possibilities are actually endless.  Using creepy rodents and arachnids with reckless abandon as a part of your Halloween décor is a quick and easy way to give the locals a bad case of the heebie jeebies.

Decorations.  This is your time to shine!  Having a few carefully selected or handmade Halloween decorations in your yard gives you the chance to express yourself, spooky style all while adding some creepy effects to your (now haunted) home.  A graveyard theme is easy and fun as are a wide variety of ghosts and goblins that you can effectively hang from your trees or eaves.  The highlight of your Halloween set up should probably be on your front porch, as you will likely have many young visitors haunting your doorstep on Halloween night.  Make sure you have something fun and spooky there to greet them!

Tunes.  Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without some really creepy music to accompany it.  This little extra touch is one that is often forgotten but wow, does it pack an extra spooky punch when it comes to getting into a Halloween mood.  Play a DVD out your window that is loaded with super scary Halloween music, or even one with haunted sounds is super cool too.  Your guests might not be expecting those extra creaks, howls, cackles and screams when they come to your door but they are going to love the extra frightening and haunted effect that it brings.

And there you have it, easy, but highly effective ways to simply decorate your pad with extra spooky style for Halloween.  We’re certain your fully pimped out place is going to be simply boo-tiful.

DIY Costumes that are Amazing ... and Cheap

  • October 12, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

DIY Costume

Every Halloween each of us faces the BIG dilemma.  “What do I want to be for Halloween?”  Sometimes this decision becomes even more complicated with varying factors that tend to muddy the costume waters.  Kids are notorious wafflers when it comes to finalizing costume decisions and often will wait until the final hours before Halloween night to make their costume decision--leaving parents with the problem of having to pull the look together--and in a hurry.  Often it comes down to simple economics, too.  With a gaggle of kids in tow, parents and sometimes pets to boot--well, costuming up the entire family can potentially cost a small fortune. 

Making your own costumes from simple items easily and inexpensively obtained (often from around the house) has become a family ritual for many and money savings aside, these D.I.Y. costumes often turn out to be some of the best, most original costume masterpieces out there.  Not to mention that there is something to be said for wearing a costume that is truly unique and not a carbon copy of several other local Halloween revelers. 

So, what does it take to put that perfect last minute D.I.Y. costume look together…and still look simply fabulous?  Here are a few tips to help you as you put on your creative thinking cap and get started.

Think Basics.  Many costume looks can begin with some pretty simple, basic clothing pieces that you will then need to fully accessorize in order to complete your look.  The clothing items you will end up needing will vary widely depending on your chosen character, but you will be surprised at how easy it is to improvise the basics with items you already have around the house.  Sweats, leotards, yoga pants, solid color turtlenecks, baseball pants, etc. are a great place to start.

Think “Inside” The Box.  Got an old cardboard box?  You would be amazed at how many accessories or other clever costumes or accoutrements can be created with this simple item.  Recently a very clever “iPhone” costume was created using foam-core pieces put together like a sandwich board.  The foam core was cut into a large phone shape and held together on each side with self-sticking velcro.  The logos and buttons were then painted onto the foam core. Duct tape was placed around the edges of the “phone” to create the look of a metal edge.  This clever crafter found the buttons as a PDF file online, printed them out and then carefully glued them onto the foam core.  Result? A very unique costume!

Think Thrift Shopping: Sometimes coming up with an inexpensive costume idea is as simple as a trip to the local thrift store for some quick inspiration.  Thrift stores are a great place to shop for retro looks or for clothes you don’t have to worry about destroying a bit for characters like zombies.  A few rips, tears and shreds--and you have a really amazing look to dress your character in.  Thrift stores are also a great source for old shoes that will also compliment your costume look. 

Think Basic Costume Makeup and Accessories: No matter what your chosen character look is, you are more likely than not going to need some simple costume makeup to pull the look together.  A basic Halloween makeup kit will give you some of the essentials to get you started, so it’s definitely a good idea to have one on hand. Putting the best D.I.Y. costume look together often also comes down to specific accessory items.  These little details are usually the things that will not only fully define your character but will pull your entire look together.  A lot of these accessory items can be carefully created yourself, others you might have to purchase.

Once you’ve spent all that time and energy putting together that truly epic D.I.Y. costume look, you may even deserve a little extra recognition for your own unique brand of ingenuity as well as creativity!  Make sure you enter the 2013 Halloween Express DIY Costume contest!  Have fun and be creative! 

Best of 2013 Costumes

  • October 09, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell
This is a great costume idea for couples or any of you brave divas out there that aren’t afraid to bare a little skin, Miley-style.  This is a great costume idea for couples or any of you brave divas out there that aren’t afraid to bare a little skin, Miley-style.

Sometimes when it comes to costumes, you had better get ‘em while they’re hot. For you trendsetting folks out there that want to bring some totally hip, totally now 2013 pop culture to your Halloween party, this costume listing contains some of the latest and the greatest ideas we’ve seen of what’s hot in 2013. If you’re considering making any of these characters your own, you best do it now because these are the sorts of trends that by next year are sure to be yesterday’s news. 

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke-This is a great costume idea for couples or any of you brave divas out there that aren’t afraid to bare a little skin, Miley-style.  Robin Thicke’s look can easily be recreated with the striped suit found in this Beetlejuice costume.  Miley’s look is going to take a flesh colored bikini or tank and shorts along with that notorious foam finger to use as the perfect “strut your stuff” prop, all with your tongue out of course.  Don’t forget to tie your hair up into those cutesy double topknots.  Learning to twerk like nobody’s biz will add some believability to your Miley characterization.

Duck Dynasty


Duck Dynasty-These bayou dwelling bad boys have taken over cable TV with their crazy type of quackery. You are sure to be a hit by dressing up as one of these crazy rednecks and bringing their brand of southern charm straight to your Halloween party.  The main criteria you will need in order to pull the Duck Dynasty look off effectively, is a very long, full beard.  You can wear a fake beard, or you can use crepe wool and spirit gum to “grow” one of your own for the night.  Add a patriotic head wrap and lots and lots of camouflage and you are set!  Need some inspiration?  Check out our how-to video on how to create that perfect Duck Dynasty inspired beard

Piper Chapman-“Orange is the New Black”-All you need to create the signature look of Netflix’ most unlikely inmate are orange scrubs with a white t-shirt underneath, navy tennis shoes, a clip on ID tag and a really bad attitude.

Alien-“Spring Breakers”-Wild beach parties and reckless behavior might be enough motivation to recreate this uniquely inspired pop culture favorite look.  You will need a Hawaiian shirt.  If you have long hair, braid it into cornrows.  If you are a little more follicularly challenged, feel free to don a cornrow wig.  A fake grill, fake tats, fake weapons and a very REAL swagger will give you everything you need to get you fully into this memorable Spring Breakers character.

Walter White-“Breaking Bad”-There are a number of ways to bring Walter White to your Halloween party, but our personal fave is by wearing a bright yellow HAZMAT suit and goggles.  Don’t forget to wear a pair of blue rubber gloves.  Grab a bag of blue rock candy and you suddenly ARE Walter White. 

Have fun bringing these truly memorable characters from 2013 to life at your next Halloween celebration. 

D.I.Y. Costumes: Making It or Breaking It

  • October 06, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

You just can’t help it.  As soon as that first chill of fall hits the air, you are already thinking about Halloween, aren’t you?  Pumpkins, spooky décor and all manner of scary Halloween decorations are showcased in virtually every store.  Up and down the local streets of many towns in America, the eventual transformation from normal suburbia into a miniature Halloween Town has already begun.  There’s one big thing that looms over us every year, however, and it’s definitely time to start thinking about it.   It’s that little matter of your Halloween Costume.

For many of you creative geniuses out there in costume land, wearing a store bought Halloween costume just is never going to fly.  The thought of finding yourself at a Halloween party with someone else dressed in the exact same costume as you are, simply makes you want to cringe! You uber-clever types want something far more expressive of your own unique personality--something that screams out, “I am truly one of a kind!”  “I am a costume genius!”  “There is no one that is as brilliant and inventive as me!”  Having a great costume idea in your mind is one thing. Putting your best costume idea into fruition is quite another.

When it comes to creating the absolutely most amazing, mind-blowing, not to mention, EPIC D.I.Y. costume look, the success (or failure) of your ensemble can come down to the tiniest little details.  Now I have no way of knowing what you are going to come up with when it comes to your D.I.Y. costume game plan, but based on years of experience, here’s a list of potential “details” you may not want to forget!  These little extras can make the difference between a good costume and one that is positively mind blowingly super awesome, not to mention most spectacular! 

Makeup.  Makeup is one of the most essential items that you are likely to need in order to put your costume look together, but it also is one of those things you may forget about until the last minute.  Think about your costume look and decide now how your face is going to become a part of it.  Keep in mind that although masks look amazing, sometimes the long term wearing of them can be uncomfortable and wearing makeup is a lot better way to go.

Accessories. Some things you just can’t make yourself for practical reasons, but they can be a very necessary and integral part of putting your costume look together.  Items such as hosiery, hats, belts, scarves, gloves, eyeglasses and jewelry are just some of the accessories that you might need for your costume in order to complete your look to absolute perfection.

Props.  Depending on your costume character, you may need a prop of some sort to add some serious panache or personality to your get up.  Wings, wands, glow sticks, lanterns, jet packs, canes, bones and chains--it’s all about the details and if you need them, we’ve got them.

Armaments.  Some characters carry a pretend weapon or wield armor and making these items on your own can be somewhat tricky.  Scythes, shields, swords, hammers, guns, pistols and all sorts of accompanying ammo might be just the accoutrements needed to add a little “BANG” to your costume.

Hair.  Hair can be the most defining feature of your costume and it is also one of the easiest to change.  Wigs are an easy way to quickly and easily get into a character look.  Wash out hair color sprays and colored clip in extensions are also an easy and non-committal way to change your hair. The right hair will make sure your costume look is complete from head to toe!

Blood and Guts.  Hey, it is Halloween after all!  If you are creating a D.I.Y. look that requires a little blood and guts, don’t resort at the last minute to using condiments from your refrigerator.  The right fake blood (or flesh, wounds or body parts) is a fantastic detail you will definitely want to get right to complete your creepiest D.I.Y. costume look! 

Creating a very unique, special and very YOU D.I.Y. costume look can be an exciting thing to do for Halloween so have fun and don’t forget the little details.   And by all means, after you do complete your most fantastic D.I.Y. costume look, remember to enter our D.I.Y. Costume Contest!  You could win cash or other fabulous prizes, now what could be better than that?


Picking Costumes That Are Safe As Well as Fun

  • October 04, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

Picking Safe CostumesHalloween is supposed to be fun.  You surely wouldn’t want to risk spoiling one of the best holidays of the entire year by having a completely avoidable debacle with your costume.  Here are a few tips to help you choose the best Halloween costumes for your entire family that are not only most age appropriate, but will also be the most fun and enjoyable for everyone to wear!

Maximizing your child’s safety, especially if he or she is going out in the dark to go trick or treating, is very important.  Sadly, each year kids get injured because of their Halloween costume, but most of these incidents can be avoided.  Here are a few tips for you to consider, and will ultimately help ensure that your child’s costume is as safe as it can be!

  • Masks vs. Makeup.  Avoid masks for trick or treating.  In the darkness, the addition of a Halloween mask can impair your child’s ability to see clearly and to avoid potentially dangerous situations.  Using costume makeup instead of a mask is a great way to get the costume look you desire without obscuring your child’s vision in any way.  An added bonus is that makeup is probably a lot more comfortable for your child to wear as most kids find masks hot and stuffy after only a few minutes of use.
  • Tails, and other hanging parts.  If your child’s costume has a tail, a fin, or any other extraneous parts that he or she is not used to, make sure they can easily navigate with them while they are in place.  This is particularly important when going up and down stairs.  You will want to make sure the extra “part” is completely out of the way, so that while descending any steps your child doesn’t trip over it.  It may be worthwhile to shorten this accessory if there are any risks involved.
  • Flame Retardant Fabric.  Make sure your child’s costume is made from flame retardant fabric.  This is particularly important if you are creating a D.I.Y. costume because most store bought costumes are already made from flame resistant materials.  Be aware of any dangling pieces or loose fabric that could potentially get close to a lit jack-o-lantern or other source of fire.
  • Hemline and General Fit.  It is very important that your child not be tripping over a costume that is too long. Necklines or other areas of the costume should also fit appropriately as well.  Take the time to make sure your child’s costume is hemmed up for safe walking and fits fairly close to the body.
  • Color and Reflectivity.  For kids that are going out trick or treating, dark colors are best avoided.  If dark colors are used, by all means add some reflective tape on all sides of the costume so that your child can still be seen in the dark. Make sure that your child has a good flashlight in hand as well.
  • Tying It On.  The face and neck area should be free from drawstrings if at all possible, as they can become caught on things and cause a potential choking hazard.  Elastic is a safer solution and keep it fairly loose around the face and neck.  Tie hats and scarves snugly so that your child will not trip over them.
  • Weapons.  Play swords, knives, and other costume accessories should only be made of soft, flexible material. 
  • Pets!  Many people enjoy taking their pets out on Halloween and will dress them up in a costume as well.  Make sure your pet is only wearing the costume while supervised.  Ensure that your pet’s costume has no dangling parts that can be chewed off and swallowed.  Proper fit is essential for your pet’s safety as well.  Make sure your pet’s costume is not too large or too tight. 

With a few safety precautions your entire family can enjoy Halloween safely, ultimately maximizing everyone’s fun and enjoyment! 

Weirdest Halloween Costumes

  • October 02, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

Disney Princess / Zipper Face

When it comes to Halloween costumes these days, there aren’t any hard and fast rules.  Gone are the days when dressing up as monsters and frightful beings was the order of the day. Nowadays, costume choices truly run the gamut and you just never know what is going to be lurking about on Halloween night!  There are those folks however, that take the idea of creativity to an entirely new level.  Here are some of the absolute weirdest Halloween costumes we’ve ever seen! 

Disney Princess/Zipper Face:  Say trick or treat and then get off my porch scary kid!  Somehow this clever and very creepy prosthetic put onto the face of a “once upon a time” cute little girl is just all wrong--in a completely freaked out, scary kind of way.

Sexy Chewbacca:  There are actually a couple reasons to like this costume.  First of all, what’s not to love about anything related to Star Wars?  Secondly, it proves definitively, once and for all, that there really is no line in the sand that can’t be crossed when it comes to bringing out your inner sexy vixen on Halloween. Sexy Chewbacca?  Sure, why not. 

sexy chubacca






Hawaiian Snowglobe







Hawaiian Snowglobe:
  Kudo’s to this kid for the ultimate in creativity.  A Hawaiian Snowglobe?  If you’ve been looking for another use for your coconut bra and grass skirt--this look might be it!






mcdonalds zombieMcDonald’s Zombie:  I’ve said it before and I will say it again--virtually any character can be zombi-fied.  This one is pretty awesome and it looks like they put a few ketchup packets to good use! Would you like an order of fries with that?








chia pet costumeChia Pet Costume:  Because after all, dogs surely must have their secret hopes and dreams, too! 













all the avengersAvengers Mashup:  This look is perfect for those of you who can’t make up your mind which character you want to be the most.  Be them all!  Why the heck not?