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Costume economics

I spent this weekend hanging out with some of my favorite people in the world.  After cooking some amazing meals together, playing some rousing rounds of charades, and tromping through a pumpkin patch to find just the right jack-o-lantern, we ended the day evaluating the costumes of hundreds of dressed-up 20 somethings.

The Best and the Worst

I was honestly surprised at how classy a lot of the costumes were this year.  I guess we were expecting quite a few “mice” dressed in ears, a tail, and underwear… We did see one of those, but for the most part the costumes were actually pretty clever.  Among the best were a homemade witch costume full with standing up black and white hair, a band of steam-punk ghost busters, and a well done soap w/ loofa.

When you sit back and think about it for a minute, you realize that there’s an inverse correlation between the amount of money spent on a costume, and it’s awesome-tivity.  All of the costumes in my top ten were put together for less than $20 of materials, and a lot of creativity.  Last minute shoppers tend to spend a lot of money in the Halloween costume stores the day before and really don’t look that great.  They clearly didn’t come up with an original idea, and just wanted to fit in.

The Hamburgler

My best costume experience was one Halloween back in college when 4 of us got together and dressed up as the McDonalds Characters.  We had a homeade Grimace (4 yards of purple fabric), Birdie (a few thrift store accessories and the right colored shirt), Ronald (a $3 jumpsuit painted with $4 of spray paint), and my $10 homemade hamburgler outfit (complete with cape and burger tie).

We were the life of the party, and everyone wanted their pictures with us.  Those costumes must have taken us about 6 hrs each to make, but it was certainly worth it in the end.  Our fellow party-goers recognized the work we put into it and truly appreciated our creativity.  (I even got a number of free burgers later that night…)

Now the batman who had purchased his $35 costume earlier that day just sat in the corner, a little jealous of the attention.  I see this time and time again in real life, just because somebody buys expensive accessories/vehicles/homes, doesn’t mean they actually did something impressive.  Buying a $70,000 car certainly looks impressive, but restoring an older/cheaper car on your own really commands respect.

Put a little elbow grease into it

I think the vast disparity in costumes on Halloween night can teach us something about our purchasing decisions.  No one respects the pre-made stuff, because it didn’t actually take any effort.  The irony is that the pre-made costumes cost more than doing it yourself.  This is true of most activities that have an easy way out.

It may be easier to eat out at chain restaurants,  but really learning to cook on your own demands respect, and it prevents you from spending extra money.  So the Halloween costume rule is just another way of living a self sufficient and independent life.  I don’t know if we will put together Halloween costumes next year, but if we do, you can bet they will homemade.

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