As a theatrical costume designer, Sheena Haug gets to play dress-up all the time. The Sterling awards-nominated designer has made wardrobes for such companies as Free Will Players, Theatre Network and Catalyst Theatre, and spends her time in between shows working at the Theatre Garage costume shop.
Naturally, Haug starts planning her Halloween costume months ahead of her favourite day of the year. We asked her for tips on hunting for a great get-up.
“Always look at household stuff and think: How can I use that?”
You don’t have to shop for costume parts. Haug points out that two children’s saucer sleds make an M&M costume, or tea strainers could be used for insect eyes.
“You don’t have to get married to the idea right away.”
It’s good to have a general idea of what you’re looking for, but not always. Keep your eyes open when looking for costume parts. There’s always several ways the final product can come together, while still standing out.
“Value Village gets picked over pretty quickly.”
Avoid it – by the time you get there, the good stuff is gone. Try Goodwill or the Salvation Army first. You’ll even save money on what you buy and will probably never wear again.
“Figure out how you’re going to go to the washroom.”
Keep in mind that you won’t be standing still all night. You’ll be walking, standing, sitting and, at some point, using the toilet – maybe more than once. Make it easy on yourself by making your costume’s bottom half detachable or by adding zippers to keep you from having to undress for every pit stop.
“You can be totally covered and sexy too.”
A sexy outfit does not have to mean more skin than clothes. Haug recommends Jessica Rabbit, Marilyn Monroe or Aphrodite – all sexy personalities that don’t bare all and allow for a long dress for a touch of class. But don’t forget to “coordinate your purse with your costume,” she says. “I went as Jessica Rabbit one year and I took a bunny rabbit stuffed toy. I gutted it and turned it into a purse, so I had Roger with me all night.”