Spunky Witches, Glittering Zombies and Dead Ballerinas, Oh My!

Nicole Decsey on repurposing dance costumes into Halloween costumes.


It’s that time of year again where the weather gets colder, children go trick or treating, and monsters come out to scare you. But there is nothing quite as scary as the thousands of dollars you used to spend on dance costumes that you only wore three or four times. Why only wear these costumes on stage, when you can repurpose them for Halloween? Put those competition expenses to use again and turn your jazz costume into a spunky witch outfit or a dead pop star getup. You’ll be the most stylish and pricey devil at the party!


Halloween traditions


Now, growing up my family didn’t spend a lot of money on Halloween costumes. And let’s face it, after how much they spent on dance costumes it would be cruel to make them buy Halloween ones too. Instead we repurposed old clothes and all of my Halloween costumes were homemade.


Being a dancer, I had more than just old shirts to rip up and make into zombie costumes. I had bright sparkly dance costumes which I could make into anything I wanted. One year I was a rocker zombie, another I was a sparkly monster and yet another year I was a baby, because why not wear a onesie? These costumes were actually way more expensive than any Halloween costume my friends ever wore. If you danced growing up, you know exactly what I mean.


Even today I still make my own Halloween costumes. I don’t fit into most of my sparkly dance outfits anymore, but I still have some accessories I can use and the tradition of making do with what I have lives on. Still, I will buy the occasional dollar store cat’s ears or witch’s hat to add that little extra something to my outfit. Jeez, talk about breaking the bank.


Why I loved reusing my dance costumes


When I was younger, changing my old dance costumes into Halloween outfits meant I had costumes specifically made for me that no one else would have. They had sparkles, bright colours and were overall just the best things ever. I remember feeling really special going to school dressed up in my costumes thinking “everyone will know I’m a dancer now!”


I think my best DIY costume was a dead ballerina. I wore my red flat tutu, painted some blood on my face and slung my old pointe shoes over my shoulders. It was a little hard navigating the school halls with that tutu, but it was so worth it. I never won any prizes for my costumes, but it didn’t matter, I cared more about the candy, dancing with my friends and getting scared in haunted houses. And I loved my dance costumes so any excuse to wear them again was fine with me.



My tips for your own DIY costumes


1) Go riffling through your old dance costumes, check out the accessories too, then decide what memories you are okay to part with before you start getting crafty. Sometimes you won’t even need to change the outfit. I was in the army for one hip hop routine and the next dance season I was a clown. Well, both clowns and soldiers are pretty scary, so I didn’t have to change a thing. The characters you become for dance routines are just what you need for Halloween. Who needs to be a Disney princess or Freddy from A Nightmare on Elm Street? Those characters are way over done anyways. Although entering other people’s dreams is probably about the scariest super villain power you can have.


2) When in doubt get your scissors out. If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for a few carefully placed rips and tears can always make something look creepier. Then use your red comp lipstick to draw some blood on your face, get out your competition required fake eyelashes, put on that pitch-black eyeshadow you never wear anymore and cover yourself in those body sparkles that never come off even after months of furious scrubbing.


3) Next, make your hair a little crazy. Use a comb to tease it into the perfect pouf or just the perfect frizzy pony tail, cover your hair in hairspray and gel so it doesn’t move even after you take out the elastics and put a million bobby pins in until you feel like you have more pins then hair. And then you are good to go!

Halloween 2020


This year may look a little different. Instead of haunted houses we will have haunted mirrors to look into. Instead of trick or treating, we may have to have a sweets and treats scavenger hunt in our own homes. Obviously with our second box of chocolates because we already ate the first box. But despite all these changes, Halloween is still here. It’s time to find the most expensive dance costume you own, rip it to shreds and be sure to send a picture to your parents to give them a real fright! Mwhahahaha

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