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Putting together a Halloween costume can be tough, and finding the perfect idea before the big day can be nearly impossible. Whether you want a simple costume that won’t look like a costume for your subway ride to the Halloween party but will be totally festive once you arrive, or if you just want to have a backup outfit in case your ambitious costume idea never gets off the ground, or if you want pieces you can wear after Halloween (so you’re not wasting precious storage space the rest of the year), consider picking up some striped shirts. Just think of all of the costume options you have with a few different colors of striped shirts (which are everywhere right now, by the way).
One of my favorite costumes of my adult life is my Where’s Waldo? outfit. The idea grew out of finding a red and white striped shirt and thinking, “Wow, anyone who wore that would look like Waldo.” As Oprah would say, it was an “A-ha Moment.” I knitted myself a white hat with a red rolled brim and pom-pom, wore my usual chunky black glasses, jeans, and brown loafers, and ta-da, I was Waldo. I wore it to my college classes, but chickened out about wearing a full costume on the subway on my way to class, so I simply removed the hat and I looked like a regular person. If you can find a red and white long-sleeved shirt, a red and white hat, and black glasses, you too can be Waldo. Glasses are so trendy right now, as StyleQuirk reported, so it will be easy to find big prescription-free glasses for this look. If you’d rather be a lady, grab a denim pencil shirt and some striped tights (probably available as part of a pirate costume) to be Wenda.
The Waldo idea can be turned into a group costume, too. Have friends who can’t figure out a costume wear red and white striped (or other patterned) items to be like the crowds who surround Waldo in Where’s Waldo? books. If you own a red and white striped item, any item, you can be a part of the crowd that surrounds Waldo. Any friends who have trendy red items, polka-dotted blouses, or striped scarves can join in the fun. When you first arrive at the party, travel around in a group so that everyone will get the idea.
If you have Waldo, you’ll need an Odlaw. Grab a black and yellow striped shirt, a matching striped hat, some glasses, a stick-on mustache, and black pants. Despite having a song about the color combination, it might be hard to find a black and yellow shirt. You can always take a black shirt and create your own stripes with yellow duct tape.
Have a black and yellow t-shirt, but no Waldo for your Odlaw? Be a bee! Add some inexpensive nylon wings (available at party stores) to your striped shirt and you’re a bee! If you want to go all out, find a hair band with some antennae.
Sure, Steve may not be hanging with Blue on Blue’s Clues anymore, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t go as him. If you can find a two-toned green shirt without the white collar, just wear a white polo underneath or add a detachable collar (which are so trendy right now,) and put on a pair of khakis. Add a stuffed Blue for even more authenticity.
Pair a black and white striped t-shirt with a black jean jacket (denim jackets are in!) and black jeans, you can be Elvis in Jailhouse Rock. Slick back short hair or tease long hair from the hairline to the crown and pull back into a ponytail.
The nautical theme comes back in every summer, so you likely have a navy and white striped shirt. Pair it with some wide-leg white pants and a little white hat (you may be able to find one at party stores or online) to be the most modest sailor at any party (everyone will be a barely-dressed sailor; you can stay warm and stylish).
If you find a red and dark green (or dark gray or black) sweater and a fedora, you can buy a Freddy Krueger mask and hand to be the villain from A Nightmare on Elm Street.
The great thing about each of these costumes is that you can wear the striped shirt all year round, unlike that barely-there cop outfit you were considering. Another bonus: if you realize that no one else dressed up, you can easily make it look like you didn’t either. Or do what I did when I showed up to class as Waldo and found that no one else dressed up: claim that everyone else is your accessory. Waldo needs a crowd to hide in, a bee needs people to sting, Freddy Krueger needs people to terrorize and kill, Elvis needs fans, Steve needs kids to ask questions, it all works – sort-of.