- Tim Boyle/ Getty
As Halloween creeps closer, hoards of trick-or-treaters and partygoers are flocking to costume stores to create their Halloween looks.
Everyone knows that these stores become madhouses in October, whether you’re shopping at Party City, Spirit Halloween, or your local holiday pop-up shop. People fighting over the last “Avengers” costume or having to step over rejected masks are commonplace this time of year.
Here are some things you should avoid doing in a costume store during the Halloween season to avoid a shopping horror story.
Never go in without a plan or a vague idea of what you want to dress up as.
At any good costume store, there will be thousands of options to choose from. From a sexy nurse to a taco, your options are limitless, so you need to have an action plan. Make sure you have an idea of what you want to be and know exactly what you need to create the look. Leisurely wandering around the aisle perusing every option will not be easy when there are hundreds of people pulling items off the walls.
With that said, be ready to ditch the plan if it’s not coming together.
The closer it is to Halloween, the fewer options may be available to you in the store. Therefore, never shop without backup ideas. Be ready to ditch your original costume idea and create something entirely new. You may be surprised by what you can come up with if you’re flexible.
Try not to follow the latest trends.
Almost everyone will be dressing up as a character from “Riverdale” or “Avengers” this year, but that doesn’t mean you should too. In fact, you will have an easier time in the costume stores if you don’t follow the trends. While people are fighting over the limited supply of Wakanda warrior costumes, you can be shopping for an original idea with no stress.
When trying on costumes, keep the masks away from your face.
This may seem counter-intuitive but think about all the people who are coming in and out of the store this Halloween season. If every person tries on a specific mask, imagine how many germs are being passed around. Instead, hold the mask up to your face, and it will give you the same illusion as wearing it. Once you decide to buy the mask, clean it before you wear it.
- Rob Stothard/ Getty
Also, don’t try on costumes without the intent of purchasing.
The dressing rooms at these stores are constantly busy, so don’t show up to the store with a group of friends to try on a slew of costumes just for fun. This is not your time for a wardrobe change montage, so do not hog the fitting room if you’re not there to purchase anything.
When trying something on, stop being disappointed the costume doesn’t look as good as the picture.
The pictures on the front of each costume bag are professionally taken and edited. Stop being surprised that your costume doesn’t look exactly the same. Also remember that these costumes have been folded and sometimes smushed in bags for a while, so they may be wrinkled. Try ironing the outfit at home to make it look better, and never be afraid to modify the costume once you’ve purchased it.
If something still just doesn’t look right, do not just throw it on the floor.
Sometimes a costume store can look and feel like a battleground. With a large number of customers passing through, almost every Halloween store gets messy. Don’t add to the mess by throwing items on the floor. Put everything back where you found it. It’s the employee’s job to stock costumes for you – not to pick up after you.
But the employees are there for assistance, so never be scared to ask for help.
No one knows the store better than an employee. When the store gets busy, it will be even harder to navigate. Asking an employee to point you in the direction of whatever you’re looking for is a sure-fire way to cut down your shopping and decrease unnecessary foot traffic.
- Joe Raedle/ Getty
Before checking out, remind yourself that you don’t have to buy the most expensive costume.
Remember that you’re only going to wear this costume for one night – really just a few hours. There’s no need to spend over $200 on that. Instead, use the pricey look as an inspiration. Think about how you can find those elements for a lot less at a thrift store or online.
Once you’ve committed to buying a costume, don’t check out without looking to see if anything is missing.
If you’re getting a pre-assembled costume, make sure everything is in the bag and that no piece is missing. Some costumes are expensive, so you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Also, a lot of costumes come with gadgets, so make sure those are working and not broken.
At check-out, don’t complain about the long line or how slow it’s going.
It’s Halloween, so the costume store will obviously be busy. If you complain about it, you’re just going to make yourself more frustrated and the people around you more annoyed. Instead, take a deep breath and try to enjoy the horrors of this holiday season.
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