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My picking a Halloween costume checklist

 Halloween costumes from 2010, 2011 and 2012. 

Yes, I have a checklist. What do you think I am? An amateur?

I put what might be a little too much thought into my fancy dress ideas, but each year it turns out to be worth it as I get complimented on my choices. I usually sit down to brainstorm months in advanced and normally an idea comes into my head and I know that it is the costume I want to be that year (like a bride looking for her dress, if you will).

1. Be scary
Aside from that time in my first year of university when I borrowed my flatmate's ladybird costume I have always nearly been something that might make a few people shit themselves. I was also an Indian when I was 10 which I won a jewellery box for at the local youth club, but I'm not going to be donning a butterfly costume anytime soon.

2. I'm always a character or person
In the past few years I have always been a scary fictional character, and not a generic witch, vampire, werewolf etc. Last year I was Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, the year before that I was Samara from The Ring and the year before that I was the puppet from Saw. When I sit down to brainstorm, I look through scary movie lists and television series to see what I might like to do.

3. Will people get it?
I've always wanted to dress up as Bellatrix Lastrange but don't feel as though there are enough features to her outfit that people would definitely get it (unless it was a Harry Potter party, in which case, people might get it). There may always be someone who doesn't get my costume (last year I was asked if I was the witch from Wizard of Oz, and the year before that people thought I was from The Grudge) and the idea I'm running with this year will need a lot of details to make sure people don't think I'm a generic goth.

A tip: when putting it together ask what details of the costume need to be present in order for people to get it, and which can be overlooked (shoes, for example).

4. Not something everyone else would do
Slightly contradictory to the point above, but the outfit needs to well enough know that people will get it but not well known enough that everyone will do it. At most Halloween parties there is a cute insect, a Harry Potter, a Disney Princess or someone from Alice in Wonderland. It could even just be something so outrageous no one else would try it - my Maleficent costume was store-bought but not many people would be willing to paint themselves green. Or it could just be something expensive.

5. My rule on copying ideas
Dressing as the puppet from Saw in 2010 wasn't my original idea, but the person I copied was a friend of someone I went to school with who I just happened to have on Facebook. Like she'd ever know.

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