Halloween San Francisco Events
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Halloween Costume Ideas

Don't be a Costume Clone

Too often, events like Halloween, Bay To Breakers, Love Parade, etc. seem like little more than excuses to be wasted and show as much skin as possible in public. This Halloween, rather than purchasing that cheesy costume-in-a-bag, take the originality route. It’s easy in San Francisco.

Gothic Lolitas and Harajuku
Baby, The Stars Shine Bright is an amazing boutique at New People, a shopping and entertainment wonderland in Japantown. The boutique specializes in Lolita fashions. I may be a little biased since I’ve been building on my Gothic Lolita costume for the past several Halloweens, but there is no other place like this in San Francisco.

At Baby, The Stars Shine Bright, you’ll find all the dresses, aprons, bonnets, and, of course, petticoats needed to complete your Lolita look. This is one costume I can say has not been overdone in San Francisco yet, and there are countless ways to come up with an original ensemble.

If you can’t get behind the Lolita thing, don’t miss Black Peace Now before leaving the New People mall: Japanese goth/punkwear galore. Vampires are so en vogue, whether you like it or not, vampy is a safe and sexy way to go. The benefit of getting outfitted here: The pieces can be worn outside of Halloween festivities and are infinitely better than the stupid black polyester capes you find at drugstores and those chain pop-up Halloween costume megastores.

Handmade Creature Costumes
With the recent release of revered Spike Jonze’s poignant adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are, how fun would it be to recreate Max and his friends? Crafster member sjeanette did this a year ago. Get inspired:

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=276644.0 Elaborate costumes like these take time if you’re going to make them yourself, so plan ahead and have a costume-making party.

Life-size handmade Muppet costumes would also be incredible and awe-inspiring. Craftster member Zoemarie posts some photos to get you started in this thread: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=276505.0 You will need foam, an electric knife, a hot glue gun(s), glue gun sticks, fabric/felt and other various materials depending on who you want to be.

Craftster, in general, is a go-to resource for creative do-it-yourself costume ideas. Also be sure to check out the Mr. and Mrs. Monsterface Costumes: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=130774.0

Consider procuring raw materials for your costume-creating session at Mendel’s, Fabrix or family-owned Discount Fabrics.

Pay Homage to Loved or Hated Stars
It goes without saying there will be Michael Jackson costumes everywhere this Halloween. Not that the King of Pop doesn’t deserve homage, but few will go beyond buying whatever Jacko-in-a-bag cheesy, mass-costume producers have manufactured. Celebrate the life of the great Patrick Swayze by going as the Ex-Presidents from Point Break: Get a cheap suit and take your pick of president masks -- Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon or Lyndon B. Johnson.

For Farrah Fawcett, watch an episode or two of Charlie’s Angels then hit the thrift/vintage stores for high-waisted denim flairs and a classy button-up blouse. The hair is the clincher though, of course. Don’t leave out the trademark feathering.

Pay homage to John Hughes as Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson or be a little more obscure as Judd Nelson’s John Bender and Molly Ringwald’s Claire Standish.

Costumes on Haight
This, of course, is the most obvious place to go, and if you go early you’ll have a lot more to choose from. As it’s one of the best-known year-round costume shops in the city, it’s likely to be one of the most crowded. You can buy and rent here, and costume cleaning is included in the rental fee -- good to know if you opt for the furry panda costume, for example -- don’t try getting those sweat stains out yourself. All varieties of wigs, makeup and other totally necessary accessories for your costuming needs can be found here. Also, check out the store’s web site for inspiration on costume ideas. Through November 1st, the store’s extended hours are 11am to 8pm everyday.

Step your outfit up a notch with professional makeup at affordable prices: Kryolan in SOMA is offering 20% off on its Fun Faze line. This line includes neon Dayglow FX cream sticks in Dayglo Blue, Yellow, Pink and Green (make a cardboard cylinder you can fit into and make yourself a neon crayon), grease sticks (otherwise known as face paints), eyelash adhesive, nose putty (Babs or Wicked Witch of the West come to mind). Another simple-to-execute idea: Throw on something you don’t care about and zombify yourself -- you’ll find all the necessary accoutrements here. If you’d rather leave it to the pros, Kryolan is also taking Halloween makeup appointments for Oct 30 and 31st. Normally Kryolan is only open the first Saturday of the month, but hours are extended as Halloween approaches (see listing).