Tidying Halloween Costumes with Marie Kondo

Happy Halloween! Hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween weekend and for those with kiddos, are gearing up for a fun night of trick-or-treating. Since Halloween is the costumed holiday, I wanted to devote a post to dealing with exactly that: costumes.

And wigs! Don't forget wigs!  Vikto Forgacs

And wigs! Don't forget wigs! Vikto Forgacs

Costumes Are Clomono 

Marie Kondo has a category under clothes “for specific events.” However, as many of us who dress up for the holiday know, there can also be masks, which fall under komono. If you missed sorting through those “special occasion” clothing, then hopefully you caught them during the komono phase.

Costumes are a hybrid of both clothes and komono.

Making Your Own Costumes

Like everything else, it always comes down to how much you enjoy a thing. I’ve mostly “made” my costumes for the past five years. Typically I hit up a Goodwill to search for items I can either modify, or use as material for what I’m making. If that fails, then I’m at a fabric or craft store.

Regardless whether you make or buy your costume, it still sparks some manner of feeling within you. If you make your own costumes, you’ve invested time and effort, which can make you feel more attached to a costume.

Kids + Costumes

Kids, because they're not us, may in fact wear their Halloween costumes throughout the year. In which case, cool - keep the costumes they wear, until they don't wear them anymore.

As most people with kids know, their tastes and interests change, sometimes overnight, maybe even in a split second. One minute they love dinosaurs, the next, they want everything medieval, kings and queens - maybe both. 

My suggestion in dealing with kids' costumes is, if your child has totally moved on from a costume, then pass it along to someone else. A Buy Nothing group is perfect for this. Kids go through stuff so quickly, someone else is bound to need exactly what you're giving.

Masks and Other Props

My costumes have involved masquerade-style bird masks, which I’m very proud of. So I have them out on display year-round. Some masks however, you might love around this time of year, but would be a little awkward to display year-round, like bloody monster masks or what have you.

Same goes for props. Like swords or canes and other pieces that go with certain full-on regalia. You may not want them on display, but you’re happy to have them when October comes around or for those costume parties, if your friends are like that.

What If I Need That Proton Pack?

Costumes can be tricky because, by their very nature, they are intended for a highly specific and likely once-a-year occurrence. For those unforeseen events where suddenly you get an invitation to a 1980s dance party, or Hawaiian luau barbecue, some of us want to be prepared.

Are you the kind of person who, when going through other categories, you get hung up on the question, But what if I need this?

I think the best way to deal with this situation is to first ask yourself, Do you actually like this item?

If it’s a costume, just like clothes, Did you like wearing it? Since you may only have reason to wear it once a year, if that, is this what you would go to in a pinch, or would you defer to something else you like better?

If you still can’t decide, I would actually recommend:

  1. Trying it on to spark your memory of the last time you wore it.

  2. Checking that it still fits.

  3. Is it still intact, or is it falling apart?

If you’re still unsure, or are having a hard time getting past the, But what if I need it? question, ask yourself:

  1. Did I remember I even had this?

  2. Am I happy to have re-discovered this?

If the answer is No, especially to the second question, then it’s time to pass it along.

If the answer is Yes, then great! Find a space for it:

  1. Display it somewhere in your house, especially if it’s supercool! Why not?, or

  2. At the very least, it deserves carefully thought out storage.

How to Recycle Halloween Costumes

Depending what it is, there's always the Goodwill. I must say it's my go-to when I'm looking for things around this time of year, however, a friend of mine had the genius idea this year to:

Host a Halloween Costume Swap!

Kind of like a Naked Lady Exchange (clothing swap), and just as useful. Maybe you need a pink wig, or black tights, or a wand, or an entire costume. What better way to give costumes new life than to pass them along to your friends who needs them?

Cosplay or Higher End Costumes

If it’s a cosplay, like a truly well-done costume, then I might suggest posting it on eBay or etsy.com or, I bet there are some cosplay costume websites out there.

How To Store Costumes

Even if you live in a McMansion, we all have finite space. Decide the amount of space you are willing to devote to costumes, and where you can keep them all together. Maybe you have a full RoboCop costume, or a turkey vulture costume with life-size wings.

Choose where they live:

  1. Ideally, it’s your closet, with items hanging up, even with props attached, or

  2. *Inside storage bins clearly labeled with what costume’s inside, and

  3. For those special pieces, displayed in your house to show off your work or, hey, just because you like it!

*My suggestion if you do have costumes in bins is to put a cap on the number of bins devoted to costumes. If you have a designated space, such as one shelf worth, if you find yourself this Halloween (or post-Halloween) with more costumes than will fit into your designated bins, it’s time to remove some to make space for the new. Boo!

Happy Halloween!!! xoxoxo

Cover photo by Conner Baker at Unsplash