Whether you are planning on entering a local costume contest to raise money for charity, or you want to really wow your friends at their next costume event, it is incredibly easy to buy your costume online with little to no hassle. However recently home-made costumes have been fast gaining popularity, so much so that sewing and knitting as life skills are making a comeback.

If you’ve never picked up a sewing needle in your life, then perhaps store bought costumes are better off for you, but if you’re slightly more imaginative or you know your way around a sewing machine, have you ever considered trying your hand at making a few costumes of your own? Store bought VS home-made costumes each have their advantages and disadvantages and it is important to plan your chosen costume ahead before you sway one way or the other in terms of finally finding your ideal costume.

Choose your costume


If you want to buy your costume, you are limited in the sense that you have a limited selection to choose from, however it is far easier for you to decide on a more complicated costume, as you won’t be the one making it.

When making your own costume, you need to think about how you’re going to make it, what materials, props etc. you will need and how much time you want to spend on it. For this reason – unless you fancy a challenge – sometimes it is better to go with a simpler costume or a costume that is open to interpretation; that way you can take some artistic liberties with it.

The Pros and Cons of Store Bought

Pro: Buying your costume is generally cheaper than making it as you will not have to buy the separate materials and piece them together yourself. This also works in your favour if you have a strict time limit as store bought costumes require little to no assembly and can be perfect as a last minute decision!
Con: Because store bought costumes are designed to fit a general size range (Small, Medium, Large etc.) or can be designed for a ‘one size fits all’ mentality, it can be hard to find something that doesn’t look a little awkward on you, unless you happen to strike gold with a costume that fits you just right! Store bought costumes are also a bit of a gamble when it comes to quality; if you haven’t read the reviews or bought from a reputable online store, you could be buying a one hit wonder before it falls apart at the end of the night!


The Pros and Cons of Making your Own

Pro: Artistic license! Are you a fan of a certain Harley Quinn outfit? Would you like to mix two costumes or characters together? You can! If it is within the scope of your imagination and you have a little bit of patience, anything is possible! You can also make your costume to fit you exactly and can customise it in ways you see fit, i.e. adding extra pockets for storage space or making a skirt slightly longer for comfort.

Con: Homemade costumes are often more expensive than store bought because you are buying separate materials and then stitching them together. Often you want more material than you’ll need to give room for a hem line and in case you mess up any stitching and this can quickly add up. Making your own costumes also takes time and effort and of course…you need to know how to sew!

Additions: Accessories, Props, Hair and Makeup


Store bought costumes will, more often than not, have a variety of props accessories for that outfit which are included in the costume, or can be bought separately from the same provider. These can be anything from smaller cosmetic details such as glasses and stick on scars to realistic props such as pock-faced masks and long bladed gloves. Likewise you can also buy makeup kits and wigs that are specifically designed for those characters or costumes.

You can also props, wigs and makeup kits for homemade costumes, but if you want to go all out you might want to try your hand at making a more realistic prop yourself. This is a little more complicated than just getting a sewing machine. You’ll need to think about weight, materials, how sturdy it needs to be, paint, the time it takes to make and how you will also (if it is a fake weapon, as you don’t want to be stopped by the police) carry it safely to your party. In many cases it is better to look for and buy your props and accessories online, unless you are serious about making it all from scratch by your own hand.

All in all, store bought costumes are great for the occasional Halloween party and to dress up for the night. If you want to explore the more serious side of costuming, you may want to start making your own costumes but generally you don’t want to spend hours and hours on an outfit that you made yourself, just to have someone accidentally spill lemonade all over it at a party. Dress suitably for your event and above all, remember it’s all in good fun!

Mike James
Content Editor