Authentic Costumes and Props on the Cheap!

Vicki Video Costumes

Halloween ©2007 article by Robert Long II

I walked into Party City last Sunday to see what was available for Halloween. 2/3rds of the store was literally taken over by the season. This set me to thinking: if I was a low to no-budget independent filmmaker, THIS is the time of year to stock up on costumes, props, and makeup for my movies. Here are some of the costumes I saw available:

  • orange convict jumpsuit
  • police officer
  • sheriff
  • cowboy
  • airline pilot
  • surgeon
  • doctor
  • nurse
  • judge
  • priest
  • nun
  • court jester
  • pirate
  • military
  • clown
  • King
  • Queen
  • French Maid
  • Grim Reaper
  • paramedic
  • warrior

Ronn Moss Her Morbid Desires

Costumes ranged from $15 to $50. Plus there were affordable accessories like a large variety of:

  • masks
  • gloves
  • hats
  • helmets
  • capes
  • stockings
  • boots
  • shoes

Crawler John Patrick Barry Maynard Edwards

Props that were available – all of them reasonably priced:

  • guns
  • axes
  • retractible knives
  • scythes
  • handcuffs
  • billy clubs
  • chainsaws
  • swords
  • brains
  • skeletons
  • spiders
  • bats
  • pumpkins
  • skulls
  • cobwebs
  • badges
  • police lights
  • assorted body parts
  • fog machines
  • Judge’s gavel
  • guitars
  • tombstones

Frank Lama Jacky Reres

Of course in the makeup department there is:

  • greasepaint
  • false eyelashes
  • wigs
  • liquid latex
  • fake scars
  • beards
  • mustaches
  • spirit gum
  • hair coloring
  • bald caps

The advantage is that at this time of year all of these items can be found in one place and fairly priced. Items can be closely inspected. One trip to your car with your Halloween booty will save quite a bit on what could be very expensive shipping costs from ordering everything online.

George Stover DEAD HUNT

How many times have you wanted to do a movie but have had to TRY to pull together a costume from stuff in your closet? It never quite works out as well as you hoped. How many times has your indie suspense thriller had to have undercover detectives in trenchcoats because you didn’t have police uniforms? Folks, even if you are doing a no-budget movie, you have to include some production values. That means you may have to bite the bullet and spend some $200 to $500 for makeup, costumes, and props. The props and costumes may need additional work to make them more believable and convincing, but it is a good starting point. Plus, these things help to give your movie a bigger, more professional look. It is an investment in materials that you may be able to use over and over again. The added attention to detail and style can often makes all the difference in the world when it comes to indie movie-making.

John Bowker Evilmaker