The costume hater's guide to Halloween
By Kavita Daswani
For the preteen set, Halloween is one of the most anticipated holidays of the year. But the event can strike terror into the hearts of those who are older and more restrained in tastes. Thankfully, with a little humor, some beauty tricks and a few inexpensive trinkets, getting into the spirit of Halloween can become more of a treat than a trick.
If the thought of donning a costume sends you screaming for the hills, simply amp up your everyday makeup for a high-glam, slightly campy look. "Halloween is a time when women can channel their alter ego," says Boston-based makeup artist Jody Cohen. If your usual look is nude lip gloss and a swipe of a neutral blush, just wearing a vivid Gwen Stefani-red lipstick and popsicle-pink cheeks will be enough to shock your friends and leave you feeling like you've donned an elaborate masquerade.
The finishing touch is false eyelashes. "Really long fake lashes in the corner of the eyes convey a sexy vampire look," says Cohen. Don't be intimidated by faux lashes, she adds. With a steady hand, the right amount of adhesive and a little practice, the new generation of fake lashes are easy to apply.
A Head-turning Hairstyle
A statement hairdo can take you almost all the way to a Halloween getup; all you'll need to add are accessories. One easy look is red carpet ingenue, suggests hairstylist Philip Pelusi, who owns 17 salons in Pittsburgh and one in Manhattan. Set your hair in small or medium electric or Velcro rollers and spritz with a volumizing spray for extra volume. After 15 or 20 minutes, remove the rollers and toss the curls without brushing. Pair with something satiny or shimmery, throw on some fake costume bling and go.
Another inexpensive option: clip-on hair extensions from the local beauty supply store in whimsical colors like gold, yellow and pink. Clip them randomly around your head, slip into the wildest dress from your local thrift store and, voila, Lady Gaga. Or, channel Rihanna with a clip-on hair extension along your forehead to mimic her signature fringe. Apply pomade to the rest of your hair to slick it close to your forehead and gather any long tresses into a ponytail, then tuck them into a hideaway bun. Your outfit should be a pair of skinny jeans, high-heeled boots and faux diamonds from the costume store.
Shop Your Closet
Everything you need for a sexy and spirited Halloween is probably already in your closet. Los Angeles-based fashion stylist and vintage-store owner Brenna Egan says that with a little black dress or leggings and a black tee, you're 90 percent there. "Grab some waterproof eyeliner and draw whiskers, cat eyes and a cute button nose to morph into a kitty cat," she says. "Fishnets -- if you're wearing a dress -- and platforms vamp it up."
For an irreverent wink at Halloween, don gold leggings or tights -- you can find these at your local Target or American Apparel -- along with a gold tank and lots of faux gold bangles and necklaces. Carry a small garden shovel. What exactly are you dressed as? A gold digger, of course.
Kavita Daswani has been a fashion correspondent for CNN International, CNBC Asia and Women's Wear Daily. She has written for the Los Angeles Times and International Herald Tribune, among other publications.
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