Do it yourself this Halloween

By Clara Lee; Photos by Hazim Zulfadhli and Yeo Wei Lun

Cotton cobwebs, jack-o-lanterns, and bat-shaped cookies these are things that come to mind at the mention of Halloween. As many of us gear up for elaborate costume parties this time of year, our plans to dress and impress might be limited by our student budgets. Or so we think.

Here are three ways to get creative without breaking the bank.

Just roll with it

Pay homage to one of the most popular Japanese party foods by dressing up as a life-sized sushi roll. With a piece of salmon sashimi and a strip of seaweed, you can fit right in with the orange-and-black Halloween colour scheme.

First, grab a rectangular pillow that is light and comfortable enough to have strapped on your back for the next couple of hours.

If you are not prepared to part with a pillow from home, head down to any store selling bedding to purchase one for about $8 to $10.

Also, be on the lookout for orange pillow covers. These should be available for $5 or less.

Finally, what better way to get the finishing touches for your sushi than at popular Japanese dollar store Daiso?

White felt, black cloths and fabric glue can be found there. You can find friends who want to “roll” with you and split the cost for these materials.  

Cut the white felt into strips and arrange them to form the V-shape cut of salmon sashimi. Proceed to secure the pieces of felt with fabric glue on the orange pillow cover.

Don a white shirt before strapping your “sashimi” on your back with a piece of black cloth long enough to secure the pillow around your waist.

Serve fresh with a side of confidence and sass.

“Sushi is one of my favourite foods so this was really a dream come true for me.”

– Yew Yan Ching Evangeline, third-year Nanyang Business School student, 21

  1. Pillow
  2. Orange pillow cover
  3. White felt
  4. Fabric glue
  5. Black fabric
  6. White shirt

Estimated cost: $15

Build yourself a six-pack

Apart from inspiring the next generation of engineers, Lego bricks are also perfect for sculpting your dream body. With a costume like this, people will surely think twice about stepping on your toes.

To create this look, get your hands on a cardboard box wide enough for you to fit in comfortably.

Next, attach six plastic containers – open-end first – and secure them with glue or masking tape to complete the recognisable, inter-locking features.

Plastic containers are easily available at provision shops. Of course, reusing containers from takeaways would be a more environmentally-friendly option.  

To avoid creating a mess, place your structure onto sheets of newspaper and spray-paint it entirely with the colour of your choice.

Spray paints are available at an average of $3 per bottle in hardware or stationery stores islandwide.

Finally, take a penknife and cut three openings large enough for your head and both arms.

No one is too old for Lego, and nothing says that quite like appearing as one of these iconic toy bricks. This costume would surely be a perfect fit at any Halloween gathering.

“I’m normally inflexible and stiff, so this costume is very appropriate.”

– Chia Jia Jun, final-year School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student, 24

  1. Cardboard box
  2. Penknife
  3. Six plastic containers
  4. Glue
  5. Spray paint

Estimated cost: $5

Make everyone “jelly”

It is high time we ditch the mainstream animal onesies and instead, show some love for a more unconventional creature of the deep.  

As simple as it is adorable, this jellyfish umbrella is perfect for those who prefer some personal space at social settings without appearing rude.  

Bubble umbrellas – easily recognisable by their spherical shape – are most suitable when mimicking the aquatic creature, but any ordinary umbrella would still do the trick.

Transparent umbrellas from Daiso are an excellent choice and they come cheaply at only $2.

Then comes this jellyfish’s most characteristic feature – its “tentacles”. Strips of ribbon made from different materials such as silk or polyester are sold at affordable prices by length at any fabric shop.

Colourful crepe papers also add a wispy element, reminiscent of the way jellyfish move in the sea. For a more magical quality, fairy lights would make a great addition as well.  

Leave a small space under its shelter before securing the strips or wires with clear tape. This will allow you to see through your costume without obstruction.

Finally, paste a pair of cut-out paper eyes onto the front and your jellyfish is ready to make its grand entrance.

“This costume really creates a lot of room for creativity because you can go wild with the ‘tentacles’ on your jellyfish.”

– Nerissa Ngein, first-year School of Humanities student, 19

  1. Umbrella
  2. Ribbons, crepe paper etc.
  3. Clear or double-sided tape
  4. Black, white paper

Estimated cost: $10

Apart from booze and horror movie marathons, the real charm of Halloween and its traditions lie in dressing up and enjoying the company of friends and family.

Gathering materials and putting outfits together may be going the extra mile, but it is a small price to pay for an invaluable experience.