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Westminster students create their Halloween costumes months in advance

Molly Kade, a senior sociology major, poses in their hand-sewn Lydia Deetz dress with their friend Charlie as Beetlejuice at a Halloween party in 2019. Kade says it is their favorite costume they have ever made. Photo courtesy of Molly Kade.

Molly Kade, a senior sociology major, frequently browses the isles at JOANN Fabric and Craft in preparation for creating their elaborate Halloween costumes. This year will be no different as Kade pieces together a Miss Piggy/Pigs in Space ensemble complete with a hand-styled blonde wig.

Kade is one of many Westminster College students who piece together their own Halloween costumes this year. Whether it is an entire look made from scratch or different modified elements strewn together, these students put blood, sweat and tears into their costumes.

“I have to plan these things months in advance,” Kade said. “I come from a very Halloween intensive family. As a kid, my mom made all my costumes, and she had a rule that my sibling and I could not bug her about Halloween until her birthday [in July.] Now that I’m an adult with a functioning sewing machine and a fairly functioning creative brain, I try to give myself more time than from July.”

Melissa Browne, a senior neuroscience major, said she is making multiple costumes this Halloween.

“So one idea I had is to be a rodeo queen,” Brown said. “That one is more like an outfit that I put together. Like, not store-bought, necessarily, but not handmade, I wouldn’t say. But then I am making an outfit out of beer boxes. I’m just going to be like, [Pabst Blue Ribbon.]”

Browne said she has been making her costumes ever since she was little. While she said her parents helped out when she was younger, she now takes projects on solo.

“I’ve never bought a costume,” Browne said. “I’ve always either sewed it together, put things together, went to thrift stores and found different outfits and put clothes together to make some sort of costume. I’ve always just really enjoyed making things.”

When asked what students should keep in mind when making their own Halloween costumes, Kade said planning ahead is one of the most important things one can do — especially if budget is a concern.

“I kind of have to be budget friendly,” Kade said. “Fabric is expensive, wigs are expensive, it’s all expensive. So that’s part of why I plan ahead — so I can buy things in batches. Like, okay, I have some money now, I’m going to buy a wig. I have some money now, I’m going to buy the fabric I need for this aspect — trying to pace myself.”

Browne said money was one of the primary reasons she choose to make her own costumes.

Molly Kade, a senior sociology major, gives their best Lydia Deetz impression in their handmade dress representing the character at a Halloween party in 2019. Kade says their grandmother flew in from Oregon to help them complete the costume. Photo courtesy of Molly Kade.

“Store bought costumes are pretty expensive,” Browne said. “I always try and get cheap materials. I mean right now [my costume] is made out of boxes. [I also] go to thrift stores and find different things that would work for a costume.”

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted Halloween festivities in 2020, causing some Utahn’s to protest by going to a Halloween rave which spiked COVID-19 cases for the state, according to NBC News

Despite vaccinations this year, the pandemic’s influence is still bleeding into 2021, according to NPR’s All Things Considered

Michael Martin, host of All Things Considered, said supply chain problems related to COVID-19 have led to a backorder of many Halloween costumes, if they’re even available in the first place. 

Kade said they are feeling the effects of the pandemic in relation to their spooky season plans. They along with many of their friends were forced to move back home due to issues related to COVID-19, leaving them with no good venue to have a Halloween party — but that isn’t going to stop them from making an incredible costume.

Kade said inspiration is key for students who want to make their own Halloween costumes even in tough times. 

“It’s important to find something that you think is really cool, and that you think is going to be really cool [as a costume,]” Kade said. “[You want something] that is going to get you really excited to keep making it, […] to keep up the momentum, and keep up that creative drive.”


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Maddie Cushing is a senior at Westminster College studying communication and psychology. When she’s not busy cracking down on her schoolwork, Maddie can be found exploring spooky spots around the Salt Lake Valley and trying out new coffee shops with her dog, Arya.

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