Halloween How To: Boston Edition

Hurricane Irene may have put a damper on pumpkin crops, but Halloween is coming quick whether or not you are squash-ready. The holiday falls on a Monday this year, so there will be a whopping five action-packed nights of haunting, howling and prowling. In a city like Boston, Halloween can easily turn into a jumble of look-a-like parties, events happening all over the city and disheveled girls dressed as a sexy bumblebee/police officer/snow white wandering the streets. Want to forgo all the unnecessary Hallow-drama? I think yes. So here, for Halloweekend veterans and Boston newbies alike, is the comprehensive guide to Halloween: Boston Edition.

DIY Costumes – Boston Style:

Here’s a secret for those of you new to the area: the best Halloween people-watching happens on the T. Go out around 10 p.m. to see all the shiny happy people in their little costumes, and come home on the last trains to see the sloppy, hilariously out-of-it party goers still donning their ridiculous outfits.

Inspiration for your future "cardboard box" costume. You're welcome | Photos (clockwise from top) by Aidan Siegel, Adam E. Moreira and Venex via Wikimedia Commons

Red Sox/Celtics/Bruins player:

Sites like Epic Sports Blog have super cheap generic jerseys and other uniform accoutrement that you can jazz up with some iron-ons and fabric paint. Try out some red, green or yellow ensembles (boys, please keep the shorts to an appropriate length) to represent your favorite teams. Accessories are a must-have with this costume, be they baseballs, basketballs or hockey sticks.

Boston Marathon Runner:

Hit up a similar sporting goods site for cheap tanks, shorts and sweatbands. Make a marathon bib or print out a past year’s design and pin the bib to your shirt. I’m sure your friends won’t mind acting the standard Marathon Monday college crowd and cheering for you.

The Boston Common (Alternatively, The Allston):

This one’s real easy. Find an old T-shirt and pair of jeans to dedicate to the cause, hit up your local craft store for some fake flowers and leaves, and glue glue glue away onto your outfit. Next, take a grey beanie (like this one) and stick some blue and white pipe cleaners coming out of the top. Congratulations, your face is now the centerpiece fountain of your Boston Common outfit. If you’re feeling a little edgy, you can modify this costume into “The Allston.” Just use trash instead of flowers.

Which would you rather be? | Photos (from left to right) by Phillip Capper and Infrogmation via Wikimedia Commons


With the right creative eye, you can turn a stack of red solo cups into your very own lobster costume– and it’s cheap! Start with some basic red items: T-shirt, beanie and sweats or leggings. Next, glue together stacks of cups to create your lobster arms and attach them to the sides of your shirt. Use red solo plates to create a scaly tail off the back end of your shirt, too! And don’t forget to attach some ping pong ball eyes to your beanie. Instructables also has a “Sexy Lobster” tutorial, but I’ll let you figure that one out on your own.

MBTA Train/The Citgo Sign/The Green monster (the wall, not the mascot):

At first glance, you might not necessarily find the connection among those three items, but there is one: “the cardboard box costume.” Raid your building’s recycle dumpster, cut the top and bottom out of a large-ish box, and fashion some straps to that bad boy. Next, paint and decorate it as your costume of choice. You could even get jazzy and add some reflective tape to serve as your T stripes, Citgo neon or monster scores, respectively.  Or you could just be a box.

Boston Costume Stores – The Best of the Best:

If DIY-ing isn’t your thing, don’t miss some of Boston’s best costume resources!

Boston Costume:

Most people don’t realize that the first floor of the beloved Garment District in Kendall Square in Cambridge is actually a separate (but related) entity called Boston Costume. Come Halloweentime, though, costumania takes over both floors of the building and store hours are extended ’til midnight every night of the week. Get there as soon as you can, or all the good costumes will get scooped up! The closer you get to the 31st, the more and more packed the store gets as savvy latecomers rush to the best costume store in town to ready themselves for the big weekend. Boston Costume carries all the standard “sexy” and pre-packaged name-brand costumes, but they also specialize in vintage wear, Halloween shoes and accessories, and wigs and makeup – not to mention their extremely knowledgeable staff, who will advise you on exactly which brand hair dye will be best for your Nicki Minaj costume.

Dorothy’s Boutique:

If you’re not up for making the trip into Cambridge, Dorothy’s Boutique, near Berklee College, is your next best option. While its inventory is not as extensive as Boston Costume’s, it boasts much of the same types of products and costumes.

The Costume Company:

Located in Arlington, MA, The Costume Company is for those who are very serious about Halloween (and probably wouldn’t have waited until right now to be finding a costume, but still.) Their professional-grade costumes are available for rental, and cover everything from medieval knights to superheroes. Their rental prices are comparable to those of the standard Leg Avenue “sexy” costume, only they look infinitely better. The Costume Company also sells makeup, masks and accessories to complete whatever look you choose!

Get Ghoulie – Where to be on Halloweekend:

If the standard frat party isn’t your scene, there are tons of amazing things happening all over the city all weekend every year. These are just a few – explore more for yourself!


What do toilet paper, toast and noisemakers have to do with the Rocky Horror Picture Show? Find out for yourself! | Photp by Kencf0618 via Wikimedia Commons

11th Annual Halloween Horror Movie Marathon at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline:

Horror lovers rejoice! Join your fellow scare junkies for 12 hours of screams at the Coolidge Corner Theater on Saturday, October 29th. The main events this year are Suspiria and Return of the Living Dead, with a costume contest and other surprises! Last year, the Coolidge hosted a live band and a burlesque act as part of this event. If that’s any indication of the “surprises” in store for this year, you’re in for a howling good time. Tickets cost $15 for the double feature only and $20 for the full twelve-hour marathon.

Throwed Haunted Mansion & Costume Party:

If you’ve never experienced the insanity that is Throwed, their annual Halloween party at the Middle East Downstairs in Central Square is a must. The weekly electro party night is usually on Tuesdays, but the Halloween event stands alone. This year it falls on Sunday the 30th. Photobooths, crazy costumes and the best resident DJs will make for a memorable night – and there will be a multitude of party photos up the next day if you forget. The Throwed Haunted Mansion & Costume Party is 18+. Advance tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door, and $20 for VIP.

The Full Body Cast Presents the Rocky Horror Picture Show:

The Full Body Cast puts on their show once a week year-round, but Halloween is an especially popular time of year for the “shadow cast” group. With a whopping three showings this Halloweekend, there is no reason to miss what is one of the best events in the Boston area. If you’re unfamiliar with the cult following of the film, it’s almost better to attend with no knowledge of what you’re walking into…but bring a friend who’s been before! The Full Body Cast performs at the AMC Theater in Harvard Square in Cambridge, and is a 17+ show. Tickets are $10 for Midnight shows on October 28th and 29th and the 10 p.m. show on Halloween.


Nee-Sa Lossing

Nee-Sa Lossing is a broadcast journalism major at BU. She's a music writer for The Quad and only wears black and white.

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