BY MARISA GOGLIA
It is estimated that more than 157 million Americans will celebrate Halloween, according to the National Retail Federation’s Halloween Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics and part of that celebrating usually entails costumes.
For County College of Morris student Stephanie Zelazo, a liberal arts major, coming into their own characters this time of year takes on a “Do It Yourself (DIY)’’ component. Zelazo stopped buying generic costumes when she was 14.
“I was disappointed by looking at a cheap costume,” Zelazo said. “The whole point of dressing up is to do it right, have fun and to bring the person to life.”
This year Zelazo is going to transform into Chell, whom is seen in the video games Portal and Portal 2. Equipped with her portal device, Chell creates portals that help her solve puzzles in order to escape an underground facility. To assemble this costume, Zelazo purchased orange cargo pants, a light blue tank top and adorned the costume with sewn-on fabric for arms to complete the look.
After Halloween night, one might confine their costume to a hanger in a closet, eventually neglecting it. However, Zelazo liberates her creation by giving it a photo shoot send off with the help of her friend.
“If I’m going to do it, I want to remember it,’’ Zelazo said.
Elizabeth Spencer, an interior design major, elevates her costumes to another platform by doing cross over patterns by combining two character elements into one costume.
Spencer said her mother always crafted her Halloween costumes.
“One year she found a pattern of a witch’s skirt and did a crossover from Cinderella turning me into a southern belle,” Spencer said.
With experience to do it on her own, last Halloween Spencer emerged as the younger sister in the box office smash Disney’s “Frozen.”
“Everyone was Elsa, so I wanted to give Anna some recognition,” Spencer said.
Adding originality, Spencer accentuated Anna’s signature magenta cape into a longer burlap rustic style, almost identical to the one worn by Michonne in the hit AMC TV show “The Walking Dead.”
Spencer, who is an interior design major, used those skills in her costume creations. For the indecisive, Spencer had advice.
“In the design field we’ll do something called a throw-up sheet when you’re coming up for an idea for something. It’s like free writing, you let your mind run wild,” Spencer said. “You can either draw or write it. If you are creative enough and have the willpower, you can do anything. If you wanted to be pizza with ketchup, you can do that. Especially in this digital age you can do anything and Pinterest it.’’
A costume at Party City may range in price from $15 to $50 or more, according to former CCM student and Party City employee, June Wyeroski.
“A DIY costume can be anywhere from $200-$400, depending how authentic you want it to be,’’ said Zelazo.
Spencer finds herself cutting corners by going to a thrift store.
“It’s a little less expensive than buying a costume,” Spencer said. “Besides, you’re more of an individual than following the crowd.”
The Halloween season may be coming to a close, but with costume parties and cosplay convention year-round, DIY dress-up options may be the way to go.