Today is the day to shop at the Halloween pop-up store. Grab some wigs for 75% off. Get cheap makeup. But most importantly, buy yourself a New Year’s Eve costume. You don’t even need to attend a costume party on New Year’s Eve; fantastic, outlandish outfits are acceptable on December 31 no matter where you are!
A New Year’s Eve costume doesn’t have to follow a theme. It just has to look interesting. So grab whatever feather boas and fake-fur jackets and other accoutrement will spice up a nice outfit—or create such an outfit ex nihilo.
Don silver and gold
I discovered the New Year’s Eve costume by accident last year, when I had some returns lying around from my holiday shopping. Three drinks in, I grabbed a shiny but impractical gold coat from the bedroom and wore it for an hour with the tags on.
Gold feels right on New Year’s Eve, as do black, white, and silver. But anything bright, shiny, or interesting should work. You can look like you’re in “costume,” or you can just look like you’re wearing silly clothes that you’d never put on in daily life.
This is very different from dressing fancy. If you wear a suit or a gown to a casual party, you’ll look and feel awkward or snobbish. People will ask you what other party you came from. But throw on something silly and flashy, and you belong to whatever party you’re at. And now you’re the life of it.
Don’t shop hungry
Before you start wandering around the dollar store’s Halloween section, buy a bulk bag of leftover candy (or bring the candy you stole from neighbourhood children) and snack while you shop. If you’re thinking of buying one mediocre item too many, eat a mini Reese’s instead.
Reuse your junk
Maybe by buying this throwaway crap you’re perpetuating our environmentally unfriendly consumer culture, but probably a lot less than if you’d bought it full price. Still, so long as you haven’t ruined your costume in one or two wears, take it to Goodwill, give it to a kid, or save it for other costume opportunities. Look, it was gonna go in the garbage anyway.
Match it with something homemade
Your New Year’s Eve lookbook isn’t really The Great Gatsby, it’s Phantom Thread. Check out the costumed revelers that Reynolds Woodcock pushes past to find his lover Alma. These folks exist in a pre-Party-City universe. They can’t just buy a whole outfit made of plastic and felt at the store. If they want to dress outlandishly, they have to get creative. They have to build their own comically gigantic cowboy hat, or papier-mâché their own giant beagle head.
Make something yourself, to go with all your cheap store-bought crap. Be like the drunken revelers of Phantom Thread. Don’t be like the starring couple who stays ‘til everyone’s gone home, somehow convincing an entire band to keep playing onstage while the cleanup crew has already started.