Draw inspiration from local sources to create your own Arizona-themed Halloween costume.
Anybody can buy a generic witch, naughty nurse or zombie costume at a big-box store for the neighborhood Halloween party. It takes creativity – and a little elbow grease – to craft a DIY disguise.
We challenged our staff to create costumes inspired by Arizona’s unique wonders, from natural phenomena to local celebrities. The result: conversation-sparking costumes we hope will inspire you to go the local, DIY route, too.
Managing editor Leah LeMoine took her costume inspiration from Arizona’s famed sunsets. “The more I travel, the more I realize how truly singular and beautiful our glorious sunsets are,” she says. “I wanted to convey that magic in my costume, despite my limited artistic skills.” LeMoine bought a burnt orange maxi dress at a thrift store and painted a sunset tableau onto the skirt of the dress using acrylic paints, spray paint and Press Coffee grounds to “give the mountains texture.” She mixed paint colors and streaked them across the skirt to evoke the colorful striations of the evening sky, adding bursts of gold spray paint for shimmer.
Total cost: $35
Total time: 1 hour
“What’s that saying about how your eyes were bigger than your stomach? This was kind of like that,” associate editor Lauren Loftus says of jumping at the chance to create her haboob costume. “I had the vision, but the execution was a bit tricky.” To become one of the Valley’s infamous dust storms, Loftus wrapped herself in gold-lined tulle to mimic the billows of dust, created a miniature Downtown Phoenix skyline (complete with Westward Ho) out of foam sheets for the storm to engulf on her hemline, teased her hair up to the heavens and shoved some faux leaves and straw in to enhance that wind-blown effect.
Total cost: $30
Total time: 2+ hours
Zombie Barry Goldwater
Arizona’s Mr. Conservative is back, and he’s hungry for two things: minimal government intervention and brains. Lots of warm, juicy brains. “Pretty easy costume to put together,” editor Craig Outhier says. “Just a ripped-up suit from Goodwill, a ‘70s-looking necktie, vintage Wayfarers, fake blood, some fake gray hair... and an air of stern but gentlemanly American virtue.” Pro tip: Tear one of the pant legs up the middle and rip off the better part of the shirt to make it sexy zombie Barry Goldwater.
Total cost: $35
Total time: 20 minutes
“Who wouldn’t want to be a fierce, strong, beautiful woman for Halloween?” associate art director Angelina Aragon asks. When she started thinking about famous people from Arizona, she instantly thought of the WWE’s Bella Twins. She created a Brie Bella-inspired costume for colleague Bobbie Akins to model. “This costume is fun and fairly simple,” Aragon says. “The main thing one needs to pull off this costume is a ‘Brie Mode’ shirt from the WWE’s online store, a headband and a flannel shirt to tie around the waist. The bottom is pretty flexible – shorts, leggings or ripped jeans would work equally well.”
Total cost: $30
Total time: 15 minutes
Aragon took a literal approach to her own costume’s inspiration: a snowbird. Rather than dressing up as a migrating retiree, she decided to create an actual bird costume and cover it in snow. “I searched for bird costume ideas on Pinterest and came across this one that looks like it belongs in a Kanye West video,” Aragon says. “The feathers flow with the body and allow the limbs to become the ‘bird body,’ versus just a pair of wings slapped on the back.” She chose bright and colorful feathers over earth tones, to contrast with the sprinkling of pure white faux snow she added at the end. Avian-inspired face makeup completes the look.
Total cost: $50
Total time: 5 hours
Sweet Republic ice cream cone
“Creating a Sweet Republic ice cream cone costume was a bit of a self-indulgence, merging one of my favorite art forms as a child with one of my favorite foods as an adult,” art director Mirelle Inglefield says. “The form for the mask was created with a big, round balloon and chicken coop wire, which was molded by papier-mâché and painted to look like SR’s seasonal Huckleberry Swirl flavor.” Inglefield stamped her felt “cone” repeatedly with a paint-dipped sponge “to create the effect of waffle impressions.”
Total cost: $39
Total time: 5 hours of actual work
Allow 24 hours for papier-mâché to dry
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