Picking a costume for these events is always a fun challenge – not only does your costume have to be awesome, it also has to be easy (or at least possible) to dance in, otherwise you might be in for a pretty miserable night.
If you’re ready to make a bit of an investment, an actual themed dance costume might be the best way to go; dance costumes are built for the stage, so they are often showy and fun, but they are also made with comfort and range of motion in mind, so they will be dance-friendly.
However, if you are buying a ready-made, non-dance costume, or making your own, here are a few tips for making sure your costume is dance-ready:
- Leave yourself room to move
Costumes that are too tight to move in, or too heavy or unwieldy to dance in will probably have you sitting all night. Try to pick something that gives you enough range of movement to dance the way you would normally, and will also stay on through multiple spins. Layers you can put on for, say, a costume contest, but take off for social dancing are also your friends.
- Choose breathable fabrics
Most of the affordable all-in-one costumes you will find at costume shops will be made of cheap polyester that’s only a couple of steps removed from wearing a plastic bag, in terms of breathability and heat dissipation. Try going for more breathable, more natural fabrics to avoid overheating. Heavily layered costumes, wigs and other props can also get very warm very fast, so choose carefully.
- Pick masks wisely
Masks that cover your entire face can limit your field of vision, which can make you a threat to others on the floor if you can’t see where you’re going or if your peripheral vision is gone. (Dear pirates, your eye patches will affect your depth perception!) Also be mindful of how well you can breathe in your mask – you will need much more oxygen while dancing than while standing in the store picking out your mask. Try to opt for something that doesn’t cover your nose, and has wide eye holes; if you want a full-face mask, try getting the look with make-up rather than plastic.
- Accessorize with safety in mind
Animal tails will whip those around you when you spin, but you can still have your tail if you, for instance, secure it to your pant leg while dancing (velcro, double-sided tape, and safety pins all work). Long, heavy earrings will whip you in the face while you spin (trust me), and wigs/crowns/anything else that goes on your head can move around or even fly off if they are not well secured.
- When in doubt, dance-test it!
There’s nothing like a live test, so when you’re shopping or digging through your closet, try to dance in full attire (preferably for a full song) before committing to a costume.
Are you dressing up for Halloween this year? Who/what will you be, and how are you dance-proofing your costume?