The season of Halloween is just right around the corner, and many of us might not be aware of the significance of Halloween costumes, despite it being arguably one of the best aspects of the celebration.
Rumoured to have started as an ancient Celtic festival in which people would dress up in frightening masks to ward off evil spirits, it has become a commercial celebration where people decorate their homes and dress up as their favourite characters.
It is a day that enables us to embrace the things we don't understand by turning the things we fear the most into a celebration.
And no one loves celebrations more than Malaysians. This multicultural country has embraced different events, including Halloween.
Although we don't celebrate it as a Celtic holiday or associate it with ghostly superstitions, it has become a family-friendly, celebratory occasion for all.
Akin to comic or anime conventions, Halloween events allow a person to transform into a character of our choice, whether it be a frightful villain, a beloved superhero or even a cup of noodles.
If you’re anything like me, a typical millennial who puts things off until the last minute, or if your colleagues finally convinced you to participate in the Halloween office party; have no fear (pun intended), you can still create a last-minute Halloween look that makes an eerie-sistible costume.
Here are some easy costume ideas which you can create from items in your wardrobe.
A typical Ghost
The Halloween Mascot.
This is the easiest costume to make, particularly for those who aren't crafty.
To be a ghost, fold a square white fabric in half and cut two small semicircles a couple of inches apart in the middle of the fold line to make two holes for the eyes.
If you're less than 160cm, you can use a twin bedsheet, but a larger sheet would be needed if you're a taller ghost.
The Pocong is one of the most notorious ghosts in Malay mythology, and is thought to be the spirit of a deceased person who is destined to wander the world because of unfinished business from their life on earth.
To add a local twist to the classic ghost costume, cover yourself in white fabric and enlist the aid of a brave soul to tie some cloth around your neck, chest, and legs (make sure this person likes you).
While this is an easy costume to put together, it is not the most convenient one, as you’ll need to hop or shuffle around, which can be tiring.
But it’s an excellent way to burn the calories from all the Halloween treats and candy you’ll be eating.
Move over, witches. Hello, Pontianak!
If you want to channel your inner spook, you can dress up as this mythical Malay ghost, which is often pictured as a vengeful, vampire-like woman who lures men to scare them and get her revenge over an ex-lover.
To turn into this blood-sucking ghost, put on a long white dress, cover your face with some white make-up, put on red lipstick and comb your hair in front of your face.
Kak Limah’s Ghost (Hantu Kak Lima)
This scary costume is inspired by the ghost of Kak Limah from the 2018 comedy/horror movie of the same name.
In the film, Kak Limah's ghost haunts the villagers of Kampung Pisang, who, for some reason, cannot get rid of her.
This costume is easy to put together because it's only a pontianak with a baju kurung top and a kain batik skirt.
If you want to channel Kak Limah’s ghostly personality, you can watch Hantu Kak Limah on Netflix.
The auntie next door
A less ghostly but still a terrifying option is to go as the nosy auntie next door.
This is one of my favourite costume ideas, because instead of something uncomfortable, you can wear a batik kaftan or pyjamas, put on some curlers and ask all the single people why they aren't married yet.
Kampung Boy is one of the most well-known comic characters in Malaysia.
When I was younger, I would flip through the newspaper looking for Lat’s Comic about the young boy who lived in rural Perak in the 1950s.
Wear a red sarong, a white singlet, and a pair of black slippers for Lat's costume, and keep your hair messy.
Alternatively, you can find any kind of straw hat and wear a t-shirt with some short pants to channel your inner kampung spirit.
Remember, sometimes the best costumes require the least amount of work but have the most significant impact, even if it’s something you put together last minute.
Huda Hekmat is an educator, content writer, and Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. She is currently doing her masters in Educational Psychology. When she isn't teaching, writing, or trying to armbar her fellow gym mates, you can find her reading a thriller, watching a stand-up comedy, or on the hunt to find the best nasi lemak in KL.
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