Halloween is fast approaching, which means those of us who majored in procrastination in college are seriously freaking out. Even if you’re planning a low-key celebration with friends for this spooky holiday, you’re still going to need a costume. It’s easy enough to strap on some animal ears to be a mouse (duh), but you could also get a little more creative.
If you don’t have any inspired Halloween costume ideas, we’ve consulted one of Dallas’ most famous drag queens to help you. Shangela, née D.J. Pierce, is a Paris, Texas, native and graduate of Southern Methodist University. You can find Shangela on everything from Bravo TV, like Wednesday night’s appearance on Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live, to this year’s VMAs, where she and dozens of other fabulous drag queens performed “Doooo It” with Miley Cyrus.
If there’s anyone who you should be seeking last-minute costume ideas from, it’s a drag queen. To borrow drag terminology, Shangela is always “slaying to the gawds” and looking “sick’ning,” so you know she’s got some good ideas. These five should get you started, and you won’t even have to do any (or much) shopping to pull them off.
Mix up a little Taraji P. Henson fabulousness
If you’re tuned into FOX’s Empire — and you absolutely should be — you know the unrelenting fierceness of Henson’s character, Ms. Cookie Lyon. According to Shangela, you won’t need much to make this costume “werk.” “Go to the deepest depths of your closet, and pull out your best '70s-inspired leopard print and gold lamé to turn out the perfect Cookie from Empire look,” she says. Round it all out with bold gold accessories, fab lipstick and a designer handbag. It probably won’t hurt if you’ve got a few Alexander McQueen, knockout body-con dresses and boss-bitch Chanel suits tucked away in your closet.
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Even if you’re cutting it down to the wire, there’s no reason you can’t look runway-ready for your Halloween celebrations. Find your best gown (even if you’re digging that tacky nightmare from prom out of your parents’ attic) and finish the look with the perfect face beat. “Even last minute, you can find a great makeup artist at your local MAC store or department store makeup counter, and a lot of times they’ll hook you up for free,” says Shangela. “Do a sickening face or something ghostly ghoulish.” Think deranged prom queen or glam-as-fuck Wednesday Addams.
Be creative, and maybe a little weird.
“When you’re waiting until the last minute, you’ve got to get super creative with a storyline. Every good look needs a storyline,” says Shangela. “I once had a friend who attached a stuffed animal to some skimpy underwear and went as the Coppertone baby.” It is, after all, Halloween — no one’s going to judge you if you want to show a little booty crack when you’re getting live with your friends on Saturday night. As Shangela always says, “when in doubt, sexy it out.”
The Walking Dead has brought a little more prestige to the zombie aesthetic, which means that this is the perfect year to bring out your best undead-but-still-fine look. Best of all — you can construct this costume by getting a little destructive with stuff you already have. “Get your best makeup — go heavy with the dark lips and eyes, and turn it out,” she says. “Then, get an old dress or anything you can just rip to shreds. Tatter it all up, roll it around in some dirt, get some old coffee grounds in there, soak it with a tea bag, honey.” It may take a little more work than just slapping on some bunny ears, but you will most definitely, as RuPaul would say, slay.
Knowing that The Donald is likely going to be one of the most popular costumes of the year (and why wouldn’t he be — that monster is terrifying!), Shangela has some important tips on how to get that costume right down to the T-rump. “If you have hair, comb it all forward, and I do mean all of it,” she says. “Walk around with your thumb up and say “I’m Donald Trump” over and over again. Build a fence around you. Just be unpredictable — yell at strangers for no reason at all.” Just be careful who you call a “loser” and “scum” tomorrow night — some people get belligerent when they’ve been drinking.