Tips for looking scary yet stylish on Halloween

Dec 19 2017, 6:14 pm

For far too long Halloween has offered two options: show up in the equivalent of a bunny costume looking like a walk of shame in the making, or pull off “scary” a little too well and stand no chance of being recognized.

It’s time to add a new option: stylish.

Crystal Carson of Stylist Mindset says there are plenty of local shops and designers great for costumes that still look fashionable.

  • Cache Couture will rent out gorgeous gowns for a fraction of the price.
  • Carolyn Bruce has the most mind blowing steampunk inspired accessories that can literally create a character when paired with a little black dress.
  • Lace Embrace has beautiful one of a kind corsets, stockings and everything Victorian.
  • Designer Dolls by Darlene Karimi has everything from the vampire capes to the black swan and gorgeous gowns.
Dave Hamilton @davehamiltonphotography

Dave Hamilton / @davehamiltonphotography

Now that you have all the pieces for the making of a Halloween costume, it’s time to put it together without looking trashy or terrifying. Carson advises finding a balance.

Tips for looking stylish on Halloween

  • You have to balance sexy and scary to pull off the look. If you wear a scary outfit then do sexy makeup and hair or vice versa.
  • Pick a costume that is Victorian or historical when a lot of the myths and stories revived on Halloween were created.
  • A fun option is going as a Hollywood star or public figure but in the form of a zombie.
  • Glam it up! When choosing your costume think about how the wardrobe will fit your form. For example, think of a cotton sheet ghost with two holes cut out changed to a high-low sheer chiffon layered fabrics with the waist cinched and a broken glow stick sprayed or dipped along the edges of the fabric. All white face, white out contacts, no eyebrows, white lashes and coral lips.

Still feel it’s too complicate? When in doubt, go as a vampire. From getting totally done up to throwing some simple fangs in your mouth, it’s a costume that is never second guessed. The Beautiful and the Damned is an upcoming event where Vogue meets Vampire, and is a great option for a Halloween outing.

Necklace: Feather Wrap:

Dave Hamilton @davehamiltonphotography

“It’s an event for even the most anti-Halloween types because it combines high fashion and decadence,” says Tyson Villeneuve founder of The Social Concierge – the company hosting the event. “Don’t enjoy dressing up in costume? Deck yourself out in a classy dress and jewels or a black tuxedo, because vampire’s can be deceiving and take on a mortal status too.”

He adds that the Halloween event itself is the first to be hosted at the recently restored heritage venue The Permanent. The building, which is from the late 1800s, is one of Vancouver’s oldest and most beautiful buildings and is the perfect place for the undead to preside in style.

Necklace: Capes and Crow Rings: Designer Dolls by Darlene Karim

Dave Hamilton @davehamiltonphotography

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 2.15.27 PM

Dave Hamilton @davehamiltonphotography

Aside from killer DJs Kate Matthews and Rachel Sehl, there are tons of live performances, including a contemporary ballet interpretation of humans being turned into vampires and circus performers as vampire bats hanging upside down from the ceiling.

“Plus, the event is the official Veuve Clicquot ‘Yelloween’ party, with a special ghoulish appearance by Madame Clicquot herself, basking in her champagne lair,” says Villeneuve.

Tuxedo: Hat:

Dave Hamilton @davehamiltonphotography

If you’re planning on taking your vampire costume to the next level, Carson says the first step is deciding if you are a victim or a villain.

6 items to make the perfect vampire costume

  • Long skirts and corsets or gowns
  • Tuxedos
  • Capes, canes and top hats
  • Colours: black, purple, red or burgundy
  • Fangs, blood, and jewels
  • Smokey eyes, structured updos or fascinators
Female cape: Necklace: Male cape:

Dave Hamilton @davehamiltonphotography

Finally, Carson offers some sage advice on how to keep yourself in the sexy territory, without crossing over into unclassy no matter how many drinks you’ve had.

“If you wear something short then make sure you have the right combination of tights or shorts that go with the look or character,” she says. “Cleavage is always a way to draw attention but think about a sexy neckline rather than just wearing a bra.”

For the men, try incorporating traditional suiting for a sense of class and power with a twist.

If you want Halloween to be about expressing your creativity, use it as a chance to wear more of what you usually wouldn’t, not less.

The Beautiful & The Damned

When: Saturday, October 31

Where: The Permanent (330 West Pender Street)

Time: 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.


Tickets: $60 at

Dave Hamilton @davehamiltonphotography

Dave Hamilton @davehamiltonphotography

Dave Hamilton @davehamiltonphotography

Dave Hamilton @davehamiltonphotography

Dave Hamilton @davehamiltonphotography

Dave Hamilton @davehamiltonphotography

Dave Hamilton @davehamiltonphotography

Dave Hamilton @davehamiltonphotography

Jewellery: Sequin rental gown:

Dave Hamilton @davehamiltonphotography

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 1.54.15 PM

Dave Hamilton @davehamiltonphotography

Photographer: Dave Hamilton | @davehamiltonphotography
Producer and stylist: Crystal Carson | @stylistmindset
Makeup: Caitlin Callahan for MAC Cosmetics | @Caitlincallahanmakeup
Hair: Chad Taylor & Johanna Libbey of Moods Hair Salon | @johanna.libbey
Stylist Assistant: Mica Jelyn | @micajelyn

Feather wrap:
Capes and crow Rings: Designer Dolls by Darlene Karim
Red velvet gown: / Necklace: / Rings:
Feather cape: Designer Dolls by Darlene Karim
Male cape: and
Tuxedo/suit: / Hat:
Purple velvet gown: / Fur stole: / Choker:
Red gown and cape:
Skull bride headband: Designer Dolls by Darlene Karim
Black sequin rental gown:
Princess crown: Designer Dolls by Darlene Karim
Princess shirt: / Cape:

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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