Halloween is a holiday made for hoopers: wigs, makeup, glitter, and costumes galore! But what are hoopers to do when they want to rock an awesome costume and still be able to hoop it up? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a non-hooping costume and thought how cute it was until I realized that I wouldn’t be able to hoop in it. What’s even worse is not realizing your costume is unhoopable until your hoop starts flying off at a crazy angle or you notice your own personal costume malfunction about a minute after everyone else has already seen your goods on display. But fear not dear hoopers, Hooping.org is here to help you navigate through your costume choices to make sure that your Halloween celebration tomorrow night will be both happy AND hoopy!The most common costume malfunction when hooping is simply having too much costume in the way of your hoop. Bustles, tails, and poofy sleeves can all interfere with core hooping. That doesn’t mean you can’t accessorize though. Instead of having a lumpy bustle, try a skirt that looks like a bustle (shorter in front, longer in back). You can also take a cue from Nicole Wong of Cherry Hoops who created a bustle skirt by sewing small strips of material to give the illusion of a bustle without any of the bulk. You can safely hoop without worrying that your hoop will start spinning at a wonky angle once it hits your booty! Instead of poofy princess sleeves, substitute long gloves, arm bands, or even a little poofy band on your upper arm. The sleeker your costume, the better – the less dangling pieces you have, the less likely it is that your costume will get tangled in your hoop. Take Jessie Weiler‘s costume as an example. The simplest costume is the good old crop top/bikini top and booty shorts combo. The great thing about using this as a costume base is that not only is it hoopable, but you now have endless possibilities to turn it into any kind of costume or character you like. A grey top with blue booty shorts can turn you into Batman. A red top with green shorts and your friend can be your sidekick Robin. All red with some big black dots? Now you’re a ladybug. The key to transforming what looks like a bathing suit into a costume is all in the embellishments: fringe, sequins, ribbons, and anything flat you can add that doesn’t add bulk to your costume is ideal. All it takes is a little big of imagination and that inexpensive crop top and booty shorts have turned into a costume that will make your Halloween a hoopy one! In this day and age, no one bats an eye when Kim Kardashian spends $2000 on a mermaid wig for Halloween and we begin to believe that we need to buy preassembled costumes to look good, but that isn’t always the case. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on your outfit. Sometimes the most important part of creating a hoopable costume is finding the right elements and putting them together. For example, Laura la Reyna is an adorable sailor here and her costume looks so professional. But break it down into individual pieces and suddenly it doesn’t seem so daunting to recreate: a white top with a ribbon trimmed collar and a bow, blue shorts, a white wig, and a sailor hat. Even if you aren’t a sewer (that’s me!), you can easily use a glue gun to add embellishments to a plain white shirt and turn it into a sailor top. Never underestimate the power of your glue gun!
Now let’s talk about possible costume malfunctions. I was only a Girl Scout for about two weeks (long enough to make a camping mat but I got out before I had to sell any cookies), but I am still a firm believer in their “be prepared” motto. A little bit of preparation can go a long way. Safety pins are a must for most costumes. If anything seems like it might twist or fall down, I pin it. Anything that is tied gets double knotted. Halter tops are my favorite thing to wear because tops with regular straps usually start sliding down to my upper arms if I shoulder hoop. Halter tops that tie are also a little more adjustable, so I can tie the straps a little tighter if I need extra support. I avoid strapless tops because they can twist or, ahem, migrate downward. If I find a strapless top that I like, I either add straps or I pin the top to my bra to make sure that it stays put. I love leggies or boot covers so that I can wear comfortable shoes, but they are notorious for falling down. You can tie a ribbon underneath your knee to help keep them from ending in a puddle of fabric around your ankles. If you are wearing taller leggies, you can secure them by adding garter straps to your costume. I have pinned 1″ elastic to the inside of my waistband or the bottom of my shorts and then just pinned the elastic to the top of my leggings and boot covers.
What if you don’t want to show too much skin? It is October, after all, and the weather can be cool this time of year, especially in the evenings. Hoopable costumes don’t have to be all belly and booty baring. You can cover yourself and still have fun hooping. One of the easiest things to do is to take a crop top and add a panel to cover your stomach. You can use one large piece of material and attach it to the bottom of a crop top or you can add overlapping strips of material to create a more fluttery effect. I combined the two ideas and added some long triangles of metallic fabric and one large strip of glittery gold material (which gives the added bonus of looking like shiny, glittery skin from a distance). As I’ve already admitted, I am not a seamstress, but even I was able to convert an existing stomach baring top into something with a little more coverage. Using my almost non-existent sewing skills, I tacked the additional pieces of fabric to a top I already had by using a very crooked stitch, but you can also use your trusty glue gun to do this too. Not only did I cover my stomach but I also gave an old costume a new look. Since I added the extra material with only a loose stitch, I can remove it when warm weather returns. Of course, starting with longer tops that don’t need to be hoopified will also keep you a little warmer on Halloween, but you may need to safety pin them to your shorts or pants to make sure that the hem of the top doesn’t twist around your torso or ride up your belly while you’re hooping.
To keep warm, arm bands or gauntlets are perfect because they cover your lower arms but leave your upper arms naked for shoulder hooping. They’re also great for accessorizing your costume with a little extra color and bling. Whenever I wear armbands, my husband tells me that I look like a superhero so they’re ideal for any kind of caped crusader costume. Wigs keep your head warm, so they’re ideal for cool autumn nights. It’s like wearing a colorful hat, except you don’t have to look like Where’s Waldo! I also love wearing a skirt over my regular hoop pants. Sometimes that extra layer of fabric is what it takes to keep my booty warm! And since I know I can already hoop in the skirt and the pants separately, I can put them together and know I won’t have any problems hooping with them together, although I do make sure to pin the waistband of the skirt to the waistband of the pants to make sure that the skirt doesn’t migrate while hooping. Warm, cute, AND hoopable!That brings us to the most important part of hoopable Halloween costumes: going for a test drive. You never know exactly what it’s going to be like to hoop in a costume until you actually hoop in it. Before you head out to show off your hoop skills at a Halloween party, make sure you hoop in your entire costume at home. Don’t just try shoulder hooping with your top. Put on every piece of your costume including your wig and any other accessories, then give your hoop a spin. Be sure to try all of your favorite hoop moves. That cute little hat? You might knock it right off your head, bobby pins and all, when you do a simple lift. A little bit of core hooping might twist your top all the way to the back. Your leg coverings may start sliding down your legs after a minute or two of motion. Not used to wearing a skirt when you hoop? You might flash everyone while you’re hooping on one leg. It’s far better to discover these things before you leave the house. And even after you do a dress rehearsal in your living room, make sure to take some extra safety pins with you when you head out for those just in case scenarios. You never know what may happen when you’re hooping it up on Halloween, but if you give your outfit a good test run beforehand, you’ll be ready for anything!
Natasha “Hoopsie Daisy” Young is an Assistant Editor here at Hooping.org. She has performed in many venues with a long list of incredible talent from Benny Benassi to Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden and has taught classes everywhere from Clif Bar to Lululemon to Hoopcamp. She’s been sharing the hoop love online for years and you can find out more about her at HoopsieDaisy.com.