Its November 4th, and most people have just about recovered from their Halloween antics and shenanigans. What most people haven’t done is considered the best way to store their costume in case they want to keep it and use it again.
Storing costumes is a rather unsexy topic, but for those of us whose costume wardrobes rival that of our normal clothing, something to keep in mind. While many are happy to chuck their costume into a box in the attic and forget about it, those same folks often end up finding themselves in the unenviable position of finding their costumes haven’t survived the year next year and having to purchase a new one.
If you have any desire to see your costume last, you need to take care of it. Clothing will not stay the way it was simply by hanging in a closet. There are any numbers of things that can happen once fabric goes into storage, including mildew and moths. Nobody these days is impressed by the camphor smell, so you should probably skip that to keep the moths away.
But there are things that you can do to increase the lifespan of your costume, and you should do so sooner rather than later. So below are three tips to help you store your costumes safely, whether you’re storing Halloween costumes or cosplays for your next convention.
Clean your costume before putting it away.
You may like the stains on it, but you will like it a lot less when you realise that the gunk you stained it with has mouldered into a mess of sticky yuckiness over the course of time. You can always add the dirt and blood back in when you re-wear it.
Store it in a safe place.
Closets are generally well overcrowded, in my experience, but if you can they are still the best place to store costumes. Failing that, you can put them in boxes, but like all other fabrics, it is best if it can breathe.
Plastic bins are likely to make a costume “sweat,” which means that any moisture in it will come out and settle. Even if you’ve cleaned it, there will be some moisture left from the air. Without airflow, this can become overpoweringly awful to deal with. Think about gym bags left with dirty clothes on them for a week and then multiply it for a year. I’ve even seen ones that have grown mould. Yuck.
Store it all together.
You know what you won’t remember? Everything. I like to make checklists of all the different items that are needed for a costume. Where possible, I try to keep it all together. Suit bags are great, as you can keep things on hangers and have space for those parts that don’t hang easily at the bottom of the bag.
If that’s not feasible, or if you actually wear part of your costume regularly, then at least having a list with the main part of your costume will remind you of all the bits and pieces you need. It will be much easier come next year to pull everything together if you have reminders.