Guest post: What to Consider When Choosing a Costume for a Long Parade

(The following article is a guest post! We thought it would be useful to anyone who wants to wear a costume in a parade, especially since some of the larger conventions have costume parades that people can participate in!)

They say everybody loves a parade, but you can quickly become the exception that proves the rule if you choose to march in a costume that is uncomfortable or inappropriate for the weather. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make marching in even the longest parades a pleasant, memorable experience. While your local search might provide you with limited options, with enough planning you can build your own costume or special order pieces to open up a whole new world of possibilities. Before selecting your costume, decide to be a savvy participants and make sure you considered these top four questions for choosing the best costumes for long parades:

Does the Costume Accommodate Comfortable Footwear?

Whether you are marching or walking, taking part in a long parade can be demanding on your feet and ankles. Hard, asphalt surfaces and uneven pavement can quickly start you down the path to a night full of aches and pains. Keep this problem at bay by selecting a costume that accommodates comfortable footwear. Avoid high heels at all costs, and if you can, line your shoes with soft, comfortable gel inserts.

Is It Appropriate for the Weather?

In most locations, a skimpy costume made from wispy fabrics will be a poor choice for a parade scheduled for a brisk December afternoon. Similarly, in the summer, a full-body sports team mascot outfit with a fully enclosed mask could lead to heat exhaustion or worse. Fortunately, during hot weather you can often keep yourself cool—even in the bulkiest outfits—by choosing a costume that includes an internal fan. You can do plenty of research online, include searching sites like Halloween costumes for inspiration and planning. Beyond your costume, make sure that you wear appropriate clothing underneath.

Is It Made of Breathable Fabrics?

Even in cold weather, you can quickly work up a sweat as you proceed down a parade route. In the summer months, getting hot in a costume is a given. Wearing breathable fabrics will help keep your temperature regulated as well as keep you comfortable and free from chafing. Both your costume and the clothing you wear underneath it should breathe easily. While a detailed latex mask or accessories might be tempting, remember that they will hold in moisture which could make you miserable.

Does It Pass the Run Test?

Complicated, spectacularly adorned costumes can be a real temptation when you want to make an impact on parade viewers. Unfortunately, if they are not put together carefully, they can easily make walking uncomfortably or cause you to look like a disaster. Imagine trailing your accessories along or having a critical piece of your outfit fall off en route. To avoid this, try using the “Run Test.” Put on your costume and move or run vigorously for a minute or two. Anything that comes loose or falls off needs to be removed from your costume and reattached securely. A successful run test can keep you comfortable and looking as good at the end of the route as you did at the start of the parade.

Marching in costume in a parade should be a fun, memorable experience. Choosing the wrong outfit can make that an unlikely outcome. When deciding what to wear, apply a healthy dose of common sense. With a little searching, you can find any number of costumes that will “wow” the crowd and without making you miserable.