By Shani Petroff

I love Halloween. It’s always been a favorite of mine. Not only is it super-close to my birthday (little me had an active imagination and thought maybe one day I’d find out this meant I was actually a good witch with magic powers. I’m still waiting), but also there’s candy galore, parades and celebrations, and you can dress up as whatever you like.

Now the candy can be a challenge—especially for someone like me who has a huge sweet tooth—yet, wants to stay within her SmartPoints® budget. You can check out my article on having a successful Halloween while sticking to the Weight Watchers program here. Only junk food isn’t the only thing that gives me pause during Halloween. It’s the costumes, too.

I’m a huge fan of dressing up for the holiday, but finding the right thing to wear at times feels like a trick instead of a treat. Here are some things I’ve learned while attempting to find a costume I adore.

Sizing Varies: There are a lot of sexy costumes available for Halloween. Over the years, I’ve been a sexy wizard, referee, and Red Riding Hood. I’ve also gone with some more modest choices like a princess, ‘80s girl, and a witch. Regardless, when I ordered some of the costumes online, I was shocked by the sizing. In one instance the 2X didn’t even come close to fitting — and there wasn’t a bigger size offered. It was discouraging. As someone trying to lose weight, I love finding I can fit into smaller sizes. So, it was hard when I couldn’t even fully pull down something I thought would be way too big. I later bought a completely different costume — and a smaller size fit me. Basically, not all costumes are made the same. At the end of the day, I’ve come to realize, it doesn’t matter what the number on the tag says. What matters is how it makes you feel. To this day, I still love my wizard costume — it’s a bunch of sizes bigger than what I usually wear—but it fits great and makes me feel amazing. So, I just shrug at the size on the label.

Trial and Error: Not every costume I try on looks good. I went through dozens at the Halloween store one year, and have had to return a few that I bought online. But then I found a costume that was exactly what I wanted. Fitted but flattering. It was a little dress that showed some cleavage, accentuated my waist, but made my hips and backside look smaller — which was the look I wanted. It worked so well, that the next year, I found something very similar. (I have referee, wizard, and flapper costumes that are all the same cut and material, just different designs to make it clear who I’m supposed to be.) You just need to find a style(s) that you like!

Quick and Easy: Over the course of the years, I haven’t been the same weight. And as I continue the Weight Watchers program, I plan on the pounds continuing to drop. So, I don’t always want to shell out money on a new costume (especially one I’m hoping will be too big to wear in another year). So sometimes I recycle an old one. This year I’m thinking of going with my Where’s Waldo outfit (the picture is of me wearing it from a few years ago). Other times, I just check out what’s in my closet — and go with something supereasy. I had the cape from my witch costume. So, I decided to reuse it, put on a black dress, some white makeup and black eyeliner and went as a vampire. One year, I wanted to be super-comfortable, so I put on an old pair of comfy patterned pajamas, put my hair in two pony tails, and went as a child. Even my Waldo costume was partially from items I had lying around. I happened to have the red-and-white-striped shirt in my regular wardrobe, I took the glasses from my wizard costume, and just had to buy the little hat. I put on some jeans and a backpack, and I was ready to go! Super easy, cute, and comfy!

So, don’t be afraid to dress up this Halloween! There are a lot of fun things you can do, and there are amazing costumes for every size.

Have a very happy Halloween!

What are your Halloween costume tips and tricks? I’d love to hear about them! You can find me on Connect @shani and  read more Shani Weighs In here.