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Conjuring Costumes

A performer from New York’s immersive theater show ‘Sleep No More’ shares last-minute Halloween outfit tips

Once the leaves start turning and the pumpkin spice frenzy has kicked into high gear, it’s time to consider unique ways to dress up for Halloween. But if, like many a costume party-goers before you, you’re stuck on how to come up with a standout ensemble with just days to go before the big night, it’s perfectly acceptable to outsource a little inspiration.

Sleep No More, a theater performance at the McKittrick Hotel based on Shakespeare’s MacBeth, is known for its sultry and glamorous 1930s period costumes and intricate attire—and the performance’s staff is here to help. While a team of skilled artisans and seamstresses create the show’s exceptional outfits under the direction of costume designer David Reynoso, Sleep No More performer and associate choreographer Conor Doyle shared with DuJour his thoughts on how to transform last-minute ideas into similarly elegant ensembles.

Scenes from the McKittrick Hotel

Scenes from the McKittrick Hotel

“We tried to take something that was very recognizable and add our own little twist to it,” says Doyle. “And that’s very easy to do. You can buy a vest and then go down to your local haberdashery and buy a string of feathers—that’s normally what I do for my costumes. I just go down to the paper store and add something on to what I’ve already got.”

Some of the most extravagant Halloween costumes come from DIY trends. Have a black coat that you’ve worn more times than you can count? Jazz it up with some chic accessories and make it feel brand new.  “Finding a great silhouette that looks amazing on you and has a real strong sense of an era is always a really good tip,” explains Doyle. “And then you can put your own stamp on it.”

This Halloween, the cast will celebrate the holiday with Inferno, two consecutive nights of costumed mayhem and debauchery following the Oct. 30 and Oct. 31 performances of Sleep No More. Guests will experience a reinvented space while donning costumes inspired by one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Scenes from the McKittrick Hotel

Scenes from the McKittrick Hotel

“I love seeing people in these beautiful spaces in real elegant wear. Some people come bonkers with a pair of tights on their head and sort of long antennae, and I love that as well,” says Doyle. “It’s kind of a rare thing to see such a breadth of creativity in one place.” 

Tickets for the Inferno parties are available to the general public for purchase.

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