When Halloween rolls around, it can be difficult to reconcile the need for pageantry with the need to save money. After all, you want an impressive ensemble, but actually buying a full costume can easily bite chunk out of your wallet.
Sheesh. Who knew spandex lycra was such a pricey commodity??
This is why DIY Queens have it right when it comes to Halloween — in particular, a crafty 25-year-old in West Covina, California named Sydney Presley. This writer and DIY guru always creates her costumes by hand, which, she says, is a happy result of her penchant for penny-pinching.
“I’m a B on a budget and a cheapskate, so that’s part of why I make my own costumes every year,” Sydney tells BuzzFeed.
However, Sydney isn’t willing to settle for cheap, handmade costumes — they have to satisfy Sydney’s high standards for creativity. Which is why the homemade ensembles also have a unique twist: they’re (almost) always an ode to her Latina heritage.
Sydney uses her DIY prowess to create impressive imitations of her favorite childhood snacks and cultural touchstones.
One Halloween, Sydney embodied a bag of Duros, which are a Mexican snack food similar to chicharrones.
“The soundtrack of my childhood was the paletero’s bell coming down my abuela’s street,” she told BuzzFeed. “[Duros] are eaten with lemon and Tapatio. I’m wearing a plastic El Pato bottle. Have you ever tried strapping a glass bottle of Tapatio to your head? It’s not practical.”
She’s also transformed into pan dulce, or Mexican sweet bread. (Extra kudos for the attention to frosting detail on this one.)
“These things sustained me as a child,” she notes.
One of her most impressive (and involved) costumes was La Chalupa, a card featured in the Mexican card game, Lotería (which is similar to bingo).
“It’s a fun way to hustle your family for their pocket change,” Sydney explains.
One of her most popular and beloved ensembles, however, was when she dressed up as bags of Takis with the help of her dog, Moz.
If you have not yet been converted to the Tao of Takis, they are Mexican tortilla chips that are coated in salsa flavoring and lemon powder — and, as Sydney says, “so worth the heartburn and red-stained fingertips.”
Even though this costume pairing did NOT earn the top prize at a local Petco costume contest (blasphemy!), Sydney’s just happy that she’s been getting such positive feedback, both online and in real life.
“I see so many Chicanas that are like, ‘That makes me so happy,’ and that makes me proud,” she tells BuzzFeed. “It’s such a great time to be Latina.”
I think I speak for everyone when I say that I cannot wait to see what Sydney has cooked up for her Halloween this year.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I feel the inexplicable need to go stuff my face with tortilla chips.