Traditional Halloween costumes— ghosts, goblins, and ghouls—are simple to clean, but what do you do with the more intricate costumes for both children and adults? Many of these garments are custom made with various fabrics and trims and have no care label. Careful examination and testing may help to predict the serviceability and practicality of cleaning the costume.
Whenever possible, pre-treat stains caused by cosmetics, paint, and hair colorings, as well as food or beverage stains. Many waxes or crayons are not easily removed by home stain removal.
If a care label is present on the costume, follow the instructions carefully. If no label is present, test the fabric to any washing solutions you may use. If seams are durable and there are no unusual trims or unusual features, such as lofty layers, rough beads or baubles, wash on gentle cycle and hope for the best.
Some trims may need to be removed prior to washing.
Hand washing may be safer for costumes of questionable construction since agitation will lead to excessive pilling on soft, fuzzy fabrics and cause trims to tangle or snag. Fill a large tub with water and a small amount of mild detergent.
Remove excess moisture with towels or by running the garment on spin cycle. After washing, hang costumes to dry instead of tossing them in the dryer.
Cleaning the entire costume may not be necessary. We may be able to remove local stains and freshen underarm areas without immersing the garment, and be able to remove wrinkles from gathered areas or around trims.
Then you can relax and enjoy the memories of wearing the costume rather than the horrors of cleaning it!