Holly Madison is a woman of many hats 鈥 she鈥檚 a New York Times bestselling author, a wife, a mother (she recently gave birth to her second child, Forest) and an entertainer, and come October? She鈥檚 also the queen of Halloween 鈥 just see her latest Lizzie McGuire impression for proof. 鈥淚鈥檝e always loved it, ever since I was a little kid,鈥 she tells us.

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 20: Model and television personality Holly Madison attends the launch of Jennifer Lopez's residency "JENNIFER LOPEZ: ALL I HAVE" at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on January 20, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Holly is such a big Halloween fanatic, in fact, that she鈥檚 been known to start prepping up to two full seasons ahead. 鈥淏ack in the day, I used to start thinking about it in spring,鈥 she says. While she admits it 鈥渒ind of sneaks up on her a little bit more鈥 these days, she鈥檚 still got plenty of tricks and tips up her sleeve for creating the perfect costume, and luckily, she was willing to share a few of them with us. Read on to find out how she preps like a pro below!


First things first: To get a killer costume, you have to have a killer theme. For Holly, that means tapping into those thing she already knows and loves. 鈥淔or a long time, I always wanted to be a Disney character every year,鈥 she says. (It makes sense 鈥 a quick glance at her Instagram page will confirm that girl is a diehard fan of the House of Mouse.) 鈥淥nce I ran out of those, [it became] whatever I鈥檓 obsessed with in pop culture at the moment (check out her awesome 鈥淐alifornia Gurls鈥 era Katy Perry).

That鈥檚 not to say she shoots for the easy target, though. In fact, if you really want to make an impression, 鈥淕o against the grain,鈥 she says. She recalls a time at a big Halloween party with most guests dressed in scantily clad costumes that an ironic choice became the hit of the evening. 鈥淎 couple just came as sheet ghosts with classic cut-out eyes. [It was the] biggest hit of the party because it was so random,鈥 she says.

LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 28: (L-R) Models and television personalities Laura Croft and Holly Madison and television personality Angel Porrino attend a performance by rock band Neon Trees at a charity masquerade ball benefitting Music Saves Lives at The Beatles Revolution Lounge at The Mirage Hotel & Casino early October 28, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

She, for one, will be shying away from this year鈥檚 obvious choices of Harley Quinn or Eleven from Stranger Things. (鈥淓veryone鈥檚 gonna do that,鈥 she predicts.)

Instead, go with something that suits you naturally 鈥 an especially helpful tip for those who have *gulp!* waited until the last possible second. 鈥淕o with something (or someone) you already kind of look like, that your friends tell you you remind them of [without]鈥 makeup or wigs.鈥

Holly, with her flowing blonde locks, is tossing around the idea of Clueless鈥檚 Cher Horowitz, for instance. 鈥淚t just looks like a cute outfit I would wear on a normal day,鈥 she says.

Given the fact that she tends to dress up on the weekends in addition to the big day, wearing up to three different outfits for any given year, Holly says she鈥檚 also not against pulling a Kate Middleton and recycling her favorite outfits 鈥 or, at the very least, elements of them. 鈥淚 have this Sally Skellington I did [with] all the blue and green makeup; I totally want to do that again, even better than I did before,鈥 she says.

She鈥檚 also tossing around the idea of recycling a previous Harry Potter Ravenclaw costume this year, if only for the comfort factor alone. With its big black wizard鈥檚 cloak, 鈥淭here鈥檚 nothing more comfy than that on a cold Halloween night,鈥 she says. Amen to that, sister!


Now that you鈥檝e decided WHAT you鈥檒l be, you need to determine how to go about it. But even if you鈥檙e purchasing your costume, perfect execution takes more than just heading over to Halloween City on a whim, at least for Holly. 鈥淚 usually do research on the Internet [about] what already exists and then I鈥 try to one up that a little bit,鈥 she says.

Whether that means collecting inspiration shots, studying makeup tutorials to really take your character next level or getting nitty gritty about even the most minor of details, Holly says it鈥檚 best to look for ways to put your own spin on it.

Her favorite of all her costumes, for instance, just so happens to be her go at Frozen鈥檚 iconic Elsa. Holly had a seamstress she knew from some of her live Vegas shows custom-make the outfit to ensure every little detail was on point. 鈥淪he really went the extra mile,鈥 she said.

But that鈥檚 not to say you can鈥檛 make (or buy, if you鈥檙e craft-challenged) just as cool of a costume on your own. 鈥淚f you really don鈥檛 want to make anything, [try] bargain hunting,鈥 she suggests. 鈥淟ook for pieces of the costume in ways that already exist as inexpensive clothing,鈥 she says. Giving lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn from The Sandlot as a prime example, it鈥檚 a costume that Holly points out is easily recreated with a retro bathing suit, a lifeguard badge, a whistle and clip-on bangs.

The same principle can be applied to kids鈥 looks, as Holly recently discovered while attending Mickey鈥檚 Halloween Party, where she saw a mini Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps from Zootopia (now on Netflix!) that caught her eye. 鈥淭he boy was just wearing normal clothes,鈥 she says. 鈥淜hakis, a button-up [and] a little man tie [with] generic fox ears and a fox tail鈥ut you could tell exactly [what he was].鈥

HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 29: (L-R) Author/model Holly Madison, producer Pasquale Rotella and daughter Rainbow Aurora Rotella attend 2015 Hollywood Christmas Parade on November 29, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for The Hollywood Christmas Parade)


Once you鈥檙e all set up for the big day, there鈥檚 not much left to do but enjoy all your hard work, and depending on where you are in life, that can mean different things for different people. Since having kids, Holly says the holiday 鈥渉as definitely changed a lot for me. Throughout my 20s, it was these big adult parties,鈥 she says, citing the two-day Electric Daisy fest her husband, entertainment guru Pasquale Rotella, throws annually as an example.

Nowadays, she says there鈥檚 more of a focus on her (growing!) family. She recently put her writing skills to good use when she couldn鈥檛 find a kids鈥 book with her daughter Rainbow鈥檚 favorite characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas, crafting her own instead.

There鈥檚 also the gated community trick-or-treating she and Pasquale worked to start several years back with their neighbors in Vegas, where it didn鈥檛 previously exist. 鈥淣ow that鈥檚 our favorite Halloween activity!鈥

What a difference a few years can make, indeed. Happy Halloween, Holly 鈥 we can鈥檛 wait to see what you come up with this year!

Which tip of Holly鈥檚 resonated with you the most? Share @BritandCo!

(Photos via Ethan Miller + Mike Windle/Getty)