Rethinking Costume Lens Strategy

Costume lenses are popular on Squidoo…they’re fun to build and it’s rumored that they can make money. There are over 2,300 lenses with the tag “costumes” and probably many more that don’t use that tag. Only 7 of them are mine.

There are two styles of costume lenses:
1. Costume Catalog – A pictorial list of Amazon or affiliate links to costumes and accessories.
2. How To Make Your Own Costume – Step by step instructions and tips to craft a homemade costume.

Many costume lenses are a hybrid of the two styles. They offer a mix of how to info with costumes and accessories featured for sale.

Each style serves a different audience. Some people want to buy a costume and have no interest in making one. They’re looking for a catalog. Other people are do-it-yourself types, like to save money or want something unique. They want to build their own costume and are looking for instructions and tips.

My costume lenses so far are all in the catalog style. The only how to stuff is a few accessory ideas. Most were built to complement an existing non-costume lens. Colonial costumes for a trip to Colonial Williamsburg, caroling costumes for people planning a Christmas caroling party and so on. The others are costume genres I thought were cool.

I had fun searching for good costumes to feature on these lenses, but I didn’t enjoy writing them. It felt like writing a sales pitch vs. providing helpful info to readers. Writing helpful stuff is more fun. My costume lens ideas list is growing but I delay starting any more because I dread writing them.

This Halloween season I stumbled across a couple good how to costume lenses that got me rethinking my costume strategy. They are artvixn‘s Steampunk Costumes Made Easy (a former LOTD) and Nerd Costume Ideas by emmalarkins. Both offer quality tips based on personal experience (with photos to prove it). And they blend in Amazon modules where it makes sense. Now I’m inspired to think of how to build how to costume lenses.

Side note: If you were playing a variation of “Hi, Bob!” called “how to” when you started reading this post…you’d have a good buzz right now.

My wife and I do make costumes so I have experience. And I enjoy writing how to lenses. The challenge is the costume photos. Most costumes we make are for our kids and I don’t publish photos of my family on Squidoo. So I’d be making costume lenses without photos. Not a recipe for success.

How can I make my costume lenses more “how to” without posting photos of my family? A few ideas (please let me know if you have others) are:

  • Use a mannequin for pictures of the costume. I could probably find one on Craigslist. Not sure how readers would like pics of a costumed mannequin.
  • Take photos of the costume laid out on a table. Won’t pack the same punch as on a person but could be useful in small doses.
  • Add more ideas on personalizing store bought costumes. This could be a good starting point and improve the quality of my existing costume lenses.
  • Use Flickr pics of people in similar costumes. Might be tough to find good shots and I don’t like using close up pictures of people. Yeah, they’ve posted it online for all to see and granted CC license, but I don’t know if they really want to be a model on my lens.

Hopefully this will get me back into the costume lens making spirit. Eventually, I’d like to have a good mix of catalog and how to style costume lenses. There are people searching for both.

What are your thoughts on costume lens strategies?

Image Credit: zol87, used under Creative Commons License.

Lens Launch: Graveyard Ghoul Costumes


Did I scare you? Probably not.

Grave Ghoul Adult CostumeBut if I was haunting a graveyard on Halloween in a graveyard ghoul costume like this one, you’d be scared.

There are lots of costume lenses on Squidoo so it helps to put your own spin on a genre. Otherwise your lens gets lost in the crowd.

I chose graveyard ghouls because it complements my existing Halloween graveyard decoration lenses.