The creative quest for an awesome last-minute halloween costume.

My artist wife and I have been busy lately building dragons and constructing gypsy quarters for her school’s fall festival, so halloween hasn’t been a priority this year. And, well, we love halloween — like a lot. Our couples costumes have won contests and built a local reputation that we like to live up to every year, but, really, it’s the praise over the artistry behind them that I love. Unfortunately, this year — I started to think I can’t do this.

I’ve had an idea for days. My thoughts arranged in a series of flashes in my brain. The plan for this year’s Halloween costume. Flying monkey. Wizard of Oz. My wife will be the most wicked wicked witch ever. Had a sketch ready Friday night and was ready to attack Saturday — the day of the party.

The day started at 9:30. Busted out the door to head on a gathering spree. I needed materials very quickly. Gather. Head back. Make. Make. Make. Make.

Got to the party at 10:15 which is about five minutes away. Wanted to get there around 9:30, so you see I ran over. I worked until the point of walking out the door. It was crazy, but it worked. And it worked pretty well. Sacrifices and adjustments had to be made, but it worked. Check it out.

An unreasonable deadline can make us want to say, “can’t.” Can’t shouldn’t be in a creative’s vocabulary. It should be how. How can I get this done? How can priorities be rearranged to make more clients happy? How can I meet expectations? Then — time permitting — how can I exceed those expectations?

Reconsider how you approach any creative problem, project, or proposal. Here are a few things I noted from doing this costume project:

  1. Be realistic. You can only get done what you can get done. Time is always ticking.
  2. Simplify. Simplify steps, processes, tasks, whatever. Look for short cuts everywhere. Minimize tasks and find joy in getting things done. Part of long projects is keeping an upbeat mental pace when the task at hand is a hard one.
  3. Plan. Work it out on paper. Paper. Separate yourself from the hub-bub and write, sketch, scribble, and scratch until you know your approach. It’s a checklist. A blue print. Stick to it.
  4. Consider your resources. Dealing with budget problems? Cut the quality of the material. Buy used. Rent. Borrow. Post on Facebook, Craigslist, and Twitter.
  5. Ask for help. Sometimes, we humans get so selfish with our responsibilities we don’t see the world around us willing to help. Delegate. Negotiate. Bargain. Move and shake, baby.

There’s an answer for every problem, right? Sure! Now, there may be a spectrum of how “good” the final execution can possibly be, or the results you get from taking short cuts and cutting costs, but if the task is to get something done, as in a WE NEED A SOLUTION NOW situation, then the client, even if it’s you, must be prepared for the creative execution to come up short in some aspects. But nothing beats a pressured job well done. Don’t be afraid. Don’t turn it down. Knock it out.

Thanks for reading and happy Halloween!