As one carnival season ends and others beginning, it’s time for planning your mas band and costume choice. However, just how do you choose your mas band? Well, the Real Soca Deal has provided a list of some of the most essential questions you should ask yourself when selecting your carnival costume.

Is the costume package value for money? This is just not a straight forward question, as it really is about the ‘on de road’ experience that you pay for. Your package pays for not only the costume, but the overall experience including music, food, security, and welfare.

Does this costume suit me? We all get that syndrome. It is called ‘Delusions of Grandeur’. i,e ‘If it looks good on her it must look good on me’. Most of the time – who cares? However, it is an expensive hobby, so if you are going to pay over $900 USD for your costume try to ensure that you are comfortable in it. For many of us, it’s about visuals on social media. The costume we visualise on ourselves is what we will pay for. No matter the cost. It’s like sweets to a child on display or drugs. You crave it. ‘I want that one’ you scream at the model sashaying down the catwalk or at the images on the band website.

Do I need feathers? Are you aware that the feathered backpacks are actually more than 50% of your costume package cost? This is completely true, and for your amazing look, you are almost doubling your cost! For the very fact that you might not keep the backpack, it then becomes a very expensive purchase. Social media has also ensured that we break the bank in order to show the world that you look good, but beware it is at a cost.

I love the costume feathers but where will I store them? What about the feathers? Sorry, but where do people store them and has anyone kept every single one? I know I don’t have a magical pop-up storage space, so the question is just what do mas bands expect we do with them and why is there no recycling for the disposal of unwanted feathered backpacks? Choose wisely.

Is the mas band I have chosen, full of vibes? I implore you to chose your mas band wisely. It is not just about the costume, it is about the entire experience. So the band choice is just as important as the costume, as the last thing you want is a beautiful costume and a mas band that has no quality music or vibes to follow through on the day.

As a non-drinker do I pay the same price as people who drink alcohol? A resounding yes. I drink, but some of my friends don’t and it is a proper reason for a debate that needs evaluating. As just why are people who are teetotal have to pay for people who drink? Also, I am no rum head and drink red wine only, yet it is never available, so I bring my own drinks. A con? Do we pay too much when we actually bring our own drinks? Valid questions and food for thought mas bands!

Do we get free water? As part of the package, yes. Carnival slogans tell us to drink responsibly and to drink lots of water, especially in the heat. Yet more often than not, I have experienced mas bands running out of water. So always ensure you have some cash to buy on the road. It is essential to keep hydrated.

What do I do with my costume after the carnival? Well, you keep it. Seriously, I have thought about this for some time now, as I packaged my latest costume in amongst the rest of the favorites. As, what do you do with your carnival costumes? Has anyone got a collection from every year they played? What do you do with it after? Just have it for a show? Try it on and dance for your mates? No, you probably don’t. Like me, it is either discarded, or encased in a fabric holder and stored to later reminisce.

Do feathers have an impact on the environment and are they recycled? I actually don’t but know but a question posed forced me to think about this. Perhaps it is time for mas bands to think ethically about the environment and costume accessory disposal as well as the fun and rum. I do like feathers but it has taken over the creative talents of the designers. Each year I am sure the creative design team conversation starts with ‘what feathers are we having’. Is this the only material that can impress a costume?

Could I go on holiday for the amount I pay for a costume? This is the last question you should ask, as with averaging amounts of (premium front section costumes) of around $900 USD, yes you honestly can!