Thinking of putting the finishing touches on your Halloween costume with novelty contact lenses? They’re a quick way to transform yourself by making your eyes look scary, weirdly beautiful, or just plain weird. They’re fun, and you can wear them safely, but if you’ve never shopped for them, there are a few things you should know first.
Although the FDA, which regulates contact lenses, says you should buy novelty contacts at the same place you get your regular ones, that likely won’t be possible. They don’t normally show up at Sears Optical or Pearle Vision, and probably not at your eye doctor’s, either. Besides, what if you don’t normally wear contacts?
The next best thing, according to the FDA — and probably your most realistic option — is to get them from another trustworthy source. This means not at the video store, not at a booth at a festival, not at any place you wouldn’t think of buying regular contacts. It means from a business that requires a prescription.
Even if you don’t have any vision problems and want non-corrective (plano) lenses just for the appearance, you’ll need a prescription if you want to buy from a trustworthy source. See your eye doctor for this; you may have to give his/her name to the company you buy from, and you’ll definitely need the numbers from the prescription.
Online vendors are probably the easiest way to get the Halloween contacts you want. I’ve done some research on three of the top ones — and yes, you’ll need a prescription to order from any of these.
Unlike many mainstream contact lens suppliers, VisionDirect.com sells novelty lenses for Halloween. Their price range is wide, from $14.99 to $234.99 per lens. (That’s another thing you should be aware of: prices listed are PER LENS, not per pair. One vendor says it’s so you can mix styles.) Shipping is free on any contact lens order, no minimum purchase.
There are also vendors who specialize in theatrical contacts and makeup, and are happy to sell to people outside the industry. One of the top ones is ExtremeSFX.com, which says “Zombies with normal eyes are just dudes in fancy dress up.” They have a huge selection, mostly priced at $29.95 per lens. Another theatrical lens vendor, slightly less expensive,is Sfxhalloweencontacts.com, with prices ranging from $22.95 to $29.95 per lens.
Theatrical/novelty contacts are safe — the color and designs don’t touch your eye, but sit on top of an extra layer of plastic. However, they’re not meant to be worn for more than eight hours, so keep that in mind. Also, sclera lenses, which cover the whites of your eyes, are hard to fit and will take some practice to get in. Whatever directions come with your lenses, you should of course follow them carefully.
If you’re ready to do it the right way, go ahead and dress up your eyes for Halloween.