I always say that I love Halloween, but what I really enjoy is the whole process of coming up with and fine-tuning a costume. Our costumes as kids were usually pretty disappointing…packages from the dime store containing shiny vinyl outfits with strange, empty-eyed plastic face masks of witches, ghosts or princesses. We just wore what Mama bought, usually over jeans and a sweatshirt, with a coat on top. The process wasn’t very creative, but as long as the neighbors gave us candy, we were happy.
I was in my early 20′s when I really started getting into Halloween in a big way. I used to go to some trouble to pull off a good costume back then. My sister and I would start brain-storming weeks in advance, trying to figure out something clever (her long suit) and doable (within the range of my artistic and craft skills).
The best outfit I ever put together for myself was for a party at Group Therapy (my regular bar during and right after college). My inspiration was a low-cut, sleeveless pink evening gown I found at a thrift store. I also bought long white evening gloves, a pink feather boa and some fake pearls, and I made a headband with two pink pig ears attached. The best part was the lovely pig snout I crafted from a sponge and some pink felt. With my own long blond hair and cleavage…the perfect Miss Piggy!
I had to drink my beer through a straw that night to work around the snout that took up the entire middle of my face. I seemed to be getting pretty tipsy after only a few beers, which was a little odd. It took a while for me to figure out that the glue I’d used to get the pink fabric to stick to my crafty handiwork was strong, and having that fake proboscis over my own nose for a few hours was not so different from one of those troubled kids you hear about, sitting on the corner with airplane glue and a brown paper bag!
The grand finale for that particular Halloween was that I won a runner-up prize for best costume! The only problem was that the prize was…ahem…a live pig. (I don’t make this stuff up, people!) Luckily, someone took it off my hands and I didn’t have to contend with a critter in my somewhat impaired (umm…glue junkie) state. I’m pretty sure that would not have ended well, for me or for the pig.
Lynnie’s costume for that night was even more clever…she decided that she wanted to be a used car salesman. She found a horrible plaid suit, white belt and white men’s shoes at a thrift shop. We gave her a five o’clock shadow and a fedora, and padded her belly. To top it off, we hung Hotwheels toy cars from the inside of her jacket…someone would ask what she was supposed to be, and she’d open her jacket like one of those guys selling watches in Time Square. She also gave out Xerox’d business cards that I made for her, featuring the company name “Lynnie’s Lemons” with a drawing of a lemon-shaped car underneath. The devil’s in the details…right?
In recent years I’ve been lazy and have usually gone with whatever was in the closet (e.g. a long black skirt = Stevie Nicks or a gypsy…multipurposing!) About nine years ago I wore a tacky, multicolored crocheted vest over a denim shirt, a pair of way too tight cropped pants, heels, too much makeup, long red nails, great big hair and a tiara…along with an unlit cigarette hanging from my mouth. (Trailer Park Princess…DUH!) Two years ago I topped that one…I bought a wig (for the very first time!) and dressed like Paula Deen. I guess I captured the buttah-guru pretty well, because people stopped me on the street to tell me that they love my food! Maybe it was the butter stick earrings I made…or the apron that had the words “Pass the Lipitor, ya’ll!” on it?
This Halloween I’m off the hook, as I’m supposed to be in Miami, having a girls’ weekend with a friend. Maybe I’ll just pack a few extras for that trip…I’ll probably leave the glue at home, but who doesn’t travel with a tiara?