As many of you already know, I’m in love with Halloween, and costumes especially. Were I a more knowledgeable geek (and also had more money (which I probably would if I were a more knowledgeable geek)), I’d be at every Con there is in elaborate costumes. For now, I must settle for Halloween.
This year, as per usz, I’m getting down to the wire and still have not committed to a costume. So I figured, why not write about the other costumes that went before! When I was a kid, I asserted that I would always go trick-or-treating. Save for one glorious time that I got my 30-year-old friend to go with my 22-year-old self to a random house where no one would ever see us again, the trick-or-treating has sadly fallen by the wayside, over the years. But the costumes have not! And with no further ado (Hey, I finally learned how to spell it correctly, at 38!), I now present:
The Costumes of My Life!
There are pictures of me from these years dressed as an angel, but I’m also opening Christmas presents. In preparation for life in Manitou, my parents used to bring me to non-Halloween events in costume! But I don’t know if I was an angel for Halloween or not.
1980 The Wicked Witch of the West
Before “Annie,” my major obsession was “The Wizard of Oz.” Rather than dress me up like Dorothy or the lovely Glinda, my mom sewed by hand a black costume, complete with floppy hat, and put some truly elaborate green and black makeup all over my face. I think going around as such a scary creature at such a young age paved the way for my needing future costumes to be at least vaguely cute.
My brother Robb went as a thief, and our friend went as a tramp. Jk, though that would have been awesome. This costume sprung not so much from anything having to do with anything, and more from what my mother had left over in her closet from the ‘70s. It was fun though, because I got to wear a wig and clip-on earrings (pierced ears were not allowed until 12, so I always looked for loopholes, no pun intended).
1982 An Angel For Sure
My mother sewed some white pieces of cotton together, then affixed some garland to a hanger. Bam! Costume. I was grateful for her efforts, but very jealous of my friend Kelly’s elaborate Annie costume.
This was the first costume that “I did.” When we moved into our Merrick house in ’81, there had been left behind in the basement what I’m guessing was a dance costume. Since the moment I saw it hanging mysteriously in the laundry area, all I could think of was wearing it to be a fairy, but it didn’t fit me until two years later. In third grade, I paired it with a little tiara, tights, and wings, and felt very glamorous indeed, walking in the library kids parade with my friend Amy.
This costume made about as much sense as the name; i.e., none. But man, was it fun, as this costume didn’t just last for one day. This costume took many weeks, perhaps months, as my friend Kelly and I would prepare to be Thingamajigs. Where the idea came from, I have no idea. But at least once a week, we’d pick out clashing clothes, and work on the craziest makeup and hair that we could think of. The end result looked much like Janis Joplin meets Thundercats.
1985 Punk Rocker
Looking back on this list, I realize that I spent every year up until I was allowed to wear makeup, finding Halloween costumes that necessitated makeup. My Punk Rocker costume was basically an early version of today’s ’80s parties – side ponytail, pink hairspray, blue eye shadow, cut-off, oversized white sweatshirt with puffy paint scribble-scrabble, bright leggings, and fluorescent socks! As my 10-year-old self was coming fresh off of a breakup,, it felt very (if misguidedly) empowering to dress up like someone beyond my years.
Retread! Since I never grew to be that tall, I was able to wear the same dress as in ’81. The wig and accessories were still there. This costume redux sprung from two things: 1) procrastination from self doubt and 2) political protest.
As to the first: I’m not sure WHY I gained possession of a mime makeup pack, but I did. The picture on it was of a lovely and mysterious girl whose face was black and white, and filled with hearts. I wanted that to be my face, at least once.
I also remember gazing at the picture and planning my costume in the lobby of First Baptist Church of Merrick. I’d been Catholic my whole life, and while (SPOILER ALERT!) I got into the Pentecostal scene later on, I knew somehow that while I respected Baptists, I wasn’t one myself, per se.
Because as to the second, 1986 was the year that not only did my parents switch churches, but they also put me in SSCS, an interdenominational Christian school. A lot of things were said, about the evils of Halloween. My mother was concerned. But this was a battle I was willing to choose. I was already forced to leave my old school in sixth grade and wear a bolero and an itchy, unflattering skirt. I was not going to lose my Halloween!
Still, I didn’t want to totally upset my mother, so instead of dressing as a forward-future goth, I quietly re-pieced together a costume of yore, and waited for seventh grade to kick it back up a notch.
~ TO BE CONTINUED ~