Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cavalcade of Costumes

It's almost time for the best dress-up day of the year, and I'm embarrassed to admit I only have one costume planned. One costume is not enough! You know me, I never like to wear the same outfit twice, and the same goes for Halloween costumes. In recent years, I've done up to three separate costumes for all the different events I go to in one season, and although I only have one event on my calendar this year, I expect that number to rise significantly as the big day approaches! And (gasp!) I have costumer's block!

I lay part of the blame on my high standards for costumes, for which I credit my parents, who once went to a Halloween party dressed, respectively, as a dining table and a microwave (or was it a flashlight?). Those oddball (and entirely homemade!) costumes set the bar pretty high for my future Halloweens.

Nowadays, I feel like I've failed if my costumes don't meet certain standards. They have to be handmade or thrifted—nothing from the costume store will serve! They have to be something that's not too overdone—you don't want to be the 7th Where's Waldo at the party! And, when I can, I particularly enjoy doing a costume that's a bit of a joke.

Meeting all these criteria is hard enough, and it doesn't help that my recent move and possessions-purge have deprived me of much of the vast stockpile of clothes and crafting supplies I once possessed, so I've had to be more creative with even less stuff.

Add to that that, after 32 years of living, I'm running out of costumes I haven't already worn before! Every time I come up with an idea, I remember that I've already done it! So, since I'm thinking of them anyway, I might as well take a break from the search for the best costume of the future, and spend a moment to share some of the costumes of the past!

Cat. I realize this is not high up there on the novelty scale, but it was entirely home-made, with my mom's help, so I was the most unique-looking cat (made out of a man's chenille shirt) in my class!

Statue of Liberty. Through most of my youth, I had an obsession with the Statue of Liberty, so at least twice in my life, I mortalized (Neologism by Valerie!) this inanimate object with a Halloween costume.

The Phantom of the Opera. Another obsession that ran its course during my elementary school days, I had to play the Phantom for Halloween. I remember we made the mask with papier-mâché so it could be an exact replica of the mask worn in the off-Broadway production!

Carrot. After I decided I needed to up my creativity game, one of the first off-the-wall costumes I invented was the carrot. With a leafy top constructed of a baseball helmet, some tissue paper, and an artificial plant, I proudly stepped into a bold new era.

Snowman. Boy, was I glad I was wearing this costume, made of a full-body furry jumpsuit, when I went trick-or-treating! because it was coooooold outside, but in my snowman, I was as cozy as I've ever been on Halloween!

Christmas tree. I remember doing this costume in high school. This year, I was tempted to repeat it, but ultimately I decided that the artificial tree I found in my new apartment would be better donated than reconstructed into a (no doubt very uncomfortable!) costume.

Toilet. Possibly the one worn the last time I went trick-or-treating, and undoubtedly a feat of engineering, the toilet had a bowl that actually flushed candy! It confused people, but it entertained me!

Fairy. For a few years during and after college, I don't remember wearing any kind of costume whatsoever. To usher me out of those dark ages, I made a fairy costume out of a bridesmaid's dress and some wings out of curtains in 2009. And then I caught a cold and spent Halloween huddled in bed, never to bring my fairy to life (OK, fine, I wore the costume a few months later to a baby shower, much to the awe of every female under 7 at the party). Also my first costume since the advent of digital photography, which is why there are no pictures of the prior costumes!

Unicorn. The first (successfully worn for Halloween) costume of my adult life was a fairly simple affair, with a horn made of paper, mane and tail made of yarn, and white clothing. I thought it was a pretty great costume until Fall Fairy (with her leaves and blinking lights) totally blew me away. I knew I would have to do better the next year. And the next year was... 

Bridezilla. If there had been a costume contest at the venue I wore my Bridezilla costume, I'm sure I would have won at least something. Alas, an ingenious costume wasted on a contest-free party! Never again! Now a costume contest is a requirement for any Halloween party I search for.

Spiderweb. You probably remember this one from my other blog or Facebook, because I proudly announced it as the first (and only...yet!) costume that ever won me a prize—and it won me two! I guess my rule of never repeating a costume was a good one to break.

The Sea. Also appearing in my blog last year, this costume was something I threw together at the last minute, but it involved one of my best hairdos of all time!

The White Rabbit. As one of many people masquerading as characters from Alice in Wonderland, I chose the White Rabbit because it would give me an opportunity to wear my white furry boots (for what ended up being the last time—R.I.P)!

Thirteen costumes! What is there left to do? Well, I have a lot of ideas, but most of them will have to wait until next year when I am better prepared to construct them. In the meantime, I just hope I won't have to settle for one of the boring Big 20.


Ray Hoy said...

I have to say that the flashlight and the microwave were two separate Halloween years. Both costumes won a prize, as did your mother's table setting. Not sure what her costume was the year of the flashlight. The microwave was probably fortuitous in that each time I would take a slurp of my drink, I had to open the microwave door to get the straw to my mouth, thus limiting the amount I could drink. I came perilously close to losing my lunch(or dinner) after all the Long Island iced tea I drank that night. Something I've still managed to avoid in my 65 years. Great costumes in your pics. There are pics somewhere of your Statue of Liberty. The real thing in my camera lens this morning pales in comparison