Friday, October 24, 2008

Costume Chronicles, Volume 2

Update: Last night at 1 AM I thought I was close to choosing a winner, but then I ended up rolling around on the floor moaning,  "I caaaannnn't choooooooose!" instead.

My brother kindly suggested that I just pick a few favorites and have you guys vote on the winner, and to get the hell off the floor and go to bed and shut up. I really enjoyed this idea, so I'll post a poll later tonight and keep it up through the weekend. Winner will be announced Monday. 

And now, another batch of hilarious runners up!

I was on the tail end of recovering from a really ugly case of the chicken pox. I had stopped being contagious. I didn't feel so crappy and I lied to Mom that I didn't feel itchy at all. There still a lot of blotches across my face and my arms were covered in a mass of scabs since I'd been picking at my skin for the past two weeks.

Still I was intent on going trick-or-treating. My parents decided that after being cooped up for two weeks it would do me good to go out for a little bit.

It turned out to be a really terrible Halloween for an 8 year old girl. Everyone who opened their doors commented on the great zombie make-up I had on. They thought the open sores were very realistic special effects and the runny make up was a great touch.

Unfortunately, I was actually dressed up as a kitty.

Last year, Alec and Henry went as Castro and Che, so I decided to be the only female communist figure that I could think of, Frida Kahlo. Though originally it was going to be Sexy Frida Kahlo, I ended up going for authenticity instead. I did an excellent job posing as Frida. like really really good and subtle. 

I suppose I underestimated how little people know about their Mexican art history. At the party we went to people just thought I was an unfortunate, unibrowed, exchange student. When drunk girl I had just met asked what I was and I told her, her response was, "Oh haha, I was just telling my friend I didnt think you were wearing a costume and that you were just kinda ugly!" 

This year I'm going as a sexy butterfly with big boobs just to make up for the blow to my ego last year. Serves me right for picking an educationally themed costume.
(See here for another hilarious take on Lindsay's costume.)

As a poor college student with no money, it was off to the thrift store for me, to become MISS FRIZZLE! YES! From the Magic Schoolbus! I know. Amazing.  I decided to be space miss frizzle, so I found a black and white spotted dress that looked like a galaxy, I cut out all nine planets (including pluto, I know, but this is a vintage educational cartoon!) and sewed them on. I also found a plastic schoolbus in the toy bin for a dollar, drew eyes on it and hung it on a strip of fabric to be my purse for the evening. Then with a big tease of hair, and constantly singing the theme song the entire night, we have one of my favorite halloweens ever.

I always have wanted to dress up as yoshi from super mario and I finally decided to do it this year. So basically I got a bunch of friends in on it and the sewing began. It only cost about $40 for all the materials. Yoshi was by far the hardest. I ended up having to go to the chiropractor after I finished because my back was so messed up from leaning over all day.


When I was a kid growing up in Connecticut, my parents considered warmth and frugality as the most important characteristics of a Halloween costume. This philosophy resulted in a LOT of creativity, but also a few astonishingly bad outfits.

First, my mother always forced us to wear a turtleneck and a jacket, no matter what. FYI, white turtlenecks, even if paired with a 1970s bridesmaid's dress, do NOT scream princess.

Then there was the time when all I could find in the basement was a giant piece of foamcore and some red felt. After lots of thought, I cut the foamcore into a 30inch diameter circle, covered it in the felt, and drew on sunglasses and a smiley face. I added some straps to the back, donned some white gloves and went as the red Spot from 7Up commercials. Unfortunately, no one could identify me and instead guessed I was the following: "a dot?", "a tomato?", "a cookie?" Yes, I'm a bright red cookie in sunglasses. The real kicker was when my friends and I cut through a side yard and the red felt of my Spot got snagged on a pricker bush. I was stuck there for about 5 minutes until I decided to ditch the Spot and finish up the night as a kid in a white turtleneck.

My sister, a friend and I, bought long wooden dowels, which we painted black and white, huge sunglasses, and mismatched thrift store clothes. We made ears, tails, and a giant foil butchers knife, and I believe one of us carried around a cup of pencils, and went trick or treating that year as the three blind mice.

Last year for Halloween I was a waffle, because they are my favorite food! I even had a surprise waffle party on my 21st birthday, so it seemed natural that I should dress up as something I like so much. I wore a yellow shirt and brown skirt. In order to make the waffle, I cut one of those foam, egg carton mattress pads into a rectangle and then sewed on some pieces of yellow fabric for the butter. I went to see the band Mum that night and afterward one of the band members asked what I was and after I told her, she said, "of course you are a waffle!" After the show I was walking to a party and a completely drunk girl stopped me on the street and after finding out what I was, began to feel my waffle and asked me to marry her. Then a man told me that if I needed any syrup to give him a call sometime.

I had zero dollars for a costume one year so I wore all white and went as a whiteboard. I let everyone draw all over me all night and I still have the shirt, it's hilarious.
Happy Halloween.

My senior year of college, I was being courted/was courting a boy named Joe. He was the MOST creative of the misunderstood genius types I went for back in the day, and pulled some beautifully outlandish stunts during our dating days. He was a member of our school's improv troupe, and I was an arts writer for the paper. I reviewed their fall show and made that classic young writer mistake of using an impressive-sounding word without being totally sure of its meaning. I described Joe as being "languid." Yeah. Not the best thing to say about an improv performer.

He read the article and questioned me about my use of this word. I fessed up, saying I hadn't known its true meaning, but had wanted to convey "with natural flow, like water." He laughed and was not insulted.

Then, at the Halloween party his house threw later that week, he wore cords, a button down, and two clear trashbags filled with water. One on the front, one on the back, like a sandwich board dealy. He let the water out later in the evening because it was flippin' heavy. And so he could kiss me better.

When I was about 12, I was at the movies with my mom when I announced I wanted to go as a box of popcorn for Halloween (this was probably in March). October rolls around and I'm still totally committed to the idea and my mom gamely offers to help me design and build this monstrosity. It took about 3 weeks of planning and hours of hot-glueing styrofoam packing to an old sheet before I was finished. 

So the costume reads as follows: me, decked out in a styrofoam covered sheet-poncho with a square of yellow felt glued to the head (that would be the butter). Said sheet-poncho is tucked into my red bristol-board box/skirt upon which I have written "Hot Buttered Popcorn." Apparently it even registered pre-trick-or-treat that people were going to need all the help they could get with this one. 

I'm going as a "cougar" as in "a well to do Napa Valley, recently divorced, middle aged woman on the hunt for cute, young men." I may have to add ears and/or a tail to give people a hint. I figured that I'd need a bad fake tan, trendy highlighted hair (wig) and an age inappropriate Bebe outfit.

Coming from Australia, sadly we don't really *Halloween* like you Americans do - it's always been a great shame to me, as our lame trick or treating always seemed to lack a lot of spirit!

But, a good friend of mine held a party with theme "It's all white on the night". I didn't really know what that meant, and not being one who is half-hearted about these things, decided with my boyfriend that we should go as astronauts. (photo #1). We trekked in to a very trendy part of Sydney (where people are wayy too cool to be dressed as astronauts) and walked about half a mile to the party. By this stage, the space food sticks so carefully stuck onto my all-in-one white suit were beginning to sag, and the aluminum foil on my boots was threatening to come loose.

Happily, we made it. And opened the door to a room full of uber shocked people. The craziest outfit there was the party guy himself in "Tennis whites". ( Photo #2 where, incidentally, you can see my rocket pack complete with flashing lights). Our papier mache helmets, which were so eminently sensible in the car, suddenly seemed way more excessive than intended!
Either way, we had an amazing time and loved wandering around afterwards walking into shops and bars, getting people yelling out "Houston, we have a problem" wherever we went. It's one thing to dress up on Halloween, but quite another when no one else is in costume!


As for costumes past, my favourite has to be when my friends and I dressed up as the Sanderson sisters from "Hocus Pocus". I was Mary, the Kathy Najimy character: I had a red velvet dress, a small plaid apron I sewed myself, and I carried around a wee vacuum. A friend's mother was a costume designer and makeup artist, so she helped us get ready, doing our hair and makeup. She ended up putting a toilet paper roll in my hair in order to get it to defy gravity, and I had to wear white-face to get that "200 years dead" look. 

This costume was my favourite because it was so spot-on, especially when the three of us got together. We ended up winning our school's costume contest, the prize being bragging rights and a very large, very unflattering photo in the yearbook.

We went trick-or-treating together, even though were were way too old to be doing so, and we stalked around the neighbourhood, quoting the movie at children, threatening to turn them into cats and steal their youth.

Now, I can't remember the exact turn of events, but somehow, at the last house we visited, we ended up getting into an in-depth discussion about Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" with the owner. She offered us candy, and we ... offered to eat her children? I can't explain it, but at least she didn't call the cops on us (we wouldn't have made it far, since we wearing high heels and carrying vacuums and mops).


WendyB said...

I LOVE the three blind mice!

Claire said...

Oh wow, that light-up astronaut costume is fantastic! And I'm glad Amanda had a more successful Hocus Pocus costume than I did! I went as Winnie when I was little, but I didn't two friends who would dress as the other Sanderson sisters, so everybody thought I was just a witch who wore green instead of black.

amanda said...

I'm far too excited to have my story chosen as a runner-up! I was going to attach a copy of the painful yearbook picture, but I seem to have *ahem* misplaced my copy.

The Super Mario costumes are aces!

T said...

The 7up Spot story is hilarious! Gets my vote.

soilikethelike said...

aww the astronauts are wayy to cute.

Kate said...

Eee! Thanks for posting our astronauts, Winona! I almost feel famous :) xx

Anonymous said...

LOL!!!! Jami, I'm from Connecticut too and my mom made me wear white turtlenecks EVERY TIME too!!! that's hysterical, it must be a connecticutian thing.

Anonymous said...

HURRAH! I made runner-up!

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