Hallowe’en Costumes

Like all reformed goths, I have a thing for Hallowe’en. It’s not the black & orange motif, or the cats with arched backs that do it for me so much, but more the idea that it’s a night to embrace all things scary, weird & creepy. I have always loved horror movies, & remember watching terrible films like Child’s Play — & reading Stephen King books — when I was 7 years old.

Which, of course, brings us to the fact that Hallowe’en is just around the corner. Two weeks away, in fact. The emails are rolling in. “My boyfriend & I have been invited to a Hallowe’en party & we would like to go as matching exotic cheeses but cannot find the right type of fromage for our personalities. HELP!” You get the idea.

I always find it kind of tricky to come up with some kind of costume. I am not that keen on resorting to the usual costuming options that girls my age tend to be so thrilled about, which is basically anything + a short skirt. According to Wikipedia, the most popular adult’s Hallowe’en costumes are, in order: witch, pirate, vampire, cat & clown. My suggestion would be to shy away from these ideas as much as possible. If you are going to dress as one of the aforementioned, just rock it as hard as possible. You want to do it well. Don’t just wear a pirate hat with your jeans. Do it every other day of the year if you like, just not on Hallowe’en!

Headless Horsemen

Two years ago, I was an abducted schoolgirl. I wore a bloodied shirt & rope around my wrists & my friend Timmy gave me a fabulous (faux) black eye. Last year, I was Salvador Dali. I drew on a moustache, took some pictures & went to the video store. One of my proudest moments, at age 10, was my costume as a headless horseman — that’s me, above, on the right. But I am really a Hallowe’en amateur. I have seen some amazing things, & am always impressed by the level of people’s devotion to their costumes.

The following are but a few of the consistently amazing hallowe’en costumes of Ms. Roxanne Carter. I’ve been following her journal for years & I am always impressed by the effort she makes for Hallowe’en. She has an amazing closet, as well as a lively imagination & excellent photographic skills. Being generally gorgeous probably helps, too!

Roxanne M. CarterDressed as a femme fatale.
Roxanne M. CarterDressed as Marchesa Louisa Casati!
Roxanne M. Carter

If that doesn’t make you fall in love with her, your heart is as cold as her gorgeous marble backdrop!

Roxanne M. CarterAmalthea from the Last Unicorn.
Roxanne M. CarterNancy Drew!

If you want more, & I bet you do, here are the photos of her as a doll from Stravinsky’s Petrouchka, a femme fatale & Marchesa Louisa Casati (swoon-o-rama).

I have a big thing for costumes with historical relevance or of costumes that have literary ties. For example…

Nancy CunardNancy Cunard, anyone?
Queen of HeartsHow about the Queen of Hearts?

When it comes to Hallowe’en, I think it’s really an opportunity to try something crazy & wild. If you’re idly considering a new aesthetic direction, or if you just wish you were more like Amanda Lepore, Hallowe’en is the perfect chance to really do it up. There is usually very little judgement on the 31st of October, so if your friends know you as a mild-mannered public servant who usually wears a sensible brown suit, maybe tonight is the night you can finally reveal your secret identity of Jessica Sparkleboobs! Know what I mean?

If you’re usually fairly “out there” when it comes to your daily ensembles, rather than trying to think of a costume (like “sultry harem girl” or “grease-stained firefighter”), think of it more in terms of character. Who do you admire? Who do you fear? What movies appeal to you aesthetically? Who are your favourite book characters? How about authors, composers, artists, pioneers, sex educators? What about fashionistas, mathematicians, musicians, muses? Maybe you would like to be more abstract. What about a creepy ice-cream truck man? How about the Grand High Witch?

Do some research. Really sit down & have a think about your dress-up options. Once you start pondering it, the ideas will really start to flow, it’s just that you need to be in the mindset first. Don’t feel like you are limited by your physicalities — even if you have pink hair, that doesn’t mean your only option is Jem. You can always wear a scarf or a hat, or even buy a cheap wig. Think as broadly as you can. What kind of Hallowe’en costumes do you like to see on other people? Do you prefer people who look scary, or people who have made an effort & come up with clever solutions?

Don’t be afraid to be grotesque or “unpretty”. Hallowe’en isn’t the night to prove you’re a sex bomb (though I’m sure you are)! You can do that every other night of the week if you like, but if you’re obsessed with looking hot or getting the attention of the opposite sex, it will really limit your costume ideas & the ways you can express yourself. Be a villain, be someone or something despicable — challenge yourself a little bit.

If you don’t want to go it alone, or if you & your lover or best friend are similarly stumped for ideas, dressing in tandem or in a group can be great fun too. Think of great (but unconventional) couples throughout history. Andy & Edie? Raoul Duke & his attorney? Tyra Banks & Jay Manuel? Vivienne Westwood & Malcolm McLaren? Anais Nin & Henry Miller? Big & Little Edie? Tom Cruise & an alien? P.T. Barnum & a “freak”? Pauline Parker & Juliet Hulme from Heavenly Creatures? Jayne Mansfield & Anton LaVey? Hum & Lo? (You can also dress up your dog or kid sister if you feel like dragging them along!)

However you dress up for Hallowe’en, the most important thing is to make as much effort as possible. Even if everyone else is dressed like a “horny little devil” or policeman, you will know that you put in the hard yards & that you look fantastic. Take lots of pictures & have an amazing time.

Extra For Experts:
Hallowe’en Horror Nights at Universal Studios… I would love to go to this!
Celebrity Hallowe’en Costumes from Gawker…
Or if you’re still really stumped, take a test.