I had the greatest childhood ever. In retrospect, anyway. Sometimes it didn’t seem so great growing up, when my brothers would tease me or kids would bully me or my parents wouldn’t buy me a pony, but overall… totally awesome. Especially when it came to Halloween.
We didn’t “do” store bought costumes. Ever. Even if part of the costume came from a store, the rest was homemade. Or fashioned out of vintage or repurposed clothing. Maybe I’m a Halloween snob, but that’s how it should be. Don’t just buy some overpriced plastic or polyester piece of crap from a store. Be clever. Be creative. Be inventive.
Apologies in advance for this being crazy long, but here’s my life, in Halloween Costumes…
I don’t remember years 1972-74. I’m sure there were some kinds of costumes, but nothing I recall, or recall seeing in photos. (And since my memories begin at about age three, I’m not entirely convinced I wasn’t abducted by aliens at birth and returned to earth in 1975.)
1975 – Planet of the Apes. I’m the littlest Chimp, with my brothers Terry & David. The masks were from a store, but Mom paired them with wigs and made our outfits.
1976 – Puppy! I wore this costume again when I was in 3rd grade. Yes, I was such a puny kid that I was the same size at 8 as I was at 4 years of age.
1977 – Star Wars! Princess Leia with my brother David as Darth Vader in a mask he made himself over a motorcycle helmet, and a couple of the neighbor kids in the store-bought version.
1978 – Miss Piggy. A few weeks before Halloween, I fell at the playground and busted up my nose. I was so worried it would hurt too much to wear my mask! It didn’t.
1979 – No photo, but I remember I was a witch.
1980 – No photo, but I was that puppy again. I thought it was hilarious that I was paired with a kid dressed as a tree in the Halloween Parade at school.
1981 – This is the only year from my childhood that I don’t remember what I was. But I do remember this was the first year my brothers started decorating the yard, and this was the Medusa they made.
1982 – Geisha Girl. Before it wasn’t PC to dress as other cultures. And you know… I don’t see it as offensive. Sure it COULD be offensive, but I see it as paying tribute to the beauty of other times and lands. I’m not offended if someone who’s not Scottish wears a kilt. I’m happy anytime anyone wears a kilt! Also, parents… the gift box presents are really cute, but your poor kid can’t sit down.
1983 – Snake Charmer. The rhinestone pin on my turban was my Mom’s, and also worn with my Leia costume, and then much later as my “something borrowed” on my wedding gown (to keep my bra strap in place on my back!).
1984 – I volunteered to take the neighbor’s daughter trick or treating, just to have an excuse to dress up.
1985 – Cats. With my best friend, on our way to a school dance in 8th grade. I won a prize – a gift certificate to a record store – and used it to buy Madonna’s Like a Virgin.
1986 – I – gasp! – didn’t dress up this year. Not officially. I probably dressed as a zombie of some sort to hang out in our very decorated yard.
1987 – A glam witch, semi-inspired by KISS. Since I was 15 and “too mature” to go trick or treating, I went with my friend to an under 21 club for the first time. It was a culture shock, going from being the biggest nerd at my school to having BOYS think I’m CUTE! It was nice having people not know me… not know that I was an uber-dork.
1988 – Little Red Riding Hood. I still think this is adorable. Just short enough to show my gams, not so short as to be slutty.
1989 – My first year doing a twofer. To go to the under 21 club, which was by now my second home, I was Vampira, of a sort. I didn’t have the cleavage (and Wonderbras weren’t around yet) to go full-Elvira. Also dressed as Axl Rose to go Trick or Treating one “last” time.
1990 – I lied. I wasn’t done with Trick or Treating. I wore my vampire dress again, to go with my best friend and her nephews. It was for the kids. Really. (Not really.)
1991 – Genie. The first costume I sewed myself, made by chopping apart a couple of old gowns.
1992 – Egyptian. I did a ridiculous amount of research for this costume, making the collar and belt historically accurate. Or as accurate as it can be when it’s done entirely in sequins.
1993 – Another twofer year. My then boyfriend, Mr. Yuk, and I were of the 1770s era. I made both our costumes. I also made the Scarlett O’Hara dress, but didn’t get a photo of me in it then. The photo is from 1999, when I sold it on ebay because I couldn’t zip it. It had a 22″ waist. And I didn’t anymore.
1994 – No photo, but I was a hippie chick, wearing some vintage and some of my own clothes.
1995 – No photo, but Mr. Yuk and I were 1820s era vampires inspired by Interview with a Vampire.
1996 – Victorian Lady. One of my best costumes, the skirt was made from drapes (so Scarlett!) and worn over a genuine bustle that I bought at a church sale. I wore this to a ballroom dance party that was advertised as a Halloween dance, and was the only one in costume. I looked so amazing, I didn’t care.
1997 – Slight revision on the Egyptian costume, with a different dress. Some idiots thought I was Pocahontas. Dafuq? I made the velvet jacket and brocade vest Mr. Yuk is wearing, and a full year after we broke up, he emailed me asking if he could have it. HELL NO! I don’t think he wanted it for Halloween, either.
1998 – Glamour Girl. The vintage gown and feather boa were a fabulous thrift shop find. See my old cat Sheba in the box by the door? Silly Sheba. Last year with Mr. Yuk. Yay!
1999 – Disco Queen. Vintage 70s pants suit worn to a work party, when Fritz and I first started dating.
2000 – WWF’s Lita, before the WWF became the WWE. I love that tank top.
2001 – Punk Schoolgirl. We never did leave the house that night. Bow chicka wow wow!
2002 – 2003 – Didn’t dress those years. That was when my TMJ was wicked bad and nothing was fun.
2004 – Pirate at work when I was a vet tech. I squatted to pick up a dog, and my vintage velvet breeches split. I had to stitch them shut wtih sutures in the bathroom.
2005 – Highlander, but I called it Bravetart. Wore that to the animal hospital, too, and after a while, forgot I was in costume. Until I went into an exam room to take some poor guy’s dog to be euthanized, wearing a dirk about my waist. Awkward.
2006 – Devil. No photo, but after Bravetart, I kept it simple and just wore red scrubs to work with devil horns.
2007 – I was “1987.” I wore my actual clothes from 20 years before: leggings, lycra mini, oversized shirt (with tails) and my pink suede fringed jacket, with my hair teased sky-high. There were a number of doofs in that backward community where I worked who asked why I wasn’t in costume. I worked in the Land that Time Forgot.
2008 – Didn’t dress. Mom was in the hospital then. I did have a great collection of Halloween themed scrubs that I wore all month long.
2009 – Highlanders! I wore my Bravetart costume again, adjusted a little, and made Fritz a kilt by sewing fabric over a pair of shorts.
2010 – Another twofer year. More if you count the 70s and Halfway to Halloween parties we went to earlier in the year. I was a revamped pirate, and Fritz liked his faux kilt so much that I made him a real one and a Jacobean shirt. I also did Sugar Skull makeup in a second costume.
2011 – The Year of the Costume! Prior to Halloween-time, we also went to a 60s party, an 80s Prom, and the Warrior Dash, in costume. For Halloween itself, I was a Celtic Pict to Fritz’s Viking, re-wore my pirate costume for a 5k, dressed as Jay & Silent Bob Zombies for a Zombie Walk, and a Sugar Skull to greet Trick or Treaters.
2012 – More multiple costumes. Alice from Resident Evil, then Umbrella Corp (Resident Evil) themed zombies for the Zombie Walk, and the Spanish Inquisition. Which no one expected.
And that leads us to this year, where we’ve already dressed as Headbangers and Zombies, and are planning to be different zombies tomorrow afternoon, and then Game of Thrones characters tomorrow night.
Yeah, maybe I tend to go a little overboard. But I think of it as carrying on a wonderful family tradition. I’m so thankful for my parents and siblings who helped me dress up when I was little, who inspired me when I got older, and allowed me to be a messy creative little kid. Oh, and Fritz, too. For being an enabler. Because – glancing around me, at fabric scraps and bits of paper and paints, and glitter… so much glitter – I’m still a messy creative little kid.