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October 25, 2010

Who Are You Going to Be?

by Hank

Who doesn’t want to be a princess? When you’re six at least. And since my mother had insisted to my sister Nina and me that we definitely, truly, really had not been secretly deposited on her doorstep by some royal family who was going to come back for us, some day, I had to be satisfied with showing my princessy heritage for Halloween. This, Mom agreed to.

It’s the first Halloween costume I remember. Mom took a big piece of silver poster board, and twisted it into a cone. She punched a tiny hole in each side, and ran a thin black elastic strip through the holes. The she got some kind of scarf, a long floaty princessy scarf, and poked it through the hole at the top of my cone hat.

 Hat-pink-princess I was enchanted, entranced. Here I was, a chubby little girl with dark curly hair, transformed, transformed, into a princess, with the perfect pointy princess hat with the scarf that would trail glamorously behind me.

But that was not all. My fabulous costume also included a shiny pink shower curtain, a translucent sheet of thin plastic with a twisty raised pattern of huge pink roses. My mother stapled a pink ribbon in two corners, and tied the ribbon around my neck. (Yes, no, this would not have happened much later than the fifties, but obviously I didn’t choke and die.)

 With my fabulous pink cape and my fabulous pointy hat with the floaty scarf, I swooped around the neighborhood, door to door, collecting--what? Beemans Gum, and what was that other kind? Teaberry! And Chuckles, and Butterfingers, and those candy bars that had five separate different kinds of fillings. And they were called…ah. Can’t remember.

Anyway, the years went by, the candy became less important, but the costumes became more important. There was a big too-cool lull in high school, sneery and dismissive when my little brother and sister dressed up.

But then college. And the opportunity for revealing and inappropriate outfits disguised as perfectly-acceptable Halloween costumes began to present itself. One particular college year’s Halloween party had been deemed a “dress-as-your-favorite song” event. I thought about dyeing a sheet black and wearing it, ghost-like, and going as “She’s Not There” (Who sang that? Anyone?)

Zombies

But in the end, Marjorie Hallihan and I put on black tights and black leotards (a key element of the innocent “it’s just a costume” excuse—you saw Mean Girls, right?) and attached handprints all over us. What song were we? Touch Me, by the Doors.

 Oh, we were subtle college girls.

 

My mother does not know about this, even now, so please don’t mention it.

There was another big Halloween lull as I entered the real world of work. Perhaps the job of dressing for real work every day was daunting enough. But eventually, this dressing up for Halloween thing seems somehow to have returned, at my work and in my outside-of-work life. (And apparently in others peoples’, too, since I read somewhere that adults spending for Halloween has skyrocketed in recent years.)

 Several years ago—gosh, no, it was longer ago than that-- I convinced my boyfriend at the time that we should go as Edward VII and Wallis Simpson. I wore a long navy blue dress, and he wore a dark suit and we both had red-ribbon sashes (like beauty contest sash, you know?) with a glittery brooch-like thing holding them together at our waists. I had a tiara. (I always grab any excuse to wear a tiara.) I thought this was a terrific idea, cool and subtle, but of course we spent the entire evening explaining who we were.

9_love_stories

 And even then, partygoers then being who they were, even when we explained it, they still often had no idea. Fine. I liked it. (Thinking about it now, maybe it was the wannabe-a-princess thing again.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another year, I did the leotard and tights thing again—but brown. I took a plastic dry cleaning bag, and filled it with torn up pieces of brown and orange paper. Then I stepped into it, and tied it around my neck. (Anther motif, I now see.) I got some markers and a piece of shirt cardboard and made a tag, put it on a string, and attached that round my neck, too. (ooh.)

Tea bag

I was a teabag.

(Constant Comment, which my boyfriend-at-the-time mentioned (a few too many times) he thought was appropriate.)

 Oh, another year, my then-boyfriend (a different one) and I got several pieces of poster board, and made a huge cone. The hole in the top of the cone was big enough to put both our heads through. Then we took some pieces of two-by-fours, and made a table-like thing, which we covered with a red and white checked cloth. We put the cone on the cloth. Covered the cone with cooked spaghetti (a long and complicated story that has to do with glue and thread.)

 So are you with me here? It looked like a huge plate of spaghetti on a table in an Italian restaurant. (Sort of.)

 Then we got cotton balls, and covered two paper bags with them. Then we spray-painted the ball-covered bags with red and brown spray paint. We punched two eye-holes in each bag, put them over our heads, tied them around our necks (ooh) and put the whole spaghetti shebang over us.

So we were a plate of meatballs and spaghetti on a table.

 How we got this contraption TO the party is way too long to discuss. Suffice it to say it consisted of a lot of rope, the top of a car, and some very slow driving. Dancing at the party was  essentially impossible.

No pictures exist.

 A couple of years ago, Jonathan and I went as the Arks,  Joan and Noah. Some people got it, some people didn’t.

I do have photos of that. Alas, lost. But imagine me in chain mail (sequins) (and a leotard (ooh) and boots and big gloves and a fleur de lis flag) and Jonathan in a shepherd-looking hood robe (okay, fine it was a monk's robe) carrying a staff and a lot of stuffed animals. Two of each kind.

The next year, we were pressed for costumes, so Jonathan added a cowboy hat and a red neckerchief,   I added the neckerchief and changed my flag --we were Noah and Joan of Arkansas. 

 This year, seeing as how I am on page 108 of my new book, and was also on page 108 last week, we are not dressing up for Halloween. I hear cute 5-year old Molly next door is going to be a princess.

Ah. That is how it all starts. And I am going to see if I can help with the hat.

 What’s your favorite costume ever? Who are you going to be this year? There’s still time…

(PS: Holly! I love the banner! Thank you!)

 

 

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Comments

Easiest costume ever, an apron and a chef's hat. Or a nurse's scrub top and nurse's hat. I have both in the closet.

As kids we had a clown costume that we all wore once or twice along with a baby chick costume that a family in town borrowed and never returned. Both costumes had to fit over snow suits, at that age we lived in northern Ontario.

At 20 or so I made a baby costume including a big bonnet. After a few party hours of hearing Oh Baby, that costume got old.

One year at the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (at Disney World) we saw a group of retirees all dressed in home-made costumes - they were all bags of different flavours of M&M's.

When I was 24, three female friends made me up as a woman for Halloween. Despite good make up, hair styling, a nice dress and the best shoes they could find for my size 12 EEEE feet, I was not a great looking dame.

I think my favorite costume was when I dressed up as Everyone's Favorite Drunken Irish Uncle, back in 1982. I was quite popular among those attending the party (and, by the way, had only enough booze to give my breath a realistic smell)and my rendition of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" got a round of applause.

Gosh, Hank, I wish you had a sense of humor.

Okay, this is weird, and I first realized it yesterday. I do not remember a single Halloween costume I ever wore. I do not remember going trick or treating, although I do remember bobbing for apples at Judy's house. This is all especially weird because I loved Halloween. Or thought I did?

It's 2:31 in the morning. Should I wake up my mother and ask her what I wore for Halloween?

I was a pine tree once, at the Billerica, Massachusetts tercentennial children's parade. My mother covered me with a burlap bag and stuck pine branches through it. She said she was going to throw me in the Shawsheen River. She changed her mind when she saw there was prize money for best costume. She stuck a few more branches through the burlap and said, "Win damnit." So I did. I got $1, and Mummy got cigarettes. She took me home and cleaned the pine pitch off with kerosene. I'm just glad she didn't light up while she was cleaning me off.

I don't really remember my costumes either. I did the hobo thing in the teen years. And the one party I attended as an adult, I was a cat. (Leotard!) I know I had a few of those costumes with the plastic masks held on with elastic, and the eye holes never lined up right. And I wore more than a few over snowsuits as well (I grew up in Syracuse).

Two of my favorites weren't my own. One was my daughter, about 3 years old, in a rag doll costume somebody made. Wig of multicolored yarn, striped stockings, cotton dress and little pinafore, black maryjanes. Triangle painted on her nose with lipstick, and eyeliner freckles. Absolutely adorable.

The other was my nephew, a tall, lanky 12 or 13, dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz. Complete with their yorkie, Tucker, in a basket.

You know, it's interesting...if there had been as many cameras then as there are now, there would be phtos of all of us in our Halloween glory, you know? But because it was so difficult and complicated to take photos and develop photos and keep photos, there's a whole history that doesn't exist.
Except yellowing, in shoe boxes.
Because I would love to see Reine as a pine tree. And LAura's little Raggdey Ann daughter.
You all are giving me ideas!!

Sky-Bars.

I once went out with friends as Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary. I had a great black goatee, and we even sang for our candy.

My daughter's first costume was a Siamese cat. I think it's still in a box in the attic.

I love Halloween. LOVE dressing up.
and it's all my Mother's fault.
Even during my teen years and it was cool not to dress up, she always managed to convince me it was loads more fun to just forget about being cool and have some fun.
So she and I would contrive some ridiculous get up and convince my dad to at least take us to the Dairy Queen.
She still loves donning a homemade thrown together costume of some sort, and so do I. I do remember being a princess when I was a little girl, but mostly I seem to get dressed up year after year as either a witch or a hooker. I guess less said about that, the better.

This year I’m going as a Hobo with all my pockets turned out. Tip: don’t do a major renovation on your home and then have your friggin’ daughter decide, AT AGE 34, this is the year she wants to get married. Who would have thought, in terms of lowered net worth, the market collapse of 2008 would be eclipsed so soon?

My favorite costume came from my hippie days. I put my hair under a Sinatra hat, put on big boy pants instead of tattered jeans, a button down collar and a sports coat. Then I crashed an on campus fraternity party. People kept coming up to me all night asking if I had forgotten it was a costume party.

I can't remember the last time I dressed up fro Halloween, but as a kid, I loved it! My mom always made great costumes (and I carried on the tradition of homemade ones when my boys were young). My favorite was the years I went as a gypsy--lots of makeup (bright red lipstick!), bangle-y jewelry (especially big hoop earrings), and flowy skirts. Too fun.

SHeila, great idea!

Kaye, yup, the hooker thing. It's a corollary to the "tights and leotard" theory of costuming. I;d love to see you, though..

Oh, Rod, dressing up as "everyone else." Love it.

Nancy, i think it would be better if you just waited til after breakfast or something. But I bet she remembers. It would be interesting to see if it brings back anything for you!

Hijack: Oh, my gosh. I am on Lee Child's website.
http://leechild.com/scrapbook.php

I'm sorry, but that's cool!

(Did you hear the lovely quote from Mondo on Projuect Runway? He said to unhappy kids: "You'll be cool. It may just take a while.")

Okay, back to Halloween. (Wonder if I could dress as Reacher...)

My most memorable as a child was: a football player (I borrowed my brother's stuff, and never have I been so happy to be a girl).

As a grownup, I was once Evita but there was a pornographic element to the costume that I can't describe here. This was back in my drug days.

Now, I'm lucky if I have the energy, after getting the kids decked out, to stick a witch's hat on my head. But I do love witches. They're the princess costume of Middle Age.

Harley, it's worse now, because I'm trying to imagine what you did that you can't tell us..in fact, I'm spending too much time contemplating it.

I love Halloween. And absolutely going as a slut. If I put on an accent, I can sometimes fool friends into thinking I'm a stranger who crashed the party. I wear the black bouffant wig I keep in the Halloween box, red lipstick, eye makeup, my pointy black glasses from 8th grade (that I can still see distance with - just don't ask me to read anything). The shortest skirt I can find. A cigarette in my hand if I can find one. And heels.

So why don't they recognize me? Because in real life I wear NO makeup. Only flat shoes. Comfortable pants or long skirts. And I don't dye the silver out of my hair. People are blown away. It's terribly fun.

Edith
http://edithmaxwell.blogspot.com/

I don't remember my own costumes from childhood, but I do remember dressing my little brothers--usually as girls. *wicked, evil laugh*

But I've had lots of great costumes as an adult, and Halloween is my favorite time of year. We have at least three times as many Halloween decorations as Christmas ones, much to my husband's consternation. If anyone needs a skull, skeleton, or spider of any description, let me know. ;-)

My favorite costume was, like Judy, a gypsy wench, back in my single days. My date, however, made the big stir, and even won a costume contest with his dirty old man getup. He had a trench coat rigged to hoist an, ahem, appendage (of monstrous size) made up a paper towel roll with a sock holding two tennis balls beneath. All attached to a set up long johns dyed pink. At first glance it was incredibly rude. By the way, his last name was Fallick.

Another good costume was Charlie Chaplin, courtesy of a decrepit old porkpie hat I found at a resale shop. Since Steve and I have been together, though, we have always dressed in paired costumes: “Karamoja” Bell-the Great White Hunter, and Fay Wray (in King Kong), courtesy of pith helmets and safari jackets; clowns--he was an Emmett Kelley type, and my post-pregnancy body was hidden in the voluminous Pierrot top; werewolf and witch; parrot and woodpecker (complete with wings and full-head sculptured felt masks that I'd made, and my damn sister-in-law let her kids have to tear up); Snow White and Dopey (my husband was all too convincing); Cowboy and cowgirl; and Jill Sparrow and her first mate.

I also made tons of costumes for the girls. We still have all kinds of noses, wigs, wings, and other accessories. Sometimes I dress the skeletons up, too.

This week I get to dress up twice. My book club is meeting here, so I've decorated the house (and I hope I'm not the only one in costume), and then a party.

Laura, it is such a challenge, to dress up in cold weather!

The miracles of computers, here are the last four years of the princesses Halloweens.
http://theportmans.name/index.php/component/option,com_zoom/Itemid,52/catid,46/

I always wanted to put one of the girls in the Hot Pepper http://www.amazon.com/Rubies-Red-Chili-Pepper-Costume/dp/B001M2W9FO, but it never worked out right.

I was Frankenstein's monster a few times, a football player and a gangster as a little boy.

In college, I vampire and then a werewolf. This is me as the werewolf http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=31676267&l=90452c46f5&id=1045567832 This is also what I wore in 1980 when Halloween fell on a Saturday night and I was in the box office, in that mask for the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Yes, Hallowee at RHPS is everything and more than it sounds like. A few highlights from that night. The manager decided that in costume meant get in free. Once that started to be known, girls where stripping down to their underwear to get in free. Worked for me. There was also someone who brought a real (or at least real enough to the cop at the door) .38 with his Indiana Jones costume. That guy still doesn't know how close to dead he came that night. Officer had his hand on his gun and hadn't been drinking. "Indy" wisely decided to go out to his car and try again.

In college at a Halloween party to friends came as John DeLorean and his lawyer. It was the early 80's and DeLorean's legal troubles were all over the news. They wore their job hunting suits and one had a briefcase. Periodically, the lawyer would escort another guest to a back bedroom where the lights were dim and they would open the briefcase to show the bags of cocaine (flour) and make an offer to help John D. out. Everyone got a big kick out of it until one dweeby realy thought his classmates had a briefcase full of coke.

Alan, they really are princesses! So cute.

And hubba-hubba on that werewolf. HO-O-OOOWWWLLL!!!

When I was hugely pregnant, I wore pink pajamas, made myself some elephant ears and carried a pink saxophone-shaped elephant trunk. I was a teacher that year and appalled all of my students. I thought it was hilarious.

My grandson is going trick-or-treating as a lion. It's such an adorable costume I can't even talk about it without choking up!

When I was a kid, costumes were definitely home-made. No Party City back in the day, even in Chicago. Mt favorite costume was a Scottish lassie one, complete with kilt and little jacket. I too collected Beemans and Tootsie Rolls and cnady corn wrapped in waxed paper cones....ah how safe was my childhood. If I could get away with it, I'd go as Janet from Rocky Horror Picture Show or maybe Sookie Stackhouse, but I'm not in the proper demographic :o(
This year I'll just pull out my witch's hat (festooned with garlands of leaves) and be a Hogwarts professor :o) Or (if I had the legs for it) I'd go as a Nook....with the first chapter of Dracula on the screen :o)

Or, I could go as a teacher and correct my own spelling errors LOL

My family wasn't big on costumes when I was growing up.
I mean, my Mom grew up on a farm & the big deal was tipping over the outhouses on neighboring farms!
Our standard costume was a ripped up flannel shirt, baggy pants, maybe a bandana, and Mom would burn a cork to smear 'dirt' on our faces & we were hobos.
Son always wanted boxed costumes, Scooby Doo being his favorite. I made my daughter a Holly Hobby costume, complete with the sunbonnet & drawstring purse
(that took over a week of sewing!)
A box of fabric I bought while junkin yielded a 5yd piece of black knit that was used as a burka for my friend and a vampire cape for son.
When Zack was little we did him up with a green hoodie & tights, then pinned purple balloons all over him. He made a cute bunch of grapes!
People don't recognize me when I put on a black wig either! Even the friend I borrowed the wig from!

We don't do Halloween in Australia...sniff. :-( However I did go to a couple of costume parties during my airforce years. Heck the first thing I bought during my first posting was a sewing machine. And so when invited to a toga party, I took five of my friends shopping for jersey silk and made us all REAL togas that included the trim around the hems and the cross laced bodice bits. A late comer, a willowy red head was pinned into left over bits of mint green jersey and tied up with fine gold ribbon. I threaded the rest of the ribbon through her tied up hair...she actually looked the best of the lot. Yeah, I know a toga party to the guys is just tied on white sheets ala Animal House, but we had FUN. When things got boring, we drove half an hour to the local disco in the city and managed to clear the dance floor when we got up to dance. It was a fun night.

I like historic costume and already had some books on construction of greek and medieval attire. And I was already beginning to think about costumes for science fiction and fantasy conventions around that time. Made my first Uhura star trek costume from an actual costume pattern from the series - not the quick, no darts, no real neck version they serve up in the pattern books now. It was like putting a puzzle together as there were no instructions and four seams ran starlike from one part of the neckline. Loved it. Wish I could still fit into it. :-D

it sounds like you lot have had so much fun with your imaginations.

I love Halloween and I love costumes too!

As a matter of fact, we are heading to DC this weekend for the dueling Stewart/Colbert rallies and I want to dress up. I have it narrowed down to Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse in the Sorcerer's apprentice. This is because: (a) I think it makes a statement about the state of our government; (b) I already have the full costumes, including the yellow Minnie shoes; and (c) my wizard robes are too heavy and my flapper costume is sleeveless.

Alan - LOVE the photos!

Before I had kids, I wore costumes all the time. Just saying.

Hank, your costumes were so clever. The spaghetti and meatball theme was wonderful.
I went to a party in my twenties as a gypsy dressed in a peasant blouse, vest and flowing skirt..not very original but it was cute.

When my daughters were young the games began with sewing Raggedy Ann costumes with red yarn for hair and a dot of lipstick on the nose. Everything I sewed then was a success. My older daughter surpassed me later and sewed her friend's prom dress. Very beautiful.
My younger daughter changed into two costumes one year. By day she was a princess and then by night she became a Smurf. We painted her face with blue makeup, fashioned a pointy cap and she wore blue leotards to complete the outfit. Perfect costume for her pixie personality.

In kindergarten I went as a pirate, and it was the best costume ever. My mom actually sewed me a real vest out of felt and I wore that every chance I got until I grew out of it. Broke my heart, but it was a great costume.

I was never very good at costumes, so usually went with whatever I had in the closet.

One year, in elementary school, I borrowed my dad's mummy costume...that was cool. Had to wear white long johns under all of the 'wrapping'.

Never went out in my teens, but did the giving. One time, I powdered my face like crazy (due to my natural complexion) and sat in a chair draped in a pale blue flannel sheet until the kids came. Quietly, I got up and stood behind them until they turned....and screamed. Ah, bliss. :)

As an adult, my dad dragged me to a party at one of his friend's, and also bought the costumes. I chose the one-piece grim reaper, which included a sheer black material over the face. Then I just stood there against a wall. Until a big tall football player type gave my arm a poke and screamed like a little girl. :) They thought I was a figure, not an actual person. I won scariest, and I never said a word or anything.

Lately, I have been the giver of the treats at my friend's home, so she could take her kids out. Have been a fairy godmother, and last year was a witch. This year, I will be at my niece's house celebrating her bday....might wear a tiara in honor of the day.

Reine ~ I have got friends in Billerica!

Argghh.. I don't know what I want to be this year and I have a big party coming up this weekend! My friend and I have thought about Barbie & Ken, the late 50's version with a letter jacket that doesn't zip anymore and a prom dress that well, you get the picture.

I was a princess once - I borrowed the costume from my aunt. Won 1st prize at the party. I also dressed up as a horse (it's currently my Facebook profile picture). Same aunt made the costume. That was pretty cool.

I used to make my son's costumes. Made a full-on Pokemon once, stuffing and all. He was Pikachu. I had to be Ashe, the boy who trains him. Yeah, that was a fun night, wandering thru the neighborhood.

Our dog used to wear a vampire cape, but he passed away in May. The new puppy's only 7 months old. He'll probably eat the cape.

I've always wanted to dress up like Carmen Miranda. Someday...

I'm still trying to come up with something that will let me work an 8 hour shift comfortably, since we are heavily encouraged to wear costumes to work. My favorite costume is probably the year I ended up with a bridal veil, so my mom transformed me into the bride of Frankenstein.

My mom made a black costume that was a cross between a bear and a cat. The ears were rounded but the tail was long. It was warm and in Minnesota, that's what counted the most. I don't remember when I wore it, but mom kept it and gave it to me for my kids.

When older daughter was big enough to wear it, I made a mouse costume for little sister to wear with it. I think younger daughter also wore it, but probably not to school because it was too warm.

I've made lots and lots of costumes for my girls. Some of the favorites were the Princess and the Pea, baby was in pea pod costume and was only 7 months old at the time. Beanie Baby tiger and leopard, they had mittens and spats for their shoes and I recreated the tag for their ears, including their names and birthdays on the inside. This was when BB's were HUGE!! I even had a studio photo taken with them in costume with their own BB's all around them.

I think the one that sticks in my memory the most was when Teletubbies were all the rage. My two girls and my best friend's son and daughter were each dressed as one of each of them. I used sweat shirts and sweat pants for the basic costume and created a tv tummy that was pinned on. Then I created the hood out of a separate sweatshirt and used the ribbing from the waistband to cover headbands and stuffed tubes to create their little antenna things. The four of them together were quite a sight to behold and they got lots and lots of comments when they went around both neighborhoods that year. They were also asked to pose for pictures at the annual zoo boo, which they thought was great fun.

I was actually out with my younger daughter and her best friend this past weekend putting together the pieces for this year's creation. The costumes in the stores are just too slutty for my taste and they are so poorly made, it isn't worth the price. This year it's going to be a Lady Gaga type of look (no raw meat), and will be totally unique to the two of them. They will be in just black and white. White top with black bows, black spangled skirt, white tights with glitter stars on them (this part is going to take some experimenting on my part), one black lace glove each and a big pearl and diamond ring on the other hand. Hair up in a big bun with white glitter stars placed in different spots, and for shoes, since the LG look of tortured shoes isn't practical or comfortable, they are wearing black ballet slippers, but these are actually slippers with a hard sole.

It's such a fun time and as I've told my husband over and over again, they are only kids once.

One of the things about the werewolf. At the time my hair was black. I dyed my real beard brown to match the mask. More brown makeup around the eyes. At the end of the night when I took off the mask, my boss realized I had dyed my beard. Without the mask I had a brown woolly Fu Manchu patch in the middle of a very full black beard. Then he realized why the masks mouth moved so lifelike.

One of the cutest moments I ever experienced is when my then ten year old grandson was dressed in a bear costume. We were on a four day cruise with the family and my daughter dressed him for the party on board. He was such a hit with the ladies.

OHkI wish I could see/could have seen you all!! Lots of wonderful gypsies and hobos. And Vinny, I DEMAND to see you as a pirate. Get a vert for Crimebake.

Edith, that sounds VERY glam--what are YOU doing for the Crimebake vampire ball, hmmm?


Rocy Mountain--the middle-aged Barbie and Ken is wonderful.

DebbraSue--you;ll post the LG phots, right?

And what is it about little kids in costumes with ears? Adorable.

And hey, Shannon--where do you work??

I think I've said this before her, but my most successful, freaky 'costume' was painting a third eye in the middle of my forehead, the same color as my eyes with a highlight that made the eyeball look reflective. Very interesting watching people try to focus on my eyes. They are discomforted.

And then I forget and scratch my forehead and whoops…

I just remembered years ago going to a Halloween party as Olive Oyl. It was an easy costume, long black skirt I sewed rick-rack onto the bottom, tights, Doc Martens and a red top from the good will with lace sewed around the collar.

One costume I never did but always wanted to was Magenta, a domestic from Rocky Horror.

Hank, I work at a video store, and I have threatened to dress as a customer, but I suspect my boss would consider that cheating. BTW, I'm still chuckling over Noah and Joan of Arkansas.

My buddy and his wife and I did trio-themed costumes for a while. The first year we were ZZ Top. They had dark red fake beards that went down to their waists and matching ukeleles. I used cherry KoolAid to dye my beard. I brought my guitar and we were quite a hit at the party. Unfortunately KoolAid does not wash out completely and I had this pinkish-lavender beard for a couple of weeks.

The last one we did we went as the Marx brothers. You know, Harpo, Groucho, and Karl!

Our Halloween costume box was located in my mother's bedroom closet. Old rubber masks, bits and pieces of whatever old clothing from the 40's and 50's she had tossed in, and a bunch of those old half masks. My brothers and I used to beg her to please buy us some store bought costumes. You know the type you just put on over your regular clothes, but she never would. Looking back now, I realized they were two expensive for what would be a one time use for growing kids.

I'm not really into Halloween and I don't go to adult parties, but when my daughter was young I dressed up to accompany her on her Trick or Treat rounds. My favorite costume was when we both dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and our huge black lab played the part of the Big Bad Wolf.

My daughter's Halloween costumes were always easy from pre-school on because of dance lessons. Every year she had three different recital costumes to choose from (ballet, tap and jazz). Some of my favorites were Pinocchio, French Maid, Aladdin, and Mariachi Girl.

Harpo, Groucho and Karl is SO funny!

How about Peggy, Kathy and John Lennon?

Lady Bird and Magic Johnson?

Hank, some may not remember the Dionne quints, but five friends once dressed up like them for a 30's/40's/50's costume party, the same one where I was Fay Wray. They were dressed alike as little girls, and were hilarious.

Oh, Karen that's funny funny funny funny funny.

Billie Jean and Don King?

Hank - how fun! Halloween is one of my favorite nights and I'm still waiting for a Halloween party invite so I can play dress-up. When I was very young I switched between Princess (because we ALL have the Princess fantasy - yes?) and Nun. The nun outfit brought massive staff approval at the Catholic grade school and was the simplest to make. Lots of white sheets, all over. Basically a ghost wearing a big cross.

I LOVE your Italian restaurant costume. The big question is where did you find all the BFs who consented to play dress up?

There's the famous Wright brothers: Wilbur, Orville, and Frank Lloyd.

Or the Jeffersons - Thomas and George.

Al and Al and Karen -- too clever!! (and the princesses, too cute!) I have been a slacker on Halloween costumes, mostly just wearing Halloween t-shirts like my favorite, "Hand over the candy and no one will get hurt" or the one from Salem "Come visit for a Spell," but I can tell that if I were to party with you guys, I'd have to up my game a bit. We are having a luncheon at the Y Friday, but since I'll be going straight from the pool, I think I won't get too fancy . . .

I know I did the gypsy thing as a child and my brothers were cowboys and hobos, because we made our own also. One year my Aunt Yoko let me wear one of her kimonos and now that I really understand the value of those, I'm amazed that she did. Her birthday is Halloween, too. . .

Hank, GREAT costumes!! My favorite when I was little was in third grade, when I dressed up as Lawrence of Arabia. I had a weakness for David Lean movies even then...

Debby! Billerica! No kidding? OK, what part? What school? I have to know. I moved back to the North Shore when I was starting high school, but I spent most of my early years in Billerica.

Hank, meatballs? Isn't that a movie? Or is it a musician? Oh no, that's Meatloaf.

Kendall is outfitted in his costume already. http://reenharringtoncarter.blogspot.com/ He couldn't wait after seeing the three mini chows coming out of the groomer's on their triple leash-- in matching costume.

The first Halloween after we got married, Dear Hubby went as Samorai Gynocologist and I was a box of birth control pills.

My daughter has been:

Dorothy Gale (3 others were the tinman, lion, scarecrow)
Charlie Chaplin
Clown
A white mouse
Cruella De Ville (the neighbor kids were the dalmation puppies-white sweatsuits with black spots painted on, felt ears stitched to sweatbands, and facepaint It was the best!)

I made a Star Trek TNG uniform for Dear Hubby to wear to work one year. Not the one with the jacket, but the jumpsuit. He had to wear a waistline reducer, lol. But he loved it.

As kids, my brother & I dressed in torn clothes and wore an Emmett Kelly mask and went as bums. I honestly don't remember any other costumes. I only remember that one because I still have the costume in my cedar chest. The best treats, though, came from the firemen & the police. We would hit the fire hall and get Old Vienna cheese popcorn and the police station for Old Vienna Ozark Style BBQ chips. THE BEST EVER!!!

Boy, that Kendall really gets around! Such a gorgeous dog.

Pam, Cruella De Ville would be such a fun costume for a young girl. I can picture swanning around, waving a cigarette holder, bossing all the puppies. A great character for a born ham.

Which is why Halloween is so much fun--you can take on a different persona, and usually without having to learn any lines!

I want to see Cornelia as Lawrence. And now I have an idea for this year! I just need a sheet, a head thing, and a lot of sand. (And I want the skirt Cornelia wore at Bouchercon. Fab.)

Al S, you win. The Wright triplets. Hilarious.

Rod and Martha Stewart?

When I was a kid I always had to be a hobo, because my mom could put a couple patches on my clothes and send me out.
My favorite adult costume was the movie theater floor. I took a length of cheap black fabric and cut a hole for my head, used a fancy braid for the belt. I used some tennis shoes to make white paint footprints, pink puffy paint stretched between the prints like gum. I stapled candy and popcorn wrappers on the fabric. I did have to explain it a few times.

Marci, that's wonderful! Genius!

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