Friday, October 29, 2010

What To Wear? What To Wear?

Well, folks, we're only three days away (two, if your town is celebrating on Saturday) from Halloween! Has everybody got a costume?

Yeah, that's what I thought...slackers.

I'm expecting to see a run on the Halloween stores tonight and tomorrow. Now, I have nothing against store-bought costumes. They're worlds more convenient than trying to piece one together from the thrift stores, or (God forbid) actually sewing one. Lord, I have vivid memories of watching my poor mother try to follow my five year-old self's instructions for making a Snow White costume ("Sew good, Mama"), and of how sweet and appreciative I was when the darned thing was finished ("The colors are backwards! The yellow's supposed to be on the bottom!"--Mom's answer: "You're Snow White after she married the prince. You changed clothes." Bless her. I totally bought that.)

No, store-bought costumes can be great timesavers, and I'll save you my soap-box rant on the prevalence of "slutty " costumes. However, if you're not feeling up to braving the party stores on Halloween weekend, or just have the notion to put together a costume yourself, I have some ideas and a few tips for you.

Bella Swan
For the Twi-hards, or any mom who's kids insist she dress up for trick-or-treating. Plaid shirt, blue jeans, headband, pensive look. Add a little light, natural-looking makeup and you're done. Very easy, very on-trend. Now, a variation:

Freaked-Out Horror Movie Babysitter
From any horror movie. They're all pretty much identical. You can wear the exact. same. costume. as the one above, but rip a sleeve (optional, but recommended) and add a little fake blood* here and there. If you're feeling daring, undo a couple of buttons and wear a lacy camisole under the plaid shirt. Then, just practice your best Scream Queen wail and you're all set.

Edward Cullen
Yeah, you have a cute boyfriend/husband/bff. Good for you. White t-shirt, black leather jacket, dark jeans, and a ton of hair product and glitter. Actually, for the pompadour, I recommend backcombing a bit, then use L'Oreal Professionnel Artec Textureline Texture Spray instead of gel. This costume (minus the glitter) also works well for a T-Bird or The Fonz, or you can add a fake stake and let the world know how you really feel.

Fresh Zombie
If you have scrubs, this is the easiest costume ever. You're not undead enough to have any decomp or ripped clothing. Dab dark blue-gray eyeshadow around your eyes, in the hollows of your cheeks, and on your lips. Add a little fake blood* (wherever you deem appropriate), and if possible, a hospital wristband.

This is my favorite, actually. Black shirt, black or khaki pants, green apron. Carry a Starbucks cup (preferably a fresh one filled with yummy coffee goodness). Easy peasy.

Now, there is some degree of danger in choosing to go the homemade route. It's entirely possible that you might have to spend the whole night explaining who you are, the costume could be insanely uncomfortable, etc. Case in point: my little brother wanted to be Snake Plisken from Escape from New York last year. Thomas was beyond thrilled. We got him some Army green cargo pants, a black t-shirt, an eye patch, and the best possible wig we could find. Well, right before we left to trick-or-treat, someone (I shall not say who) mistook him from the back for a girl. Oh, Lord. Well, the wig went out the window right then and there, but he kept the rest of the costume--cargo pants, black shirt, eye patch and HUGE squirt gun. No one knew what the heck he was supposed to be. He didn't know what he was supposed to be. I think we settled on Modern Day Pirate, but mostly ended up with a lot of, "Oh, look! We have a princess...and a police officer...and, aren't you creative..." I'd like to say he learned, but this year he says he's going as a lawn ornament. *Sigh*

The New York Times has a really sweet piece on costume mishaps here. If any of you have some you'd like to share, I'd love to read about them in the comments. Come on...I showed you mine.

*If you're worried about the fake blood on some of these costumes, don't. I've got you covered. All you have to do is make your own. In a small bowl, mix light karo syrup with a few drops of red food coloring and a small amount of cocoa powder. The entire recipe is subject to how dark or red you want it, so there are no set measurements for anything. You are completely in control. Now, here's the secret: add a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap to the mix. Believe it or not, that will keep the blood from staining your clothes. Seriously. I would not lie to you. When you're finished with the costume, toss it in the washer as usual, and the blood will come out. If it will make you feel better, add a Tide Power Booster or pre-treat with some Oxy.

If you are using greasepaint with your costume, pre-treating with Oxy and adding a Tide Power Booster will take out most stains. I've washed so many zombie costumes from The Night Shift, I could write a book on greasepaint stains.


  1. i am seriously at the breaking point with all this halloween foolishness. i just want to sit at home, watch baseball and drink beer tonight, but i'll be at the bar as a related party to the futurama debacle. i'll have to tell you about the turn for the stupid things took last night. gaaaah...

    hope y'all have WAY more fun than i'm probably going to!

  2. Oh, I can't wait to hear! We're just hanging out with Curt, handing out candy, and keeping him from trying to frighten small children.


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