Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Halloween on the Mind...

I really dig Halloween. It wasn't always this way. When I was a kid, Halloween was just not a big deal. It was usually too cold to actually enjoy trick-or-treating. Our costumes usually were just whatever was left at the store the night before. In fact, I have very few memories of childhood Halloween costumes. I'm sure I dressed up, but it wasn't a big deal. Here's something that Rykert and I reminisce about: remember the third person costumes of hte 70s and 80s? You know, instead of being Darth Vader, you would wear a Darth Vader mask and a plastic suit that had a picture of Darth Vader and the words "Darth Vader." Those costumes had a fundamental problem. If asked, Rykert will wax on about this.

When I went to college Halloween became a huge deal. So why the change in heart? I think this is due to a number of different factors:

  1. It seems to me that the marketing of Halloween has been dramatically stepped up in the past decade. It used to be the Halloween display at Target was a single aisle of plastic costumes, and bags of candy corn and fun sized candy bars. Now it's an entire section of the store and spills out into every department (accessories for your hair, bathroom, dog, etc). I'm not complaining, I'm just sayin'.

  2. Further, Halloween in college does not involve door-to-door trick-or-treating and extended exposure to cold. Instead, you dress up and head to a bar or a house party where you can imbibe to the point of that false sense of warmth. No winter coats over that princess costume required. Although in college it appears the fewer clothes a female wears the better. A position to which I do not agree.

  3. I went to college in New Orleans, which has a huge Halloween scene. In fact, I'd almost rather be in New Orleans for Halloween than I would for Mardi Gras. It's quite a spectacle and people spare no detail in costumes from the tame to the extreme. My first year I went with a pretty tame Catholic schoolgirl costume that I purchased from the children's section (it was a 6x husky) of Thrift City and I completely underestimated the impact. Pity, but it was before the exploitation of digital cameras so I have no photographic evidence to show you. Although, I know I was forced into pictures with all sorts of Bourbon Street characters which will likely prevent me from ever running for public office.

  4. Halloween is a craft-intensive holiday. I contend that the best costumes are handmade and pieced together from unusual sources. Though, a store bought costume can be ok, particularly when merged with crafty accessories. The genius of a costume is in the details.

  5. Halloween is the one time of the year when you can let loose. So, the normally reserved can take on a new persona. For evidence, see my normally quiet, reserved husband.

I do have one rule when it comes to Halloween costumes - go big or stay home. You have to commit to a costume and live it. Doesn't that sound melodramatic? But, really, nobody likes a party pooper.

So, what should I be. Flickr is the world's greatest resource, and I've been trolling there for ideas.

Right now, I'm absolutely loving the idea of being a Rockford Peach. This would be a pretty complex project for me, as my sewing skills barely progressed beyond 8th grade Home-Ec. But I think I could put something together. I did find a website that sells the uniforms and hats. But $225 for a costume seems beyond ridiculous - even though it would be spot-on. Wouldn't Rykert make a perfect Marla Hooch?

Another Flickr favorite, is the Twister Dress. From a sewing perspective, this would be much easier. And who doesn't want a pair of white go-go boots. I've had my eye on a pair of those since last Halloween. How versatile?

Next, is an old favorite and a classic. Wonder Woman. I have a long history with all things Wonder Woman (I think it started with my Wonder Woman Underoos - btw that's not me in the picture, but it could be). The only thing that has ever kept me from choosing this is that I'm not sure that I exactly have the bod to pull it off successfully. Again, you gotta commit. This would be a store-bought costume, and if I decide to go with it I'm not going to go with a cheaply made version. I'll find something of relatively decent quality, and I will have those boots. I tried them on last year at Second Act in Iowa City. They will kill my feet and I will likely end up with another stress fracture, but aren't they awesome? (Edited to add: the available Wonder Woman costumes are not looking promising. I'm looking for something authentic to Linda Carter's tv version. The licensed, commercially available version has a skirt. I think that's wrong.)

I had another idea. Even Rykert thought it would be over-the-top offensive. And he's not offended by anything. I thought it would be funny. As for Rykert, he's still hashing through some ideas. But I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't end up in a business suit, up-do, polar bear pin, and rimless eyeglasses - if you know what I mean? He knows how to commit. Tour of Halloween's past will prove it. I really want for him and my brother-in-law to go as Hall & Oates. But I'm not sure if either are interested. Rykert likes to be a little more, shall we say, risque. I've wanted him to go as The Greatest American Hero for years, but yet, he resists.

So where do you go when you get all dressed up? Well, I do it just to hand out candy to the few under-costumed neighbor kids. But I'm also considering hosting a Halloween party. But I don't know. Our house isn't exactly the greatest set-up for a party and we don't know that many people. But I also heard a rumor that my sister will be having a Halloween party. Of course, she probably won't invite me. But Halloween is on a Friday, so we may just hit the local downtown and "party" with the college kids.

Any and all comments and suggestions are appreciated. What was your favorite costume that you have either worn or seen? How would you go about sewing a Rockford Peach uniform?

If I can get access to a scanner, I can hopefully take you on a journey of Halloween's (recent) past.

4 comment(s). Tell me what you think!:

Debbie said...

My favorite costume was when I was 11 -- my friend and I went as robots and we spent weeks making those costumes. It was the first time I made my own costume without any help from my mother (at least as I recall it). We were so proud of them!

About the baseball uniform, it occurred to me when I saw the photo that they looked like shorter versions of the nurse's uniforms my mother used to wear in the 60s. Perhaps you could find a vintage pattern for one of those -- even better an already made one that you could dye the right color. Or a simple camp shirt with a full-ish skirt that could be dyed. (I know the front wouldn't be the same, but it would generally the same style, and then the colors would bring it home.)

In any case, good luck with that!

Knittripps said...

Ah the good old college days...I remember dressing up for Halloween and going out in Iowa City. One year I went as a she-devil and wore a nightie. Another year I dressed as a nurse. I also went as an indian maiden and wore my hair in braids. Fun stuff. Last year for Halloween my husband's band played a show and we went together as NBA players.

Bridget said...

You will be invited to the party. Invites haven't gone out. Still trying to figure Garrett's and my costumes. I really like Garrett going as the garden gnome, I think I may have him on board for that one. That leaves me figuring out mine. Still thinking beer wench or 50's girl.

Rykert said...

You will love this one:


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