I love Halloween. It has always been a family tradition for us, especially with costumes.
Costuming for me in the late 50s and early 60s was always a homemade affair. No, my mom didn’t go out and buy fabric. Instead, we were creative and used what we already had. We were hobos and gypsies and all sorts of people that would probably be politically incorrect today.
We would get out some raggedy clothes for a hobo costume and use a bandana handkerchief to tie around a wad of moss and tie it to hang from a stick broken from some tree in the yard. Some black soot worked as smudges on our faces. For a Gypsy, I wore lots of mom’s long necklaces, her makeup and a brightly colored skirt and peasant’s blouse that would fit in quite nicely with our Bohemian styles today.
I guess the equivalent to all this would be today’s trick or treaters seen on the streets as zombies. I thought the one below was extra clever.
Fast forward, though, to my children’s generation. I must have had a little more disposable income than Mom, because I bought a lot of fabric and made a lot of costumes when the kids were young.
One year I made Jamie a Can-Can Dancer costume which she wore for her opening number in the Jefferson County Watermelon Festival Little Queen Pageant, and then she wore it again a few months later for Halloween. I bought an eighth of a yard of several different brightly colored satin fabrics, which I sewed together to make a very colorful can-can skirt. Jamie was too cute.
I remember trying to get her to use the French pronunciation of Jamie, pronouncing the J as a Zh sound. She would be Zhamee. But she wanted no part of this. Today, how ironic is it that her sister’s little boys call her Aunt Zha Zha?
Another time I took Tracy’s black dancing leotard and tights and sewed pieces of white fake fur to the tummy section and made a tail of the black fur with the white on its tip. Then I made her a headband with black furry ears and inside the ears were a pale pink fur. The ears were formed by using florist wire that I already had on hand. To complete the outfit we glued more pieces of white fur to a pair of black gloves and black socks. Then we painted whiskers on her face. She was Figaro, one of her favorite characters–the cute little kitten in the story and Disney movie “Pinocchio”.
Sadly, I cannot find hardly any pictures of those costumes. One I did find, though, was when I made Jamie a Raggady Ann costume for her school play, which she later wore for Halloween.
We used baseball socks for her stockings and a rinse to make her hair red. Unfortunately, it didn’t wash out right away. Jamie, who was blond, had red hair for months.
Now I’m getting to watch my Grandchildren grow into this joyous tradition. Today, everyone seems to have enough disposable income to buy their costumes. Store-bought costumes in Jamie and Tracy’s day were very cheap, cheaply made, and didn’t look authentic at all. That is why I made theirs myself. Today, the costumes look very authentic.
Last year, Chuck and I went to Atlanta to celebrate Halloween with Tracy, Eric and the boys. After an early evening of Trick or Treating, the four of us adults went to a Halloween party in an old mansion in downtown Marietta. It was decorated in a haunted style with a DJ for dancing and a cash bar and bartender. Some of the costumes were…shall we say “risque”?
Tracy and Eric went as Don and Betty Draper from “Mad Men”. They basically used what they already had, and their costumes were too cute. He has come home late, tipsy and with lipstick on his collar, while she has been waiting the whole time partially dressed up in her crinoline, heels, hose and a lacy bedroom jacket. They were supposed to be going out that night, but he stood her up.
Chuck and I were King Stefan and his former lover and later nemesis Maleficent. I had bought a witches costume on sale years before at Target, and the rest of my get-up was mostly lots of eye makeup, wildly teased hair and a cape made out of black tulle. Chuck’s fur on his cape is an old fox fur stole that I’ve owned for years. His crown was my mother’s when she was the Watermelon Festival queen in Monticello in 1950. It came then with a rhinestone necklace and earrings stitched into the satin. Chuck used only the satin, because the rhinestones had long since disappeared.
A few weeks ago I got to use the costume again for the Type-A Parent Blogging Conference in Atlanta for the “Evening with Disney” event. I joined two other evil Disney characters for a photo. The three of us together became the Queens of Darkness from the TV series “Once Upon A Time”. Tracy really rocked as Ursula, the Sea Witch from “The Little Mermaid;” but the best of us three was the professional Disney actress who was there as Cruella de Vil. She was so good at it that I tweeted, “I think this woman is Cruella herself!”
This evening, Chuck and I will join our kids in Tallahassee for Jeff’s neighborhood’s costume parade and pizza in the park. Afterwards, the kids will spread out and trick or treat the neighborhood. I’ll go as Maleficent again, as none of my four Tallahassee grandchildren have seen me as such. Chuck, I think, will go as Chuck. I don’t think I can get him into the Stefan costume again. I look forward to seeing what Jeff and January have planned. Their costumes are always great.
As readers, I hope you will comment and share a picture of your favorite costume below.
Happy Halloween everyone!