As far back as I can remember, Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, for the obvious kid reasons: candy, staying up late, but most of all dressing up in costume. I believe I owe this infatuation to my mother, who always made us the most fabulous Halloween costumes for my sisters and I. I remember as a child accompanying her to the fabric store to pick out what we wanted to be, from a selection of patterns and fabrics. Sometimes our creativity went beyond the bounds of what the pattern selections had to offer, and we would sketch our own costume ideas, which my mom would lovingly and painstakingly create for us with her skills and Elna sewing machine.
One of my fondest costume memories is the year my mom made me a teddy bear costume I wanted, complete with gloves that had felt paw prints on the inside and a tie on hood like hat that gave the appearance that my head was in the bears mouth, as if he'd swallowed me whole. I have no idea how my mom sewed that heavy faux fur fabric without breaking her sewing machine needle. I remember that same year, I think it was in the third grade so it must have been 1987, Alf was really hot. I saw this rubber Alf mask that matched the fur body of my teddy bear costume perfectly and I begged my mom to buy it for me and let me be Alf for Halloween. She told me no, and who could blame her with all the work she put into the costume!
Even though I wasn't Alf, I'm pretty sure I felt like the star of the elementary school costume parade that year! I remember always feeling sorry for the kids that had to don those plastic smock and mask costumes they offered at the drugstore, or even worse, a Charlie Brown style white sheet ghost. This was not so much because of snobbery (I knew even then that not every kid was as lucky to have a mother or the means to make an incredible Halloween costume) but my artistic vision. Having an artists eye and being a stickler for details, the thing about the licensed costumes that bothered me was when they had the character mask (My Little Pony for example) and then the smock just had the My Little Pony logo on it. I always felt like it was half assed. The ones that had a trompe l'oeil image of the characters body were at least excusable. How would you like to be the kid who's parent waited last minute and ended up with the below costume?
Today my problem with store bought costumes as an adult (besides the fact that they are overpriced for the cheapest constructed polyester firetrap you can wear) is that as a woman, the only offerings are the cliche sexy costumes. Why is there only "sexy witch", "slutty police woman" and "naughty Alice"? Why can't you be just a witch, police woman, or Alice in Wonderland? The most memorable costumes to me are the super clever, super scary, and downright authentic to the smallest details. Below is a look at some of my costumes from the recent past.
Among my other Halloween posts this year, which include many DIY projects, I will be posting some sneak peeks of this year's costume until I reveal it in full, closer to Halloween. I was already sketching out this years costume before Halloween 2011 had even come. It was a true moment of inspiration that led me to a year of sourcing materials to piece my vision together, and in the more recent months, painting, sewing, and dying to create my most impressive and ambitious costume to date!
Happy Halloween! 30 days and counting!!