Hallowe’en, Age 13

May 25th, 2012

I was a big fan of the Bard throughout grade school, but it took the influence of my fellow eighth-grade musketeers, Kelli & Alexis, to inspire me to dress as a Shakespearean character for Hallowe’en.

Hallowe'en, Age 13

Our California front yard is the perfect setting for Titania, Queen of the Fairies. Or Faeries, if you prefer.

I guess I was busy with school, because my ever-willing mother made the entire costume. The base of the costume is a muslin dress, with a gathered empire bodice and gored ankle-length skirt. That’s topped by a series of home-dyed sheer panels gathered into a ribbon to tie around the waist. A flower crown for my head, and ribbon wrapped flowers pinned to the over skirt completed the ensemble.

That same year, I did find time to build an ass’s head out of papier-mâché. But I don’t think anyone wore it for Hallowe’en.

Hallowe'en, Age 13

I felt oddly at home frolicking about in this outfit costume around our new home…

Hallowe’en, Age 12

May 22nd, 2012

I was really into Greek and Roman mythology (thanks to home schooling, the last bastion of the classics) as a child. I think I’d just graduated from the D’Aulaires to Bulfinch when I decided to costume myself as Aphrodite for Hallowe’en.

The dress was a thrift store find. Probably donated by some bemused bridesmaid who didn’t look well in peach, or who anticipated relatively few toga* party invitations. It’s actually a rather lovely dress if you don’t mind polyester chiffon. And it certainly fits better now than it did then. I recall some fast work with safety pins around the shoulders.

Hallowe'en, Age 12

(Pardon the idyllic setting, it’s just our front yard — what a difference from Thompson & Bleecker, Greenwich Village!)

The real effect of the costume was made not by the dress however, but by the embellishments we added. They’re long disbanded, alas. So you’ll have to use your imagination.

  • Naturally I had a crown of flowers.
  • Some say Aphrodite carried the seasons on her feet (I’ve heard of stranger things), so my mother decked out a pair of sneakers with fall leaves, spring flowers, winter snow, and summer fruit.
  • And of course you’ll recall that Aphrodite bore a son, Eros, god of love, aka Cupid. Which inspired my ingenious μήτηρ to kit out my otherwise nude “Fun In The Sun” Cabbage Patch doll with a bow and quiver of heart-tipped arrows.

Of all my old costumes, this is the one I see myself continuing to wear. Minus the naked Cabbage Patch Doll of course.

*Yes, I realize this is a chiton, but how many chiton parties have you seen? Hmmm. Interesting idea actually…

Hallowe’en, Age 11

May 19th, 2012

Finally, we come to a costume that’s just too darn small for me to get on anymore.

Hallowe'en, Age 11

If you can’t tell by looking, I was a milkmaid. The brown skirt was ankle length (it’s the only part that still fits at all — now it falls about mid-calf). The white peasant blouse closes in the front with velcro and the red bodice fastens over it with more velcro. No wardrobe malfunctions here. There are matching pieces of the flowered lacing ribbon for my braids. I like to think I carried a milk pail instead of  candy bag that year…

This costume also makes me a liar. I wrote before that 14 was the first year I made my entire costume. Well that’s just not true. Despite maternal help with costumes 12 and 13 (those posts are on their way), I sewed this one on my own too.

Interesting that my obsession with romanticized female farm laborers of the 18th and 19th centuries began at such an early age. Had I just learned that the stereotypical beauty of milkmaids was largely due to their exposure to cowpox (with resulting immunity to the disfiguring scourge of post-Renaissance Europe, smallpox)? Or was I (am I) simply echoing a genetic imperative from my Germanic and Celtic forebears?

Hallowe’en, Age 16

May 2nd, 2012

I can’t remember if I went Trick-Or-Treating the year I was 16. I think I did, and this isn’t what I wore. But I do know that I made, and wore (what was I thinking????) this dress to my own Night-Before-Hallowe’en party at either age 15 or 16. Since I already showed you my actual costume from age 15, and because whatever I wore at 16 was thrown together and no longer exists as a costume per se, I’m going to pretend this was from 16.

Hallowe'en, Age 16

I have a feeling this fits better now than it did then. I remember holding it together with safety pins, which I’d probably need to do again if I actually wanted to move around in it. I also didn’t own suede platform stilettos at 16. They add a lot, I think.

I vaguely remember drinking goblets of fake blood — perhaps while sporting vampire teeth — and attempting to use a Ouija board. Then we probably devolved into an endless string of Beatles songs and incense burning. Ah, to be young again!

Hallowe’en, Age 15

April 29th, 2012

What 15-year-old girl doesn’t want to be a belly dancer? I had a great time sewing this set –  a halter top, a bolero jacket, a wrap-around skirt, a paneled overskirt, and a coin-covered belt. I’ve got a metal belt covered in bells somewhere that I wore with the costume, but didn’t bother digging it out just to take a picture.

Hallowe'en, Age 15

There’s a funny sewing story associated with this costume. While hand-stitching beads and coins onto the outfit, I suddenly decided that a real belly-dancer would have a pierced navel. And look, there was a needle in my hand! Never mind that it was threaded and attached to my project. I like to think I lit a match and sterilized it, but I do know for sure that I didn’t bother cutting the thread. Anyways, you can guess the rest.

I’m prone to fainting when people even talk about needles or blood. But somehow I managed to get the needle all the way into the ridge of skin around my navel before passing out. My mother found me unconscious and removed the needle. I still have the scar.

Needless to say, I finished the costume and wore it sans belly-jewelry.

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