Why do I love Halloween? Is it the smell of a pillowcase wadded down with Halloween candy? Is it all the orange - one of my favorite colors - and pumpkins and the essence of fall everywhere?
Let's be real, honies. Halloween was all about the sugar fix when we were little, but as an adult who has always liked to dress up since whenever, it's about being NOTICED. It's a chance for me to display how clever and artsy I am, to strut my stuff. It's all about the "look at me" factor - how awesome am I, with this homemade jellyfish costume from blue and white crepe paper hanging from a clear umbrella, or how amazing I look as a sugar skull with my elaborate face painting skills. It’s probably connected to being a really shy child who wanted to be recognized, but needed something to hide behind.
For those of us adults who actually participate in it, Halloween is a wonderful chance to show off in a way that’s acceptable, because it’s ironically subtle. When you have kids and show up in a costume, it looks like you’re just being a good sport. Any envy is cloaked in some level of innocence. Women size each other up all the time – on each other’s looks, clothes, maybe even material objects, but Halloween costumes? They’re so fleeting. It’s not like someone is going to look at me a week later and be like, damn, I wish I had thought of the eye tattoos that made it look like her face was unzipping into bloody bones. It’s ok to admire that kind of stuff.
As one who haunts tag sales for a living, one of my most favorite items to find - and KEEP for us – a rare thing - are Halloween accessories, especially masks. To pull a piece of rubber over your face and frighten the crap out of the people you love is a thrill unmatched. Especially the really detailed ghoulish ones which include eyeballs, so there is NOTHING recognizable of me anymore. I always did enjoy scaring people.
One of my greatest tag sale scores ever was a snake costume I got for $1 at a school fundraiser. The detailing on it – its colors – the well-formed plush head, teeth, and tongue, and oh so long tail - so entertainingly grabbable. All I had to do was paint my face completely black, and sport some fishnet tights and kapow - the most noticed (yet unrecognizable) mom at the elementary school parade. And bonus pointer - who ever thought snakes were sexy?
That same sale I also scapped up a child's plush kangaroo costume for another buck, which my daughter wore for years - it even had a baby joey in the pocket! I'm not sure how she managed to use it from her first of two years in preschool through 4th grade, considering she did grow during that time, but until we stupidly kept it in outdoor storage and it was partially consumed by mice (heartbreaking), she'd probably still be squeezing her tween girl self into that outfit. So classic.
This year I’m torn between the chicken with the axe and bucket of blood costume (bizarre, but the two pieces were purchased as a set) or the eye tattoos, which were such a huge hit last year (and a cinch to apply). And there is that amazing dress from a quinceanera party that I’ve been meaning to turn into an elaborate mermaid tail. Ah, the decisions one has to make....
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- Tags: Body Adornment, Costume, Disguise, Fashion, Get Noticed, Ghoul, Halloween, Parenting, Scare, Show Off, Steampunk, Tattoo Art