The Lush Life: Halloweens of My Past

Ever since I was little, I’ve had a thing for Halloween…but I also had a couple of rules.  These rules, as far back as I can remember, have never been broken despite illness, lack of funds, and general bad times.  There are two and they’re simple:

  1. I will always dress up for Halloween…no excuses.
  2. I will never repeat a costume…no excuses.

The second one has definitely led to some interesting costumes over the years, some a bit more unique than others.  The resounding theme: well, hell, you all probably already realize this, but I’ve basically always been a geek.

I’ve had a lot of fond memories surrounding Halloween, and a few traditions that haven’t quite been followed from year to year (though I still could go for trick-or-treating despite my age…and Rocky Horror Picture Show on the holiday never gets old) but these two rules stand resolute.  So, in truly Geekly fashion I’ll say this: onward with the history!

One of the first Halloweens I remember clearly was when I was in the 2nd  grade.  I was a Genie that year (think very “I Dream of Jeannie” – someone gave me the costume) for a Girl Scouts Halloween dance.  I totally rocked it (it definitely helped that I was so skinny it wasn’t even funny) and won the costume contest I didn’t even realize was going on!

In the 3rd grade I went on some sort of Wizard of Oz Kick and decided to be Glinda the Good Witch.  I had the ruby slippers (I don’t know why) and a big pink dress with a wand.  I intentionally have not remembered much beyond this.

In the 4th grade I went with a drastically cooler costume: Sandy from the end of Grease.  My mom found a fake leather jacket at the thrift store, used white shoe polish to put a big “T-Birds” logo on the back, I frizzed up my hair, and wore a shirt that I kept up through the end of high school.  I was rockin’.

The 5th grade contained what is probably, by far, the geekiest costume I’ve ever dreamed up…it was also one of my absolute favorite.  It is also the pinnacle of the realization of my geekiness.  I dressed up as a mad scientist whose experiment had blown up.  It was insane.  My mother and I had found an old lab coat and she’d taken some charcoal to it to mark it up.  I found a grey wig and spray painted black hair stuff in it and wore ridiculous “geek” glasses (the round ones that look like they’re way too in focus).  Trick or treating I carried around a flask with a glow stick in it.  The costume totally rocked…hardly anyone recognized me but everyone thought it was awesome.

In the 6th grade, I decided I desperately wanted a kimono and, the only way I knew I’d get one, is to incorporate it into my Halloween costume.  Unfortunately, the kimono I got was not very accurate and I ended up very sick the week of Halloween anyways.  The costume was kind of simply that I was in traditional Japanese garb (ish) and I sat watching Rocky Horror with my dad until my mother and brother came home.

My 7th grade year was a little more interesting.  I started down the path of being a Rennie (Renaissance festival performer/enthusiast) and, as such, I began my research into the clothing of that period.  I started out simple for a Halloween costume, though, and converted an old prom dress and vest into a very pretty Renaissance-esque dress with a white chemise I own to this day.

Once I hit my teens, it was time to ditch my parents and start spending Halloweens with my friends.  The Halloween of my 8th grade year was my first one out without my parents.  My friends and I hit the streets of my best friend’s neighborhood dressed as characters we all had created for notebook roleplaying.  My elf, Areaen, was a very dear character to me.  I carried a bow, wore a black cloak, and dressed in greens and browns.  I couldn’t quite recreate her height, her white-blonde hair that hangs below her waist, or her crazy light green eyes that “blazed with fire” but I had a lot of fun that night, that’s for sure…even with a sprained ankle.

The next year, we got a little more adventurous…after all, we were high schoolers!  We all kinda went with a theme…and a variation on that theme.  While we carted our brothers around the neighborhood and in front of our parents we were Greek goddesses- I was Athena, goddess of Wisdom (and a whole slew of other things)…but then about halfway through the night we all went into “dark,” more modern versions of the goddesses.  It was a lot of fun…we went from white togas and golden skin to black pants, leather vests, and Grecian hairstyles.  It was fun, but I’m sure the parents would’ve flipped had they known we’d all changed in the shed of one of the group.

By time my sophomore year rolled around, I was deep into the fantastical lore of people like Anne Rice.  I didn’t want to go as a classic vampire, though…that would rule out too many future costumes.   As such, I dressed as a vampire’s pet.  Smeared in “blood” and with a gaunt look about me, I wore out a black velvet skirt (which I wish I still had) and I recycled both the shirt from my Sandy costume as well as the vest from my modernized Greek goddess costume.  It was enough to scare the kids at my best friend’s little brother’s Halloween party…but they all didn’t stay away too long.  (I’m like a magnet to kids…I’ve never understood why.)

In my junior year, I was going full-swing into my gothy phase.  While I never dyed my hair black or went to crazy extremes with piercings, I still loved bondage pants, corsets, and the color black.  I totally blame being both a Techie for theatre and a Rennie.  For Halloween, I pulled off a longtime obsession and dressed as a dark fae.  It wasn’t too complex…the wings were the important part…and they were basically shredded by the end of the night (constantly turning around into a friend with braces is never good on thin nylon).

My senior year was kind of rough one.  I was no longer with my parents that Halloween and was also babysitting.  I just kind of went with the gimme – a Dead me.  Approximately 1 week dead.  It wasn’t that exciting.

In the fall of 2007 I went for something completely different in an attempt to make up for the lameness of the previous year.  I went as a bra pirate.  If you’ve never read Questionable Content, you need to…that was my inspiration.  I wore a t-shirt and a long-sleeved undershirt and threw my “eyepatch” over some heavier makeup than I usually wore (it was an attempt to look a bit more like a webcomic character).  Unfortunately, I didn’t end up getting to do anything outside of the house.  The coolest part of the experience that Halloween was helping a friend of mine dress up.  He wanted to go as a demon and, as such, the task ended up falling to me to paint every exposed surface of skin.  I toned him red and added freaky blue veins…it was a thrill as the last time I had done a full body makeup had been a year prior.

In 2008 I was working for a local grocery chain and found out that we were allowed to dress up.  I put together an idea I’d been mulling over for Faerie Festivals I had been planning on attending (money has never been in the right place for those, though)…I was a faerie dressed up as a human.  I covered a half face mask with latex and skin tone makeup, did the area up under my mask in a fantastical design (my “fae” skin).  I also hid little “wings” under my shirt.  Hardly anyone got it but I loved it.

The Halloween of 2009 was another new height of geekiness for me: I dressed up as a dragon in her human form.  Yup, a dragon.  I painted my neck, wore my nicest clothing (including a very cool looking skirt that I made from some old aprons, put on fake green fingernails filed to points, and made little horns attached to barrettes.  I even had a Crown Royal bag filled with pennies for my “treasure.”

In 2010, my boyfriend and I both had no ideas for Halloween but we had a party to attend…so after long brainstorming sessions and lots of “no, you’re not”s (he kept saying he wouldn’t dress up), we found something perfect (and it started as a joke): Captain Hammer and Penny.  I had clothes in my closet that could pass for the outfit she wears in the scene in which she meets Captain Hammer and so I just dyed my hair red and parted on the side of Miss Felicia Day’s part.  The boyfriend ended up with some black leather gloves and the Hammer symbol done in felt on his blue t-shirt.  It was an easy costume, and only a few people got it, but it was totally loved by everyone that understood: it was epic.

Identities Hidden per Superhero Code

This year was a bit hectic and last-minute on one account, and following a theme chosen by others on another account.  For a Halloween party last Wednesday, I had about 10 minutes to get a costume together due to long driving times…so I went a little nuts and dressed as an alien tourist.  I’m talking cheesy sweatshirt, socks with flip-flops, map, the whole shebang.  I also painted my face purple, retextured it with latex, and added odd contours with shadows.  Very few people recognized me at first and it was a general hit.   Today, however, I’m wearing a totally different costume at work.  Our bosses at HQ decided it’d be fun to have all of our locations decide on a theme and compete against each other.  The location I’m at this week had decided on bees.  We’ve got a spelling bee, a queen bee, and so much more…but, at the request of a few coworkers, I’m a SciFi bee.

I know, I'm such a dork.
And, of course, onward with (more) history!
I’ve already briefly mentioned how we get the name “Halloween,” but I never really explained it.  The word originates in “Alholowmesse,” the Middle English word for All Saint’s Day.  All Saint’s Day came from an expansion of the Catholic church’s original Martyr’s Day and later, after the church expanded into Celtic lands, included a holiday on November 2nd to honor the dead (All Soul’s Day).  Alholowmesse was further corrupted into “All-hallowmas” and then shortened to “Hallowmas” to refer to the whole of the celebration (All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day).  The night before the church celebrations, the traditional date of Samhain, became known as All-hallows eve.  Soon, this was shortened to Hallows eve and, eventually, Hallowe’en and Halloween.  Despite church attempts to make the “Hallowmas” the focus, Halloween remains the most commonly celebrated part of the holiday here in the US, a holiday which only ranks second to Christmas as far as most-celebrated festivity.
The Schedule

October 17th: Party Ideas
October 19th: Costumes
October 21st: Decorations and Crafts
October 23rd: Recipes (Food and Drink- Alcoholic and Non)
October 25th: Jack-o’-Lanterns
October 27th: Last Minute Makeup Tips
October 29th: Halloween in Geek Culture
October 31st: An Extra-Special look at Halloweens of this Lush’s past…yeah, I’m going to bare my costumed soul for you all!

One thought on “The Lush Life: Halloweens of My Past

  • November 1, 2011 at 6:13 am

    Sounds like your Mom was into Halloween as well. Not every Mom will go to those lehgths to help out with costuming. I admire your two rules. I never made any Halloween rules. Which is probably just as well, since I would surely have broken them.
    And your costume to the IFC did rock. You also did face painting for others. Did you mention that?


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