Tomorrow is Halloween, and though I rarely have the time, money, or energy to pull together a costume for myself these days (let alone anyplace to WEAR said costume), I’ve always had a soft spot for the holiday.
Back in the day, I used to put a lot of effort into my costumes—or, rather, I put in a lot of thought and then made my poor mother put in all the effort (thanks, Mom!).
I was thinking about Halloweens past and wondering how many of my costumes I could remember. Let’s see, shall we?
In kindergarten, I was an angel (Mom made the costume, including big gold wings).
For first grade, I was a bride (thanks to Mom’s deft alteration of somebody’s used First Communion gown).
In second grade, I was a gypsy (Romani, if you prefer, but we weren’t PC back in the 1970s). Mom made the costume and expertly tied my head scarf. I lost a Marco Polo–style game at our class Halloween party because my jangling chains and pendants easily gave away my location.
For third grade, I was a cheerleader (thanks again to Mom’s sewing skills). (It occurs to me, in doing this list, that I wasn’t the most original—or the most progressive/feminist—in my choices for costumes. It’s actually kind of scary, but that’s okay; it’s Halloween, after all.)
Fourth grade was one exception to that rule: I was a clock, and it was possibly my favorite costume of all time. Mom sewed the elaborate brown quilted jumper that turned me from a preteen girl into a grandfather clock (complete with a mouse running up the side, just like in the old nursery rhyme).
In fifth grade, I was a birthday gift—less sewing, but it was still Mom who created the wrapped box I wore around my waist.
In sixth grade, I was a cat (wearing parts of a costume Mom had made a few years earlier for a school play).
My memory fails me when it comes to seventh grade, but I’m pretty sure I wore a lavender gingham 19th-century-style dress (another creation Mom had sewed for a school play).
In eighth grade, I was a clown. Talk about boring. And scary. I HATE clowns.
Ninth grade, I was a baby (and I realized that year that the whole costume thing was starting to get a little boring, now that I was too old to go trick-or-treating anymore).
In a dramatic swing, in tenth grade, I went as a prostitute. (Another wonderful and empowering choice for a young woman of the 1980s.)
In eleventh grade, a group of us went as KISS (I was Paul Stanley).
In twelfth grade, my two best friends and I dressed as Snap, Crackle, and Pop from the Rice Krispies box (I was Crackle, with the red-and-white stocking cap).
I officially gave up on Halloween costumes in college because dressing up suddenly seemed inherently uncool, but I dove back in during my twenties, going in various years as a vampire, Greek goddess, witch, the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz, and the inevitable “girl from the 1950s,” with the poodle skirt and saddle shoes.
My most recent Halloween costume was a geisha back in 2009, when my boyfriend and I went to a party.
I haven’t dressed up since. That makes me a little sad. It’s too late for this year, but hey—I think my old poodle skirt made need to make an appearance come next Halloween.