Some girls dress up as wenches or sexy police officers for Halloween. I have a personal aversion to skin-tight fake patent leather and catching pneumonia, so I tend to refrain from these options. Other girls opt for ghouls, hags, or witches. If you’ve ever seen me first thing in the morning, you know I don’t need a costume to look a total fright.
When I awoke last Saturday morning, I faced the pressing need to settle on a costume for a friend’s Halloween party. In my right hand I held the riding helmet that I wore in my equestrian days, in my left, a genuine pith helmet, on my bed sat a vintage straw cloche, a stetson, and a wide-brimmed embellished velvet hat. There was a costume to match each accessory… the question was is it a “Puss in Boots” or a “Dr. Livingston” sort of Halloween?
Whenever there was a skit or film project in grade school, I was the girl everybody wanted on their team. It wasn’t just because I was a control freak who was happy to do the majority of the work if it ensured an A+. It was because I could always costume the cast. Outfit 5 for a Wild West adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Othello?” No problem. How about a French perfume “commercial” set in the 1920s? Done. For me, Halloween has always been about taking on a new persona. Recently, it’s been about exploiting the eclectic contents of my wardrobe. How many western shirts does one New York gal really need?
Even in my adult years, my wardrobe remains one deep costume bin. My closet is a varied but edited mix of styles and epochs — the product of a decade of smart buying and self-defining. “You have your own look,” Mara said to me as we walked through the East Village (on a night sans costumes). She’s a good, straight-shooting friend who has known me since the 4th grade. “It’s not ‘trendy’ or off the rack. It’s fashionable and totally you.”
Apparently, it’s also very Halloween appropriate.
A few days after the bewitching All Hallows Eve, I rummaged through my closet in search of an outfit to take me through a hurried city day with some friends and settled on something easy and layered.
“Going to a belated Halloween party?” Jessie asked as I gave her a hug.
“Isn’t that what you wore to Brian’s Halloween thing last Saturday?”
Okay, she might have been mostly right… but who says the whimsy only has to come out for costumes?