Friday, October 29, 2010

the one where I play dress up.

It may be self-evident to you (especially if you’ve read this) that dressing up has long been one of my favorite things to do.  Now, I’m not talking "putting on mom’s high heels", or "prancing around in the disney princess collection" - although I didn’t mind either of those things when I was a kid.  (OK, actually, they didn’t HAVE a disney princess collection when I was a kid - at least not in CLOTHING - so I had to settle for the normal run of the mill thrift store formals and such)  I am talking DRESSING UP.  And, you know, taking on the whole persona.
I distinctly remember each and every one of my Halloween costumes from the time I was five years old on.  I do NOT have a photo of each and every one (oh, how I wish I did) but the images are branded in my mind.  From the bubble bath (yes, I dressed up as a bubble bath), to the amazing fabric hershey kiss creation my mom pulled out of thin air (that totally whipped the butt of that other girl in my class whose kiss costume was cardboard and tinfoil.  Woot.), to the scary witch and the genii from the bottle... I can recall with perfection the details of each outfit...  and, perhaps the biggest downer to living in the frozen tundra, the fact that every single costume had to be covered by some kind of parka before embarking on the marathon trick-or-treating sessions my parents would take me on.

One year, I dressed as Cinderella.  Oh, I loved that costume.  I know you know the one.  You know, when she’s dressed in nothing but rags, with that little corset-y thing and has the handkerchief in her hair and she’s carrying around that broom that looks like it was made from sticks?  What?  You thought I was talking about the ball gown???  Well, that’s weird.  Why would I want to dress up like that?  No, no, I went complete with black smudges all over my face from the cinders.  I think what with all the chores forced upon me and having mean older siblings, I identified most with that version.  Well, that was the year my mom made me wear my coat AND sweatpants under my skirt, even though I tried to explain to her that neither were “period” appropriate.

I was so insistent upon "becoming" the character, I had to have all appropriate props, as well.  When I was the genii, I carried around the bottle I lived in.  When I was the bubble bath, I carried a rubber duckie and wore a washcloth on my head.  My raggedy cinderella carried her stick broom, and all other necessary accessories and accouterments were must have's for every single outfit.
When I got older, I was fortunate to cast my friendship in with someone who was pretty much my identical twin separated at birth - aside from the fact that we looked nothing alike.  (We even celebrated something called “Twin Day,” but that’s a story for another time.)  With this friendship, blossomed my love for themed dress-ups.  Dressing up is double the fun when you do it with someone else.  We were Candy and Sandy, the carhop cuties, we were hula hotties (wearing t-shirts under our coconut bras, of course), and we were siamese twins (probably the easiest costume ever, as it only required that we buy a men's flannel pj set in XXL.  We each took one leg and shared the shirt, holding onto each other with our other arms.   Her mom made us a giant night cap we shared.  

Of course, this required us to take turns hoping in order to get anywhere... so maybe not the most PRACTICAL costume.  But it was funny to watch.

One year we were told to dress as our favorite celebrity.  We picked Princess Ada and Flick from A Bug’s Life.  It was hot.  We even made Flick’s backpack and the pet aphid.  

Our crowning glory was dressing up as each other.  Everyone knew who we were supposed to be.  It was great.
I know, it's hard to tell who's who.  We each picked an outfit we called "quintessentially us" and made the other one wear it.  I had to give the blond wig a hair cut while Elaine wore it, and ended up practically cutting her cheek off.  Oops.  I still feel bad about that.

Then we got married, graduated college, moved away, life changed.  So I started forcing my somewhat compliant significant other to take over for El.  Our first Halloween together, I was a witch and he was my familiar.  

Our costumes consisted of things I had around the house just put together in different ways.  Except the nose.  I bought that.  (I mean, who has a nose hanging around their house?)

The next year, I was pregnant with bug.  We didn’t have a huge party to go to together, but I got my fill of dressing up because of my work party, since my entire department decided that we needed to dress as our favorite movie villains.  I tried hard to think of a very large villain and came up with Ursula - but after she’d beaten Triton and stolen his trident of course.  

Then came bug’s first Halloween, and we dressed him in the most adorable giraffe costume I’d ever seen and mr and I dressed as safari guides.  

We had those clothes in our closet.  Except mr's shirt and my hat - which I got at the thrift store.

Last year was probably the best.  With bug’s wild hair, the obvious costume became:
Do you see a resemblance to anyone?
How about:

Yes.  That IS Albert Einstein.  

I was pregnant with mini then, and was pretty huge.  So mr and I wore shirts like this:
Get it?  The baby is e, I am m and mr is c squared.  You know.  e=mc squared?  Well, I thought it was funny.

Again, all clothes we had at home.  Plus a little paint.  And a corn cob pipe from a snowman costume from long ago.  
This year, I went all out.  Although I've always made our costumes (I've never ever bought a costume at a store and worn it as is, and I hope my kids don't ever want me to) most of the making consisted of a LOT of hot glue.  Maybe some safety pins.  Possibly paint.  And then just putting things together in an unexpected way.  (i.e. shower caps with pipe cleaners for the bugs, a long stretchy strapless dress cut up on the bottom for tentacles, you get the idea.)  I decided to really make our costumes - like sew them.  As much as I could, anyway.  I mean, I'm still a very novice sewer.  I decided this mostly because we can’t afford to buy awesome ones, and I refuse to buy the plastic things at walmart.  I got everything for the costumes either at the thrift store or from my basement (sometimes both).
Pictures and some how to’s are on their way!
With how much I love costumes and dressing up, you would think that Halloween would be may favorite holiday.  But there are a few reasons it’s not.  #1 - for three years in a row while I was young, I got super violently ill right on Halloween afternoon.  And no, it had nothing to do with eating candy, because I didn’t get to go trick-or-treating.  I was too busy hurling.  and #2 - to me, it never seemed all that different from any other day.    I ALWAYS dressed like that.  

PS.  I have the super awesomest filing system for old snapshots - you know, the film kind, back before we all had digital?  OK.  Throw every single picture you have taken in your entire life - yes, ALL (That random orangutan at an equally random zoo looking obscene?  Yep!  The really fuzzy, underexposed shot of something that looks a little like a hot dog, or maybe it’s someone’s leg?  Of course!  That picture that was supposed to be you and your mom camping but was completely double-exposed?  Uh-huh!  The accidental shot of Aunt Betty’s bum?  Sure!)  Throw them all - even the ones you don’t know what the heck they are anymore - in a big cardboard box.  Toss the really good pictures you want to save for nostalgia purposes in there too.  Then, mix in every single picture your hubby has ever taken.  Sprinkle with a few very old photos of your childhood.  Take a big huge wooden spoon and stir it all up.  Store it on a shelf in the back of your basement.  This way, you are guaranteed to never, ever find the shots you most want.  Or you’ll be down there until midnight looking for them. 


Anonymous said...

I love these! I love how you all dress up. So fun!

Ashley said...

Omg you are so creative! Great costumes!

Veronika said...

Ahhh, I remember the Bug's Life costume and when you and El dressed up as eachother- those were GREAT!

And I seriously thought Einstein and E=MC2 were brilliant costumes!!

I can't wait to see what you guys are going to be this year. :)

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