Dressing in funky costumes on Halloween isn’t just for kids. Even adults like to don fanciful garb when they usher their youngsters to local parties or on trick-or-treat expeditions around the neighborhood. Some adults throw grown-up Halloween parties, complete with dragged-out-of-the-grave costumes, bonfires and a keg on tap for washing away the molds of time.
If a Halloween party is on your calendar, but you don’t have much time or money to put together a costume, don’t despair. Old prom and wedding dresses can be pressed into service to form the basis of Halloween disguises.
Start with a wedding dress with lots of tulle in the skirt, add a pair of cardboard wings, a wand and a halo of the silver stars like the one you wound around the tree last Christmas, and you’re good to go as a fairy queen. Watch the film “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream” to get inspired by the many variations on the theme. Pay particular attention to the glittery eye makeup Michelle Pfieffer wears as Titania.
Dress up in a strapless wedding gown, put a sparkly tiara on your head, some glittering faux diamonds around your neck and wrists, and see-through plastic shoes on your feet – you’re Cinderella come to life. It might be fun to watch “The Princess Diaries,” “Roman Holiday” or “Anastasia” while you’re fine-tuning the look. Take note of the shoulder-to-waist sash Audrey Hepburn and Ingrid Bergman wear and how they wear their dresses with grace and dignity.
Always wanted to wear your wedding gown again? Well, bust it out of the closet, or wherever it is you keep it to shield it from the harsh light of day, and go as the bride of Dracula. You might need to add some creepy white makeup to your face, tooth marks to your neck and a few swaths of black chiffon for drama. Watch “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” starring Helen Bonham Carter and pay attention to the art of screaming. Make sure you carry a stake as part of your costume and learn the precise point in Dracula’s chest where it should be pounded in. You never know – a girl can’t be too careful.
Don’t have a wedding gown because you buried it in the backyard after the really bad breakup, to your everlasting satisfaction? No problem. Head for the nearest thrift shop and see what’s lurking in a murky corner far from the flickering fluorescent lights. Chances are you’ll find something from the 1960s (great opportunity to style your hair in a flip or a Jackie-O bouffant), or from the 1980s – think Linda Carter or Farrah Fawcett. Perfect opportunity to look like the ornament on the wedding cake – or even the cake. The film “Muriel’s Wedding,” even though it debuted in 1994, will more than inspire you to come up with just the right over-the-top vintage look.
A really ratty old wedding gown (dig up the one you buried in the backyard!) can serve as the basis for a Miss Haversham costume for those with a literary bent. Miss Haversham, you will recall, the character in “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, was jilted on her wedding day. So great was her fury at being rejected, she refused to have the wedding feast cleared away or to wear anything but her wedding dress. She, the feast and the dress molded away for years until she – and the dining room – looks like something the rats dragged in. Read the book, or see one of the many film versions for great inspirations for devising the look. (My favorite is the PBS adaptation of the book.)
If you’d rather skulk than scintillate, try throwing a trenchcoat over a business suit, hide your hair with a fedora, step into sensible shoes, drop a cell phone into your pocket (you will anyway!) and go as a 007 clone – provided, of course, fabulous bone structure is standard equipment in your face, which is the only way you’ll ever pull it off. Carrying a martini glass will help, though. And, if you can arrange to arrive at the party in a jazzy, bright red sports car capable of going from zero to 60 mph in seconds, the disguise will be all that more believable.
Yarn is a great material for making Halloween wigs. Visit www.lionbrand.com for instructions on how to make Cleopatra, monster, cowgirl and rag doll wigs.
You’ll look boo-tiful no matter what costume you wear. Happy Halloween.
Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.