April 07, 2020

Dress for success at Halloween costume parties

Who doesn’t remember being a kid and eagerly thinking about a Halloween costume?

As adults we still think about Halloween costumes, but now it’s likely with a sense of trepidation. You’ve been invited to a party, say, or you’re meeting friends at a bar. How do you make an impression without looking like an idiot?

It’s pretty easy for couples to look sharp. Take some duo from history (Antony and Cleopatra), literature (Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy) or pop culture (a co-worker told me he and his girlfriend are going as Hugh Hefner and a Playboy bunny) and go from there.

But what if you’re going to a party alone, and you’re looking to stand out? For women, how do you straddle the line between obviously tawdry (the dirty French maid, the naughty nurse, the voluptuous vampire) and the boring and weird (clown, witch, and – I’m not making this up – a Bavarian yodeler, as seen on halloweenmart.com)?

I say at least wear something that will give you license to flirt, especially if you’re going stag to a big party with some dating potential.

I like the idea of a Scarlett O’Hara costume. It might seem natural for a Rhett Butler partner costume, but remember Miss Scarlett starts and ends her story alone. So putting together the costume itself seems intimidating? Remember, in the movie one of Scarlett’s dresses is made from a window curtain.

If she can do it, so can you.

And think about the flirting possibilities. That’s how Scarlett O’Hara got everywhere in life.

Bat your eyelashes, Miss O’Hara, speak with a drawl, bring along a handheld fan, mosey your way through the crowd. Think of Scarlett in one of those big party scenes, without the Civil War heroes, Southern cooking and slaves.

What about a flapper costume? This is an easy one – most costume shops will have something with a 1920s air to it, and you can buy ready-made flapper costumes in a bag.

Like Scarlett O’Hara, the flapper girl has a certain connotation (although it’s much different from that of a Southern miss). I’m sure that’s changed over time – in the 1920s a flapper was a woman who flaunted what was considered at the time to be rules of decency – but now, it’s a bit different. To me, a flapper is about independence, fun, and flitting about at a party. Plus you get to wear spangly clothes, sophisticated jewelry and a bob wig.

And I can’t imagine a better accessory than a glass of liquor. After all, flappers were at their best flaunting the rules, especially those during the Prohibition era.

If you’re set on dressing as an animal, what about a ladybug? It’s certainly different – who hasn’t seen a cow costume with that awful rubber udder staring up at you – and not that hard to put together. All it takes is some black and red felt, black tights, a black undershirt, wire wings and antennae.

So why a ladybug? They’re useful because they feed on bugs that eat plants. They’re colorful – who doesn’t look good in red? They’re cute. And ladybugs are considered to be good luck, especially if you see one or if one lands on your body. How perfect of a line is that for a party?

I don’t envy anyone who’s stuck for a clever, original costume. Something that’s comfortable. Something that might make someone think, how did she come up with that costume … and how can I get to know her better?

Whatever costume you settle on, at least make sure your audience gets it.

I learned that lesson about four years ago when I came up with a Mafia princess costume. It involved a leopard-print top, lots of fake gold rings and bracelets, and my eyelids covered in blue eye shadow.

I thought it was funny but no one really understood who I was until I went pretty heavy on the Queens-New ‘Yawk’ City accent and told everybody my daddy was in the construction business.

At least the jewelry was fun to wear.

Group plans 2nd mixer

Another Cafe Nouveau singles mixer is on tap for Monday, Oct. 30.

The mixer, which is for men and women in the 50-60ish age group, will meet from 6 to 9 p.m. at Cafe Nouveau, which is located at 84 Hammond St. in Bangor. The group plans to meet on the last Monday of every month.

Twenty dollars gets you into the event along with a glass of wine and appetizers.

For more information call Cafe Nouveau at 942-3336.

Jessica Bloch can be reached at jbloch@bangordailynews.net

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