12 Days Of Halloween: Costume Crush

vintage costumesIt’s getting down to the wire for Halloween costumes and once, again, I have nothing planned.

With my love of clothes and thrifting, you would not think this would be the case. You would think I would have something easily in hand by October 1st. But you would be wrong.

Part of the reason for this is that I never have big plans for Halloween, ever. Much like New Year’s Eve, I take a “wait and see” attitude and then usually end up doing something along the lines of watching a movie while eating M&Ms.

I know, I’m cra-a-zy.

But I do like to hit the thrifts at this time of year to sort through the Halloween racks for clothing. Yeah, they hold stuff out for Halloween that is seriously awesome. Among the things I’ve gotten off the Halloween racks – a vintage blue tuxedo shirt complete with the vertical ruffles topped with navy blue stitching and a blue lace dress that looks great with a wide belt, jacket or cardigan.

Today my friend Ellen and I hit Arc’s Value Village, probably the major source of Halloween gear in the Twin Cities, besides maybe Savers. While we were there we found t-shirts with dangles of rainbow beads capped off by multi-colored plastic rings. I found one in red and then in the next aisle we found one in teal. The fact that there were two of them, in different colors, for $2 each, meant that we had to buy them. They are the kind of oversized 80s tunics one wears with leggings or stirrup pants and those nylonish jackets that are usually part of a warm-up suit but come in crazy colors with lots of shapes all over them – hot pink dots, yellow triangles, neon green squares. [Why was there such a love affair with brightly-colored shapes in the 80s, as if we were a nation of toddlers?]

So now we have our 80s outifts and have to come up with a place to wear them. We’re not even sure exactly what we are. I guess if someone asks we would just say, “We’re ladies from the 80s.” It seems perfectly acceptable. I mean, the idea is to get dressed up and go out for a drink, like civilized liberals.

Just as a side note about the thrifting haul, I also scored an imperial-style wool jacket with a tag that says, “Imperial” inside, a bright blue sweater with a lot of beading across the front (I told you, TopShop!), a mesh sweater with a sailboat on the front that has some detailing in baby blue sequins (how could I not get a sweater that combined mesh, sailboats and sequins all in one item?).

But while I was there I kept thinking of great group costumes you could do with your friends. I mean, beyond the now sure-to-be-overdone “Thriller” costume. Here is my list:

1. Saved By The Bell or The Cosby Show family – both involve lots of colorful knitwear.

2. If you have a bunch of lady friends you could all go as Miss America Pageant 1977 – buy all the floaty, 70s gowns you can find and make a sash for each person with a different state name on each one. If you really want to go all out, give one lady a crown and the rest tiaras. Platform heels required. Lots of blue eye shadow.

3. Red Hatters – come on, they totally deserve a skewering! Red hats, red and purple clothing, all-white Reeboks, big handbags, feather boas, all of you in a big, slow-moving pack.

4. If you’re into obscure Hollywood references and you’ve got the cash to do it right – Ziegfeld Follies gals.

5. If you’re a gal who has a lot of guy friends – Elizabeth Taylor and all her husbands. Or, for that matter, Zsa Zsa Gabor and all her husbands. Hell, if you’re a lady with two friends, go as the Gabor sisters.

6. The villains of Scooby Doo. Not the Scooby Doo clan themselves – that’s so overdone. But the Greatest Hits of Villains would be fresh. I love The Creeper, myself, but there are so many. Check out the list on the Scooby Addicts site.

7. In honor of the publication of True Prep, an update of the Official Preppy Handbook, get together a group of friends and do 80s prep or “Ivy League prep” as obnoxiously as possible. The key here is, of course, getting the right clothes and colors but also have the right props. A tennis racket is sort of obvious. An ancient cell phone would be great. Penny loafers from the 1980s. Suspenders, bow ties, hip flasks, anything with a duck on it, a big tote back from Land’s End. Something monogrammed. Make sure you stay in character all night by drinking appropriate drinks – martinis, cocktails, the right beers (not domestic). Think scotch, bloody marys, whiskey sours, not vodka cranberry, not Miller Lite.

8. Williamsburg hipsters – true, in Minneapolis, you can’t much tell the difference between what a Williamsburg hipster looks like and what a Minneapolis hipster looks like. Thanks to the Internet, hipsterdom and hipster trends spread in about a day. The key here is to take every hipster nuance and amp it up. All the men should have longish beards and/or handlebar mustaches. Tweed! Ironic t-shirts! Chrome biking bags! Wingtips with no socks! Alternately, for women, high heels with socks, preferably ankle socks. Tattoos all around. Arrive everywhere by bike. Drink out of Mason canning jars. If you need help figuring this look out, look at this fucking hipster.

9. A pack of wolves – Granted, this is something that would take some advance planning and coordination, but if you and your friends dressed up  as a pack of wolves, there would be nothing you couldn’t get away with. Come into a party, ransack the place, drink all the beer, howl and then run away. Add in some sort of choreographed dance that you videotape for YouTube and you’re viral gold.

10. Of course, there isn’t any group costume cuter than this one featured on Craftzine.com:


And, completely off the topic of costumes,  this skeleton wreath kicks ass!