Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cackles, Cauldrons and Cobwebs: our Costume Craze

I'm a witch!
I think I'm about 7 years old in this Halloween picture from my childhood.  My brothers and I look pretty happy, don't we?  Halloween still makes me pretty happy.  My transformation from normal, happy Halloween-is-fun type person to certified addict happened gradually, over time - but there were a few important catalysts (and by catalyst I mean where we should place the blame).  

First, there was my oldest daughter's competitive streak, discovered in 1998 when we found out that our new neighborhood had a Halloween Costume Contest.  Ariel decided to enter, and win. This competitiveness came out of the blue; to my knowledge she had never participated in a contest before. Here she is in 1998, in that first contest, with her sister.  Not only did she not win, but her little sister won an honorable mention ribbon because the judges thought her Aladdin's lamp was so cute.  This was valuable insight:  judges love the accessories. 

Jeannie and Jasmine
The next year Ariel took it up a notch as Cleopatra, and won second place.  

Cleo and Minnie
In 2000 she finally took home a first place trophy as a Gypsy, incorporating some serious "accessorizing:"  This was also my first and last experience with purchasing and handling dry ice. 
It bubbled up pretty cool and she offered to tell the judges their fortunes.
After the dry ice debacle, I thought it couldn't get more challenging, but then Ariel decided to be Amelia Earhart in 2001.  I thought she was crazy, but she won first place again.  Lacey also took home her first trophy that year. 

Ariel brandishing her trophy.  Lacey, aka the Wizard, never broke character.
This was only the beginning, as you know if you have read my blog post that began with a picture of the Trophies My Kids Have Won in Costume Contests.  That 1998 contest started a solid 10 year period of intense competition that resulted in the 19 trophies that I still put up on the mantle each year.  Here are a couple of my other favorite costumes from over the years:  
Dr Loco and Trailer Trash Barbie (on her own "stand"!)

Lacey as Happy Grapes!

The best costume ever - Zoe the Baby Turkey (costume by my talented sister in law)
We have also done a lot of recycling over the years.  All three of the girls have been witches and bunnies and fairies.  Cleopatra,  Raggedy Ann and Little Red Riding Hood have had a lot of play as well.  

Zoe as Cleopatra (6 years later recycled headdress)
Ariel, age 3 in 1991, left and Zoe, age 2, in 2004 as Raggedy Ann

Lacey Red Riding Hood and her big bad wolf (granny-father lol)

I have to admit that the costume making and wearing did not start in 1998.  Here is one of my favorite Halloween costume combos from early on, this one of Ariel and Lacey in 1995.  
Ariel, the witch, and her black cat, Lacey

Ariel is 25 now and living in Ft Lauderdale, Florida working as a journalist for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, but she is still dressing up.  She is very involved with a local "Live Action Role Play" (LARP) group, which I understand is vampire-inspired.
Ariel, age 17 in 2005

 Ariel and Lacey were more competitive but these days Zoe "just wants to dress up."  So we haven't done any contests since 2009.  All the fun and none of the pressure, that's Zoe!  :)  Here are a few of Zoe: 

Zoe Red Riding Hood

Zoe the Flapper

Zoe the Leprechaun with her pot of gold

Zoe as a Pirate

Zoe as Flamenco Dancer

And of course I cant leave out Bramble, whom you may have met in an earlier post:  "Just a Stuffed Rabbit."  He has been dressing up since 2006 when he was a "witch ghost."  If you follow him on Facebook you can vote for his 2013 costume.   
Bramble as: Devil, Bee, Pharaoh, Pirate, Jester, and Witch Ghost
I havent done as much dressing up myself over the years as I have dressing up others.  But one year, Christian, my "Little Brother" asked me if I would be a cheerleader to his football player, so of course I had to do that!  
Chris and Me
And I have famously worn my "pumpkin dress" many, many times over the past 20 years.  
Ariel, me and Lacey in 1994
So the first thing that intensified my Halloween obsession was the costume contests - but the second was the sudden proliferation and widespread availability of cool, cheap Halloween stuff everywhere. I started to see cute little orange baubles at every turn --and I could not resist.  Stay tuned for more on that in my next blog post:  "Baubles and Trinkets and Knick-knacks, Oh My!"

Costumes over the years...

No comments:

Post a Comment