Monday, October 29, 2012

Don’t Fear the Zombie Duck

The Purple Pixie of '05

Happy Halloween Eve Eve! We’re talking holiday/family traditions and right now my house is in a frenzy over Halloween Costumes. I’ll get to that in a minute, but before I do, allow me to reminisce:

*Takes out dentures, smacks gums, commences in old lady voice*

When I was a youngster, fancy, store-bought costumes were for rich kids. Those with money could replicate, in bright, shiny and painstaking detail, any character that the gods of commercialism deemed worthy to emulate. Poor kids, like my little sisters and me, faced more generic options, with our costumes assembled from items around the house, borrowed clothing, and mom’s makeup.

Back in my day, poor kids only needed two things, a bandana and a sheet. Here’s how it worked: bandana around the neck + jeans and flannel shirt + dad’s cowboy hat – cowboy/cowgirl; bandana over the mouth + same jeans and flannel and hat – bandit; Bandana on a stick + floods + mascara stubble – hobo; bandana over the head + mom’s 70’s skirt, peasant blouse, and hoop clip-ons – gypsy; bandana over the head, canted at a rakish angle, + mom’s peasant blouse, mascara stubble, and one hoop clip-on – pirate; bandana over the hair + broom – Cinderella. (Sorry, only rich little girls got to be Ball Gown Cinderella.) Sheet around the body + sandals – Roman god/goddess/citizen; sheet over the head – ghost; sheet over the head + coonskin cap or mask or dirt or additional holes – a nearly infinite number of Peanut Characters. (And if you really wanted to shake things up, you could combine the bandana and sheet to be a bandit ghost!)

Sometimes, my sisters and I thought outside the box with our found items. Borrowed dance clothes, makeup and tutu - ballerina. Or my favorite childhood costume, Dad’s suspenders + giant decorated box = Jack-in-the-Box (or in my case Carey in the box—hey, don’t laugh, I won a costume contest with that one!) And once, my dad combined the cowboy hat, bandana, flannel, and my sister’s tutu to become a cowboy Ballerina—yup, we were that poor.

***argh - I can't find one of my childhood Halloween pictures. I'll keep looking.*** 

Nowadays, store bought costumes are not as impressive. Unless they’re crazy expensive, they look and feel somewhat cheap. But beyond cost and quality, there’s a stigma of apathy with store bought. Today, it’s all about using found items/thrift store finds and imagination to express creativity and individuality. My son has been Indiana Jones, Legend of Zelda’s Link (whom everyone thought was Peter Pan), and something last year that involved a trench coat and a fake molestache. He was “Incognito” but my hubby and I called it “The Creeper Flasher.” LOL!

As you can see from above, my daughter has been a variety of store-bought and imagined costumes. But by far, our favorite costume she envisioned was The Zombie Duck of ’09. However, this year’s Vampire Duck may just top it. I’ll update the blog Wednesday with her latest creation.

So, for anyone who’s ever donned their sister's skirt, their mom’s makeup, their dad's suspenders, and a sheet or bandana in the name of Tricks or Treats…Congratulations! You weren’t poor, you were a trailblazer. Halloween is a time to celebrate your individuality, explore your creativity, and embrace your inner Zombie Duck.

Your Turn: What is your favorite all time costume (either one you’ve been, created, or seen)? I’m willing to bet, it wasn’t the store bought Cinderella with plastic mask. LOL!


Lorie Langdon said...

Great blog, Carey! I adore the Zombie Duck!!!
My favorite all time Halloween costume was a Wonder Woman costume my mom made for me when I was ten years old. It was so gorgeous, I wish I would have kept it!

Pintip said...

I love this post, Carey! The zombie duck is so cute.
As for my favorite costume... I am not crafty at all, but my good friend Nicole is. Last year, our daughters decided to dress the same, and we made Mary Poppins costumes for them. They looked amazing! They had long red coats, navy jumpers, light blue knitted scarves, umbrellas, and hats decorated with flowers. It was my very first time using a glue gun. I was so proud. :)
You are absolutely right that it is the homemade costumes that we remember.

Micki Gibson said...

My favorite costume is one I'm recycling from 2 years ago. Four years ago I invested in some of those special contacts, the yellow cat eye ones. I used them with my vampire costume that year, but two years ago I was looking for another excuse to wear them. Take one bad-hair-related nickname from junior high, a trip to the dollar store, Home Depot, and an online wig purchase, add in the creepy contacts and BAM! One kick-butt Medusa costume. I raided several dollar stores of their toy rubber snakes, attached them to the wig. I used PVC pipe, a roll of duct tape, and cut the head off a large rubber snake to make a staff. The Medusa dress (which was a store bought thing) doesn't fit, so I used some black jazz pants, a black top and a cheap, long black Halloween cape for this year's Medusa.

My daughter decided to be Captain America and between the spray paint, old fabric scraps, duct tape, and raiding her brothers' toy chest, she's made a pretty rockin' CA!

Kimberly said...

I'm awful with Halloween. I guess I just don't particularly care that much. LOL. But, I remember going trick or treating with a gigantic sombrero and a poncho my mom found lying around. I loved that one! And it took two minutes to put together.
I have to admit that the bandana has been a staple of costumes in my house. Megan has been a cowgirl. I've had peace sign green bandanas for a hippie thing. We're all about using what we find.
My son actually made his costume last year at the very last minute. He took an old black shirt with some holes in it, and made the holes bigger for an opening in the face and made himself some kind of ninja. All because he found some silver ninja star thing. Oh, kids. *Big sigh*
With five kids, Halloween kicks my butt. I was kind of hoping it would get cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy. Darn. Guess I have to get out some bandanas.