Retrospection in Halloween Costumes
“Halloween is an opportunity to be really creative.” ~ Judy Gold
You could argue that even from a young age I loved clothes and fashion. My mom use to spend hours sitting at her sewing machine, while my siblings and I boisterously played outside. She would make dresses, and sweaters. Vests for my brothers and winter coats for my sisters. But my most favorite things she would make, were dress up clothes for me.
Skirts, shawls, veils. You name it my mother would make it. And if I could pretend to be it, I would be. Nothing was off limits, as I dressed and played, and pretended and channeled not just my imagination, but my inner fashionista. I remember going to Joanne Fabrics with my mom, helping her pick out fabrics and looking at patterns.
The most fun was every year at Halloween, my mom would ask me what I wanted to be and we would go in search of materials for the costumes.
As a small child I was obsessed with Disney, and every year I would be a Disney Princess; Jasmine, Ariel, Esmeralda, to name a few, until my obsession morphed into real life princesses and queens. Even at a young age, I was a major history buff, trying to read everything I could from Cleopatra to Queen Elizabeth I to Marie Antoinette. I was absolutely enamored. That fascination translated into my Halloween costumes.
I admit there were times as a child, when I would walk past the Halloween stores or even the racks at Kmart and I longed for the generic store bought costumes. To not be the kid whose mom made her costumes, but be one of the crowd. As I look back now with fondness and pride of my mom’s work, I am grateful that she did take the time to sew and help my imagination come to life. They were one of a kind costumes and they were flipping amazing.
One of my favorite costumes was when I became Queen Elizabeth I. I remember my mother working tirelessly on the outfit. Creating a huge skirt with a cream silk underlay, with royal blue velvet over it. She made a vest, which I wore over a hideous (sorry mom) blouse my mother had bought my sister years ago, and handed down to me. It was absolutely perfect for the outfit just from the sheer audacity of lace that came off the collar. For the finishing touches, she made a cap that was a cross between a French Hood and a Pillbox. Done with the same velvet blue fabric, my mom attached tule to the end so that it cascaded down covering my hair.
The minute I donned that costume, I truly felt like a princess, even a young Queen Elizabeth I. My sister laughed as I held my head hire, checked that my posture was perfect, and tried to walk with a regal air. I didn’t think my mother could out do herself, yet she did the following year, when I decided I wanted to be Marie Antoinette.
Go big or go home. My mother didn’t just make a skirt, she made a dress, complete with corset, lace sleeves, and overlay. No costume shop could have done a better job, and added was the time, consideration and love that my mother put behind every stitch.
It wasn’t just that I got to dress up in beautiful costumes, embodying strong rulers, I got to work along side and create with my own role model. A women of strength in a much quieter way. My mom. Every year we would plan, and build, going to buy the fabrics and materials. It was the planning, the thought, the creativity that has now translated from childhood to adulthood. From mother to daughter.
Every year it is those memories, I remember come Halloween. They recapture what made Halloween so special to me as a child. It wasn’t the candy. Or trick or treating. It was weeks before when I would rush to my mom with a book and claim I wanted to be her. It was the ability she cultivated in me to always be creative and imaginative. Thank you Mom…..Think you can make my costume this year?
Do you have a favorite Halloween costume or memory?