Baboon Redux – a series of guest blog re-posts. This was originally shared in October, 2010.
A Guest Blog by Anna
Halloween in Minnesota is a dicey affair costume-wise. As a kid you need to be sure
that whatever you decide to wear will be recognizable either under a parka or over a snowsuit. It should also be something that will work on the odd Indian Summer evening in the 60s. As a result, there are a lot of ghosts and witches as the size and voluminous qualities of either costume lend themselves well to layering.
I think it was an act of desperation bred in part by lack of time on my mother’s part, but one year I went as “Second Hand Rose.” Sewing something for me was not an option, nor was Mom a fan of cheap store-bought costumes (the masks were horrid), and we certainly didn’t have a lot of money to throw at the problem. So Mom whipped open the closets and decided that one of her large, colorful dresses lent itself nicely to “Second Hand Rose” as a concept piece (and would fit neatly over a parka if need be). Two things that she had not thought of: the average kid growing up in the 70s doesn’t know “Second Hand Rose” from Attila the Hun. Also, explaining a costume at every trick-or-treat door gets old (apparently a lot of adults in the 70s didn’t know “Second Hand Rose” either, so it was good I had been schooled in the singing of my theme song).
Shortly after that adventure I quit trick or treating, at least until college. I went out sophomore year with some pals. We set the whole thing up with a short skit involving a safari and searching for the elusive Suburbanis Shopperus (“take pictures, these are rare”). Once again, having to explain at every door what we were up to got old (but it still got us candy, a few photo ops, and one offer of beer).
As an adult, Halloween parties were hosted by theater and Renaissance Festival friends. Not the sort of affairs where you can dress as a pirate or a gypsy. At these events I was variously: Elvis (with a friend as Priscilla), an Lutheran Church Basement Lady in search of a hot dish, and a pregnant alien carrying James T. Kirk’s love child. One year I “took myself to prom” in a fabulous pink tulle dress, teased and bee hived my hair to a fare-the-well to match the dress, and perched a bird on top of the whole works (friends who had arrived as a haz-mat team were kind enough to drape me in caution tape). With each of these I found if you have to explain it, it should be short and sweet, but best to have something that explains itself (see above: lessons learned as “Second Hand Rose”).
Now at Halloween I’m on the other side of the door, handing out candy to the neighbor kids. Daughter usually goes out with Daddy (in an easily recognizable costume). Barney the Basset Hound hopes that it isn’t a year he is required to wear fairy wings. And we all hope for warm evenings with nary a chance of frost.
Describe a costume you could make out of what’s in your closet right now.