Costumes I Have Worn: A partial inventory and brief analysis

Costume/year: Hippie,1983
Consisted of: Bellbottom jeans; peasant blouse; hoop earrings, beads. Overall effect of jewelry more “Claire’s Boutique” than “head shop,” but we tried.
Advantages: Subversive feeling of getting to wear highly unfashionable clothing to school in seventh grade without suffering dire social consequences.
Limitations: At school, the only people who understood costume were teachers.
Unexpected benefit: Extra candy from nostalgic thirtysomethings while trick-or-treating. Relatively early experience with 60s-styled posturing allowed me to resist dumb-assed Grateful Dead revival in high school.

Costume/year: Sylvia Plath (post-mortem), 1992
Consisted of: Housedress; bathrobe; blue lipstick; crumpled drafts of poems in pockets; suicide note pinned to front; can of Easy-Off oven cleaner.
Advantages: Total English major snob value; also, way comfortable.
Limitations: You really can only say “Daddy, Daddy you bastard, I’m through,” so many times before it gets old.
Unexpected benefit: Even drunken frat boys knew better than to mess with a chick carrying a can of Easy-Off.

Costume/year: Yoko Ono, 1994
Consisted of: Long black wig; giant sunglasses; wide-brimmed black hat; mod thrift store dress; boots.
Advantages: Looked awesome with best friend who went as John Lennon.
Limitations: Looked dumb when not with best friend who went as John Lennon.
Unexpected benefit: Surprisingly easy to pull off, despite having no physical resemblance to Yoko Ono whatsoever.

Costume/year: Fundamentalist Christian, various years
Consisted of: Two basic variations: either Classic Church Lady, with oversized purse, dumpy dress, cardigan, sensible shoes; or 70s Godspell Teen, with poncho and jeans and a button that read: JESUS IS JUST ALL RIGHT WITH ME.
Advantages: Guaranteed instant rapport with guys in Jesus costumes. Occasional complicated flirting with guys in devil costumes ensued as well.
Limitations: Never had enough religious tracts to give away.
Unexpected benefit: A big hit in gay bars.

Costume/year: Stevie Nicks, 2000
Consisted of: Black lacy dress; lace scarves; blond curly wig; hat recycled from Yoko Ono costume; boots; CD of solo album, simulated lines of cocaine on the CD case using glue and powdered Equal sweetener.
Advantages: Much to my horror, already owned all the clothes needed to dress like Stevie Nicks.
Limitations: Often mistaken for sexy witch costume.
Unexpected benefit: Often mistaken for sexy witch costume.

Costume/year: Little Debbie, various years
Consisted of: Gingham dress; knee socks and Mary Jane shoes; straw hat; basket filled with snack cakes.
Advantages: Banana Twins are a terrific ice breaker.
Limitations: They also get squished easily.
Unexpected benefit: Massive, skull-tingling sugar rush.

Costume/year: Cathy from Flowers in the Attic, 2005
Consisted of: Ballerina outfit, with tutu appropriated from store-bought sexy-witch costume; cobwebs; blond wig with simulated tar and bucket affixed to it; basket with various props, including powdered donuts; precious ballerina music box; and two blond dolls representing growth-stunted twins.
Advantages: Imagining oneself as a tragic forsaken aspiring ballerina woman-child accused of committing filthy sins and confined to an attic is always loads of fun.
Limitations: Trying to drunkenly summarize the plot of the book to people who haven’t read it.
Unexpected benefit: Actually getting to commit filthy sins in a tutu.


  1. mykull says

    the john and yoko ono costumes were so much fun! remember it was post-assassination john? i was wearing a shirt with STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER written on it and blood leaking out of the bullet holes. the night is kind of a blur. i remember getting royally trashed and hooking up w/brandon. god, it is so weird having sex in a john lennon wig.

    i also dressed as fundamentalist christian couple w/you one year and we went to 620. i was wearing this big-ass gold and green sweater w/a sweater belt. and tight polyester bell bottom business slacks. later than night i was invited to have a threesome w/a couple named larry and jerry. too bad my name wasn’t harry.

    hmmm, maybe i should start dressing like a hippy retard more often . . .

  2. Ann says

    Oh, I think I remember that 1983 costume. And I may have even been, as surely I was once, one of those nostalgic 30 somethings who gave you more candy. Don’t laugh too hard missy. Some day you’ll be in your 50’s too.

  3. says

    I just spent far, far too much time on that V.C. Andrews site. Those books really are all exactly the same, aren’t they?

    My most successful costume was senior year of high school, when I went as a pregnant bride. And followed up trick-or-treating with a viewing of Rocky Horror. The costume was a big hit, believe me.

  4. Debora says

    Holy cats! You read Flowers in the Attic! I am in awe. That is the world’s cheesiest book. You rock.

  5. Chris says

    Dude! My parents read this site!! What are you trying to do, get a bucket of tar dumped on my head at Thanksgiving?!?!?

  6. Heidi says

    “You do not do!” The post-mortem Sylvia Plath costume intricacies had me laughing my ass off from housedress on, and I needed a good laugh today (who the fuck ever thought as Gwen P. as Sylvia, anyway?). Thanks. I may borrow Yoko some year–uncomplicated, classic, great. I hope that’s okay.

    In college, I went to a Halloween party as Hester Prynne–totally unsexy, Puritan-like garb, and a giant Scarlet “A” pinned to my blouse. Most of the people there asked me if I was supposed to be a female Alvin, of the Chipmunks. Fuckers.

  7. says

    That bucket-o-tar is genius (and now I’m left wondering how you simulate tar.)

    I’m sorry to say my most successful costume was undoubtedly Morticia, although, like Yoko Ono, you couldn’t really tell who I was without my five fellow-Addamses. That was 1993. I had to hairspray my bangs back and liked the effect enough to decide to grow them out (which took about four years, so I’ve never dared to cut them back in).

    My sister was a very convincing Cousin Itt merely by combing her extremely long hair over her face, and wearing sunglasses, which is the least effort I’ve ever seen in a Hallowe’en costume.

  8. says

    I showed up to my ex’s Halloween party this year dressed as Salome. I thought I was very clever about the whole spurned lover/ murderous vengeful whore theme, but no one understood.

  9. Mel says

    Uh, Uli, that’s not Stevie Nicks. That’s Carrie Fisher.

    I love the Cathy idea! Too hard to explain. But L’il Debbie?? Hmmmmm…naughty thoughts abound.

  10. says

    My fave costume ever was “Bond girl.” It was mostly an excuse to wear a silver lame dress and carry a big gun. (That’s pretty much why the real Bond girls sign up, anyway.)

    Once I was a black widow: black 1950s dress and hat with black veil and red, red, lipstick. Easy, except the shoes hurt.

    My husband has the best costume ever, though: J. Edgar Hoover. Heavy glasses, fedora, black socks, wingtips … and old-lady thrift store dress. Plus a small tape recorder, which he’d brandish and ask “do you want to hear JFK doin’ it?”

  11. says

    The doughnut accessories on the Cathy costume are evil genius!

    The best costume ever for me was “Primordial Soup” – giant tube painted as a Campbell’s Soup can with gross oozy stuff coming out of the top & some faux wormy/fishy things….everyone thought I was a decaying Warhol.

    The best costume I’ve seen in a while was a girl with a flute case and a guy with a pie tin sewn to his jeans. They were the couple from American Pie. Most guys who hadn’t seen the movie thought the American Pie-costumed guy had had some kind of surgery and the pie tin was akin to those cones they put around dogs’ heads after surgery.

  12. Mae says

    Please don’t dis on the Grateful Dead or Sylvia – Jeez Lous!!

    You are extremely talented and FUNNY!! Please don’t dis on them!

    Thank you!