You May Steal Any of These Ideas, But Footnote Me

Every year around Halloween, I obsess about costumes. I have 3 C's for my Halloween costumes:

(1). Cute. My friend Jodie once went as Gus the Rotarian. She had a bald wig, moustache, and a pillow stuffed underneath a business suit. She was very funny and unrecognizable. I am not this brave. I still want to be moderately attractive. I don't mind being covered in blood (I prefer it), but I want to be a pretty corpse at least.
(2). Comfortable. I will never go as anything requiring me to wear a box or a ten pound headdress. I need to be able to sit down and walk with ease.
(3). Clever. I don't want to go as a cat or a cheerleader or a fairy or a football player. (*Halloween costume tip #1: If you do find yourself having to go in one of these costumes, just add blood and/or the implication of violence and it's much more interesting. Like, be a cat that's been run over, or a serial killer cheerleader or a fairy with an arrow through its head or a football player in a body cast and you're golden).

Here was my idea for this year: Sylvia Plath. See, because I'm going to be a hostess to a party on Saturday, I thought I could go as her...this sort of hostess prototype in a way... and wear a 1950s dress with a string of pearls and carry around a tray loaded with martinis, but I could add the death part too. For non English majors, Sylvia Plath was a poet who killed herself by sticking her head in the oven and inhaling carbon monoxide. I thought I could blacken my face, burn up part of the blond wig, and draw a grill on the side of my face and it would be funny. But I realized as I was explaining my idea to the 15 year old kid at the costume store that I would be spending the whole night doing the this very same thing; telling people who I was supposed to be (Halloween costume tip #2: Never go as anything too obscure or you will have to explain yourself every 5 seconds and begin to hate everyone around you who just isn't SMART ENOUGH to know who Abbey Hoffman is). So F Sylvia Plath. But, hey, you should go for it if you're invited to a party hosted by the graduate English department in your area. You might also consider: Virginia Woolf (find a fake nose and carry rocks around in your apron pockets), Anne Sexton (a poet who, like Plath, killed herself by inhaling carbon monoxide. She did it in the garage however), or, if you're a guy, dress all manly, drape a cat over your shoulders, wear a beard, and get one of those make-up kits that allows you to do shotgun victim and voile! Ernest Hemingway.

Well, so I'm not going as Sylvia Plath this year. I came up with something less obscure and less violent. I do still need a fake harpoon though, if you happen to own one.

During a very typically unimportant dept. meeting the other day, I made a list of 25 possible ideas. Here are the top 10 ideas, why I rejected them, and a glimpse into my dark and nerdy little heart:

1. Carrie during the pig blood at prom scene.
Reason rejected: how does one give the illusion of being doused in blood the entire night?

2. Freudian Slip. My personal fav since my roommate in college used it. You wear a slip and then a banner that reads "Freudian." RR: Maybe a little too clever for its own good. Plus I wore a banner last year as Miss Fortune. Plus it seemed too easy.

3. Marie Antoinette with a slit throat. RR: I'm not paying that kind of $$ required for a period costume and wig combo. Plus, her head was entirely chopped off so it's not really accurate to just have a slit throat.

4. One of Jack the Ripper's victims. RR: Though it would be fun to be a turn-of-the-century prostitute, it would be difficult to do this costume well without being totally gross or naked or both b/c, as Shawn informed me, Jack the Ripper sliced his victims up the middle. Walking around a party with your intestines hanging out is just impolite.

5. 1950's Girl Dead from a Drag Racing Accident. RR: Didn't realize until yesterday that you could buy shards of glass make-up kits. Will put this on my list for another year.

6. Drowned Ice Skater. RR: My friend Hoffer went as this for Halloween one year and looked really good, her face all blue with icicles in her hair. However, you really need to wear ice skates with the shields on them and I don't own any of those, plus it's uncomfortable, plus my ankles turn in when I wear ice skates.

7. Shawn's Dream Girl. If I could find a way to construct a low-cut dress made exclusively from atlases and road maps and wore that with my boobs hanging out, I would be my urban planner boyfriend very happy. RR: Too narrow. Only he and some of his friends would get it and I don't know where I would begin in making that dress.

8. Fashion victim. RR: This is still in the conceptual stage. Can't figure out how I would convey this idea though I picture leg warmers, gauchos, Vogue magazine, and cowboy boots + blood (it's always "+ blood").

9. Marionette skeleton from Dia del Muerto. Topical since we're going to Mexico City next week. RR: Don't want to walk around with my face painted like a skeleton all night and how would I do the puppet strings?

10. Sharon Tate. RR: I don't look anything like her. No one would no who I am, plus it's pretty sick and weird. Ditto Squeaky Fromme.

You may be happy to know that my final costume choice is very tame, not that violent, and not extremely clever. My friend Karen spent 4 hours at my house last night helping me make it (i.e. use the stapler and glue gun). On the final try on, she looked at me and said, Huh. It's cute. And it's definitely home-made looking. (Halloween costume tip #3: If you're making your costume using office supplies, it's going to suck).

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