Halloween costumes through the years

October 31, 2013

I've always loved to dress up. When I was a child, I always wore a costume of some sort and pretended that I was a fairy tale heroine of some sort or Scarlet O'Hara.  Several times, as a child, I won costume contests. And I've always been fascinated by theatrical, ballet and opera costumes. So it's rather obvious to say that I always look forward for Halloween. I do not purchase costumes, but it's always at the last minute that I figure them out with things that already exist in my closet. And once again this is exactly what I'm planning to do tonight; I'll be joining my cousins for an early trick-or-treating, then go to a very good friend's to watch a horror movie. 

Much sadly, I do not have any earlier photos to share with you at the moment (yes, Dad, I'm talking to you... You promised to scan them and send them to me!). But I'll walk you through the ones I wore in the past five years. 

2008 (pictured above)
I was still in high school, and decided at the very last moment to get dressed up. I donned a lace black evening dress and a jacket (also worn here) because it was rather chilly, and styled my hair in a bun to which I pinned a tulle curtain (very Scarlet O'Hara of me, I know...). For my make-up, I applied white powder and heavy black eye-liner and shadow on my eyes. It was only a week earlier that I started wearing contact lenses and I was warned (by an unreliable source) that I couldn't wear eye make-up anymore. It turned out I could, and I piled it on. I also wore black lipstick. The costume had quite some success; there was a rather awkward moment in history class where a rather ill-disposed student threw a temper tantrum and left the classroom and the teacher asked me (being "déléguée de classe", a class representative elected by students) to get the Principal Education Counselor (ugh, who said explaining the French school system would be so exhausting! More here). I ran into the principal and vice-principal, who both courteously complimented me on my attire. And of course, I took tons of photos with people around the school. Back home, we celebrated my cousin Julie's first birthday (no wonder she's got a taste for spooky things; the moment the girl learned how to speak", she hid under white sheets and said "boo" constantly!) before going trick-or-treating; it was the occasion for me to get to know the neighborhood better since we had moved there earlier in January. 

I unfortunately cannot find any photos, which is too bad. It was one of the best Halloweens ever, during our final year of high school; I went to my friend's home in DC, and we were joined by her cousins and friends. We went took the kids trick-or-treating, then returned home, put on music, We also made pizzas, took out the candy, and partied until very late. A few months later we all left for college in different places all over the world, and while I miss seeing my friends as often, I hold the memories very dearly in my heart.

I lived in Paris at that time, doing a freshman-year study-abroad program with NYU. My friends (mostly Americans) and I knew that French people don't really celebrate Halloween, but it didn't deter us from getting dressed and hitting the clubs. Obviously, we got a lot of weird glances in the street and in the Metro from Parisians who were heading home, and thinking that Americans, on top of being annoyingly loud, were crazy, but once we reached our destination, we found many more people wearing costume. They know how to party in the Marais, what can I say!
My costume was a last-minute find. When I left for Paris, I was limited in terms of luggage, and I didn't know if I'd be going out for Halloween yet. On October 31st, it was raining, which deterred my initial plans to go thrifting in open-air markets and find something there. My friend found a costume shop in Saint-Michel, and we headed there after having lunch at a crêperie. I was quite uninspired by the unfriendly staff and the expensive low-quality costumes. But then I found a short curly blonde wig for about 30 Euros, which is the maximum I was planning to spend on my costume. It turned out to be more than enough. I knew that for bar-hopping in cold weather, it would be impractical to wear a bulky costume, so I settled for a simple black mini-dress, fishnet stockings and black flats; I also wore a white feather boa to jazz it up. It wasn't difficult to do a Marilyn-inspired make-up; I applied black eye-liner, lots of mascara, white shimmery face powder and red lipstick. All I had left to do was to put on my wig and a spritz of Chanel N. 5 (Gotta keep it authentic!) and I was good to go!
What I learned that night was that 1) If you fake an American accent in French (in spite of being a native speaker), you get free martinis. 2) Blondes do have fun, but redheads have more fun.

While 2011 was not my happiest year, Halloween was one of the few happy memories I have from it. After a doctor's appointment in the morning, I took a nap, exhausted. When I woke up, I felt replenished with energy, and then and there decided to go trick-or-treating with my little cousins and take them to the oldest one's elementary school, where they held Halloween activities, games, and a haunted hallway (which was really, truly terrifying). You can read more about my costume here.

Last year, I was too preoccupied to plan a Halloween costume by Hurricane Sandy and the upcoming presidential election, which was extremely stressful to me because there was a 50% chance we'd have a head of state who doesn't believe in marriage equality and Planned Parenthood, two things that are equally much more vital for me and my loved one(s) than economy or foreign policy.
Thankfully, I was much lucky than the people in New York and on coastal areas, and was spared by the hurricane, I didn't even lose power. I spent the week planning for Julie's fifth birthday, which included practicing my cake decorating skills and shopping for birthday supplies and decor. On the 31st, I decided literally at the last moment, while my cousins, my neighbour, her kids and friends were patiently waiting outside for me on the porch, to slip on my vintage wedding dress and pin the aforementioned veil on my head before doing a scary make-up in less than thirty seconds. I transformed into Lucia di Lammermoor (minus the dagger and blood) in less than five minutes. 

I have no idea yet what I'll wear tonight; it's a decision that will fall in a few hours (keep an eye on my Instagram for snippets!) but I think I might continue my streak of portraying operatic characters. In fact, I may just have found the perfect costume idea. 
À suivre! 

What are your plans for Halloween? What will you be wearing?

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