When Cecilia and I were talking about whether we’d be donning Halloween costumes this year, we concluded that we’d be dressing up as ourselves.
Cecilia is an observant friend. “Knowing you and your mom, your Halloween costumes you wore as a little girl must have been great,” she said. She was right. My talented, generous and thoughtful mother created some terrific outfits for me to wear to CSG Halloween parties and trick-or-treating in Bexley.
My first Halloween costumes were recorded on home movies, but here are some photos that show how clever my mom is in the Halloween costume department.
I was the Tooth Fairy in 1976. This slinky pink dress was trimmed in tinsel, with a big felt tooth pocket on the front. I carried a tinsel wand and wore a tinsel tiara. My dad and our dentist contributed to the project, crafting a long necklace of fake teeth — some dotted with red pen marks — that were glued to a key chain cord from the hardware store.
Reading The Little Princesses: The Story of the Queen’s Childhood by her Nanny, Marion Crawford in 1977 prompted that year’s Halloween costume to resemble what Princess Elizabeth wore to her parents’ coronation in 1937. For this outfit, my mother made a gilded cardboard coronet and a pink velvet train edged with fake fur. Mrs. Berry contributed a rhinestone necklace and a white organdy bridesmaid’s dress she wore in the 1950s. Click the link to see a photo from the British Monarchy’s photostream that shows Princess Elizabeth’s outfit.
The next year, my Halloween costume was inspired by seeing Elizabeth Taylor in the 1944 movie, “National Velvet,” at the Ohio Theatre’s Summer Movie Series. The pink and yellow jockey silks and matching grosgrain ribbon crop that my mom made are her favorites.
But the best Halloween costume of all was in 1975. That year, I was an American Indian. My brown velour dress was fringed and beaded, and I wore a matching headband with a feather. Since Annie was my papoose (you can see her on my back), she dressed up too, in a matching outfit that she still wears every Thanksgiving.
The very best part of this getup was my two fake braids that were attached to the headband. This short-haired girl loved those braids so much that I wore them everywhere that Fall, including playing the piano with Uncle Steve …
… and wearing the whole Indian outfit after setting up my version of a teepee in the back room.
Now that we’re in the Halloween mood, if you like haunted houses, you might want to track down “Better for Haunts: Victorian Houses and the Modern Imagination,” by Sarah Burns, in the Fall 2012 issue of American Art. To console myself after missing Dr. Burns’s lecture on the subject at Ohio State’s Knowlton School of Architecture in September, I tracked down this recording of a similar lecture she gave at the Art Institute of Chicago in March of this year. Happy Halloween!