POSTED ON OCTOBER 24, 2007:
Scary Versus Skanky
Choosing the perfect costume for every Halloween occasion is easy with these options
Costume shops like Spot Lite Magic, 21st and Yale, where these shots were taken, can be your one stop shop for Halloween.
It's nearly Halloween, everyone. Do you have your costume?
I think some of you may already have an idea of what you're wearing; the big day or the parties the weekend before are just around the corner. But, if you're like me, you have no clue. The whole idea of costumes threw me off guard at first.
I didn't realize until just very recently how important this holiday is to those over 13. My Halloween years as an adult have been spent avoiding my house because of the doorbell ringing and my dog freaking out at the jam packed neighborhood filled with children and the parents who choose to drive them door-to-door instead of simply walking. My own years spent pounding the pavement for candy were short lived. Besides the great crafty, homemade costumes my mom made, my memories aren't really there because my heart wasn't really in it. And to clarify, I called my mom who verified that no, even as a kid I wasn't captivated by Halloween.
Because I have now discovered I am part of the minority--those not dressing up and going off to have fun--this year I'm branching out and going to give it one more shot. The most valuable lesson I've learned thus far is that, while our plans have changed, swapping houses with bars and candy with booze, the preparations are no different than kids on this holiday: the costume is everything.
In my quest for the perfect Halloween costume, I began with the Halloween stores set up throughout Tulsa. From the amount of people I saw there on a Saturday afternoon, I'm not the only one who used these places as a primary Halloween resource. And I can sort of see why--everything you could possibly need for the whole family is under one roof. In addition to finding a variety of costumes for man, woman and child, you'll also find at these stores everything you need for Halloween. They have the obvious in costumes and scary décor for haunted homes, but in one location you can find all the make-up you'll need, wigs, accessories for your costumes, shoes, etc.
In general, I think these stores mean well. For people without a clue, they provide guidance, ideas and possibilities, but my opinion about the costumes? Eh. My issues with the selection of women's costumes lay in my general distaste for women's Halloween costumes in general. Why does Halloween equal trashy, slutty wear? I know I'm not the first one to mock this tradition, but there's so much ick factor in a girl not just being a nurse, but a slutty nurse; not a devil, but a slutty devil. Or would that be horny devil? Bad pun, bad pun. I know that as a girl it's a rule that you must look good at all times, even when in costume, but you can still look cute without looking like you've stepped off the set of a bad porn.
And that's the possibility you could be facing. The packaged costumes that line up along these walls feature surgically enhanced women with boobs out to here and skirts up to there. The adjectives to describe the costumes aren't "scary" or some other trait that I conjure up when I hear the word Halloween, but rather "sexy" or "naughty." Can't there come a time when girls can look good without looking like they're giving out both tricks and treats?
If you decide to choose sexy over scary, that's your prerogative, but I still don't see the rationality of shelling out $30 to $100 for a costume that looks like it could spontaneously combust at any point. I certainly don't mean to give grief to these stores; they're rolling with the punches that consumers have thrown at them. They are great for kids' costumes. High School musical anyone? Bratz maybe? And there is an assortment of men's merchandise, as well as all the extra accessories. In the tradition of Halloween, as long as you're having fun, I suppose it doesn't matter what you wear.
For me, it is about the costume and I've found the good ideas are the nostalgic ones. For something that has that old-fashioned appeal, something from another decade perhaps, venture on over to a thrift or vintage shop. I tried Cheap Thrills Vintage, at 3018 East 15th. Certainly you can buy anything the store has to offer as you assemble the components of your decade-themed costume, but I have recently discovered that you can also rent costumes here.
Manager Kris Torkelson says that while it's not well known, Cheap Thrills offers rentals year round, but the focus is generally on Halloween. Each costume has been dry cleaned, photographed and catalogued with measurements indicated on the back. Have a theme in mind? Janis Joplin, 80s mall rat or whatever, flip through the book, find what you want and try it on. The costumes don't include everything--you'll need to get your creative juices flowing with add ons.
Items range from 1920s to 1980s and feature looks for men and women. Rents are for three days, but for extra cash you can have extra days. Costume costs range between $15 to $30 with a deposit and that buys you exclusivity. With only one certain style of each costume, your costume is yours alone.
Torkelson says that the big vintage-inspired costume this year is Edie Sedgwick, but notes that you'll be able to find costumes to creative looks for '60s and '70s music stars, '80s divas and TV drama queens. There are dresses with plenty of fringe for a 1920s flapper and that says sexy costume, not sleazy. And guys, what can I say other than leisure suit? It's a classic that covers many a character.
And if you're not sure where to begin, don't hesitate to ask. With eight years of vintage retail experience, Torkelson considers himself the "king of vintage" (his words, not mine). Tell him what decade or character you're aiming for and he should be able to point you in the right direction. In addition, as the holiday approaches, keep your eyes open for the staff of Cheap Thrills to dress in their own costumes. Check it out any day of week 12pm to 7pm, Saturdays 11am to 6pm and Sundays 12pm to 4pm.
My last stop on my Halloween costume adventure was polling those closest around me. From this, I discovered two big Halloween options: the inanimate object costume and the artsy-crafty costume, which can be one in the same. I always thought of vampires and devils, celebrities and the like, but I've heard stories of people being an old school Nintendo system, a bottle of beer and one person who walked around with a plastic bag full of different colored balloons as a gumball machine.
It's bold measures like these that make for winning costumes, so if a contest is what you're entering, it might be that your costume options are limitless. Your costume might be an idea you construct from the items off an aisle in Hobby Lobby or you could find it looking around at the crap in your home or at your job.
If all these possibilities truly exist, you might feel overwhelmed, as they are beginning to overwhelm me. You could always fall back on the easy way by purchasing a costume everyone else is wearing and toss fake blood on it--now you're the dead version. It's not the most original idea, but it let's you get out of the door and begin the evening.
And lastly, I contribute two original costumes. With my obsession with pop culture, I offer you the following: Amy Winehouse. Her penchant for tabloid fodder makes her a shoe-in. Let's see. Step one, big dark bouffant hair is as simple as buying a long black witch wig and teasing the hell out of it. Step two entails major black eye liner and plenty o' arm tattoos. Drawn on track marks are optional, depending on which celebrity gossip blog you're currently reading. The final touches are items most girls will find in their closet today. Toss on a pair of skinny jeans, a tank top and you're most destroyed pair of ballet flats and viola! Insta-train wreak music sensation. As an added bonus, if drinking is included in your holiday celebrations, the drunker you get, the more in costume you'll be.
For guys looking for a ridiculous current pop culture costume look no further than VH1. If your brain went to Flavor Flav, it's good, but are you familiar with the guilty pleasure that is Rock of Love? Star Bret Michaels seems to dress in costume during his real life, so why not borrow this look? I believe the piece de résistance for this getup relies solely in the headwear. Start with long flowy blond locks. Feel free to add braids a la 60s flower child. Top said blond wig/natural hair with a bandana. Top the bandana with the most god-awful cowboy hat you can find. With jeans, a tight t-shirt, blazer and cowboy boots, you'll either be overheated from all your head wear or super cool in the ironic way.
And, in the circumstance that the lady you're attending the events with opts out of the "no hoes" clause, she'll be perfect as one of the many Rock of Love contestants. Ah, another reason to love bad TV. And of course, there's always the option of "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" heyday Brett Michaels. Aqua Net anyone?
While I'm not fully convinced that Halloween is for me, it's nice to know I have some options. And now, so do you.
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