Monday, October 1, 2012

Taking Back Halloween: Some Great Costume Ideas

Ok. I love, love, love Halloween. It's by the far the best holiday of the year. So to celebrate, I've decided to dedicate the month of October to posts on all things fancy dress and Halloween-y.

If you have trouble coming up with the perfect costume this year without breaking the bank, you might head out to your local fancy dress store for something simple and affordable. Unfortunately,  if you happen to be a girl, your choice is probably going to be limited to sexy witch, sexy vampire, sexy nurse, or possibly sexy Sponge Bob. I am forever baffled by the ability of marketers to slap 'sexy' on almost anything.

I know how you feel, little girl. Cartoon by Andy Marlette

If you feel that a short-short skirt and some high-heeled boots is not the way you want to go this year, some folks over at Take Back Halloween have come up with a whole bunch of really great and creative costumes that channel your inner goddess, celebrate your personal heroine or pay homage to a historical figure.

These are just a  few of my favorite costumes, but there are lots more over at Take Back Halloween


In Greek mythology Persephone, daughter of the harvest goddess Demeter, was abducted by Hades, Lord of the Underworld, and forced to become his bride. Due to some unfortunate lunch that involved a pomegranate, Persephone was doomed to spend most of her time in the Land of the Dead and came back to her mother only for a few months each year, during which time flowers would bloom and we mortals experience spring and summer. If this is not a perfect Halloween costume, I don't know what is. It's a really easy outfit to put together - it needs nothing more complicated than some sheets, shawls and poppy flowers.

Ada Lovelace 

This costume I chose not just because I love all things Regency, but also because I find Ada Lovelace absolutely fascinating. She was the daughter of Lord Byron and Anne Isabella Milbanke and was the first computer programmer in history. Yes, together with  her friend Charles Babbage she created the first ever Analytical Engine to crunch numbers. Ada was a visionary who realized that this new device can not only solve mathematical problems, but do all sorts of things as long as they can be treated algorithmically. The costume is beautiful and fun, as well as educational.

Josephine Baker 

For those of you who love to channel some old-school pizzazz, Josephine Baker is the perfect inspiration. Baker was not only a beautiful woman and a great entertainer, but also a dedicated Civil Rights activist and a member of the French Resistance during World War II. Certainly a lady worth celebrating. This costume will require a lot of bling, pin curls and very 1920's makeup. Though I would advise against bringing a live cheetah to the party. Remember,  folks, cheetahs are not pets. Take a stuffed toy instead.


Himiko was the first recorded ruler of Japan back in the 3rd century. Historians are still debating whether she was a real person, somebody's consort or a purely fictional character. But the Chinese chronicles describe her as shaman queen who managed to unite 30 warring clans, establish the imperial throne, send envoys to China and rule her people with "magic and sorcery." And who would not want to be a shaman queen for Halloween? I do love the white kimono with the wreath around her head. 

Lizzie Borden 

No Halloween lineup is complete without infamous Lizzie Borden. Even though her body count is much lower than that of Jack the Ripper, she is no less notorious. Lizzie allegedly killed her father and stepmother with an ax. Though she was acquitted at trial, she never quite managed to live down her fame. All you need for the costume is some late-Victorian dress and an ax. Make sure it is very, very bloody.        

What are you planning to be this Halloween?  

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