Wednesday, October 10, 2012


The Hairpin Halloween Advent Calendar: Halloween Confessions

It's our firmly held belief that Hallowe'en is far more important than Christmas, and therefore more deserving of a countdown calendar. It is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year: there are parties and costumes and terrifying things like Martha Stewart, and candy and then more candy and then even more candy, and your ability to consume that much candy is a marvelous thing to behold.

So, in celebration of the Highest of High Holidays, we're creating our own version of a Halloween Advent Calendar. We'll post one Halloween-y piece a day — including on weekends — in the three weeks leading up to October 31. Why three weeks? Because three is a spoOoOoky number!

To kick things off, we asked some of our contributors to share their darkest Halloween secrets.

Thyra Heder
In second grade I spent two weeks making a globe costume with my mom. It was fabric with blue water and green land, and built of concentric plastic rings so I could fold it up like a china ball lamp to fit through doors. I had not only hand-drawn each continent but also traced it in glow-in-the-dark puffy paint in case anyone turned off the lights. I was super proud of myself and my costume until the moment I stepped into my classroom and saw a sea of store-bought Princess Jasmines and half-assed pirates. I burned with shame. I was terrified that people would think I had spent weeks on my costume, which I had. Red-faced and panicky, I flattened out the globe and shoved it behind the coats. I had to put a coat over it, too, because it was glowing. I told my teacher I had forgotten my costume, and she gave me a paper plate. I drew a lady's face on it and made it a mask, and when our class marched our costume parade through the nearby nursing home, I told people I was a gypsy.

In the early aughts, I attended a party at the Soho apartment of a rich guy. For some reason neither of us can recall or morally rationalize to this day, one of my guy friends and I decided to sneak into the bathroom and hide in the shower. Don't do this! For many reasons, one being that while it might be easy to get into a shower at a party, it's much harder to get out of the situation without being caught. We found ourselves frozen for a never ending fifteen minutes while we waited for person after person to come in and pee – apparently we didn't think about the fact that a line might form after our prank. We both were shaking with pent-up laughter, and tears streamed down my face as I tried so hard to be quiet that I couldn't even look at my friends' arm or his shirt, much less make eye contact. I just stared at the bathtub floor, trembling, tears dripping on the porcelain as I tried to think of a way out. We were finally able to slip out during a break in the line (whispering "go! go! go! go! go! ") and it just looked like we'd been in the bathroom together, which wasn't suspicious at that particular party. Then we laughed harder than I've ever laughed in my life.

In case you're wondering, no, nobody did anything embarrassing, toilet-wise, and we wouldn't have known who they were anyway. They just each peed normally, washed their hands (for an endless amount of time), adjusted their hair and faces in the mirror (for an endless amount of time) and left. To this day, when my friend and I talk about it, we can't figure out how we got in that shower or whose idea it was. And to this day, I check the shower for pranksters at every party I go to. Which is something I'd already done my entire life already, but now I know that yes, it really happens. People hide in showers at parties. You've been warned. 

Jim Behrle
One time, I was wearing a Santa suit on the subway and there was a little boy, maybe five. And he was freaking out. And his mom was like, what's the matter? And he said "What's Santa doing on this train?" And his mom was like "It's just a guy dressed up for Halloween!" And the kid was crying. "No! It's too early for Santa!" And his mom looks at me like I took a dump in her purse. The kid cried and cried. I got off a stop early and waited for the next train.

Angela Serratore
I was Halloween Queen three years running in the parade at my elementary school, and on year four the other parents complained that it wasn't fair, and the teachers were like, we know, she's just so good at Halloween!

Jen Carlson
There was a time in college when I had Bell's Palsy from Lyme disease — half of my face was paralyzed and drooping, and I had an uncontrollable drool and would also fall down a lot because I couldn't always feel my limbs, but I went out anyway. For Halloween I put on a wig and glitter and was a "70s disco person" — it was an admittedly shitty costume, but aside from that the combination of me wearing a wig + my face being paralyzed truly ended up confusing everyone who didn't know I had Bell's Palsy. Plus, at the time there was this new girl who I didn't like who was hanging around with my then-boyfriend's group. She was so annoyingly upbeat and of course had this really put-together costume on that night. I had someone take this photo, which still cracks me up.

Jane Marie
A few years ago I didn't dress up for Halloween and everyone thought I was going as Janice Dickinson. And then I dressed as Allison, the keyboard cleaner addict from Intervention, and everyone thought I hadn't dressed up.

Katie Heaney
My embarrassments usually have to do with excess enthusiasm, with a particular energy reserved toward days on which I am led to believe there will be mass participation in coordinating dress. This is okay NOW, but the effort you're socially allowed to put into your Halloween costume is an upside-down bell curve against the axis of age, the sinking middle aligning with years 10 to 22. At the low point, in the seventh grade, my aunt sewed me a gorgeous queen's ball gown to wear for Halloween. It was incredibly ornate: forest green silk with black velvet floral running across it, a pearly bodice with gold ruffled trim, and a hoop worn underneath that made the dress hang out a full foot on either side of my body. This was a problem in the hallways. My aunt also made me a velvet headband with fake pearl trim and a veil that hung to the place where, in seven years, my hips would be. This I wore on top of my haircut that year, which, unfortunately, can only really be described as "Hugh Grant in Notting Hill." I have a picture from this day, and I don't know where it came from because I am not meant to be a part of it. There are three of the cool girls in the foreground, dressed simply as hippies and pop stars: in their normal tank tops, but with feather boas and/or braids. In the very back corner, hardly noticeable, I am sitting at my desk: tiny and wan, drowning in yards and yards of fabric. I am smiling wearily, with just a quarter of my mouth. I do look like a very small queen, exhausted by royal restriction, unable to relate to my commoner subjects. It's probably my favorite picture of me that I have.

Jaya Saxena
I'm not sure if this is a confession, but my technical first kiss was at a Halloween party. I was in 6th grade and my friend was hosting a party at her apartment, and my crush was there. We were playing spin the bottle, and when it was his turn, as a joke he started pointing the bottle around the circle, saying who he'd like to kiss and who he wouldn't. When he turned to me, he pointed the bottle at my face and yelled "HELL NO!" I wonder if it had to do with my white lip gloss. Did I mention that my birthday is October 29, which happened to be a weekend that year, so I'm pretty sure this also actually happened on my 12th birthday? Ed: Wait, but so did he kiss you? He did! The bottle ended up landing on me later, and he did, very quickly and closed mouthed, and made a point of wiping his lips afterward. It was about two years until I was kissed again. It's okay, the Crush is now sorta ugly and lives in Canada!

Katie Walsh
I "forget" bottles and jars of fake blood all over my friends' houses when they host Halloween parties. I'm a fake blood fairy.

Nicole Cliffe
In fourth grade, there was a "scariest costume" award. I was just a normal witch, but just before they started the competition, I had a brainwave and pulled my black turtleneck up over my face and tucked it under my hat. I couldn't see, or anything, but, trust, I was scary. And I won! And then this bitch, Carla, was mad, because her parents had dropped forty bucks on an actual costume, not just a black turtleneck and a broom, so her friends hounded me relentlessly until I gave Carla the thirteen dollar prize, "because she deserved it." Carla was a real bitch, and I was a pussy.

Rebecca Jane Stokes
In the year between finishing my undergrad and moving to New York for grad school, I was, to put it mildly, spiraling. I lived at home with my long-suffering parents, worked as a temp, and would come home — depressed — to order excessive amounts of footwear via eBay before hunkering down for a three hour block of Nanny re-runs. It was a magical time. Since I didn't have much "going on," the holidays took on much higher stakes — I relished them, I planned. That particular Halloween, I went all out, and over the span of four or five weeks put together a full Batman Costume (complete with head-piece and mask). Its cost in total is a sum of money that is too shameful to even consider disclosing. To be fair, it is challenging to realistically costume oneself as Batman when you are five foot two and blessed in the breasticle region. On the night in question, while my parents hosted a small party of friends, I took to their second floor balcony, where I played Danny Elfman's Batman theme on a loop from my boombox and hurled miniature candy bars at passing children bellowing stuff like "CITIZENS OF GOTHAM, I COME BEARING SUGAR," and, rather oddly I now realize, "FEAR ME!" I continued in this manner until I hit a baby-princess being carried by her father. As they fled, terrified, I retreated to the den in a twirl of cape to finish the candy and watch Rocky Horror alone. I drank scotch to dull the memory of the patina of evil I had bestowed to Bruce Wayne's good name. I woke up the next morning in costume. I still have that looped CD.

Edith Zimmerman
One year when I hosted a Halloween pre-party before the Big Party at a Super Hot Guy's house, I got so nervous that it wasn't going to be fun or cool that I drank far, far too much of the punch that I'd made. Afterward, we all got on the subway to go to the guy's party, but when the train came and everyone got on, at the last minute I ducked back, went home, threw up, and went to sleep. The next morning my friends were like where did you go, you can't just do that.

I hooked up with my partner for the first time on Halloween.  While she was on a date with my best friend.

Jolie Kerr
1. I discriminate against smiling jack-o-lanterns.
2. I enjoy wearing trampy-looking Halloween costumes and resent the annual argument that goes something like this, "If you want to dress all trampy looking, you should own that and not use Halloween as an 'excuse' to do so." But not as much as I resent the flip side of that argument that tells me not to wear trampy-looking Halloween costumes at all. My body, my self!

Lili Loofbourow
(Not Halloween so much as costume-related.) One year in college, I lived kitty-corner from the Shrine Auditorium, where they used to do all the awards shows, and it was annoying as all get out. Helicopters overhead for hours on end. Police wouldn’t let you drive onto your own street unless you showed them a bill proving you lived there. (I refused to do this, both out of principle and because the bills weren’t in my name.) Then there were the crazy people who spent days camping so they could sit on the bleachers and watch the red carpet arrivals. These people, we all agreed, were terrible. Shallow, star-obsessed, loser Los Angeles. One did not care that dozens of celebrities were going to be glittering up the place across the street if one was, in any way, a sentient being. One simply didn’t. It wasn’t done.

But I secretly did care. I wanted to see the tiny fetching creatures of glam and sex. So without saying anything to my roommates, I hatched a plan. I braided my hair, put on a frumpy dress (with a print that erred on the bumpkin side of floral), and some minimal makeup to cover my zits. Country bumpkins always seem to have good complexions. Dressed as I imagined Hannalee might on a date, I strapped on a boxy and unattractive purse and walked to the corner where all the celebrities were arriving.
It was early. Some limos, but not too many. No one I knew. A security guard walked over and asked me my business. “Oh, hello,” I said, “I’m waiting for my date to pick me up!”

“Your date?” he said.

“Yes!” I said. He scowled.

“Young lady, I don’t know if you understand what’s going on here.”

“It looks busy!” I said cheerily.

“It’s the EMMY’S,” quoth he.

“Oh!” I said. “That’s exciting! Who’s hosting?”

“Miss,” he said, “what I’m telling you is that we’re not letting traffic through here. Where was your date supposed to pick you up?”

“At this intersection,” I said.

“Can you call him?”

(This was before cell phones were everywhere.)


The security guard scratched his chin.

“I don’t know what to do,” said I, scrunching my face into what I hoped looked like worry.

“Well,” said he, “do you know what he’s driving?”

“Uh,” I said, thinking as fast as I could of a make and model I’d never seen in LA, “a red Datsun truck.”

“We’ll do what we can, miss, and if we see him, we’ll wave him in. No promises.”

“Oh, THANK you!” I said. I stood on my corner and watched, occasionally pretending to scan the horizon for my date. Lots of people arrived. Most of them were not famous. I did see Callista Flockhart get out of a limo with Harrison Ford. She was small.

My plan would have worked brilliantly if it weren’t for the irritating fact that Ned (that was the guard’s name) had a big heart. He told the other security guards about me, and they all kept looking in my direction with tragic expressions. It is disconcerting to be looked at in this particular way by a group of security guards. I was sure they suspected something — maybe they thought I was a terrorist? I started doing a nervous leg shuffle. Ned walked over.

“What time was he supposed to pick you up?”

“6:30,” I lied.

“Huh,” said Ned. He shook his head and walked away. I checked my watch. It said 6:40. Understanding dawned. The guards were watching me get stood up. Time to act the part! I started tapping my foot impatiently and looking at my watch.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried miming being stood up, but it gets real repetitive real quick. After five minutes of compulsive, tic-like foot-tapping and watch-checking, I got nervous for real again and worked the leg shuffle back into the routine. I credit the leg shuffle with getting to Ned — it really is an effective piece of theater. A few minutes into it he walked over again, clearing his throat in the style of an embarrassed pall-bearer.

“Have you known this guy long?” he asked.

“Not that long,” I said. “This was our third date.”

“Huh,” Ned said, noting my use of the past tense, and stood for a few seconds, silently. “Well, we’re keeping an eye out. Don’t you worry. He’ll turn up.”

Another 10 minutes went by. Some ladies in gowns arrived with their dates, but no celebrities. None. Just bored limo drivers and the gaggle of security guards, who by this time had gotten friendly with the limo drivers and explained my situation. When 35 or so men are politely pretending not to look at you on your corner, you realize that they aren’t really very good at pretending. One big man with a neck-roll kept talking into his walkie-talkie, then ever so slightly shaking his head. Impossible to remain calm when that sort of thing is going on, and I didn’t. Frozen and on the spot, I thought up a few new Impatience Markers. My favorite was occasionally rummaging inside my bag for something I’d apparently lost. I wouldn’t find it, and would look up, grim, despondent, empty-handed. I was stacking on the drama because things were getting serious: it had been half an hour. I needed to transition to anger. I’d abandoned the foot-tapping; we were past that. I crossed my arms and glared down the block, a woman scorned. I visualized a red Datsun truck. I visualized it hard. And then I thought about Robert Downey Jr.

This was all taking a lot of energy. C’mon, I thought. Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston. Where ARE you guys?

A limo turned onto the block. I perked up. Was it them? It wasn’t. My face fell.

Ned walked over, somber. All the drivers and guards watched him as he crossed the street and looked at a point next to my left foot. “Maybe he figured out the Emmy’s are going on,” he said. “I bet there’s a reason. Maybe we missed him.“

His walkie-talkie crackled.

“What?” Ned shouted into the walkie-talkie.

I don’t speak static, so I have no idea what the walkie-talkie person was saying.

“YES!” Ned yelled. “We found him! The guys just spotted the red Datsun!”

“What?” I said.

“Two motorcycles just went after him. They’ll tell him you’re here.”

“Oh!” Adrenaline was doing cannonballs into my blood.

“WE FOUND HIM!” he roared at the guards and drivers. They cheered.

“Oh!“ I said. “I’ll just go to the next block and meet you all there?”

“Okay!” said Ned joyfully, and turned back to the walkie-talkie.

“Thank you!” I said, and turned around and ran. But I didn’t run to the next block. I ran to the door of my building, which was some 60 feet away, and perfectly visible to the limo drivers and security guards, some of whose mouths were open, still mid-cheer. I swiped my card with shaking hands and glanced back at Ned, who was looking at me, uncomprehending. I tried to mime that I was way too angry with my date to see him now, even if the two guards on motorcycles dragged him into the Emmy’s. Who drives a red Datsun truck, anyway?

I’m sorry, Ned.

I was a junior in college and dressed up with a friend as "Hoes In Different Area Codes" from the Ludacris song (I went as 203, she went as 914 — Greenwich and Scarsdale. We thought we were hilariously ironic). I had these horrendous sunglasses on, and we went to a dive bar, and some drunk guy wanted to wear them. I kept telling him no until he gave me a $100 bill as collateral. Eventually I just left the bar and went home with his money.

Last Halloween, the endgame of a doomed love situation motivated me to head out of New York to the city I used to live in, where the close-knit scene there throws an annual, woe-melting Halloween warehouse rager. The kind of party that includes a maze where if you successfully crawl through a dark tunnel lined with old cold cuts, you're rewarded with a sledgehammer and ushered into a strobe-lit room full of old electronics. I get to the party, there's a guy in a mask covering Seal's "Kiss From a Rose" on a chainsaw through a distortion pedal, and people are wrestling in a net suspended 20 feet over the crowd. I'm engaged in some boring conversation about poetry when a girl I used to date interrupts to ask if I was "monogamo" and, if not, did I want to make out for "five minutes."

Within moments of politely excusing myself from the discussion, she had pushed me up on top of an old wooden desk and was groping me while I forced her jaw open with one hand and shoved fistfuls of Laffy Taffy into it with the other. She kept asking to touch my "pajama," she didn't have a cool costume, and when later on I said, "If someone had mentioned to me in high school that at age 25 I'd be spending Halloween getting fingerbanged on the floor of a converted warehouse I'd have responded 'thank god,'" she was like, "The warehouse isn't converted." Four days later, when the girl from New York finally called it off, it didn't seem so bad after all, even though it meant I got dumped by someone wearing board shorts in November. What I'm trying to say is, sometimes all you need is a solid Halloween to remind you that despite all the bullshit we live in the best of all possible worlds.

Previously: Take This Halloween Costume Idea ... Please.

280 Comments / Post A Comment


When I was a young lad, I desperately wanted to be Mega Man for Halloween, but not in his usual blue getup. Oh no, I wanted to be cool Mega Man, so I wanted to be black and gold. My mom, bless her, helped me make my costume with black spandex with yellow felt bands sewn on, and a pretty crappy excuse for a helmet. A small problem: I was an uber nerd and no one else knew who Mega Man was. Everyone thought I was a bumblebee. So instead of engaging in the geekily Sisyphean task of explaining who/what Mega Man was, I just started saying, yes, I am a very shitty bumblebee, trick or treat.

Reginal T. Squirge

My mother made me a Donatello (Ninja Turtles) costume one year. The shell was made from a toilet lid she bought at Lowe's or something. There's probably a picture somewhere in my parents' house.

Reginal T. Squirge

Also, on my parents' fridge is a picture of me and my sisters on Halloween. I was five or so. I was in an Alf costume.


@Emby & then next year, you went as Proto Man, right? :)


Yea, that was cool@m

The Lady of Shalott

Katie Heaney, your tiny queen costume sounds INCREDIBLE and I kind of wish I had one like it right now.

And the cool girls who dressed up as hippies and pop stars in their regular clothes with maybe some makeup or a boa or set of love beads? They were the worst. Sucked.


@The Lady of Shalott Totally the worst. There was this one year in grade school where suddenly those girls were cool and practically teenagers and I was still obviously a child. I think that was the year that my mom hand-sewed matching pumpkin costumes for us (complete with inner hula hoops to made the pumpkin round, brown tights and green felt leaves on our heads) and came to the school Halloween parade in her costume. I wanted to die.

I've hated Halloween ever since.


@The Lady of Shalott As someone who went as Empress Josephine one year, I particularly appreciated Katie Heaney's story.


Did Stefon write that last one?


I ALWAYS check the shower. Alone, for monsters. At parties, I was never sure for what (until this post).

lavender gooms

@Inkling Well, NOW I'm going to start checking.


@Inkling Yeah all that story did was make me feel less paranoid for checking every time.

Beatrix Kiddo

@Inkling I check the shower in my OWN apartment, even when I've been the only one home for hours and it was clear the last time I checked, too.

Reginal T. Squirge


"Haha, joke's on you! I'm in the shower!"


@Beatrix Kiddo I do this too! And the reason I check showers in the first place is because when I was a kid, I hid in the shower to scare my brother. So, I brought it on myself.


Lili! The key was obviously to run up to the truck, elated, burst into tears when you see the driver, sobbing "It's not him," and then run back to your apartment.


@SarahP That story killed me. I was laughing so hard.


@SarahP But Lili! What if the red Datsun truck driver had been the love of your life, and the universe aligned to bring you two together in the most storied and absurd possible fashion?
... Yeah, probably not.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@SarahP I want to be friends with all those security guys. I'm imagining all of them as big teddy bear-type dudes.


My house got egged and my front door chipped from a beer bottle being thrown at it one year when I threw a halloween party. Definitely the best halloween ever.


When I was 4 I dressed up as a lamb by wearing a wooly white vest over pastel clothes and rubber-banding a piece of black construction paper over my head that was covered in cotton balls on top and looped down over my ears on the sides. My nose was painted black. The pictures are freaking adorable.

And that was my best Halloween. I can't top it.


@SarahP -- <3. I may wear that costume this year.


And in second grade I dressed up as Robin Hood and all the people at the old folks' home my class visited thought I was Peter Pan and it was so embarrassing. They also thought I was a boy but that was somehow less embarrassing.

Girl Named Jack

@SarahP I had this exact thing happen to me, except I was in Junior High, so no one thought I was a boy. On accounta the boobs. And also, I carried a longbow, so I was very indignant about the Peter Pan thing, because everyone knows Peter Pan doesn't have a bow, right? Right? Pssh.

Ugh, I can't believe I carried a longbow to Junior High.


@SarahP I was Peter Pan when I was 4 and my 2 year old sister was the crocodile. My dad made the costume, it's my favorite thus far in my life.


@BuffyBot That is awesome! One year, my three cousins dressed as Rainbow Brite, Buddy Blue, and a Sprite. I was -2 days old though, and was not able to participate.


@Girl Named Jack I had a bow too and that was my exact line of thought! But mine was made out of construction paper, because I was 6.


@SarahP When I was in high school, a friend and I decided we wanted to go trick-or-treating. We dressed as the guys from Dead Presidents - all black outfits, black skull caps, faces painted. We were called "son" and "dude" and asked "What are you boys supposed to be?" so many times throughout the night, we just went with it. They were all surprised whenever we spoke.


@SarahP In kindergarten I was a dragon. My mom turned my purple hooded sweatsuit into this amazing costume with scales down the back of the hood and made me a cardboard nose with cardboard flames shooting out. Every single teacher thought I was a dinosaur. (This was years before Barney so they didn't even have an excuse.) I kept pointing to my nose and being all, "um, flames?"


I am so down with the idea of the Halloween Advent Calendar.

Jolie Kerr

@SarahP I am so, so, so, so, so glad to hear that!!! It's gonna be so much spooky fun!


@SarahP YES, it is awesome. Although it would be better with chocolate, like a REAL Advent Calendar.


@iceberg I feel like I may have to do this myself. To justify eating chocolate every day.


@mabellegueule Although, I think I do already eat chocolate every day...

Jolie Kerr

@iceberg We tried to engineer it such that each post would jump out from your computer screen, scare the tar out of you and then attempt to make it up by handing you a Fun Sized Snickers Bar, but we didn't have enough time to get it right. Next year though, for sure.


@SarahP I hope there are more ghost stories! I LOVE GHOST STORIES.


@SarahP (Sorry, SarahP, I am totally stalking you in the comments.)


@mabellegueule - I was going to say, you need an *excuse* for that now?


@iceberg But there can be Halloween candy recipes, yes?!!? (Either making or creatively repurposing?)


@meetapossum I am also down with being stalked in the comments.

October is my favorite time of the year, because the way everything looks when decorated for Halloween is basically the way I want everything to look year round.

Jolie Kerr

Sarah, you're going to be VERY excited by one of the weekend posts I'm working on right now. (Hint: I'm redecorating my living room.)(I don't even have a living room, just a really active imagination and a love of cobwebs as architectural details. Which is odd, given what I do for a living....)


@Jolie Kerr !I am already excited!

...can I just live in Halloween?


@SarahP I totally made a Halloween advent calendar! I wish I could figure out how to paste a picture of it here, but here's a link: http://camalittle.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/we-dont-get-trick-or-treaters-so-i-have-to-do-what-i-can/

Halloween is the best! And so is candy!


Some year in high school (I forget which) I went as a Q-Tip. I had a long, plain white nightgown, I cut the brim off a baseball cap and stapled yards and yards of white tulle around the hat, and I made an over-the shoulders sandwich board thing in blue oaktag with the Q-Tips logo on it. It was really well done.

I get to school, proud of my handiwork, and my classmates take one look at me and screech "Ahmahgah, Clare, are you a TAMPON?! HAHAHAHAHAHA. CLARE'S A TAMPON." The teachers, however, gave me the prize for best costume in the school, so f those b's.

Judith Slutler

@Clare At the Halloween party where I first hooked up with one of my ex boyfriends, I was dressed as "a blizzard" i.e. all in white with white makeup and paper snowflakes stapled to my outfit. Then he and I got into a flirty slapfight that involved fake blood and the next day it turned out that multiple people thought I had been dressed as a tampon!

Judith Slutler

@Emmanuelle Cunt Actually, my "Halloween confession" is probably that my last relationship and my current one each began as a result of makeouts at costume parties. Maybe I am just more approachable in short skirts and weird makeup, while drunk.

Reginal T. Squirge

When I first read that I thought it said that you went as Q-Tip and got really excited for a second and wanted to ask who went as Phife Diggy.

tea tray in the sky.

@Clare I was a Kleenex box at work last year. Which was awesome because I was a barista, and the size of the box over my shoulders made it so I had a huge blindspot exactly where the counter/steamed milk and hot stuff was.

I also had a headband with a giant piece of paper towel folded around it so it stuck straight up. Best last-minute costume EVER.

tea tray in the sky.

Also I was the ONLY one to dress up at work.


@Clare i laughed so hard at that story tears are streaming down my face still. thank you. thank you so much.


Wow Rebecca Jane Stokes, I love yours.


Oh, those naive security guards, hahaha...
...bloohoohooohooo *heartbroken*


@Inkling I feel like she could have got some numbers if she'd played it right. Not that the amazing story isn't prize enough.

Maja D.@twitter

In, what, 5th grade? I dressed up as Spring. Yes, as a personification of spring, because apparently I am really into iconography?
I wore a straw hat with a ribbon, into which I tucked a jillion fake flowers. And I wore a seafoam-green negligee that I had found in a drawer — a late-70s/early-80s number with a chevron of lace just under the boobs. My mom told me that it was hers, from her trousseau, and then she told me what a trousseau was. I wore a long-sleeved shirt under it, though, jumper-style. I think I carried a basket of flowers, too.
The embarrassing part (besides the cute but admittedly dorky idea), is that I kept telling people at school that the nightgown I was wearing was my mother's, from her wedding. My mom worked at my school, though, so I'm sure that was awkward for everyone I told.

Blackwatch Plaid

@Maja D.@twitter I went as the ocean once. This involved lots of netting and a rubber lobster glued to my chest. We would have made a hell of a pair.

Michaela D@twitter

@Maja D.@twitter I made almost the exact same costume. (Sans negligé) Lime green shirt, forest green pants, fake flowers, green glitter everywhere, a fake ivy boa.
This was in high school. I was not popular.


Lili Loofbourow, that was probably the funniest thing I've read in a while. Someone make this into a short!


Behold, an actual (Brooklyn-themed) Halloween advent calendar:


I'm just confused as to why there's no candy.


Lili's story was delightful.

One year I went trick-or-treating as a broomstick. I dressed in brown, had brown face paint, stuck a broom down the back of my turtleneck, and had a little toy witch on my shoulder. Several houses asked if I was Pocahontas.

One year in college I went to a party dressed in black with a full-length mirror around my neck. I was supposed to be whatever the person looking at me was/some bullshit meta-costume. My room-mate went as our living room.

I love Halloween.

down the rabbit hole

@mabellegueule One year in college, this house full of boys had a costume party (I don't think it was Halloween, but still relevant) and everyone was supposed to dress as someone else in the house. I dressed as the dining room.


@mabellegueule I LOVE costumes where people dress up as large objects/spaces. I was a ski mountain once (white shirt, giant white petticoat that in retrospect was probably bridal, little skiers and trees taped everywhere).

tea tray in the sky.

@mabellegueule How did your roommate do the living room costume? I'm intrigued!


The first one broke my heart a little. I always wanted a homemade costume. The one time my mom tried to make ours (I was a bag of gum balls, my sister jellybeans) out of clear garbage bags and balloons that kept popping. I ended up with the mask and plastic outfit from the drugstore. I'll forever resent Casper the Friendly Ghost.


@Slapfight I know that first one almost made me cry. I hate when bitches kill kids' enthusiasm.


@KeLynn That first one really pinged with me, because I've never had a dressing up gift, so every time I went people just looked at me like I was crazy (I was a cat, then a princess). So since about elementary I haven't really much liked Halloween, except the years when I raided mom's renfaire stuff and was a pirate.

Halloween brings out my humbug! Bah.


We didn't really do Halloween in Australia when I was growing up, but any excuse to eat candy is all right by me.

The first Halloween we lived here, we forgot to buy candy and had to turn away several tiny adorable children in costumes. The following year, most of the trick-or-treaters were surly teenagers - with no costumes - holding plastic bags out to us and grunting for candy. The next year we had no trick-or-treaters at all and were "forced" to eat all the candy ourselves.


@iceberg I moved to Australia last year, a couple of months before Halloween, and was so utterly depressed at the lack of enthusiasm everyone here has for the holiday. Luckily there are some really adorable kids on my street who trick-or-treat in HILARIOUS costumes (such as space princess with groucho marx eyebrows, alien-monster-superman wearing bath slippers, etc.). When they came to my house last year I actually told their dad, "THIS MEANS SO MUCH TO ME!" while choking back tears. They probably think I'm crazy now.


@iceberg I would straight-up refuse to give the surly teenagers candy except I'm kind of afraid they'll come back and fuck up my house, so I just give them the shitty candy. I also made everybody tell me what they were last year, and all the teenagers were like, "I'm a robber, give me candy," which just made me be like, "FUCK YOUUUUU" inside. There were two tweenish girls who weren't dressed up super-fancy, though, and when I asked them what they were one went on a big long (presumably ad-libbed?) spiel about how her sister was Aqua Girl with the power to shoot water at people and she was Lightening Girl or something like that. I was so impressed I gave them extra.

Judith Slutler

Also, Rebecca Jane Stokes, I love your Batman story.

Rebecca Stokes@facebook

@Emmanuelle Cunt danke! Every city needs a hero. I was not that hero.

Reginal T. Squirge

That story is the saddest thing I've ever heard.


@Rebecca Stokes@facebook So hilarious! So pitiful! I love it.


@Emmanuelle Cunt "Fear me!" made me laugh out loud. Oh, the year after college at your parents' house...


Jen Carlson's reminded me of a guy I volunteered with at the youth center. He has cerebral palsy in his right arm. When we took the kids trick-or-treating, he dressed up as "an unsuccessful snake charmer" and dressed his right arm as an angry snake.
This year, he will be "a ventriloquist with a haunted dummy".

Dog Ballou

Yall! I JUST searched the Hairpin trying to find the post last year called "Take This Halloween Costume Idea … Please" because it had THE MOST AMAZING Halloween costume ideas. I even used one of the ideas last year from the comments section! And I need some ideas for this year, stat.

Then, I click back to the main page, and what do I see but a promise to post Halloween related articles FOR THE NEXT THREE WEEKS!

Hairpin, you read my mind. Spoooooky!


@And I Was Like going to steal ideas right now!


@Dog Ballou I need this article right now!!!

Dog Ballou

@OhMarie Here you go! http://thehairpin.com/2011/10/the-best-halloween-costume-i-never-wore/


@gigglefest Lawn Boy. Pure, unadulterated genius.


@Dog Ballou Yay!!!

I am going to a fancy Halloween party this year (masquerade ball?!?) and so need something more formal/classy than I normally go for. I think that the Morton Salt Girl might do the trick if I can find the right yellow dress.


and candy.

When I was little, my mother made amazing costumes, from scratch. It was the one time all year she'd use the sewing machine, and we'd go to Fabric Bonanza and pick out costumes based on McCall's patterns. She made me the most amazing Rainbow Brite costume the world ever has and ever will see ... I should find photos.
My most favorite band in the entire world has a major Halloween obsession so I go to their batshit insane/awesome concert every year, and every Halloween becomes just the best Halloween.


Rebecca Jane Stokes and Lili Loofbourow: your two accounts made me laugh so hard at work that I had to pretend I was having a five minute coughing fit!

We never dressed up as kids for Halloween as nobody in our area really did, and never went trick or treating as my parents considered it 'begging for sweets.'

So the year I turned 21, I visited my boyfriend in the US for the first time and he convinced me to dress up and go trick or treating in his street. At 5ft, I could pass for a kid so it wasn't weird or anything.. We drove to a costume store but it being Oct 31st, there weren't any good costumes left. In the end, I decided to go as a mime. I bought a creepy white face mask, white gloves and dressed all in black. I knocked on two doors and when an elderly woman at the second door gave me sweets but looked at me a little warily whilst doing so, I figured we should probably end things there. And that was the only Halloween I dressed up and trick or treated.


My mom used to make us homemade Halloween costumes except she was terrible at it. So when I was five I had this obsession with killer whales, most notably Shamu, so of course this is what I wanted to be for Halloween, right? So my mom made a homemade killer whale costume, which consisted of little more than face paint and a sweatsuit, which caused people to think I was Snoopy, a zombie, a nurse, or just a super racist kid in blackface.

lindsay robertson

Whoa, Jane, I was Allison from Intervention that year as well! It was so annoying to have to hold the can up to my face for people to get my costume. I eventually abandoned it and was just "chick with wig and dark gray lipstick."


A few years back, my husband and I had moved to a city where we did not fit in. at. all. (We've since moved on, luckily.) On Halloween, we'd only been there a couple months, but we ended up with two parties to go to. So we dressed up in a pair costume: He was El Chupacabra, and I was a chicken drained of its blood by El Chupacabra. Basically, his costume was a hoodie with spines and red eyes affixed to it and mine was a feature boa, homemade bird mask and white facepaint.

The first party was out in the 'burbs and consisted of people 5 years older than us, none of whom were dressed up. Awkwaaard. So then we headed to the next party, where we were meeting some friends who were inexplicably friends with a bunch of people 3-5 years younger than us, so college seniors or barely out of school. It was packed with girls in trampy-and-often-racist costumes. Slutty Pocahontas stands out as particularly offensive.

We got out of there when the girls turned off "Thriller" in favor of "Party in the USA."


Everything about this is awesome. I love Halloween! We were only allowed to do homemade costumes as kids so there were lots of cardboard/felt based outfits. I was always a little jealous of the store-bought-costume-kids but the homemade ones make for better photos, at least. I'm completely stumped on a costume for this year. Two years ago I did a badass Day of the Dead look. Last year it snowed on Halloween so that was a bust. Now this year I have a lowkey friend's houseparty the week before and (hopefully) a big, artsy, dance-party the weekend of and I have no idea what might be appropriate for both.


In 5th grade, which was the first year that the class began to be split into "popular" and "not popular", and I still hadn't quite caught up to all this social navigation, we had a Halloween dance at school. It was the first school dance, too, so lots of awkward girls on one side of the gym unsure of how to talk to the boys huddled all the way over on the other side.

There was a costume contest advertised as part of it, too, and I got super into preparing for it. We had an old Revolutionary War-type looking coat in my family for some reason (not actually an antique), and I combined that with my hair in a slicked back pony-tail that I combed white hair polish through, and carried a fake copy of the Declaration of Independence in my hand. Yeah, super cool obviously. When I got there, everyone else was barely in costume and I instantly felt like an idiot. And then of course one of the popular girls won for wearing like cat ears on a headband with jeans and a black sweater or whatever.


OH MY GOD, Lilly's story. lol forever.

When I was an ahead-of-the-curve-and-therefore-a-super-social-reject tween, I decided to go as a glam rock star. Except I'm a girl. So I was essentially dressed up like a super tacky stripper. cheeta print platform heels, boas, bad makeup, and my friends parent's silent judgements.


@breccia The last year I trick or treated (at a very naive 13), I was an "old West dance hall girl." I had absolutely no idea what the life of an actual dance hall girl usually entailed -- I just had this great ruffly skirt and lace up boots and wanted a feather boa. Someone at one of the houses we went to even said "oh, you're a floozy," and I had NO idea what that meant.


@bitchycrosstownexpress I had a really great purple/green/yellow vintage 70s dress one year as a tween, and dressed as a something-something-Mardi-Gras, because of the colors. This didn't go down super well at the church Halloween party I was helping with, and I totally didn't get it at the time.

Girl Named Jack

One year my ex and I dressed as Closeted Vampires. We dressed in really conservative clothes, including a killer pink polyester jacket and pearls for me. And we had fangs and little blood drips from our mouths. And we wore buttons that said things like "God Hates Vampires and So Should You". Also, I made a trifold brochure about the evils of vampirism, and how vampires wanted nothing more than to steal your delicious, delicious babies. And if anyone asked if we were Vampires, we denied it utterly. I think it was slightly topical, since there was some high-profile politician who was having some sort of gay-denying shenanigans at the time.

I wish I still had one of the brochures. I spent all day making them.


@Girl Named Jack that is so bizarre & hilarious & wonderful all at the same time! I keep imagining the "but...aren't you guys vampires?" / "what?! oh, HEAVENS, no!" interactions & it is literally making me laugh out loud.


@Girl Named Jack



@Girl Named Jack That is amazing.


I was a "gypsy" once, in the sixth or seven grade. Looking back, SO. HORRIFIED. WHAT. THE. FUCK.


@JessicaLovejoy I was an Indian like 3 times when I was in pre-school, mostly because I had this sweet fringed thing I wanted to wear all of the time.


@JessicaLovejoy - To be fair, I think most kids end up as a gypsy one year, because you don't know what is going on when you're a kid. You just think of gypsies as glamorous nomads with big earrings and big skirts and big hair.

And to be totally honest, I don't know if I really understood why it would be a bad idea to dress up as a Native American until I was in college. I remember going to a party and seeing a slutty Native American and I knew I felt weird about it, but it took me a while to even piece out what exactly bothered me. I grew up in a super white little city where the concept of that being offensive just never really came up. Which sounds really shitty now that I say it, but...that's how it was.


@JessicaLovejoy I grew up in mild hillbilly-land Ohio, and apparently my parents were TOTALLY not aware of cultural sensitivity. I went once as an Arabian princess, a costume I sewed myself the same year I sewed my sister a geisha costume, and once as a gypsy. Ughhhh. I was totally proud of that geisha costume too, and my mad sewing skills.


@JessicaLovejoy yeah, can this be a safe space for literal I-had-a-culturally-appropriative-Halloween-costume confessions? because I totally went as "an Indian" when I was in elementary school.

I also dressed up as Frida Kahlo when I was in college--which included some zealous bronzer application that I definitely wouldn't replicate today, as I am a white lady--but I feel like that's slightly mitigated by the fact that I was accompanied by my Mexican/Polish now-husband, who looks weirdly like--& was dressed as--Leon Trotsky. (weirdest sentence I've ever typed by the way. also, that costume was awesome, & you haven't lived 'til you've touched up your makeup by reapplying eyeliner to your drawn-on unibrow.)

what were we talking about again? oh yeah, cultural appropriation is bad, & hopefully we'll eventually move away from a widespread belief that Halloween somehow makes it less obnoxious.

The Lady of Shalott

@AmandathePanda I was once an Indian, once an Arabian princess, and once a geisha. I hit all of them. I know.

Um, WTF Interrobang

@JessicaLovejoy My mom, bless her heart, let my big sister dress up as Whoopi for Halloween. I'll let you imagine what that looked like. Yes, it was thirty years ago in the midwest, but come on, Mom!!


@JessicaLovejoy One of my coworkers did a "gypsy" costume last year. I didn't feel like I could say anything, though, so I just stayed awkwardly silent. (Especially since I did elaborate Dia de Los Muertos makeup [partially because my best friend died that year, partially because, hey, I thought it would look neat] and then subsequently read a bunch of articles online complaining about white girls who disgrace the sacredness of Dia de Los Muertos. I still burn with shame thinking about it.)

Dog Ballou

@frigwiggin Man I am really glad you mentioned that because whenever I see Dia de Los Muertos pictures I always think "Ooooohhhh I should really try my hand at that one Halloween." Because it really is SO beautiful.

But, obviously, really don't want to offend anyone with my costume choice, ever?


@JessicaLovejoy I was an "Indian Princess" when I was 10. It's kind of extra nonsensical because my dad actually IS half native, somehow I never connected the costume with the actual people I knew. On that note, it took me a while to connect the "witches" at Halloween with the actual witches/wiccans I knew. Apparently I was pretty dumb as a kid.


@nonvolleyball For god knows what reason, as a freshman in college I dressed as a Chonga. Taking cues from the "chongalicious" youtube video (look it up and see my embarassment). A group of girls on my dorm floor, who I had made fast friends with (and then would realize they weren't that cool after all a couple months later) did it too. I wore leopard print and something shimmery and hideous, borrowed from my roommate, big heart shaped hoop earrings, tons of ridiculous eye makeup, a fake mole, teased my hair, bronzed my face, etc. Sharpie lip line.

Then all those girls DECIDED THEY DIDNT WANT TO GO OUT THAT NIGHT. I went to Northeastern in Boston and you don't exactly go to typical parties as a freshman there, because their campus is in the city and you can only find parties if you know older people who have apartments. I went out with a friend of mine from home who's boyfriend was a year ahead of us at BU...to a bro party full of strangers...with her and three girls dressed as the Fanta chicks...and me as a trashy Latina...and was the most racist piece of shit in the world.

Looking back I ended up barely drinking and just talking to some boy who was actually intelligent at the party the entire night on the couch about life and things, which was enjoyable, but felt ridiculous that I had all that shit on my face.


I confess I'm having a hard time understanding the line between cultural appropriation and having the freedom to costume yourself as someone you're totally not in real life for one night.

I mean, the extremes make total sense to me: I would never think it's appropriate to wear a costume that would cause distress or trauma to an oppressed group, such as Nazi paraphenalia, blackface, Native-American, etc. But why should dressing as an Arabian princess or geisha be forbidden? Is it because, for white people, it's crossing a race/color line? Isn't someone in leiderhosen appropriating German culture? Or for that matter, isn't someone dressed as a cowboy appropriating Western culture? Wearing a costume is all about subverting your normal identity. Short of a costume that will cause harm to someone else, I think there should be freedom to give in to fantasy and imagination for Halloween, even if that means crossing gender and race lines. I honestly want to understand the point of view of where the line is crossed, so please feel free to explain your thoughts if you feel I'm missing the boat.


@SuperGogo Well, but it's one thing when you're appropriating the culture of a minority or traditionally oppressed people, or when you're taking an aspect of their culture that is special (or, alternately, everyday life) to them and making it a fun costume that delegitimizes its actual existence. Which is, for example, why some trans* people aren't down with the men-cross-dressing-isn't-that-funny thing, because it makes something that's their real life into a joke and something to laugh at. Germans aren't super-oppressed people, so that's one thing. But there's not a strong, this-is-where-it-stops line! Some folks from a culture/minority/etc. might feel more strongly about it than others, because hey, we're all individuals--and it can be too easy to get caught up in worrying about it, but at the same time, speaking as someone who comes from a place of privilege (aside from my gender), I'd rather subvert my normal identity without turning someone else's legitimate identity into a costume or jokey concept.


@frigwiggin Ugh, this is kind of rambley, I'm sorry. Hopefully it kind of makes sense, I'm coming from a position of someone much more likely to be the offender, so I'm trying to learn and be mindful of the impact my privilege has.


@frigwiggin I think this pretty much nails it, & I'm glad you posted (because I wanted to but didn't have the time to write something more coherent than "white people: okay; nonwhite people: bad").

you sometimes get people saying that it's "not fair" that it's considered appropriate to dress up in lederhosen [no, firefox, not "leaseholder," damn] and inappropriate to wear a kimono--but that's also kind of the point: if you're part of a group whose traditions are seen as novel, or funny, or weird--& if that perception has been tied to your oppression--then you have a right to be unamused with white partygoers using those cultural signifiers for "fun."

@SuperGogo I totally feel you on the "wearing a costume is all about subverting your normal identity," & to that point, I wonder what the point is in appropriating a cultural identity that's not your own--I mean, "hee, but like, what if I *was* a Bierstube waitress" (or whatever) isn't very escapist in the first place, if you ask me. better to go with something that you actually relate to, whether from a place of fantasy, whimsy, humor, or whatever else, & that doesn't run the risk of someone coming up to you & saying "yeah, you know real _____ don't actually do that" & making you feel like an ass.


@SuperGogo A decent rule of thumb: if white people are currently wrecking a culture, have wrecked and the culture hasn't recovered... then it's appropriative and hurtful to use their stuff. It's basically saying "I can take the bits of your culture I like, because your significant/religious attire is just dress-up for me and I will continue a trend of dehumanizing you and your people."

Also there's a difference between, say, "Arabian princess" and dressing up as a historical figure who was nobility in the region (since "Arabian princess" covers a whole lot of territory, both geographically and temporally). The belly-bearing Arabian princess you usually see never really existed (being based off harem girls which, again, not accurate) and it just furthers a view of the ~exotic~ east, without taking into consideration the very real people it's fetishizing.

That's basically the problem. The taking of cool stuff from marginalized people and disrespecting it. But it's cool, so westerners feel like they should be able to use it, regardless of how the people who live it feel about the taking.


@nonvolleyball I went as Frida Kahlo (whose art I was WAY INTO: also weird for fifth grade?) in fifth grade. I had kind of very prominent eyebrows anyway so I guess I was trying to make the most of it. I was actually so consumed with the dorky shame of it that any other questionable aspects did not occur to me until right this moment. Sigh.

Luckily, my Bunnicula costume this year will involve no such cultural complications!


@noctifer I think there's a grey area of defensibility if you're dressing up as an actual person/character you deeply love, & who isn't just an excuse to engage in stereotyping. changing your skin color/eye shape/whatever isn't okay, of course, but if you can make the costume work without that, I say go for it. (of course, again, "I"=a white lady who will never be a victim of cultural appropriation, so grain of salt, etc.)

either way, you are awesome for being a 10-year-old Frida fan & an older-year-old Bunnicula fan. :)


OH MY GOD. Bunnicula! Hijacking this thread to say that I will probably steal that costume idea.


My senior year of college I dressed up as a bat. We went to the grad student party and hung out there for a while. The theme of this phase of my life was "excessively drunk" per the occasion (excessively drunk for weeknight, excessively drunk for a first date, excessively drunk for house party, etc.) Then my roommate left to go see Paranormal Activity at midnight. I didn’t go because I was too drunk and instead I went . . . somewhere else with a different friend. It turned out to be an apartment but I had no idea where I was and my last memory is of being in the bathroom there. Then I woke up in my own bed the next morning. Our other roommate was furious at me because I had apparently left the front door of the apartment open and when she got in, she thought there was an intruder and crept around the entire apartment wielding a knife and looking for said intruder. I still am not sure how I got home. It wasn’t that great a Halloween because I don’t remember most of it!


@Ellie I have nothing relevant to say to this except that I want to be a bat for Halloween sometime soon! With like big wire and fabric ears and shit. (Still trying to decide what species of bat, specifically. And I will probably never actually do it because I'm lazy and terrible at crafts.)


@frigwiggin My costume wasn't superb (these are the ears, actually: http://imgur.com/2dmvk) but I was pretty happy. I wanted to do, like, real wings with wire but I was too busy to go into it so I just had drapey wings that tied to my wrists and were pinned to my back. They looked pretty cool from the back though.


It's really fucking easy to make realistic bat wings out of a black umbrella, btw! Remove the middle and handle, stitch the spoked parts to a black sweater, perfect.


@Ellie Haha, those are adorable though! I think any bat costume is +1, because bats are the shit.

baked bean

@frigwiggin If I had a picture of my best friend from like 3rd grade or something, I'd show you. Her mom made her a bat costume and it was adorable. I'm thinking about recreating it for myself. I think she just wore cat ears and then had wings with wires sewn in stitched onto a black shirt.
Her mother was great at costumes, she made herself a peacock costume with a full tail made all out of real peacock feathers because their grandma had peacocks. It was beautiful, and she still won't let us touch it.

Why would

@Ellie That does sound cute, but could you expand on their peacock-owning grandma?

baked bean

@Ellie She owned a flock of peafowl. Still does, technically, but she's in the nursing home so my friends' mother drives out to her place every day to take care of them.


I think my first real boy/girl party was a 7th or 8th grade Rocky Horror-themed Halloween party. I was really into the movie at the time so I thought it was great, went all out on my Magenta costume--including teasing out my REAL HAIR--and hoped nobody would notice that my maid's cap wasn't JUST right and that my fish-net tights weren't TOO sexy. When I got there it was clear that most people had only been given a cursory summary of costume options, and were either wearing just their bras (as "Janet") or no pants (as a "Transylvanian"), or both (as "Rocky"). Also the boys at the party were really gross and "Night at the Roxbury"-ed all the girls there and kept asking me if I was wearing a wig or what.



@muggles h8 u 8th gradie! I think this happened to me in ninth grade but I had this great white wig where the bangs lit up, but it didn't really ... look all that great ... on me. Anyway I was walking down the hall and somebody was like "IS THAT A BOY?" and ... ninth grade me was sad.


@muggles I was ALSO super into Rocky Horror as an 8th grader! I think something about that movie just perfectly aligns with puberty.


About four years ago I came to work dressed as the bearded lady. I had on a Gypsy-looking floral dress, a necklace, bangles, hair done, and this long, black beard. I got into the elevator with a few other people and for the first two floors or so, everyone was silent. I could feel the woman standing next to me staring, and when she finally catches my attention she points at me and says, "Taliban?"

Judith Slutler

@lil.orphan.shannie ... oh god what


@lil.orphan.shannie HA


@lil.orphan.shannie ....What. :(


This isn't Halloween, but a few years ago I was invited to a "Derelicte" party, based on the Derelicte fashion line from Zoolander. We had SO much fun making our costumes out of trash. One girl made an actual blazer out of a blue recycling bag, with duct tape piping; it was impressive. I had a beautiful shredded garbage bag cape.

Then our seven person group got to the party (keep in mind we had been invited by a friend-of-friend and knew 1 person there) and the extent of the theme was four pictures of Zoolander taped to the wall. No one else had dressed up. We ate the top layer of the host's birthday cake in drunken retaliation. Derelicte, my ass!

Girl Named Jack

@Megoon There should be a word for the specific mix of shame and superiority one feels when one is dressed in an awesome costume and everyone else is not, even though it is a costume party. I'm thinking this word should probably be in German.


@Megoon this isn't quite as heartbreaking, but a good friend once had a pirate-themed party in the middle of, like, May (i.e., not anywhere near Halloween), & my husband & I got really elaborately dressed up before realizing we had like a 2-hour public transit journey ahead of us, during which we'd be dressed like pirates for no apparent reason. also, we had to bring a VCR with us--long story--so we had that in a backpack, to add to the weirdness. it was a very long subway trip.

AND, another year my husband & I went as Kurt Cobain & Courtney Love, but then during the drive home his wig got itchy & he took it off...so then he was just Guy in a Flannel Shirt while I was Passenger in His Car Who Definitely Looked Like a Hooker, & we kept being worried that we'd get pulled over.

@Girl Named Jack if I had a dollar for every time I used "there's probably a German word for..." in conversation, I'd be able to hire a tutor & actually learn the language.


@Megoon also, I don't remember why we felt this was justified, but we once stole a bottle of Maker's Mark from a (Halloween) house party that was hosted by people who'd offended us somehow.

...which I only remember because I just got this email from my mom the other day: "I bought a bottle of Maker's Mark sauce that I thought might be a birthday gift for [husband-volleyball]. I have a recollection of a bottle of Maker's Mark sitting atop a fridge in one of your apartments, but I'm not sure if he still drinks it." you guys, that was in *2003*--& meanwhile, my mom typically forgets things I've told her within 24 hours of hearing them.


@Megoon one time in college i was invited to an acquaintance's no-pants party. my friends thought it would be hilarious if a bunch of us showed up in adult diapers. we did. very few people had no pants at the actual party, so we became "that weird group of diaper people."

i wore mine with a white tube top, and it was so big on me it was very high-waisted. girls tentatively asked if it was an outfit or what.


@itiresias Oh my god. Please tell me you said yes? But really, SHAME ON THE HOSTS for wearing pants at a no-pants party! Even Martha would agree that's just bad form.


@nonvolleyball Costumes on mass transit are so very awkward.


A few years back, living in Montreal, a group of us had tickets to the big party at the grad student club. We had a wicked pre-party at the loft of my friend, A., and then went to the party pre-drunk. (As a side-note, people in Montreal take costumes SERIOUSLY, I saw some really neat-o ones).

Highlights from the massive three-floor party include: me trying (and mostly failing) to hit on a couple because I loved their comic-book-themes costumes; being both intrigued and disturbed when a dude in a really accurate Heath-Ledger's-Joker costume hit on me; realizing I left my keys at A.'s place and planning to leave with her so I could get my keys; A. realizing that she had lost HER keys somewhere at the party (note: storing things in one's bosom might seem like a genius way to avoid carrying a purse, but it can lead to disaster); both of us half-heartedly hitting on a dude we knew so that he'd let us sleep at his place; him clearly thinking he was scoring a hot threesome; me "sleeping" on his couch while A. hooked up with him in his bedroom like THREE FEET AWAY through a paper-thin wall, and hearing EVERYTHING; doing the Walk of Shame in costume the next morning; finding A.'s keys at the club when it opened, getting back to her place and changed in time for brunch with the girls.

It was an exciting evening! Also, A. owes me big time, but she really needed a meaningless hookup after a recent breakup, so I guess I'm happy to take one for the team.

Cat named Virtute

@katekari Oh man, Thomson House? Yeah, no regrets that I did Rocky Horror and a friend's costume party the years I lived there.

raised amongst catalogs

In second grade, we were all getting our costumes on so we could line up for the school-wide costume parade in the parking lot. My classmate, a bespectacled boy somehow both quiet and obnoxious, sat at his desk feigning boredom. In truth, he didn't have a costume. At the time, I assumed that his family didn't have the money for it. My teacher must have, as well. She spent several minutes rummaging through the dress-up box and put him in a giant tweed overcoat and tie. Then she took black construction paper, curled it around a marker and cut the ends into fringe. She taped the "eyelashes" to the frames of his glasses and then stuck a fedora on his head. He was ready to parade with the rest of us! The teacher saved the day! It was years and years before I realized that maybe his religion didn't allow him to participate in Halloween?

Reginal T. Squirge
Reginal T. Squirge

That was supposed to be a link to the Muppets' song. Hyperlink fail.


@Reginal T. Squirge do doo doodoo doodoo doodoodoo du dootdootdoot doodoo doot

Dog Ballou

This isn't halloween related, but it is costume related. When I was four, my neighbor Elizabeth had a birthday party. Elizabeth was five, and even at that tender young age I perceived that she and her other five-year-old friends were older, and thus cooler, than me.

My mom is an artist and super creative, so she painstakingly made me a homemade costume perfect for the theme- which was, for some reason, "Bible-characters themed".

Imagine my surprise when I walk into the party and see dozens of older, cooler girls running around, ALL DRESSED AS PRINCESSES. And I was literally dressed like JESUS, beard and all. I was as mortified as you can be at 4 years old. My mom had somehow mixed up the theme with.. some other event? Christmas? I don't know.

Anyway, it turned out to be a really great memory and my mom and I laugh at least a couple times a year about it. And Elizabeth turned out to be kinda snooty anyway.


@Dog Ballou I love this.

The Lady of Shalott

@Dog Ballou This is seriously the best story. I am completely in love with the idea of a bunch of five-year-olds in princess costumes and then one four-year-old dresses as Jesus going "What the fuck?" or whatever the four-year-old equivalent is.


@Dog Ballou this is sooooo off-topic but I feel it's spiritually related: when I was in preschool, I was told to bring "something with eyes" for show-&-tell, & when I informed my mom of this assignment, she apparently thought it would be funny to have me bring a potato (...you know, cos a potato has eyes? GET IT?).

naturally, it was for a unit on vision, everyone else had dolls/stuffed animals, & I didn't even really understand why I was holding this gross vegetable that looks like a hunk of dirt. (tragic childhood experience that I may or may not have reclaimed as an analogy for my whole nerdy life & used in my college admissions essay.)

Dog Ballou

@nonvolleyball YES! Exactly.

I mean, that anecdote basically sums up my entire childhood. For the longest time I hated it and just wanted to be like everyone else.

Then as I got older my brain must've actually started working or something because I was suddenly able to realize that being like everyone else is no fun at all.

So... thanks, weird parents!


When I was seventeen I dressed up as Barbra Streisand on the cover of her Superman album and no one knew what the HELL I was doing in a Superman t-shirt, short shorts, and knee high socks.


Halloween 2010 at UC Santa Barbara, I dressed as an oil spill: dark eye makeup, black tulle poof head band, fishnets and a shiny black and silver dress that I covered with sea creature stickers. It was very topical.

I'm not so blessed in the chest region, so, as usual, I forgo a bra. My then boyfriend and I get to the party, which is mainly populated with guys from his engineering department that I don't know. The ratio of guys to girls is about 45:3. Then-boyfriend announces that he will be shuttling guests to the party in his van (all the roads near UCSB are closed to parking) for at least the next hour.

This is my worst nightmare. By myself, at a party where I barely know anyone, mostly full of dudes. I proceed to get hammered. When my boyfriend returns, he finds me animatedly talking to a large group of guys who are listening very intently to whatever point I am making. My boyfriend points out that my dress has fallen down, exposing my boobs.

Apparently, I replied, "Well, that's embarrassing," and went to pour myself another (very much not needed) drink.


Can I suggest making a Halloween post devoted solely to "Anything Can Happen On Halloween" as performed by Tim Curry in The Worst Witch?



Katie Walsh

@meetapossum @frigwiggin: I pitched that! Great minds...


@meetapossum has anyone seen my tambourine?


C.'s best friend from high school is now a teacher at that very high school. Recently, the girl's softball team achieved some sort of sports achievement, so part of the reward was getting to run out on the field with the players in the respective positions in the local major league baseball team. The center fielder had the foresight to bring along a slip of paper with her phone number.

When asked later about what the hell she had been thinking, the student retorted, “I checked! It’s legal!” (She was presumably referring to the professional center fielder’s age of 19, her age of 16, and D.C. Code. § 22-3008.)

So that’s our couples costume right there.

Reginal T. Squirge

Oh, also, just a couple of years ago I was really, really in love with this girl. Then we broke up. Then a couple of months later, her favorite holiday came around (Halloween). Even though she refused to see me or talk to me in any way, she just HAD to send me pictures of her in that year's costume. She was Jessica Rabbit and she looked crazy, crazy hot.

I'm pretty sure she's living in hell now because she is The Devil.

Seriously, I have about 8,000 Halloween stories and all of them are depressing as fuck.


@Reginal T. Squirge wow what a bitch.


@Reginal T. Squirge People who ruin holidays for you need to F off and D.


Thyra's story almost made me cry. But then the idea of wearing a mask that's just a regular face was too funny.


@supernintendochalmers I REALLY want to gather mini-Thyra up and give her a hug and some cookies.


Rebecca Jayne Stokes, I cried laughing at that story, thank you.

When I was 12 I got invited to a Halloween party, told it was fancy dress and it WASN'T. As my mum dropped me off I asked a girl why she wasn't in fancy dress, the response I got was "because there are going to be hot boys". I hid in the toilet with my best friend and the two most popular girls from school, who had come dressed as witches from The Craft, until the hostess escorted us out of the toilet and leant us some clothes.


After reading The Hairpin for a year and a half, I finally had to register to say THIS IS AWESOME. Halloween is obviously the best holiday! And I'm kind of wondering if the person who wrote the last story and I have been to the same warehouse party...


This is making me nostalgic for Chicago Halloween. My first year living there I dressed as Keyboard Cat (one of many KC videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJ5w4MkFofc) and went to one of the most insane parties I have ever been to in my life. I had painted a cardboard box to be a 'Catsio' keyboard, and it had an opening on the side so I could chuck my booze and whatnot into it rather than purposely lug around a cardboard box all night. By the end of the party, I had accumulated several masks, a feather boa, a Spice Girls CD, a bottle of emerald colored nail polish and one of those little tea ball things - all stuff that friends and strangers had been depositing into my keyboard. All that, along with peeing in the middle of the L platform at Belmont while my ex held my keyboard (needless to say I was wasted and feel really terrible about this in retrospect), made for a pretty memorable Halloween.


@hollysh I hit Wrigleyville every year (even if I'm not in costume) just to observe the madness...but I have never seen a lady publicly urinate on an L platform, & for that alone, I think you should feel proud of this accomplishment.

my Chicago/Halloween/drunk story involved going out with my husband as Kurt Cobain & Courtney Love (different night than the story above when we were driving, don't worry!), wandered around Wrigleyville while drunk bros got weirdly introspective & kept saying "I wish you hadn't died, man!" to "Kurt," & then got drunk enough that I managed to trip, fall, skin the shit out of my knee, & then start crying in that totally-losing-it way of a wasted person. my husband was trying to get me to stand up/get my shit together, but at this point I should mention that my first name actually IS Courtney, so people walking past us seemed to think we were engaged in some kind of bizarre over-commitment-to-costume/performance art.

also, one obnoxious brah at Goose Island kept trying to talk to me, & I kept just saying "kill yourself" over & over--at which point he turned to "Kurt," who sighed & said, "she's like this all the time."

Judith Slutler

@nonvolleyball lol that Kurt and Courtney story!


Um, let's maybe all meet up and do that this year?! (The wandering around Wrigleyville mocking bros, that is, not the drunken injury.)


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll Not even mocking them could entice me to set foot in Wrigleyville and hang with the Trixies and Bras, ESPECIALLY at Halloween.


@SuperGogo c'mon, you're saying it's not worth it for the chance to say "kill yourself" to their faces with impunity?

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll we go every year! perhaps we will even dig out our Kurt'n'Courtney costumes...if you see a couple dressed as such, come say hi! :)


Hmmm...that sounds superfun but I think C.'s classmates have plans? And the last time we hung out with them they ended up coming back to our house, cleaning out our liquor cabinet, and leaving us getting up the next day unable to remember which of the two of us had loaded the dishwasher!


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll better "who loaded" than "who vomited in." I love it when my drunk self is mysteriously productive! :)


@hollysh I am doing a Halloween Trolley ride in Chicago this year...stopping in Wrigleyville sounds way better than actually spending all night there.

That being said, last year I was Black Swan (with real pointe shoes and everything) and I had a load of fun dancing at Sluggers. Everyone kept asking me to dance on my toes and I did that until I was too drunk to do so.


@ImASadGiraffe Black Swan was part of our annual costume-based drinking game last year! let's assume we saw you & were impressed by your getup.


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll I live right by Wrigleyville and this whole conversation has me nervous. Maybe going to my parents' in the suburbs to hand out candy to kids is a safer bet.


@Amphora oh, if you live in Wrigleyville, it's nothing you haven't seen before. just swap the Cubs gear for costumes & you've pretty much got it. (then again, I would kill for the chance to hand out candy to cute, & presumably not-drunk, children.)


Not that any of your are still reading this, but Mucca Pazza at Double Door also sounds like a great idea!


I think we all knew a This Bitch Carla.


@frigwiggin she makes pussies out of even the bravest among us.


The only Halloween costume I ever did that I still look back on with fondness (I mean, not that I hate my old costumes, it's just that I tended to go for generic store-bought princesses and the like as a kid) was my junior year of high school. My school's marching band was doing a Michael Jackson halftime show that year so a big group of us shredded old clothes and did ourselves up in full-out zombie makeup and went thriller dancing through the streets of our neighborhood with a boombox. We were "too old" to do the candy door-to-door thing (I don't know why we decided that?) so we just danced all night. Thriller, all night long. It was great fun.

D. Lurker

When I was five, I went as a red Crayola crayon. The costume was basically a large cardboard tube with arm holes, and a pointed hat. The first house I went to had steps up to the front door, and when I went to take my first step up, my knee hit the inside of the costume and I fell backwards. Thanks to the ingenius design of the tube, I then proceeded to roll halfway down the street before my dad realized what had happened and chased me down.


@D. Lurker okay, now I've literally laughed out loud TWICE in this thread...but in your case, tempered by "awww" (& then more laughter as I Picture your frantic father chasing down his rolling-away, cardboard-encased child).


@D. Lurker I just snorted into my tea laughing at this.

D. Lurker

@nonvolleyball @SarahP For the rest of the night I was too scared to try steps again, so I would wait at the bottom while my dad went up to the door with my bag and did the ringing/candy picking, pointing at me like "I swear this isn't for me". God bless him.

Carrie Ann

@D. Lurker I have actual tears in my eyes and am making squeaking sounds at my desk trying to keep from laughing out loud.


@D. Lurker a) I am laughing inappropriately at work.

b) One year a friend of mine was a die - so a big cardboard box with dots painted on the sides. It was awesome, but she literally couldn't fit up some steps, so I was her designated candy-getter. "She's at the bottom of the stairs!" I said as she waved frantically. Luckily all our neighbors knew us and didn't try to stiff us.

Nancy Sin

Years ago I made some very last minute plans to meet up with friends at a club. I went as Debbie Harry and slaved over my outfit, contouring my make up just so, etc etc. If you were in costume you got in for free, and I thought I looked pretty obvious with my stripey blush and so forth. The girl at the door was giving me crap, but finally relented. It was not until I was in the bathroom an hour later that I realized I had left my glasses on and just looked like your run of the mill blonde hipster. The end.

down the rabbit hole

I was never allowed to celebrate Halloween, but every year I would go to the Hallelujah Party and one time my mom made me dress up as a Bible. The end.

The Lady of Shalott

@down the rabbit hole How do you dress up AS a Bible?????? A cardboard box with "Holy Bible" written on the frnot?


@down the rabbit hole if only you & the girl upthread who erroneously dressed as Jesus could've somehow found one another!

Dog Ballou

@down the rabbit hole
I can relate! I wrote a comment maybe 30 comments up describing MY experience as being forced to dress Bible-y by my mom.

Moms. Gah.

down the rabbit hole

@The Lady of Shalott Basically! I had this really ornate fabric covered box with felt "Holy Bible" letters on the front. The front of the "Bible" opened, and I wore a sweatshirt with a Bible verse on it. It was an impressive Bible costume... but still a Bible.

down the rabbit hole

@Dog Ballou YES! Me and my brothers were costumed as a variety of different religious characters over the years. My youngest brother was born in May, so when Halloween rolled around we had to be 5-year-old Mary, 3-year-old Joseph and baby Jesus.

One year the Hallelujah Party was Noah's Ark themed and we got to be pandas and that was AWESOME.


@down the rabbit hole My mom works at a preschool at a Baptist church that throws a Noah's Ark Party every year for Halloween. There's usually a whole hallway in the building where you "trick or treat" from various biblical characters. We weren't members of the church so no one really cared what we wore although my mom did forbid my brother from wearing his Death costume into the party one year.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@bitchycrosstownexpress This thread makes me simultaneous sad and giggly.

Dog Ballou

@down the rabbit hole
LOVING picturing a 5 year old Mary and a 3 year old Joseph with a baby Jesus. Wherever those family photos are, you should find them and cherish them. Equal parts terrifying and adorable.


@down the rabbit hole My BFF in middle school had a really weird (read: excellent) sense of humour for a 13 year old girl and went dressed to our 8th grade Halloween Party at Jesus. Every other girl was dressed in a proto sexy fill-in-the-blank costume (my mom bought me a push-up bra so I could go as Marilyn Monroe - WTF mom???) so she ended up leaving in tears. I really should have gone as another biblical figure in solidarity.


Has anyone else ever been to the Park Slope Halloween Parade in Brooklyn? It is the hands-down best show for homemade Halloween costumes. It warms my heart every year.


My freshman year of college, my friends and I were going to see Rocky Horror at the Harvard Square Loews Theater (RIP). I got all dressed up as Magenta, with my wacked-out maid costume and teased-up hair. I was crunched for time, so in my rush I didn't realize that my sweating was actually from a very high fever. When I was with my friends and ready to leave, I started to feel dizzy and generally awful, so I went back to my dorm and fell asleep in full costume. I was eventually diagnosed with mono, and was sick for the next 2 months. Wah.

Redheads have even more fun

Background: DC's drag race is infamous and huge and almost a bigger deal than Halloween itself. My first year here, I decide to be a flapper since I had the haircut already. I try on the most gorgeous white fringed dress rental but decide that barhopping in a white dress leads to disaster. A week later, at the drag race, I see the same dress. And yes, it looked better on them. sigh.

The Lady of Shalott

Also, I can never judge anyone ever for poor Halloween-related decisions. Last year I deliberately got dressed in a stupid reverse cowgirl costume with the express purpose of sleeping with this guy I'd met ONCE before. And I went to this guy's house where he was having a semi-classy Halloween potluck party, and I drank an entire liter of wine by myself, and then had a bunch of Jello shots and passed out on the couch.

Then my friend poured me into a cab and took me home and I vomited on the stairs down to my basement apartment in front of my horrified landlord. And I threw up everything I'd eaten in the past YEAR, it felt like, and at one point I vomited into my own pants while my friend sat by and patted my head. Then I sobbed for a bit and cried "I don't want to die!" for reasons I still don't know. Then my (sainted) friend put me to bed, put my disgusting clothes in the wash, and went back out to the party.

It was 11 pm. It was the crowning moment of patheticness in my life.



The Lady of Shalott

@SarahP It was actually kind of an awesome costume? In that I wore jeans, a white T-shirt, and my regular red plaid shirt turned around. And knee-high Frye boots. (I actually wear this outfit the right side around on a normal day.) And I topped it off with a gigantic $2 cowboy hat, which fell off my head somewhere between the wine and the Jello shots.

Also I am so embarrassed that I've told this story.


@The Lady of Shalott that DOES sound like an amazing costume! & trust me, we've all had That Night (...& then the subsequent night[s] where you're like, "oh god, it's now Those Nights, plural").


Despite the onslaught of midterms and papers, the most stressful thing in my life right now is WHAT WILL I BE FOR HALLOWEEN?! It's my favorite holiday of all time, and I love to get creative (a.k.a no slutty bumblebees here). IDEAS? THOUGHTS?

Also, can we move all these awesome sounding warehouse parties from Brooklyn to Boston? kthanks

Dog Ballou

@Pygmalion HAVE NO FEAR. The Hairpin did this WONDERFUL post last year similar to this where people discussed the best halloween costumes they'd ever seen. Then the commenters chimed in with literally hundreds of ideas. I even used an idea from the thread! A girlfriend and I dressed as the twins from The Shining and we WON BEST COSTUME!

One of the many, many reasons why the Hairpin is awesome.


at the height of my awkward pre-teen life, i refused to be anything for halloween and got a black sleeved robe that had a hood with mesh over the face from party city. i also wore boys' sneakers at this point in my life, and i spray painted my dog (a schnauzer, if it helps) blue with temporary hair dye, as much as i could before my mom stopped me. the pictures from that years are a bunch of little girls in my neighborhood smiling and being princesses and cowgirls while i'm standing creepily unposed next to them with a blue dog on a leash. i remember seeing them and being like, oh, no wonder all of the moms think i'm totally weird.


@itiresias We would totally have been friends.


The saddest part of Community's premier being further delayed is that I won't get to steal Britta's adorable Halloween costume, whatever it is this year.


This wasn't for halloween at all (and it's the only time I didn't have a costume that was based around the idea of wearing sweat pants) but one time I went as naked Alanis from her music video. It consisted of a flesh colored leotard (hilariously 20 shades lighter then my skin) my long hair over my boobs and then my friend photo shopped a black triangle to look like blacked out pubes. Which I printed out and taped to my crotch. Luckily I think all pictures of this day were destroyed.


additionally, once in college i went as a raccoon, and wore a black bodysuit under a ridiculous grey sparkly "bathing suit" from american apparel, and painted my face black and silver. i also straightened my hair, which is usually a big curly mess. i also did mushrooms.

no one at the party knew who i was. or, really, what i was. "nice sexy cat costume!" "I'M A RACCOON" "...what?" it was the strangest feeling. also, my guy friends would one by one slide up and start hitting on me, which was so bizarre to hear the douchey voices they use for that, until i told them it was me and they'd be like "OH MY GOD! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAA OOOOPS"


@itiresias it's amazing how a simple "I also did mushrooms" after a sequence of other procedural steps really changes the tone of a sentence. for some reason the contrast there just made me lol. (also, that sounds like a hilarious party/night/experience.)


I love Halloween but these days I rarely have anything to do (live in a podunk town, have few friends here, don't drink = I'm no fun at parties), so I'll probably just do my face up in tiger paint (I just dyed my hair black and orange, too!) and make a tally of all the costumes of the kids who come by our house like I did last year. I remember princesses and Spider-Man being very popular. And maybe my boyfriend and I will watch all the Treehouses of Horror! Ooh, exciting.


@frigwiggin Also I need to get a bag of M&Ms so that I can give one individual M&M each to any jerk teenagers who show up all mean and out of costume. Thanks for stopping by.


@frigwiggin Actually, speaking of candy, does anybody have resources for affordable/ethical chocolate that can be bought en mass for Halloween? I know the candy industry is pretty fucked, and you can't give out homemade candy without people thinking you're a mass murderer, and if you just give out fruit or pencils kids hate you. Sooooooo, I dunno.


@frigwiggin I haven't looked into buying them, so they might be expensive, but Endangered Species chocolates are fair trade and they donate 10% of profits to charities.


@SarahP Oh, thanks! Their bulk price looks like $45 for 160 pieces (not counting whatever they charge for shipping). I'll have to look around and see if that's standard...


@frigwiggin Also check out Lake Champlain chocolates. Individual pieces tend to cost about the same as Endangered Species ones in line at the health food store, and I'm pretty sure they're also fair trade!


@SarahP What I'm saying is that basically I eat a lot of bite-sized chocolate. But at least I like to buy fair trade!


@SarahP Thank you again for the suggestions! I looked around a little and I also found this cool website, the Natural Candy Store, that has a bunch of stuff and which ships from like an hour away from my house. I think I'm going to get these lollipops! Along with some undetermined chocolate, like Endangered Species or something, so that I have a mix.


@frigwiggin Ooo! My parents have a health food store and have a secret stash of those that they hide behind the counter to offer to well-behaved children. Kids love them! (Also they're pretty much everything-free, so great for kids with food allergies.)


A few years ago, I went as a witch and my husband was a Christian fundie wearing a sandwich board decrying witches.

We were an interfaith couple.


@MmeLibrarian My husband wore my dad's old priest's cassock one year and I went as his mistress in fishnets, a black 60s dress, and pearls. It worked because we didn't know anyone else at the party and stood next to each other all night.


(God, I'm just clogging up the bottom of the comments here.)

This isn't Halloween-related, but all through high school and college my best friends and I would go to FanimeCon, the closest local large anime convention, each year. One year the three of us (plus a couple other friends) decided to dress up as slutty Pokemon--one friend was Vulpix, one friend was Cubone, and I was Goldeen. I had a biiiiiiig orange and yellow wig with a styrene horn in it, a white bikini top, the teeniest little white skirt, shiny tights, giant white stripper platforms that made me like six feet tall, orange lipstick, orange and yellow designs painted on my body, and a layered tail thing I made myself out of orange and yellow and white tulle. I think I got more attention that convention than any of the other ones combined, when I normally wore really obscure and unsexy costumes. People mostly thought I was Rapidash, though, which pissed me off. I feel a little embarrassed now, but not very. I wonder if I can find pictures...


@frigwiggin Oh lord I hope you can find photos. You might even be able to justify posting them to Pin Pets ;)


In middle school I always had obscure costumes of characters from my favorite books (see: Aerin from Hero and the Crown) and no one ever understood what I was. My glowing blue sword was mistaken for a light saber.


@schrodingers_cat But in high school I had nerdy friends who dressed up as the Four Horsemen Good Omens-style, and we rocked it.


@schrodingers_cat The last time I went trick or treating before aging out of it, I went as Morgaine from the Mists of Avalon. NO ONE got that one, unsurprisingly.


@MilesofMountains My mother and I made me a Nimue(Nyneve) ELABORATE medieval velour and brocade gown that I wore both as a costume to halloweens in high school and to renaissance faires. Nobody ever really got it. Though my dad did take a ridiculous portrait of me wearing the dress and holding flower chains with some violently indiscriminate soft focus and it's in their hutch-o-photos at home and hilarious.


@schrodingers_cat My friends and I once dressed up as the Four Horsemen, Good Omens-style, but it wasn't for Halloween. We just walked around the girl who's house we were at's suburban neighborhood for a while at like 2 in the morning.

Also, when I was 11, my bff, her little sister, and myself dressed up as The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and NO ONE got it, which made sense because how the hell are you supposed to dress up as a wardrobe? The little sister got stuck with that one, obviously.

El Grande Fluffio

@sophi et al. In the nobody got it vein, in college I dressed up as Pippi Longstocking, by unfurling a hanger, bobbypinning it to my head and braiding my hair in two pigtails along it so that they stuck straight out. (Stole the idea from my sister, who as an actual redhead might have pulled it off better). Then I sprayed my hair orange, put on a dress and some stripy tights.
I had to work that Halloween as a hostess at a bar, and every single person who came in said "Wendy! The hamburger girl, right?" And I frowned and said no! Until the 86th time when I just said yes. And then my night was made by the hot Swedish guy ( who I already knew and had a slight crush on), who came in the bar just before closing, grinned, yelled PIPPI LANGSTRUMP! and kissed my cheek.


@El Grande Fluffio That is awesome. My sister dressed as Pippi once, but she was in elementary school, so no hot Swedish guys.


@Jolie Kerr, no one ever says, "If you want to dress like a gore be-spattered ghoul you should just own that and not use Halloween as an "excuse" to do so." Just proof that the anti skimpy costume brigade are Puritanical Misogynists. My body(parts) my self! (insert evil cackling laughter)


I threw my back out a couple days before our Halloween festivities senior year of college, and thus had some pretty sweet painkillers and muscle relaxers at my disposal. "Oh, I can drink while taking these, no big deal. Just not a ton."

Cut to me dressed as Slutty Tinkerbell, dangling by my fishnets from the top of a chain-link fence. Turns out peeing in the backyard of a random house and then using an empty pony keg (thoughtfully provided by my friends from across the fence) as a stepstool is not the greatest of ideas when one is a bit....out of it, shall we say.

I eventually fell down and then later burned a cigarette hole in my fairy wings, because I am nothing but class.

Dog Ballou

@reebs14 "burned a cigarette hole in my fairy wings."

I think maybe like 5 fairies just died somewhere.

(That is hysterical)


I was a drag queen one year! All the purple spangles, fishnets, big silver heels, and a HUGE STUFFED PACKAGE in the tights. Spent the night grinding up on groder dudes who had done the same to me at parties, and most of them got pretty mad.


@remargaret I really appreciate this meta/genderbending take on the ubiquitous "dress up in something sparkly &/or slutty" theory of Halloween.

superfluous consonants

GAH, what should i be for halloween?! normally i go as something halfhearted i dig out of my closet, even though i *HEART* candy and horror movies and aggressively weird things. this year, though, mr. superfluous consonants is going as Philip J. Fry, and even bought a red jacket and everything, and is going to be flawless, and i don't want to look completely tragic next to him. i have glasses and no contacts, though, so Leela is sort of out. thoughts for a short, bespeckled brunette? Daria is the obvious choice, but i was hoping for something slightly less easy/dated? thoughts, genius ladies?

Carrie Ann

@superfluous consonants There's always Velma, in the world of cute, short, bespeckled brunettes!


@superfluous consonants Aw, but Daria is so great! Bonus points if you can really get into the role (and/or get a Jane who can carry around a cow skull all night).


@superfluous consonants That is exactly how I feel about Halloween! I am crazy about everything Halloween except for the dressing up.


@superfluous consonants re: Leela, I also assume that you're not a cyclops, although perhaps that is presumptuous of me?

my other thought is that you could go as Seymour, but then you run the risk of making everyone cry. (also you'd have to be dressed as a dog.)

Maja D.@twitter

@superfluous consonants You could go as Amy, and just wear a pink tracksuit and be kind of a jerk?

Ten Thousand Buckets

@superfluous consonants Get an eyepatch. Glue a googly eye to it (or draw a weird looking eye on) and be Leela from the plastic surgery episode. Sigh exhaustedly at anyone who mentions the glasses.

Your depth perception will be shot, but that will just make you more authentic.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

One year I dressed as The Walk of Shame, with my skirt askew, a man's shirt mis-buttoned, freshly fucked hair, smudgy make-up, painted on hickies, mismatched shoes, a thong in my shirt pocket, and a condom wrapper pinned to my ass. I stayed in character all night, just sort of walking in the background of pictures and pretending not to know how to get home. It was amazing.

This year, I'm tying a bunch of kitchen whisks to me and going as "Whisk-y."


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I really wish I hadn't laughed at "whisk-y" as hard as I did.

The Lady of Shalott

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose That is so amazing I want to steal it for this year. The Walk of Shame, not Whisk-y, which is awesome but I own no whisks.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@The Lady of Shalott It's a pretty easy costume to throw together at the last minute. I only own a few whisks, but am headed to the Dollar Store to buy some cheap ones.


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Thrift them whisks!


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose
Ah! One year in college I needed a last minute costume and I went as "The Morning After". I just effed up my hair a lot, safety pinned a sheet wrapped around me, and smudged my makeup a little bit. I also carried around a paper coffee cup which was convenient to put all of my drinks in! The only downside was that all of my friends took the liberty of giving my lipstick kiss marks and/or hickies on my neck and chest all night so the next morning I.... actually looked like the Morning After.


I enjoy trampy Halloween costumes too, Jolie.

(also, I'll be the 108th person to say this whole advent calendar idea is. awesome.)

raised amongst catalogs

So, I used the Twitter account The Everpresent Wordsnatcher & I share to post a photo taken on the day of the Halloween story I told waaaaaaay up yonder on this page. I am the bunny on the left, with the weirdly protruding ribs. Tummy full of excitement and joy, would be my guess.



A couple of years ago, I brought my new boyfriend to a party full of my friends, to meet them for the time. I had NO idea what to dress up as, because I never know what to dress up as when it's actual Hallowe'en time, although the rest of the year I seem to be an endless font for costume ideas (Murphy's law). Anyway, someone was like "I dunno just do that shit thing where you put 'sexy' in front of something? Like... sexy bear?" and I was like "Perfect." So I wore tight all brown clothes and high heeled boots and then a giant fur gilet my granny bought for me once in a sale being like "You'll wear it all through winter!" but of course I never did, so this was its first outing. Then I put ears on top of my head and painted a black nose on my face and then drank a lot and walked though a lot of very cold weather so my nose faded off and I took my ears off because I made them using a child's hairband and it huuurt. So THEN I arrive at the party, no nose or ears, new boyfriend in tow, I make my entrance and someone shouts "Oh my God! You came as a giant furry poo!" and for the rest of the night everyone was like "Ahhhhh I can't believe you came as a furry poo what were you thiiiinking" and my new boyfriend was like "seriously, though, your friends are mean". Now he is my ex boyfriend and my friends every Hallowe'en are like "Hmmm I dunno, I guess you could just wear the furry poo costume again?"


@drivebyfruiting i'm stifling my lols at work just at the term "furry poo"


The first time I got invited to a Halloween party in NYC, I happened to get the invitation right before I flew home for a wedding. So, knowing I needed a costume, my mom and I dug through my stash of old dance recital costumes until finding the gingham skirt and satin cowgirl vest I'd worn to dance to Rodeo. All I did was buy a cheap straw cowboy hat and a $5 belt, and add a white button up shirt and brown boots I already owned. At the party everyone made a huge fuss over how "detailed" my costume was and I ended up winning a prize in the costume contest. Now I have a reputation among my NYC friends for great costumes and it's mostly based off of an outfit I barely made an effort on.


I got a Haircut of Shame the day after a Halloween party while still dressed as a cowboy.


The picture of my sister crying in her unicorn costume is priceless.

(Unicorn costume being white, full body, over the head spandex unitard with a horn stuck on the top and a pink yarn tail; and probably some shiny star detailing).

I always made costumes that needed a lot of explanation from piles of our great aunts and grandmothers' old clothes and stuff in the garage or purchased at party depot. When I was 11 or 12 I was Carmen Miranda at the church "harvest festival."


One Halloween I made out with a dude dressed as Little Green Man in a skin tight body suit, who claimed he was a "grower and not a shower." Then, when we moved to the bedroom he asked if he could "slip it in." I said no because WHAT?!

Mad as a Hatter!

When I was four my mother dressed me up as Snow White. I was pretty pissed though because she wouldn't let me wear "pretty shoes", since we'd be walking around the neighborhood. Tennis shoes just do not go with a princess outfit! Two years ago I was Slutty Snow White. Take that, Mom!


@Mad as a Hatter! but were your shoes pretty?

(also, I have a friend whose gross theory is that "I hate you, Daddy" is the "sexiest" phrase a woman can utter. I feel like "take that, Mom" is its more well-adjusted cousin.)

Mad as a Hatter!

@nonvolleyball They were pretty high heels that, incidentally, hurt like hell after walking around the whole night. Just can't win.

And "I hate you, Daddy" is completely unsexy!


Um, yes? Lucy Danziger is a cautionary tale!!


One of my high school friends is now an awesome full-bore cosplayer who whips up amazing jumpsuits and detailed Sailor Moon outfits. But I remember going trick-or-treating in eighth grade when she was Cloud Strife and spiked her hair with gelatin and carried around a giant sword her dad made for her... out of WOOD. Dragging that thing around the back roads took DEDICATION.


Oh my. I just re-lived some of my halloween moments, which always end in weird hookup-y moments. The time I wore my friend's hippie skirt for a gypsy costume and forgot to take it off. The time I dressed up as 'rich' and left with the wrong date, who was dressed as 'I shaved my head this morning'. The time I snuck in an entire bottle of wild turkey in a guy's kangaroo pouch, and my friend vomited behind the dance floor. The time I woke up in a strange bed with the vintage dress I wore the night before (which happened to be too small when I lifted my arms),split open and with various buttons missing, even though the evening had been chaste.


My parents met at a college Halloween party. (They've been divorced since I was maybe 2 or 3, for the record.) The only really good thing about the story is that each time I ask my dad about it, he tells me something different about what he was wearing, like he was painted white and blue as some sort of reference to flag semaphore, or he was carrying around a puppet that said crude things to people all night. When I asked my mom for clarification, her response was, "What? No, he wasn't wearing a costume at all, just a Hawaiian t-shirt." Oh, Dad.


Also, I'm going as an unconverted warehouse now, thanks.

Betsy Murgatroyd

When I was a young girl, I was really invested in AWANA (a church youth group). Instead of Halloween (Satanic, natch) we had a dress up as your favorite Thanksgiving food contest. My mother covered me in boxes and put a huge piece of brown tapestry fabric over me.
I was a turkey leg.
I didn't win.


@Betsy Murgatroyd that contest sounds awesome. I cannot imagine anyone else's costumes were much better, although I bet it would be fun to dress up like mashed potatoes with cranberries mixed in

Betsy Murgatroyd

@KeLynn The girl who did win dressed up as a live turkey. It was a pretty awesome costume. She wore a brown leotard and this big cardboard fan on her backside with paper feathers taped to it.


Oh man Thyra, I had the same thing happen to me in the fourth grade. I was WAY into Laura Ingalls Wilder/anything historical and my mother made me a prairie girl costume, complete with a bonnet and bloomers. When I debuted at school in the face of scary and princess costumes from the store I was mortified.

But a fun story! In college we would have a concert every year in the student center, and my roommate and I smuggled beer into it by putting cans of Pabst into a six-pack holder, and filling the top with candy.

Adult Footie Pajamas

One year the ex and I were sharks, and we went to a bar and played pool all night. Hence, "Pool Sharks." We won 2nd place.


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