October is one of my favorite months for many different reasons. The weather is starting to really cool down and the leaves are beginning to change to those vibrant oranges, yellows and reds that everyone loves to admire while both on the trees and on the sidewalks. Fire pits seem to give off an extra special something when people are burning them and the smokey wafts on the air is a trademark of October. All of my spooky favorites are back on Netflix for binge-watching after work curled up in a snuggly sweater that had been locked away for the last handful of months. October is also – for me – the beginning of the holiday season, because Halloween is a chance to shine when it comes to creativity (and we all know I love a good dress-to-impress get-together as well as a chance to get my hands on some fun arts and crafts projects).
As a child during the month of October, my parents put me on a Halloween float with the neighborhood kids that trooped around the town center as we threw candy to passer’s-by and those who lined up to see the parade. I can remember the costumes I showcased on that hay bail float – from Dorothy (with a stuffed animal likeness of Toto in my basket) to a cheerleader to a penguin (which many people mistook for a skunk even though my mother put in the hours to create adorable webbed orange feet). I would go trick-or-treating with my younger sister under the watchful eye of my father around our neighborhood circle when I was younger, and with my sister and a few friends once we were old enough. My mother always went the extra mile during Halloween time, stretching spider webbing across the entire face of my childhood home, putting scary figures in the windows and playing spooky music to really set the mood. My neighborhood often put on a Haunted Forest the week or so before Halloween where all the neighborhood kids set up a station throughout the wooded path through the middle of our community. I was always the first station (The Witches’ Brew) with my childhood best friend. We handed out spooky treats like Cauldron Cakes and Monster Eyes for people to nibble on as they explored the woods. I have extremely fond memories of October.
I have carried my love of Halloween and October with me each year, and each year I find ways to make the month special. I’ve posted a couple of photos of my witch doll, Pennywort – created by Vermont artist Amy Felske – before, and I even got into the holiday spirit with my choice of cabernet. Now that I’ve left my teens and young twenties behind, I’ve also tried to leave behind the cheap plastics that can be found in all types of spooky forms around this time of year. No plastic cauldrons, instead, glass beverage dispensers or pitchers filled with sangria. No more glittery plastic pumpkin decorations, instead, gourds and mini pumpkins from the local co-op. When it comes to Halloween (and the following holidays), I don’t play in the minor leagues anymore. I want to be as opulent, grandiose, and fabulous as my parents made Halloween for my sister and I as children.
So when Sawyer told me he didn’t have any ideas as to what he wanted to dress up as for Halloween this year, I immediately went to the drawing board. Last year, we teamed up to become a steampunk version of the Mad Hatter and Alice, so this year I thought a duo, or “couples” costume, was also a good idea. As a child, I adored Disney movies. My favorite of all these Disney movies – and I know this as fact, you can confirm with my mother – was Beauty & the Beast (so I can’t tell you how excited I am about the live-action version that’s coming out next year!), but a close second to that must have been 101 Dalmatians, because my fascination with Cruella De Vil has been, seemingly, life-long. You could not believe how excited I was to find out that faux fur is back in fashion for the fall!
“I’m going to be Cruella de Vil and you’ll be a dalmatian!” I told him animatedly. While he wasn’t thrilled about the idea to begin with, I think it’s been growing on him. He has been interested in all the thoughtfulness I’ve been putting into the items I’ll be utilizing in my costume.
How is your Halloween simple, then? you may ask. Well, not only have I cut down on the trash output I create by reusing beautiful decorations year after year rather than buying new plastic ones each season, but I also try to create costumes from clothing and accessories I already own the majority of. When buying Halloween costume goodies, I tend toward locally owned thrift stores and independent markets, as well as supporting artists who hand-crafted their items like so many wonderful people with Etsy shops (I am an Etsy fanatic when it comes to hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind decor and accessories).
To keep my costume simple, I try to stick to items that will live up to more than one wear. If I’m only going to wear a spandex catsuit for Halloween, there is no need to purchase it. To emulate Cruella’s trademark black and white hairstyle, I am thinking of wearing a black feather hairpiece and pulling the rest of my hair to one side. A fashion-forward LBD (little black dress)? No problem, I’ll look in my closet. It is part of the fun to use what I already have to create something eccentric, unique, and electrifying for the occasion.
I know I’ve been hitting you all over the head with this Reduce Reuse Recycle mantra, but it truly does create and maintain a simpler, more thoughtful lifestyle. I have not felt hampered at all when it comes to more extravagant occasions. The thought you put into styling your space for a get together is more important than them money you could spent to create a quick set up.
I would love to hear stories of Halloween get-togethers past or costume ideas and successes! Please do comment here, it would definitely get the creative juices flowing for all of us as this wonderful holiday approaches.