On Costuming

My friend Erin and I met, through mutual friends, at a roller derby bout. I’m usually terrible at remembering names/faces, but Erin’s hair was such a luminous, platinum blonde, that I was able to pick her out from the crowd of people I’d met that night when we all met up at a bar post-bout. And, unlike most people who meet briefly at a single social event, she remembered me, as well. When Erin hosted a Mary Kay party to support a coworker, I attended. In fact, Megan and I went together, dressed in our Tupperware Party best.

We made an impression that night.

Not too long later, Erin asked if I would like to accompany her on some Halloween shopping. It was probably late August or early September, so that sounded like a great idea to me. I didn’t know that “normal” people thought that was perhaps a little early. We spent all day driving around and shopping. Michael’s, Flossie McGrew’s, the wig boutique on the 16th Street Mall, one of those temporary Halloween stores, which was still setting out boxes. All day. And we only stopped because we didn’t want to worry Erin’s husband.

We clicked.

In the realm of people I’ve been friends with in my life, I have always been the costumiest. And while I’d known Megan and Joe for a few years before they introduced me to Erin, I somehow had never attended a costume function with them. I Didn’t Know. Now, out of the four of us, I am probably the least costumiest. I have grand ideas, but I cut corners. The three of them, however, spare no expense, cut no corners, and give up all sorts of activities for the sake of Creating. All of us insist on designing our own costumes. I did see Megan in a packaged costume ONCE, but I knew how much effort she had put into Joe’s costume that year, and it was totally understandable. We’re not unreasonable people.

When people ask me what our deal is, I have a hard time explaining it. I know that we love to get dressed up, but the four of us do that as frequently as possible. Dinner, cocktails, numerous parties during the year. Every event is an opportunity to polish up. Maybe it’s because we’re all designers, but for us, the beauty is in the actual creation, from our own hands, of a completely new person (place or thing). We get absorbed in the details. The illusion won’t fly if something is wrong. We’re not alone in our beliefs. Erica and Jeff joined us this year, making sure that Doctor Horrible’s weaponry was just right, and that Captain Hammer was so complete that he carried a wallet-size photo of Penny with him, lovingly signed on the back. Desha and Jon came as Bladerunner‘s Priss and Roy, and Jon was so bold as to bleach his hair and wax his chest for the role. In the world outside my own, Wil Wheaton mentioned on Twitter, “In the Halloween section, Target tries to pass off what is CLEARLY an Orc Barbarian sword as a ‘Giant Ninja’ sword. I weep for the children.” And early on Saturday morning, Andy Ihnatko posted this to flickr. It’s everything I’ve wanted to say to people who want to join in the fun, but are intimidated (or lazy). Being written by Andy, it’s better than anything I could say. My geeky cyber-heroes, you are gods among men.

3 Replies to “On Costuming”

  1. I’ve often wondered the same thing. Why do we do it? I think you’re right about the creation… I think of my costumes as a fun excuse for me to be OCD and create something beautiful. I want people to see that side of me…It’s who I really am. Deep down, I’m an artist and a showman (showperson?) and I like people to see that. Also, I like any excuse to wear a wig! 🙂


  2. In our group of friends and family, we even do costumed weddings (ours was a 1939 movie premiere and we were married in the historic Oriental Theater in Denver). After a marathon spat of weddings with costumes and themes a friend invited us to their wedding. I asked what we should wear. I was told to wear whatever I wanted. I asked for clarification, “What’s the THEME?” The friend just blinked in confusion. That’s when I realized some people just don’t know how to throw a party!


  3. 5 hours painting on temporary tattoos and I don’t even get an honorable mention… guess I’ll have spend *more* time next year on my costume. Can you say full body paint?


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