Saturday, October 15, 2011

Favorite Halloween Costumes by Alison Henderson



I don’t remember many of the costumes I wore as a child, but one stands out—the turquoise fringed cowgirl outfit I received when I was five. In the late ‘50’s and early 60’s, Westerns filled the television screens of America, and I loved every one I was allowed to watch. I still remember perching on the red leather ottoman in my grandmother’s den every Saturday morning with my brother and sister watching Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and Trigger. I also loved the Lone Ranger, Zorro, Paladin, Bonanza—well, you get the idea.

My turquoise cowgirl outfit had white fringe on the skirt and vest, along with a couple of silver-colored conchos. Of course, I also had a pink cowgirl hat and a double holster with pistols. They might have been cap guns, but I wasn’t interested in the noise; I only cared about the look. And let me tell you, I had THE LOOK. I was Annie Oakley. I wore that costume as long as I could squeeze into it, which was many years because the skirt had a highly elasticized waist. My mother was obviously thinking ahead.

I had even more fun with costumes when my daughter was old enough for trick-or-treating. She’s a girl after my own heart, a born romantic—as evidenced by the fact that she dressed up as Scarlett O’Hara at age three! Like most girls in her generation, she went through her Disney Princess phase. I bought a Cinderella costume when she was in first grade, but the next year, when she wanted to be Jasmine from Aladdin, I decided to try sewing one. Minnesota is just too cold at the end of October for gauzy harem pants. The resulting costume was a resounding success and the first of many mom-created masterpieces.




My favorite (and I think hers, too) was the cream brocade Guinevere dress, complete with purple cape, that I made the last year she trick-or-treated with her friends in middle school. It had an elaborate bodice and long, fitted sleeves that ended in points outlined with gold trim on the top of her hands. I really pulled out all the stops. That dress still hangs in her closet more than ten years later, and I hope it brings back as many fond memories for her as it does for me.

6 comments:

Jannine Gallant said...

What great memories, Alison! I remember wearing one of my mom's old prom dresses from the 50's. Very glamorous! As for my girls, I am not handy with a sewing machine. But my mom is and sewed an adorible lion costume out of fake fur for Tara when she was two. Flimsy costumes don't cut it in Tahoe, either. LOL

Jerri Hines said...

You know I grew up in the rural South. I lived on a lone country rode with family. I can think of one time we dressed up for Halloween and went to three houses, my Grandmother's, aunt's and cousin's. I didn't realize what a big holiday it was until I had kids. Of course, I didn't even have MacDonald's until I was a senior in high school...

Barbara Edwards said...

I made the costumes for my kids , too. And we we're atlking about them last night. Warm memories are like a hug.
Barbara

Alyson Reuben said...

Good post, Alison! That brocade Guinevere gown sounds awesome! I just picture it in my mind.

I have to admit that most of my childhood costumes were store-bought. But I love making my daughter's costumes! Last year, she was Marie Antoinette, complete with a slash across her neck (head was whacked off) and a 1700's style gown.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Won't it be fun if your daughter keeps the dress long enough for her own daughter to wear?

Nancy Lynn Jarvis said...

I used to go crazy with Halloween costumes. I had one son who wanted to be Luke Skywalker in snow gear and not to be outdone, his brother wanted to be a Tauntaun. I also made an alligator, Indiana Jones, mosquito, fried egg...I could go on. My next door neighbor and good friend was more creative than I was. My favorite of hers was a two-headed fat lady that held two kids.

I opened my new mystery, The Widow's Walk League, with a description of some of the costumes seen on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz on Halloween night before and after a murder. Describing costumes in a book will have to do until I have grandchildren.