When I was a child I loved Halloween costumes so much that I turned my January birthday parties into a second yearly opportunity to dress up with themed costume parties for years & years in a row. I think my best was the time travel party. I was 10, or maybe 11, and made a “suit of armor” from aluminum foil. I repeated that theme — but not that costume — one of Halloween after college. That time, I was a barefoot, medieval troubadour with flowers in my hair — the perfect clothes for meeting a gorgeous Viking. (But since this is a Halloween costume post and not a romantic reminiscence, I’ll skip the rest of that story.)
I live in a part of New York City that can be described as HALLOWEEN CENTRAL. The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade began as a bit of local fun in 1974 and is now a huge annual extravaganza. You don’t have to march in it, or even watch from the sidelines as it goes by, to experience the intensity of costume mania in this part of the city — Chelsea, Union Square, the East & West Village are dressed up to scare, intrigue, inspire and sometimes to annoy everyone on the street and in the bars, cafes, shops and clubs.
The super in my building bears a striking resemblance to the young Fidel Castro and for many years he wore a Castro costume to great acclaim — including photos in the New York Post. Of course his appearance at my party one year took a turn for the dark side when a Cuban-American friend nearly fainted. I’d met her in a dance class and didn’t know her back-story (one worthy of a novel).
Creating a costume I can dance in has become my principle Halloween challenge. (I’m already known in my building for leaving a basket of high-quality treats hanging on my apartment door.) I will admit that the multiple legs of my spider woman (made of black satin, full-length gloves stuffed with paper and attached to the back of my spider-web, lace dress) made dancing Tango a little too difficult — there was no place for my partner to put his arm around me. LOL!
That, and the frantic shedding of bits & pieces of my cat costume during a Zumba class at the gym, has convinced me to only wear dance-centric costumes. Last year, I was the Bride of Frankenstein. I wove two stripes of white, curly ribbon through my naturally curly hair and took it from there. It was more conceptual than a replication of the wonderful Elsa Lanchester in her 1935 title role.
This year? I’m still not sure. But looking around this neighborhood I’m bound to be inspired. Creativity reigns and even if it rains on Halloween, nothing short of the Hurricane Sandy, has put a stop to Halloween in NYC — not even in October 2001 when the city needed to feel the familiar craziness of our local tradition. It’s costume time in the city!
Here’s a link to the history of the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade:
This post is part of the ParaYourNormal Hoodoo Halloween Blog Party!