Work Halloween Costumes Can Benefit Employees and Charities

When I started my current job in 2007, I jumped at the opportunity to dress up for Halloween. We couldn’t dress up that year due to a move, but in 2008, we rocked it.

You see, I worked at a grocery store for almost 11 years and couldn’t dress up. You can’t stock shelves or gather buggies when you’re wearing a dress and heels. And you definitely don’t want to wear a mask or wig, because they are uncomfortable and you risk customers doing the same. There’s a safety issue there, too.

Work costumes can be a great way to have friendly competition, get people together who normally don’t chat, and contests can be an effective way to raise money for a good cause. It’s one day a year. If you have a “holiday” party where you expect people to dress up, why not allow the same thing for Halloween?

Mrs. Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction with a scaracrow and Twister
2008: My Mrs. Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction (and my lovely co-workers at the time). I had everything for this costume at home and only had to buy the wig. Those are my real nails, and I turned a lot of heads that year with them. Even proofreaders have an edge!
School-girl witch from The Craft
2009: A school-girl witch inspired by The Craft. This was just fun, and how often can you rock the school-girl look?! I had every piece and put it together the night before. It was one of my most comfortable costumes, and I loved every second.
2009: Same year. My awesome co-worker came as Carrie, and we took some fun pics for our photographer. We didn't plan the costumes, which was even better because we paired up and tied for best team costume that year.
2009: Same year. My awesome co-worker came as Carrie, and we took some fun pics for our photographer. We didn’t plan the costumes, which was even better because we paired up and tied for best team costume that year.
2010: You should recognize the dress from my first post. In this instance, I was a witch and bought a hat. Once again, I have great co-workers who posed with me!
2010: You should recognize the dress from my first post. In this instance, I was a witch and bought a hat. Once again, I have great co-workers who posed with me!
2012: I was the only person who dressed up in 2011, but that didn't discourage me! The next year, we had a contest that raised money for United Way. This is me as Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter and the winner, the Madhatter from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. She earned that win, too!
2012: I was the only person who dressed up in 2011, but that didn’t discourage me! The next year, we had a contest that raised money for United Way. I had to buy the wig and corset belt, but I owned the other pieces. This is me as Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter and the winner, the Madhatter from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. She earned that win, too!

If you’re wondering if I’m dressing up this year, the answer is YES! I have something fun planned, and we’d love to hear your stories in the comments below! Happy Halloween shopping!

*All photos from Journal Communications, Inc.

Halloween Costumes: A Personal Retrospective Part 3

After an unusual costume drought during high school and college, I received the opportunity to re-visit one of my favorite childhood pastimes at work.

One year, my previous office put together a social committee that designed a bunch of activities for us all to participate in every year.  I never participated in any but one, the Halloween costume contest.

It was during this contest that I put to use all that I learned from watching my mom tailor-fit costumes to me and started doing this for myself.

This was fun because it created an entirely unique costume, and I prided myself on never buying costume parts; just weird odds and ends (many of which I strangely already owned) stuck together.  I pride myself on winning the contest (essentially, I was robbed the first year, I got “Most Realistic” that year, the costume that won was rented from a costume shop…that’s almost cheating in my opinion 😉  ) every year, even though once it was unofficial (they did a freakin’ chili cook-off instead, though some of us still dressed up) and was in a group one year.

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2008. Slash. This was my first “real” costume for work. I already owned all this stuff except the sunglasses and blue rag. Yep that’s my badass Tak Matsumoto Epiphone guitar. I got “Most Realistic” that year. Though many feel me and my good friend Ron who went as Jimi Hendrix should’ve won. The winner came as Ben Franklin. In a historical institution that got extra points. I admit it looked good but c’mon! Rented costume!
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Me as Slash. A co-worker Lauren as Tina Turner. And my good friend Ron as Jimi Hendrix. Ron and I didn’t coordinate these costumes. I came around the corner as Slash and ran into Jimi!

Che

2009. Che Guevara.  This was a no-frills costume for me.  I needed the green shirt and the beret.  It’s the only time I used a “costume” piece.  That cigar is fake.

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2010. Vlad the Impaler. This is my Piece de Resistance as far as I’m concerned, mostly because I made the red cloak and hat for this one. It’s a modified wizard outfit with fur trim. The emblem on the hat I got at a yard sale as a kid. I just happened to have the rest of this stuff, including the spear, sword, jacket, boots, etc.

PulpFiction  2011. Pulp Fiction.  My friend Ron (Jules in this photo) and my RevPub counterpart Raven talked me in to this one.  Ron came as Jules and I was Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction.  The only detail touch I did was to print the cover to Modesty Blaise and tape it to another book.  Another very good friend came as Mia Wallace.  The three of us won for best costume that year.  I really feel it IS one costume.  Ron was the star of this one, I ‘m more of a costume accessory.  Without Ron I’m just a dude in a suit!

JustV

2012. V for Vendetta.  This was my last costume at my previous job.  I don’t think there was a contest that year.  By this point, I’d already turned in my notice and was prepping for my new job.  This costume was one I always wanted to do (love this character), and I had the mask for years before I used it.  I recycled a lot of the Vlad costume for a lot of it.  It was fitting as not only was it a cool costume, but a good political statement for me to make about my feelings on my place of employment right before I said adieu

Halloween: A Family Experience

When you think of a family activity, what comes to mind? A week-long beach vacation? A trip to Disneyland? A weekend camping trip? The holidays?

Most people think of Thanksgiving and Christmas when they hear the term “the holidays”. But in my family, including my very close friends, the holidays start with Halloween — the best holiday of all. You don’t have to shop, fight the crowds, and no one is grumpy. What’s not to love?

This week, I’m focusing on the family aspect of Halloween and how you can gain quality time just by getting into costume and maybe trick-or-treating. It’s one night a year, and you can be anything you want!

We have years of memories dressing up together…

Death ninja, grim reaper, devil
2008: Our son was a death ninja, so I dressed up as a grim reaper and my husband dressed as the devil. He was brave enough to use face paint. Me not so much, so I used eyeshadow to give myself a more deathly look.
ninja family
My son went through a stage for about five years where he was nothing but a different type of ninja for Halloween. We truly embraced it in 2009 and all dressed as ninjas!
2010: I had three costumes that year for work and parties, so that night I decided to just dress festive for Halloween night.
2010: I had three costumes that year for work and parties (coming in later posts), so I decided to just dress festive for Halloween night. My son was a white dragon ninja, of course 😉
2010: Family reunion on Halloween. We had a coven of witches that year!
2010: Family reunion on Halloween. We had a coven of witches that year! I hope we can do that again because it certainly made the pictures more interesting, and everyone seemed to have fun!
2011: My witch dress, complete with boots. I actually wore this dress to my high school freshmen homecoming. A good dress can be worn for many occasions!
2011: My witch dress, complete with socks and boots. I actually wore this dress to my high school freshmen homecoming. A good dress can be worn for many occasions!
Here's my son's Scorpion ninja that complemented my witch.
My son’s Scorpion ninja that complemented my witch. It was also the last year of the ninja lol. Although, we’ll see this year…
2012: The first year we did our own thing lol. Mario, the grim reaper (inspired by the premiere of Lil' Horsemen) and Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter. Mario got all the attention that night, and somehow my son and I still managed to go dark lol.
2012: The first year we did our own thing lol. Mario, the grim reaper (inspired by the premiere of Lil’ Horsemen), and Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter. Mario received all the attention that night, and somehow my son and I still managed to go dark. Great minds think alike 🙂

Halloween Costumes: A Personal Retrospective Part 2

As the 90s broke, it seems we stopped going for the store-bought costumes, and I personally started wearing costumes my mom made.

While the idea of “homemade” costumes makes a lot of people think they’d be lesser quality than the store-bought stuff, I think the pictures below prove otherwise.

With a great combination of love for Halloween and masterful sewing skill, my mom provided me with the best costumes of my childhood.  Always perfectly complimenting whatever I was into at the time and giving me something wholly unique from all the other kids stalking the streets for candy.  Again I THINK they are mostly in order…

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Circa 1990. Michelangelo. Like most boys my age, I friggin’ LOVED Ninja Turtles. In fact, I still love Ninja Turtles. My mom made this one from a pattern I think she got at Hancock Fabrics where she worked. The “muscles” were all filled with poly-fill, as was the shell, so it was all plush. I played with the foam-covered plastic nunchucks for YEARS after this… This might be my favorite childhood costume. Ninja Turtles really impacted me, and this was the closest I got to being one. And look at how cool it is!
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Circa 1992. Grim Reaper. This character must be a theme in my life! I don’t recall how I decided on this one, but my mom liked it because it was just a big robe. It did look pretty cool though. Again, it was also HOT and required several breaks during trick-or-treating. Halloweens in Tennessee might be cool or might be as hot as August. I think this was one of those warmer years…
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Circa 1993. Batman Returns Batman. I distinctly remember this as being the Batman Returns costume because of the way the abs section was styled. This is the only picture I could come across of this costume, but it was by far the most awesome Batman costume ever. My mom sewed the whole thing out of vinyl pleather, which in addition to being a pain to sew also weighed a ton. The cape, mask, torso, all pleather. The additional side-effect was that it was like a sauna-suit, and I had to take breaks to air my head out periodically. Still, I remember hearing several times that year that it was by far the best Batman people had seen. And as usual…people saw a LOT of Batmen…
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Circa 1990. Ares. My Costumes weren’t JUST for Halloween. I was only going to include Halloween, but this was too cool not to put in. I went as Ares to Greek and Roman Day (at a Catholic School…which is weird now that I think of it). Again my mom made this and I put the shield together. The helmet looks way cooler than I remember.

Having my mom make costumes had a lasting impact.  Just going and buying a “vampire” costume was never good enough.  To me, anyone could do that.  I had more fun finding weird stuff to put together a unique kind of costume.  It might still be a vampire, but it would be MY vampire, not Rubie’s Costume Company’s.  The lasting impact of this would come back in my future costumes and will be seen in my next post!

Halloween: Little Costumes

It’s my favorite time of year. From Oct. 1 to Oct. 31, I watch horror movies, read ghost stories, and wait to jump out of my skin. My son, who does not care for the scare but loves Halloween, helps me get into costume and loves to dress up. He’s a teenager now, but he loves to go out one night a year and become someone (or thing) else.

That’s the beauty of costumes. Costumes transform you into something you can’t be every day. They allow us to explore our creative side and toss reality out the window, Whether you go cute, sexy, or fierce, something about dressing up frees our spirit. I also have a blast shopping with my family and friends to coordinate and pick the perfect costume.

Halloween doesn’t have to be “evil”. In fact, I witness vandalism and evil almost every day of the year, especially if I watch the news. People who enjoy the holiday the most have fun and get excited, and do their part to make it their own. It’s really no different from any other themed holiday, but if you play your cards right, there’s a lot more candy!

This week, we dug out the old pics and posted some of our best childhood costumes. Oddly enough, my pictures have yet to be found. But have no fear! My son was willing to help and allowed me to post some from his younger days. I promise, if/when mine turn up, I’ll post them 🙂

Picking up a pumpkin
Pre-costume but too cute not to post. A love for Halloween starts early.
Winnie the Pooh
I’m pretty sure this was the costume that year. A little Winnie the Pooh.
Vampire getting ready.
The next year, I was a vampiress and he was Blue from Blues Clues. What am I looking at? Look at the bottom of the pic, and you’ll see 🙂
Little Blue
Yep, that’s him! He was a little Blue 😉
Batman
A few years later: Batman Beyond and much less serious…

Be sure to check in this month, as we post more costumes and celebrate the awesomeness of the season!

 

Halloween Costumes: A Personal Retrospective

Fall is my favorite time of year.  The crisp air, just cool enough to be comfortable and maybe require a light jacket, but not the bitter frozen temperatures of winter.  The sound of dried, fallen leaves blown by the wind.  The strange orangey glow of an autumn sunset.  The smell of fall is indescribable, but one that is always one that is the most indelibly tied to memories of haunted houses, costume shopping, and playing with my Freddy glove replica.

I’ve love Halloween and since I was a kid. I always dressed up as something (minus about two years in high school and the four years of college).  I can’t remember them all, and there were a couple years where we had to skip trick-or-treating.  One notable incident occurred when I was 5 or 6.  Living in Las Vegas, it rained horribly and drowned out the annual Halloween excursion.  Instead, we rented Nightmare on Elm Street 1 & 3.  As a 5-6 year old, I was terrified and it had a lasting impact.  I mean I couldn’t even be safe ASLEEP according to that film!  I always credit that experience to my current stoicism.  I was scared of essentially everything for the next 2-3 years.  And have never really been scared since…

The times missing trick-or-treating were rare, however, and most of the time my sister and I went through the neighborhood, dressed as SOMETHING, collecting our bounty, and being scared by houses with good displays (one kid dressed as Jason, stood perfectly still, then ran after kids when they got close!).

Unusually, I never dressed up as monsters or anything scary.  I was always something fun or goofy.  In the 80s, it was all about fun.  Here are some classic 80s costumes from my Halloween past!  Some of them may be out of order, the dates weren’t always clear, but it’s mostly right!

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Circa 1984. I’m a pumpkin. I don’t remember the costume…but I DO remember that candy pail. Apparently I chose to coordinate to match that year. I loved that pail, but they never hold much candy.
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Circa 1985. Of all my lil kid costumes, I remember this robot the best. I have no idea why. Something about that gold mask…
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Circa 1986. My sister and I as matching skeletons! I remember seeing this same thing in the Karate Kid later. It was just a black shirt and pants with glow-in-the-dark bones on it. I used them as pajamas later. I remember now it had a skull mask that cut into your eye sockets…
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Circa 1987. I LOVED dinosaurs. In fact, I STILL love dinosaurs. I wore this costume to play dinosaur for a couple years after I wore it for Halloween.  Oh and, ahem, RAWR!
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Circa 1987 again. The dinosaur showing the foam plates on my head. My sister was a black cat that year!  As an aside, I LOVE the Real Ghostbusters loot bag.
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Circa 1988. I have to admit I have no idea what I am here. My mom doesn’t even remember. I’m apparently some kind of Halloween video game robot. That’s my best guess.
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Circa 1988.  These are my body-popping moves.
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Circa 1988. Just to show it had more weird stuff on the back.
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Circa 1989. I’m supposed to be the Joker here, but it might come off a little too regular clowny. I also remember I tried to use spray on hair dye that didn’t work because of my black hair.