My costumes, through the ages, have been magical windows into my mind. I remember Raggedy Ann, once. I think that was more a window into my mom’s mind. There was She-Ra – the old school vinyl jumper and hard plastic mask with uncomfortable eye holes. There was a bride, once, a thrift store bridal gown stripped down to child size by a madwoman with a sewing machine. There was a gangster who lost the costume contest to a bumble bee – which was a little ironic because a year or two before I’d warn the same stupid bumblebee costume and didn’t win shit. Wore the wings from that for weeks.
Then a ballerina. I still remember the scratch of the silver sequins rimming my tutu. Then Betty Business Woman – that was a weird one. And then Halloween went straight to hell.
It was middle school, of course. 6th grade. We were talking Halloween costumes and Crystal said she was going as a French maid. Bambi was going to be a sexy cat. And the girls toppled like dominoes. 6th graders. Stick skinny little middle schoolers moving from prioritizing candy and fear to making the boys walk funny. 6th graders trick or treating in “haunted” trailer parks. Being my mother’s daughter, I was sure they’d never be seen or heard from again. So. Many. Perverts.
I went as a zombie car-hop that year so I could wear roller skates and hit more houses in half the time. Because candy, my friend. I was what you might call a late bloomer. Or what some would call a never-bloomer. Highly resistant to blooming. Like a cactus.
But then, in my mid-twenties, I finally copped on. I was cute, single, and working as a hostess at a restaurant that was embracing Halloween for staff. My BFF suggested that we go as can-can girls, because Moulin Rouge. That way we could finally wear the corsets we’d bought in a moment of insanity. Sounds great! I said. I was finally going to do sexy Halloween and it was going to be awesome. I might even dance on the bar – because that’s a thing you do in your twenties when the opportunity presents.
I repurposed a burgandy bridesmaid dress and some scarves and hot glue to build a poorly researched 1880ish dress. I laced myself into the nearly impossible contraption/corset situation and pulled on some fishnet hose. Then I spent a good hour and three latex gloves to create a massive flesh wound right across my chest where some lousy Jack the Ripper copycat with limited surgical skills had cut out my heart.
Also, some defensive wounds on my forearms, because I watched too much CSI. And a head wound dripping sticky blood down my pale, bruised face. In case the gaping chest thing wasn’t gross enough.
Sexy AF, y’all.