Friday, October 07, 2011

Halloween: Oh How I Love Thee, Part the First; My Costume!

This year my new ch√Ęteau will be host to Halloween!

October is the best for oh-so-many reasons, and Halloween is my list topper. I love this holiday. If it were a human, I'd be seriously inclined to marry it. At the very least we'd go out on a few dates. See how the chemistry worked out.

This post is a warning, beware and heads-up: I'll be re-entering the blogging world with a superfluity of Halloweeny party planning.

This post is also a discussion about, rant upon and general headdesking about women's Halloween costumes.1

Here is what I wanted to be for Halloween: a Roman centurion.
Guess what type of costumes I found for a grown woman Roman centurion?


I believe the photograph, with it's ability to speak one thousand words, explains why I have not chosen this pre-fab.

With limited time and sewing skills, I didn't feel up to the task for doing any of the following:
-buying this.... costume.... and altering it to suit my tastes
-buying either a men's costume pattern or boy's costume pattern and modifying it to fit me
-searching (perhaps fruitlessly) for bits and pieces to toss together and hobble up my own no-sew version of a Roman centurion

And so, off to the fabric store I went, fingers crossed that somehow it would have a women's Roman centurion pattern that... suited my tastes... which the internet did not.

Lo, and to my everlasting non-shock, it did not.

But what the fabric store did have was an array of lovely historical dress patterns. Being a history nerd, I couldn't resist, and purchased Butterick's B4827 Misses Medieval Dress pattern.


Of course, I couldn't go as just any well-to-do medieval woman: I'm going as Eleanor of Aquitaine!

Boo yeah!

This costume suits my many costume guidelines:
-will keep me reasonably warm on what will obviously be a chilly October evening
-allows for freedom of movement (this guideline unfortunately rules out tons of kickass costumes)
-does not require any sort of thick face paint
-also, does not require a mask (clashes with the glasses. Glasses cancel out masks. I choose my ability to see over costume)

So, anachronistic as it shall be, I'll be a plastic-frame bespectacled Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Next time: costume sewing success (or failure. And if it's a failure, I promise it'll be a hilarious one.)
1 Wooo! Feminism post!
Yes yes, it's all very personal-as-political, but everyone has their bugbears, and sexualized Halloween costumes happen to fall in the category of things that yank my chain.
It highlights the masquerade parade that is acceptable "femininity" in this culture that women, when given the opportunity to dress up, are assumed to
want to have every single costume choice be highly sexualized.
Even when you can find a costume for an adult female (and disturbingly, even for teenage girls and
pre-teens!) that isn't by it's nature very sexual, it is morphed into a sexualized piece of women-hating garbage.
Want to be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz? Be prepared to raise that hemline and expose some breast! For dog's sake, Dorothy was a little girl.
And, think there's a limit to what can be sexualized?
A few years ago a friend of mine saw a woman dressed up as a sexy Ninja Turtle.
End Rant.


Katie said...

Oh, the sexy halloween costume! A ridiculous pastime. When I was in college (at a big 10 university), I got so sick of it I started making up "inappropriately sexy" halloween costumes - along the lines of sexy carmelite nun, sexy Nixon, sexy squirrel, etc. Last year, we hosted a party with the theme "Inappropriately Sexy Costumes," and encouraged women AND men to arrive in the sexy versions of the least sexy personality they could think of - we had sexy Socrates, sexy dinos, Baberham Lincoln, & sexy Charlie Brown! I say - change starts with a big dose of humor!

Also - I love that dress and have been eying that pattern for years. Good luck, can't wait to see how it turns out!

Anonymous said...

Ooh, you bought that pattern!! (I'll have to ask you what size you bought and then maybe steal it off of you if you'd let me, haha)

Once, several years ago when looking for a halloween costume in the store, I came across one for an early-teens that was literally called "Jail Bait". It lived up to its name. D:

darlene mcleod said...

Sexy Ninja turtle?! My word, that's insane. Eleanor of Aquitane is an awesome costume idea: I can't wait to see how it turns out!

Anonymous said...

That medieval dress pattern is pretty aweome, and reignites my idea to be Sarah from Labyrinth (from the beginning of the movie) one of these years.

Anonymous said...

GORGEOUS! (and I agree 810% with your rant)

kingshearte said...

If I had to guess, and try to figure out how Halloween turned into the excuse-to-dress-as-provocatively-as-possible holiday, here's my theory:

Once upon a time, kids dressed up, and there weren't a great deal of options for adults, aside from making their own, which not everyone has the wherewithal/inclination to do. One set of options that might have been available was fetish costumes, made by purveyors of lingerie and such. Lacking other options, and perhaps even thinking it was all just plain funny, women started buying these things, an industry was born, and Halloween became the afore-mentioned excuse-to-dress-etc. holiday.

Also, that dress is super awesome, and now I kind of want one. Can't wait to see yours.

Kathleen Dames said...

Love it! I think my somewhat anti-Halloween for grown-ups feeling is directly related to this crazy sexualization of women's costumes (and girls'). Best of luck with your costume - I'm sure it will turn out beautifully!

Hilary said...

I SO agree with you! The sexification of ladies Halloween costumes irks me so much. I understand "cute" versions of things (I saw a group of girls as Ninja Turtles once, wearing homemade outfits that included green tank dresses that were totally tasteful and looked adorable without being overtly "sexy"), but most of what's out there is just insane. I can't wait to see your costume...and hear more about your Halloween crafty fun!