Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Just another witch costume

Today's outfit is one of those last-minute projects that started out simple and just kind of snowballed into a fairly elaborate costume.

Normally, if Halloween falls on a workday, I wear one of my two Halloween-themed graphic T-shirts and call it a day. I was planning to do nothing more than that this year, when a marketing email from Etsy (yesterday, the day before Halloween) got me to thinking about Halloween hats. For many years, I have been toying with the idea of buying a witch's hat, which I was sure I could deck out in all kinds of embellishments to make a fun centerpiece of a witch costume. So far, the cost (even for post-Halloween sale hats!) has been prohibitive. But the offerings on Etsy, combined with my recent positive experience making a fascinator, reminded me that a hat doesn't need to be full-sized to be effective. The T-shirt I was planning to wear had a fairly witchy theme. Could I make myself a mini witch hat to go with it, in one evening, from things lying around the house?

I thought on it for a while. Did I have any cone-shaped objects? Did I have any fabric stiff enough to form into a pointy hat and brim? All of a sudden, I knew what I would use—and it was perfect!  I had recently refashioned a pair of boots into shoes. I had almost thrown away the boot shafts I had removed, but had decided instead to keep them, thinking I might use the faux leather to embellish other shoes. The semi-glossy purple pleather boot shafts would almost certainly be perfect for making into a tiny witch hat!

No sooner had I had that idea, than I received an email from my office manager, announcing that anyone not in costume the next day would be fined five dollars! Well, I like to dress up, but I don't like being forced to dress up, so I was a little miffed...but then I realized that if everyone in the office was dressing up, I wouldn't look too out of place if I wore a real costume instead of just a token graphic tee and a headband. So I could afford to go all-out.

Maybe I'd pair my graphic tee with that raggedy-hem skirt that would look equally appropriate on a pirate or a witch. Maybe I'd wear my black-and-white striped knee socks and – oh! – perhaps the very same shoes that had sourced the material for my future hat! I wasn't quite finished converting them from boots into shoes, but I thought I could get it done in one evening, and they were quite the witchy looking shoe...it's something about giant buckles.

Well, I hadn't followed that train of thought very far, when it led me to another thought: If my outfit had already morphed from a casual ensemble to a proper costume, why bother with the T-shirt at all? Why not go more traditionally witchy from head to toe? It didn't take my thoughts long to alight on my black corset-laced dress. I'd had it for about three years, worn it in public about twice, and was presently trying to sell it. While its dramatically gothic look had never been very versatile in my wardrobe, I'd thought it would sell in no time flat as a Halloween costume...but it hadn't. It was the day before Halloween, and my poor dress hadn't even had an offer or comment. I guessed I'd take it off the market and wear it instead.

So when I got home, I had my work cut out for me: I had to finish my shoes (basically find a way of fastening the buckle), create a mini-hat from scratch, and decide on any additional accessories. As you have probably guessed, I succeeded, but it took me right up until bedtime. In a future post, I'll share exactly how I turned my pair of falling-apart boots into a matched set of shoes and hat, but today, let's just focus on the costume.

The witch dress originally had black satin lacing, which was all well and good, but I figured I could take it up a notch into campy territory by replacing the black ribbon with orange. So I did.

My go-to motif for scary Halloween costumes is spiders. So I dug out my spider earrings (putting them on longer loops so they could be seen below my hair), my furry spider, and my elbow-length spiderweb arm warmers (all of which have been worn on previous Halloweens). I also wore my giant mesh choker, because it vaguely resembles a spiderweb, and chokers are classic Victorian-gothic attire. I also brought a large plush tarantula, to keep on my desk just for kicks.

In spite of our costume mandate, I was still the most dressed-up person at the office on Halloween, but I didn't mind, because my outrageous getup received enough compliments to make it worth the embarrassment of walking around all day in spaghetti straps and a pointy hat.

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