This year I put more effort and expense into my Halloween costume than ever before in my life. I got it in my head that I wanted an Edwardian or Victorian style costume, so I started idly searching online for a theatrical-quality one. I knew I'd be wearing it to perform with my band on Friday night, so it needed to be of sufficient quality to function as a comfortable, wearable garment.
Ebay had a lot of delightful options and I ordered a lovely one that consisted of a long, black coat with a black underskirt.
When the dress arrived, I tried it on and absolutely loved it, but the underskirt was so long that I had no choice but to buy a hoop skirt to support it. Going to the weird costume shop was an adventure in and of itself, but I managed to come away with a reasonably-priced (read: cheap) hoop skirt. I only drew a little bit of blood threading and fastening the hoops.
I also searched online to find a suitable hat to go with my costume and soon found the perfect one. Seriously, I'm going to buy a hat box to store it in because this is a fabulous hat. It was a little too large, but I consulted the internets and it turns out that the universal solution for that problem is foam weatherstripping. I actually happened to have some on hand and, sure enough, it worked like a charm.
Somewhere along the line it occurred to me that I hadn't really decided what my costume was supposed to be. I asked one of my Facebook groups: suffragette or vampire? The consensus was that I should be both. That's when I made this sash:
Yes, the slogan is anachronistic, but it's worth it. Also: vampire. So, you know.
I watched YouTube videos to learn how to do vampire makeup and a period-appropriate hairstyle. My hair styling test went nicely but you couldn't appreciate any of my efforts once I put the hat on, so I decided not to worry about my hair. I cobbled together vampire-like makeup using cheap eye shadow and Halloween face paint mixed with my regular cosmetics. I happened to already have a tube of stage blood that had never been opened, so I drizzled some down from one corner of my mouth.
Because I knew in advance that I would be making myself up with pale makeup and I wanted to minimize the amount of skin coverage that would require, I decided that the final piece my costume needed was a high-necked blouse. I found the perfect one at a thrift store for less than $5. It was probably the cheapest part of the whole costume. It was made in England and couldn't have been more right for the outfit. A little soak in Oxiclean and a bit of ironing was all it took to make it work.
Unfortunately, the day I finally put all of the costume parts on at once, the sash proved to be the weak link. The letters kept coming off and I didn't have time to figure out a solution, so I ended up being a garden variety Victorian vampire after all.
I wore leggings and boots underneath for warmth, which was a good idea because it started raining about five minutes after this photo was taken. My band played outside under a tent and despite the presence of propane heaters, it was very damp and chilly. If we'd played indoors I might have been hot and sweaty, but my costume was pretty much perfect under the circumstances.
Since I now own a nice costume, I imagine I'll be wearing it repeatedly over the coming years. There are plenty of possibilities to vary the theme and I'm in favor of any that don't involve quite so much makeup because pale face paint isn't a particularly flattering look, despite the fact that my husband told me I looked too beautiful to be scary (thanks, honey!).