Halloween Edition! Our 7 Most Memorable Costumes

It’s the Dismantle Halloween party! From superheroes to the produce aisle, this month our editors and some past contributors reminisce about our most memorable costumes.

Tyler Snazelle: Lydia Deetz

“I read through the handbook for the recently deceased. It says live people ignore the strange & unusual. I myself am strange and unusual.” -Lydia Deetz

An ode to Lydia Deetz. With a flair for the dramatic and morbid, her resistance and rebellion against her yuppie family was executed with panache. It takes time to individually gel your bangs into perfect, face-framing spider legs, and draft countless Sylvia Plath-worthy suicide notes. Friend of ghosts, ex-wife of Beetlejuice, you are one of the greats.

Jennifer Saxton: Batman

As a costume designer, I’ve conceptualized and/or built hundreds of costumes for others, played at the Middle Ages and Renaissance with the Society for Creative Anachronism, and done 19th century living history, but I’ve never outgrown my love of costumes of any variety. I still dress up for Halloween like the over-grown, over forty kid that I am.

My favorite Halloween costume of all time isn’t one I built. It’s the Batman
costume my mom made me when I was in second grade. My friend Nathan and I used to trade off playing Batman and Robin at recess, and I still remember how furious I was that girl underoos didn’t come in Batman. (How unfair is that?)

That year, I lobbied hard for a Batman costume. Mom was not an avid stitcher in those days, she was working hard at her job, and she was not a fan of Batman. (Holly Hobbie would have been more her thing.) As busy as she was, Mom stitched that costume for me out of Sew-Fro fabric and tee shirts, and to me, it was the best costume ever. Mom hasn’t always gotten me, but she’s always been in my corner.

André Falconer: Jack-o-Lantern

My favorite Halloween costume I’ve worn was a classic jack-o-lantern that came with a hat. I actually wore it multiple years consecutively because I loved it so much!​ I’ve said this so many times and I’ll say it again: I have never felt more sexy and free in my body than I felt when I wore that pumpkin outfit! Something about the proportions and length of it was perfect for me and gave me so much confidence! It’s weird I realize.

Editor’s Note: Andre did not have a picture, and this does not look like the costume he described. It is just an adorable place-holder.

Elise Chatelain: The Gilmore Girls (Rory)

This is not Elise and Sara. But it is exactly what they looked like. EXACTLY.

I’ve never watched the Gilmore Girls. In fact, I know very little about the show – except that my best friend really likes it. And that was enough for me when, one Halloween almost ten years ago, we decided to go to a party dressed as Lorelai and Rory.

I wish we had a picture, but we can’t find one: her in a pink button-up top, with sleek brown hair fluffed up in classic Lorelai fashion; me in some thrown-together skirt set meant to resemble a private school uniform, bangs blow-dried sleekly across my forehead. I don’t think we bared much resemblance to the real Gilmore Girls, although we clearly remember another person recognizing the costume, and that was good enough for us.

Because of that Halloween, I learned a little more about the show that had once been a central part of my best friend’s weekly routine. And to this day, even though I have yet to see a single episode, and we live thousands of miles from each other, I feel like she’s there with me every time I come across the Gilmore Girls.

(Editor’s Note, because the editor is Sara, who was also Lorelei: This one tied for first place for me too, because it was such a silly, last minute thing, that also turned out kind of perfect. I’m five years older than Elise, which is just about right for a TV mother/daughter. Elise also carried a book to the parties, and made a perfect little Chilton patch for her uniform. While I wore a weird, too-sexy-for-work-but-also-business-casual H&M mistake under a brown corduroy jacket. I think it also bears mentioning that one party we went to was full of English PhD students, and they treated us like celebrities. Sadly, there are no pictures. So here is a different costume picture of me and Elise.)
Different costume party, same year. But you could see how it would work, right? If Elise (left) slouched and Sara (right) wore really tall boots with her Lorelei boot cut jeans?

Anna Bernstein: Squirtle

Kids need Halloween costumes. Need. As a result, I admit that I have, on occasion, run out of time and succumbed to the convenience of the overpriced, flimsy, single-use polyester things that you can buy at any store. However, since my kid has been old enough to have opinions, he has rarely wanted to be the thing everyone else wants to be, which has forced me to be creative. Which I love.
When he was 4 or 5, he wanted to be a Pokemon, but definitely not Pikachu. This was before Pokemon Go, so most kids didn’t even know what Pokemon was, let alone specific, non-Pikachu ones. So, this Squirtle was my first ever attempt at sewing. Supporting my kid’s individuality AND discovering a new thing that I love: everybody wins!

Sara Tatyana Bernstein: The Four Seasons (Winter)

It was the fall of what should have been my sophomore year of college. For a combination of financial and emotional reasons, I didn’t go back to school. I was working full-time at a headshop and sharing a crappy one and a half bedroom apartment with three friends. The four of us planned to party hop that Halloween, and decided on a group costume: The Seasons. I was winter. Obviously. Since I had a double shift selling scales and “water pipes” (it was the 90s. Bongs were illegal), my costume was less elaborate than my friends’, but together, we looked amazing.

The night became bacchanalian, and my memories are hazy. I know that Spring started with two long, flowery dresses, and ended with one. Summer laughed so hard she fell off the porch. And Winter finally kissed the boy she’d had a crush on forever (or a few weeks. Whatever.)

I loved my costume because it only worked as one part of a larger whole. I was flailing and trying to figure out how to grow up. We all were. But that night we were at once completely independent, and holding each other up. Each season helping the next one progress.

My So-called Halloween, ca 1993

Meredith Wallis: Banana

This is more of a signature look situation than a favorite. After a traumatic DIY kindergarden purple unicorn costume with a perpetually drooping horn and no other identifying unicorn characteristics, I asked my parents to take me to a real costume store whereupon I could access a bonafide costume and escape general school-yard scorn.  Buried under a stack of what I now imagine were much, much better solutions to this problem (Care Bears? Jem? princess?…literally anything else), I found an enormous banana.  But it was $40 in 1986, and my father said that was too much for something that would only be worn once. I swore up and down that I would wear it SO much more than once.  So.  Much.  For years, I said.  They can bury me in it, I said.  Since it was an enormous banana and I was the kind of 6 year old that thought an enormous banana was a foolproof anti-bullying plan, I did not escape the scorn which it was purchased to prevent.  But I did keep my word.
Somewhere in middle of Banana Years, 1986-1991, RIP good friend

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