I love Halloween. It is without question my favorite holiday and by extension, possibly my favorite day of the year. I love dressing up, I love the briskness in the air, I love parties where the main emphasis is on people expressing themselves creatively and having fun together… man, I even love candy corn.
This year, I decided to dress as Tippi Hedren in The Birds. I love Hitchcock, and I was stoked about this costume because I have always wanted to be a Hitchcock blonde.
(I’m really bad at looking scared on demand.)
Most of my costume was easy. I borrowed a bright pink suit from my mother, and I already owned this tie-neck French Connection blouse (of course) and black kitten heels. My hair is long enough now to put in a French twist, and I have pieces that are not exactly bangs, but maybe bang-adjacent, which I could easily pin to make that classic Tippi swoop in the front. You’ll have to take my word that it looked a lot better before I walked along the blustery waterfront to the ferry.
But the birds. Aye me. I had all these elaborate plans for puppetry or papier mâché, but as Halloween drew closer and I found myself with extremely limited time and funds for costuming, I had to go with what I had on hand. Which was a very large corrugated cardboard box from a birthday present and, well, not much else.
But! I had a Peterson Field Guide of Birds! And a utility knife! I made a sort of three-dimensional crow (his wings were actually joined with monofilament so they could flap), then started fretting about how these birds could attach to my mother’s suit without damaging it. I had to simplify the other birds to a wader (an oversized pharalope, specifically) that could be attached by a belt to my arm and a swallow headpiece. I also made a fourth diminutive raven that was meant to poke out of my purse, but I mostly forgot about him. Realizing that my birds looked like hot buttered ass, I didn’t even try to salvage them with illusionistic painting, opting instead for solid black and the general silhouettes.
Of course I ran out of paint long before bird surface area, so I had to mix some on the fly with powdered carbon black pigment and acrylic glazing medium. I rushed it, and I overloaded the pigment-to-binder ratio, so my paint was not exactly what you might call stable, rubbing off on my suit and bystanders as a consequence (it’s totally removable though, just a pain in the neck). I decided this was karmic payback for all the people jostling my birds… of which there were legion.
I was tempted to scrap the birds and pretend I was going as Joan Harris née Halloway from Mad Men, but I persevered. And in the end, I liked my costume. You know, mostly.
They went a little more abstract in their costumes, going for the concept of the 1930s, and in his case, with traces of Communism. They were adorable together.
It was super, super crowded and I couldn’t see much of anything at the parade. I was bummed out because this is something I’d wanted to do for as long as I’ve lived in or around New York. We resolved that next year we would either make costumes involving stilts (Heidi Klum-style?) or march in the parade so we could actually see it.
Fortunately, we were close to Union Square and one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in the city, where we had dinner and a pitcher of margaritas.
While it probably wasn’t advisable to have had as significant a portion of the pitcher as I did, it was super fun catching up and giggling my ass off later on with Dasha.
I hope you had a happy Halloween and that it didn’t involve anywhere near as much corrugated cardboard as mine!