Tales From A Hungry Life

October 30, 2013

Halloween’s Best Costumes

by Maria Schulz

Yes, folks, Halloween is almost here! This is really good news, since most of you are probably tired of Halloween posts from me. However, I can’t let this holiday pass by without a post about this year’s best costumes and my own tortured Halloween-costume-past.

This year’s top Halloween trends include:

  • Miley Cyrus “twerking” it at the VMAs
  • The characters from Breaking Bad
  • Duck Dynasty
  • That fox from the YouTube video
  • The Minions from Despicable Me
I think I have those overalls and glasses somewhere...

I think I have those overalls and glasses somewhere…

For those of you who don’t know who “the fox” is or the very important things he has to say, check out this YouTube sensation:

The Fox (What Does the Fox Say)


Here’s more on the Top Halloween Costume Trends for 2013:


According to some reports, we’re going “old school” and traditional costumes are actually in this Halloween. Folks will be sporting such costumes as:

  • Batman
  • The Great Gatsby (Flappers & The Roaring 20s)
  • Vampires
  • Zombies
  • Pirates
  • Princesses

Here’s a list of these trends for adults, kids, and even pets from The National Retail Federation:


I’m happy to see that costumes are still going strong, even though it’s been awhile since I wore one. I have loved dressing up since I was a little kid. Sometimes, though, the costume caused more trouble than it was worth.

The first time I can remember a Halloween costume driving me crazy, I was only 5 years old. I begged my mother to buy me a store bought costume. Oh, but not just any costume would do: I had to have one with a plastic mask too. You know the one I’m talking about: the kind with the eye slits in them and the little holes for your nose, as well as your mouth.

Sorta like this

Sorta like this

As anyone who ever tried to go trick-or-treating with one of those olden days plastic masks can tell you, the minute you put one of them on, you found yourself in a strange, Halloween-inspired nether world. In this strange place, you could only hear yourself panting hard and feel your skin broiling slowly. If everyone you were trick-or-treating with learned that the house four doors down had Almond Joys and full sized Hershey Bars, you would be out of luck since you:

When you feel like a nut.

When you feel like a nut.

1) Couldn’t see where everyone else was heading because the eye slits in your mask made peripheral vision completely impossible

2) Only found out where everyone ran to once all the candy was gone and the old lady at that house was now handing out pennies

3) Felt sure you were about to die of heat prostration because your mask was hotter than the surface of the sun

4) Were at a further disadvantage because the other kids without masks had already run off to the next house with full-sized candy bars

5) Would probably get run over after you dashed into the street to try and find your friends, who were scoring bigger and better candy bars than you

I learned these truths the hard way when my mother actually gave in and bought me that Snow White costume and plastic mask I had been coveting. Other kids, including my brothers and neighborhood friends, chose to dress in costumes that included a pirate, Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx (my brothers went through a serious Marx Brothers phase), Cookie Monster, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Count Dracula, Charlie Brown, Cinderella, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, and Betsey Ross (what can I tell you? That kid was either very patriotic or a geek).

Notice that no one else was wearing a mask. This was my downfall, and perhaps the reason that I chose to go mask-less for the rest of my Halloween trick-or-treat lifetime.

The person whose costume really irked me was my neighbor. Let’s call her Tawny. Tawny had the perfect parents, the perfect house (or as perfect as the exact same house as ours could be, minus the 100 brothers, the junk everywhere, and the mounds of clothes and toys strewn across every square inch of real estate), and the bedroom (all to herself!) that I always wanted.

She had a canopy bed! Wasn’t this the secret to a complete and fulfilled life? Tawny’s bed was about 2 feet off the ground, requiring a small ladder and/or running leap to get into it. I know this, because we used to spend hours running from her parents’ doorway and catapulting ourselves up into that pink, gauzy wonderland.

Her bed was enveloped in a gossamer canopy that was draped in layer upon layer of princess pink material that shimmered and resembled butterfly’s wings. Her room was decorated with castles and stars, unicorns and rainbows.

My bedroom was decorated with four bunk beds that I shared with my three brothers, and one nightstand, that I used to climb onto so I could get out of the top bunk bed.



The only decoration in that room was my Sesame Street cardboard town, which I had to move around at random times of the day and night. Why, you ask? Well, that’s because my brothers liked to threaten to destroy it if I left it unattended. So really, my Sesame Street neighborhood was like a person in the Witness Protection Program, and I was the official in charge of finding it a home where it could remain safe and out of sight.

As if five-year-old me didn’t have enough reasons to wish I was Tawny, the Halloween I was dressed in my broiling hot Snow White mask, she came out the front door in a witches’ costume, hat and broom that was nicer than anything the costume designers in the Broadway production of Wicked ever created.

I can't compete with that.

I can’t compete with that.

So, Tawny scored tons of candy while I lagged behind, pulling my mask off and tossing it into my less-than-full bag. It was then that I vowed: “As God is my witness, I will never wear a Halloween mask again!”

As God is my witness...

As God is my witness…

Even at 5 years old, I dreamed big.

As I got older, I started leaving the planning of my Halloween costume to fate, my Muse, or whatever I could lay my hands on. I wasn’t choosy; any interesting, discarded clothing that I could grab to create something half-way decent was fine by me. The result? I usually ended up creating a gypsy or bum costume.

One year, I wanted to go as Lucille Ball stomping grapes. So, I grabbed my mom’s kerchief, some hoop earrings, a ruffled shirt and a flouncy skirt. Guess what everyone asked me? Not, “are you Lucy from I Love Lucy when she was in Italy stomping grapes?” but rather, “hey, are you a gypsy?”

Clearly, I am Lucy stomping grapes!

Clearly, I am Lucy stomping grapes!

Yeah, whatever. Just because you lack creative vision doesn’t mean I do!

Years later, I would enter a whole new world of Halloween costume craziness when I was working in a creative department. Human Resources encouraged everyone in the company to come in dressed in Halloween costumes, and then they promised to hand out ribbons in the cafeteria at lunch time and have an all-day orgy of Halloween cupcakes, cookies, and prizes. They spent the day walking around the building, popping in on employees and congratulating them on their costumes. “The crazier, the better” was their motto.

I didn’t really have a chance of winning the overall prize since that usually went to the artists, who were able to create special effects that made Hollywood make-up artists look like complete slackers. My only hope for a breakout moment was if I wore something that was funny.

I had a whole month to come up with something. But old habits die hard, and I didn’t have any costumes on hand the day before Halloween. However, I was in luck! My brother, Chris, offered me a clown costume he’d worn to a party that came with a rainbow wig, red nose, and yellow/green/red/blue striped jumpsuit with matching giant shoes.

“I think it’s too much,” I said.

“I got big laughs with this costume,” Chris said. “Wear it and you’ll see—everyone will get a kick out of it.”

So, with no other choices since I gave away that flouncy skirt, hoop earrings and ruffled shirt long ago, the next day I slipped into my clown costume, put on as much make-up as possible, and headed off to work.

Luckily, I did not get stopped by any policemen on the way there. Someone I used to work with years before had gotten pulled over while he was on his way to a Halloween party. The cops made him get out of the car and then fell over laughing at him because he was painted green from head to toe and was sporting a cardboard sign that said, “I’m Gumby, Dammit!”

Well, officer...just read the sign

Well, officer…just read the sign

Since the police were not out trolling for poor idiotic Halloween revelers that day, I arrived at my job without incident. Chris was right: everyone thought the costume was hilarious. I ended up in photos for the newsletter and made lots of people laugh. But that’s when I remembered that I had a meeting after lunch with a person from the business side of the company.

If it had been a meeting with someone from the 99% of the workforce that came in that day pumped and ready for Halloween candy and a blue ribbon for “most blood on a Halloween costume” or “Funniest giant shoes,” I would have been okay. If it was with someone in marketing or Human Resources, chances are that they would’ve come to the boardroom with a “hatchet” through their heads or dressed as Freddie Krueger.

This business plan is giving me a headache

This business plan is giving me a headache

Unfortunately, my meeting was with someone who had no sense of humor whatsoever and looked at me oddly even when I wasn’t in costume.

So, while everyone else was reveling in Halloween merriment, I went off to my meeting with the only guy there who wasn’t having any fun that day.

How was I supposed to know he had a pathological fear of clowns?

As I sat there with my pen and clipboard in hand and watched him frown at me for awhile, I forgot for a minute that I was in a costume. I thought it was pretty rude that he was staring at me like that, so I tried to have a serious conversation with him.

Is there a problem?

Is there a problem?

“Is something wrong?” I said, in my most professional voice.

“Yes,” he responded. “You’re wearing a clown suit.”

“It is Halloween, you know. I just came from the party.”

“I hate Halloween parties,” he said.

“Oh, really? I thought you were dressed up as a businessman,” I said, trying to lighten the mood.

“You know,” he replied, loosening his tie and sweating a little, “I HATE clowns.”

“Ha ha,” I said. “You should hear what they say about you.”

Not much was accomplished that day, especially since my colleague could not look at me without wanting to run away and hide. Which was fine by me, because I heard they had Halloween cupcakes downstairs and I had to hurry up or they’d all be gone.

That was one of my favorite Halloween costumes ever.

Halloween Recipes

Yum...spiderweb cookies!

Yum…spiderweb cookies!

Cooking Light put together this slide show of 25 Fun & Healthy Halloween meals, snacks & treats:



So, Hungry Lifers…what was your favorite Halloween costume when you were a kid? What’s your funniest Halloween costume “gone wrong” story? Will you be dressing–and twerking–like Miley Cyrus or telling the world “what the fox says?” Please leave a comment below and let us all know. Thanks–and Happy Halloween!



  1. Okay a couple of things: canopy beds don’t make perfect lives. I had one. How funny that you wanted to be Lucy stomping grapes and not something glamorous like Lucy visiting Ricky at work. I never got that fear of clown thing but if you remember his name I’ll go to his house dressed like one with you. I didn’t live in a neighborhood and I went to a Catholic school where no one was local. Halloween always stressed me out. One Halloween I had no one to go with and I was crying. My father drove me to Whitestone to trick or treat with my cousins. That was my favorite Halloween. I don’t know what costume I had on, I don’t remember anything except that he did that for me and made me so happy. I think of it every Halloween. Now I’ll think of that every Halloween and you dressed liked a clown.

    Comment by Suzanne — October 30, 2013 @ 7:47 am | Reply

    • Suzanne, that’s such a nice thing to remember about your father. I’m glad you got to enjoy trick or treating with your cousins in Whitestone. You should’ve come to Bayside–we would’ve had a blast!

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — October 31, 2013 @ 10:37 pm | Reply

  2. Again you made me crack up. I just had a flashback of being 6 or 7 years old wearing a plastic Wonder Woman costume. I remember having to wear so many layers of clothes underneath so I wouldn’t have to wear a jacket and I could hardly move!! Like Ralphie’s brother in a Christmas Story! Also feeling like I would suffocate or pass out from wearing the mask with the eye and nose slits!! If our kids only knew how good theyve got it!! Thanks for making me laugh today!! Happy Halloween!!!

    Comment by Paula — October 30, 2013 @ 8:46 am | Reply

    • Paula, you’re right–our kids do have it easy. I think everyone should have to wear one of those masks to get the true Halloween experience. By the way, I bet you were an awesome Wonder Woman!

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — October 31, 2013 @ 10:43 pm | Reply

  3. One Halloween when I was grown up, married and had children I dressed in a dress with make-up and so on. That’s the only time I wore a costume. although I tried at the nursing home and “little school” but was not successful. I didn’t enjoy wearing the costume because I found out why women who wore dresses were always looking uncomfortable as I had to sit with my knees close together or expose myself to ridicule among other things. One of the few times my mom would let me out on Halloween we ran through the neighborhood tossing garbage cans (apparently our neighbors put out garbage fearlessly) and tossing a stink bomb in Mr. & Mrs. Schiller’s home after they answered the doorbell. The Schillers were really old grouches and by old I mean they must have been at least 40. Other times Babe’s Mother (Babe was my best friend) had me over for a real Irish dinner with pumpkin pie and dunking for apples which had pennies or maybe a dime in one. No costumes. Loved the post.

    Comment by Bglou — October 30, 2013 @ 10:42 am | Reply

    • I wish I could remember you in a dress, but I either wasn’t born yet or I blocked if out. And how come you were such a troublemaker? Those poor Schillers.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — October 31, 2013 @ 10:46 pm | Reply

  4. You did it again. I’m sitting here, at my desk, laughing out loud. Those masks were killer! I remember sweating like a hog inside that thing, and the rubber strand that was “supposed” to hold it in place was always sliding down my head. And then it was the fight to NOT wear a coat over the costume. There was nothing worse than trying to pull off a princess in a bulky parka. Love your posts, Maria – they are so much fun! (Like you!)

    Comment by Lisa — October 30, 2013 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

    • Oh no! Not the dreaded parka princess. The fights about the coat were legendary…but that post will have to wait until next year.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — October 31, 2013 @ 10:50 pm | Reply

  5. A friend came up with a great one this year — Flo from the insurance commercials…we just don’t see her enough! Old-school Halloween meant racing home from school, putting on your costume (which used imagination, not dollars), and going street to street and then some. I lived in Flatbush, which meant we never made it back home with our overflowing shopping bags of loot before 8 pm (Catholic schools were off Nov. 1 every year). I don’t mind sounding like an old codger when I say these kids today will never know the joy of freedom and full-size Zagnut bars 🙂

    Comment by lisa — October 30, 2013 @ 5:03 pm | Reply

    • Flo from Progressive–that is a great costume. I wish I was back in Catholic school and had tomorrow off! My favorite loot was $100,000 bars and Mr. Goodbars (I’m looking for them now).

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — October 31, 2013 @ 10:56 pm | Reply

  6. Maria, my Halloween story starts a week before the day and carries over to that night of trick-or-treating. I was in St Robert’s and it was a rainy morning before the students could go up to class. We were corralled in the auditorium with the noise and activity levels going wild. My younger brother Lou was running around the place like a mad man and refused to listen to me (I, a third grader, when he was in second grade) to stop. I finally went running after him to catch him and what happened? Sister Rita snatched me by the neck and gave me three demerits on the spot. That meant a detention. When was the next detention, Halloween. I went and sat with all the rift raft and even the teacher looking after us asked why I was there. When I got home, after four o’clock, the house was empty and it was up to me to come up with a costume, put it on myself and try to find family and friends. When I went out it was getting dark and I knew I had very little time to get my stash of goodies. It turned out I pushed it too long, set mom crazy with worry, which turned out to inform dad that I was missing. It also resulted in dad finding out I had detention (something mom did not share with him until I had to explain why I was not with everyone else). I got in trouble, had very little candy, and had brothers who thought the whole thing was hysterical.

    Comment by Tony Lagalante — November 3, 2013 @ 12:21 pm | Reply

    • Didn’t that just happen last year?

      Comment by Bglou — November 3, 2013 @ 3:01 pm | Reply

    • Mom used to get crazy if we were out late on Halloween! I think Louie owes you candy.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — November 3, 2013 @ 3:25 pm | Reply

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