Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fancy Dress!

The shop I work for in downtown Anoka is called Party Papers.  It is primarily a costume shop, with a party shop towards the front of the store that sells greeting cards, tableware, napkins, plastic silverware, that sort of thing.  I have been lucky enough to work there on-and-off since 2007 (and it's haunted!  Even on the ghost tour!)  The people I work with there are some of the most creative and imaginative people I have ever met.  From make-up artists, to actors to costumers.  I was hired for my customer service skills.  I love being around all the accessories and costumes and creativity that comes with working at a place like this, but this is my usual go-to costume when I am working...

Just to clarify, we only dress in costume during the Halloween season.  It would be a little cumbersome to have to wear a costume every single day working a retail job.  But, there is always room for improvisation!

This mannequin, for example, was put together by one of my incredibly talented co-workers who is a costumer by trade.

So when it comes to the costume aspect of Halloween, that is where I struggle a bit.  I have all this product and resources at my disposal to put together an amazing costume, I just struggle with it!

The most ambitious I think I ever did was my corpse bride costume I did in 2007.

Here I am with a former co-worker at the Grand Day Parade in Anoka.  This would be my first Halloween at Party Papers and I wanted to make a good impression because those people don't mess around.  The dress is an actual vintage wedding dress the shop's owner Mary sold to me for ten dollars.  It was about 3 sizes too small, so the sleeves and the bust I just tore open.  As for the rest of the deterioration, the dress was burned, ran over on a dirt road and left outside for a few days (along with me and my handy hot glue gun attaching the cobwebs and spiders.)  Since the top was completely torn open and it's flipping October in Minnesota I had to fashion something to keep myself warm.  The top piece is a faux fur shall from a theater in St. Paul that closed and sold Mary a bunch of their old costume pieces.  I got that for a steal as well.  The head piece is a veil I got from Classy Consignments, a consignment shop in Anoka that has a large bridal section, and I soaked it in a sink full of tea for several hours to get the stained effect.  The wig was probably the most expensive part of the costume, it is the cheapest wig Party Papers sells for 27 dollars and I sprayed it with white hair spray.  The make is Ben Nye "Cadaver Gray" color, and I only did my face because I didn't want to spread make-up all over my arms and hands and then end up getting make-up on everything else I came in contact with.

The next year, I attempted some sort of blue fairy.

 Here I am flanked by my mom (who is wearing an authentic dress from the 1970's) and my sister.  I sprayed my hair blue, and I attempted to tint my skin a blue color too with a Ben Nye product.  It didn't go so well so I just threw a bunch a glitter on my chest.  Those horns come from the Renaissances Festival and the dress is actually a cheap, slutty-ish Marie Antoinette costume from Hot Topic.  I'm proud to say those pretty gauzy wings now hang on my bedroom wall.  Needless to say, this costume was much easier to work in than the corpse bride.

I call the next costume Drunk Flapper!

Because I totally was.

Then came Halloween of 2010....I was as pregnant as pregnant could be (I was due on November 1st...but didn't have my daughter until the 9th of November).  So I enjoyed the parade....

And then went to my mother-in-law's house and did my brother-in-law's make-up for a party he was attending later that night.

That Halloween weekend I laid incredibly low.  That Halloween night I did manage to take my step-son trick-or-treating but it was slow moving, and hurt my...entire body.

This year for Halloween the extent of my costume at work was this.... 

Anything I could plop on my head!  I thought my costumes were half-assed before I became a mother....

I am more into homemade costumes though than the kind you can buy.  Which is a terrible thing for me to say since I work at a costume shop.  But we are a quality costume shop that does a lot of theater work and have a large vintage and custom pieces, so I don't feel all that bad saying it.  Our shop is the place you come to to make your homemade, beautiful, awesome, creative costume even better!

My husband Jim made a great homemade costume a few years ago...

Super fun, super simple!  Fake blood, a dress shirt he no longer had use for and his son's hand-prints!

And my dear friend Kristi in her homemade Zachary Quinto costume....

Now that's creative!  And clever!  And hysterical!

And every Halloween my mom manages to be a hippie....but it's authentic, because it's all her clothes she wore in that decade!

All of that came out of her own closet!  Here she is posing with my friend Doty in Downtown Anoka...he is also wearing a homemade costume.  Doty is fastidious in the historical accuracy in a costume, so I don't quite remember what he was suppose to be but I think it was a World War II something or other...

There is nothing wrong with buying a costume out of a plastic bag, some of them are great and really well made, but I love to encourage people to make your own, do your own thing and be creative and have fun!  Halloween is the only time of year we get to be anything we want!  But, I am really tired of people being pirates....

Oh!  One last picture!  Here is a picture of the stock room stairs in the basement of Party Papers.  Good ol' creepy downtown Anoka!

1 comment:

  1. Holy moly I have a lot of catching up to do reading this blog! I loved your run-down of all the costuming! Party Papers sounds like such a fun job to have! If only I had the power of teleportation - it would be fun to get a job up there!