My life in costume (or: a post to make ammends for failing to dress up this Halloween)

In view of the Halloween days that are upon us . . . I mean behind us . . . I thought that to assuage my own guilt for not dressing up as anything this year or even feeling motivated to dress up, I could at least share some images of Halloweens past.

And this perfectly illustrates the purpose of this blog: to make up for my shortcomings in real life.

Please note: since after I finished 1st grade my family moved to Spain (where they don’t celebrate Halloween), some of these pictures were taken for Carnaval, which is right before Lent. And then there are some random costumes thrown in for good measure.

Let us begin the tour of my life via costume!

The first costume on record was the Halloween in Indianapolis when Erica and I trick-or-treated as Cinderella and her little mouse friend:

I’m pretty sure my Mom just took some pieces of white and silver fabric and wrapped them around me, over the little blouse. Brilliant–and free. My favorite part of the whole thing were the shoes. They were clear, sparkly jelly shoes, and I adored them.

The next picture must have been when I was in kindergarten . . . I think . . . What I remember with utmost clarity is that as soon as Mom painted the whiskers on our faces with make-up and said “now don’t touch your faces or the make-up will smear,” my face started itching like all heck. For the entire night.

Then there’s this–not Halloween–just a regular evening, pretending I was a mermaid. That green blanket was the perfect shade for a Little Mermaid tail. I’m sure Erica was madly jealous, since her blanket was orange and not at all a great color for pretending she was a princess of the seas.

This was 1990. We had moved to Madrid, I was 7 years old, and I regularly dreamed of how romantic it would be to be a ‘poor girl.’ I was also in the throes of my first crush on a boy, and I really hoped to somehow win his affection by looking as bereft as possible:

Circa 1992 in Valencia I went as a white fairy/witch thingy . . . Erica is on the right looking very pleased with her adorable haircut and witch’s broom.

Then we spent a summer in the States and dressed up for Round-Up at our family’s ranch in Wisconsin (castrating of young cow thingies, etc.). I was 10 years old, and supremely jealous of my cousin Aurora’s barmaid costume. At least I chose to express my dissatisfaction in character.

Heidi and Erica seem quite happy with their lot in life. Erica is feeling the power of a gun for the first time.

This was 7th grade for carnaval at my school, San Braulio, in Zaragoza . . . my Mom bought these clothes when she lived in Mexico.

I would totally wear that shirt and those necklaces right now, with dark wash jeans and a cute little sweater. Mom? Could I borrow that shirt please? And those necklaces?

And that was the same year Heidi’s whole 3rd grade class went as a sandwich/soda combo. Not the best picture, but it’s what I got.

Then I dressed up as an elf. I had a small part in a play in which I forgot my lines, and then when I remembered them I said them so fast no one could understand what the heck I had even said.

I pretty much botched the whole thing.

I’m front and center, with green makeup on my eyebrows and the huge ears stuck to my head:

That was when I realized that my dream of being a famous actress would come to naught. Since I had just assumed I would float up to stardom on the wings of my great acting talent, this was a life-changing moment.

In college at Indiana University, I was really good about dressing up. My freshman year I went as a pirate.

I’m on the left, with my friends Libby and Jessica to the right. My at-the-time-future-husband (though I had no idea) was dressed in his lab coat.

This won’t be the last we see of that lab coat, I guarantee it.

I think we had held hands at least once by then, but were keeping it on the DL. We thought we were so secretive, but everyone on our floor knew exactly what was up. Something about the sustained eye contact as we looked at each other across the lounge may have clued them in.

My sophomore year, four of us from the floor planned to go as the elements–water, earth, air, and fire. However, everyone else backed out and only I showed up as an element: water.

Basically, a sarong and some body paint. Julia is on the left, Hayley on the right.

And there’s the lab coat again!

At this point my future husband and I were madly in love and talking about marriage. This was 2002 (ignore the incorrect date on the camera).

That summer, Erica and I played with some wigs at our grandparents’ house. I think a wild black curly mane would really suit me.

I would totally share the pictures of Erica in various wigs . . . except she would probably kill me. Really. And I have no intentions of being run through with a turkey carver this Thanksgiving.

This is my junior year . . .

My friend Hayley and I were pretending to be refugees. It was a recurring passion of Hayley’s, as well as playing the ‘fainting game’ in the lounge during which we would pretend to swoon, and try to fall as gracefully as possible onto one of the couches. Soon Hayley developed a talent for fainting upwards: she would start on the floor, and as she swooned would somehow end up on the couch. It was a skill we all admired.

We were nerds, and we relished every moment of it.

This costume . . .

. . . Christmas of 2003, right before I trekked off to study abroad in Paris. Erica had just trimmed my hair, and the pile of trimmings was just begging to become a beard on some innocent girl’s face.

My husband’s senior year and my first year of being a working girl, we went to a costume party with a bunch of friends. I threw on a tie of his, and he threw on . . .

. . . the lab coat. We were too busy being in love and planning a wedding to put any kind of effort into planning our costumes.

Check out the afro, which you can only partially see bursting forth from underneath my fiancé’s hat. Yes, we were hippies at that time in our lives. Radical, dirty hippies.

This costume must have been sometime around . . .

Hey! That’s not me! That’s Big Jake. Whoops.

And finally, there was this costume . . .

. . . my bridal costume!

But before I sign off, I would like to show you one final costume.

Erica is the one in the golden headdress, and I am to the right. My question is: can anyone guess what is about to happen?

Family and extended family: you are not allowed to chime in–you know exactly what’s happening here in all its wonder, excitement, horror, and . . . yes.

Anyway, there’s going to be a post about it soon, and you won’t want to miss it.

And on that note, I hope to have made up for not dressing up this year.

Happy Monday folks!

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12 Responses to My life in costume (or: a post to make ammends for failing to dress up this Halloween)

  1. Sherri says:

    Oh -I do love Halloween (though will only wear black or my fave black and orange drapey scarf – I don’t do costumes anymore). SO GREAT that you have all these old photos of costumes from years gone by :-).

  2. Kay says:

    Love it, Jenna! You made my day. Thanks for sharing these photos of you! :)

  3. I loved your journey via costume! I love the idea of going as the 3 elements–too bad your friends bailed. But you look bewitching as water!

  4. Sarah says:

    you’ve had some great costumes over the years! and i love your wedding dress. so pretty!

  5. Erica says:

    Ha ha, and double-HA!
    I always wished I could’ve been Cinderella with sparkly jelly shoes. I seem to remember another year when we all dressed up and I got to be Cinderella in one of mom’s white skirts that I may have gotten tar on. Dad was dressed in a poncho, and Heidi was a cat, riding on his shoulders, and scared that one dog. Remember??

  6. Nancy C says:

    Seriously, what a treasure! So. much. fun. I love your flair (and your mom’s too).

  7. Twinky Satterthwaite says:

    I still love the two of you as Mickey Mice in the almost done kitchen remodel in Indy. So, when can we chime in about that last photo of you as an Egyptian maiden surrounded by macho muck men?!?

    • Twinky says:

      Is there no one who can take a stabbing guess at the last picture and what is going on?? I may have to tell soon……….

  8. Thanks for dropping my blog and leaving that lovely comment on my paella!! I absolutely enjoyed this post, you didn’t have any awkward growing-up years, did you! Loved your bridal ‘costume’!

    • Jenna says:

      Oh man . . . I totally did have awkward growing up years, I promise! The costumes hide the fact that I had no sense of fashion until I got to college. Or maybe even after college. =) There are many, many pictures of me as a weird looking pre-teen with greasy bangs, oversized shirts/coats/sweaters, and hunched shoulders. I am so glad those days are over . . .

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