Getting into Character

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I anticipate Halloween more than any other holiday because I can be a kid again. As a child, I loved playing dress-up and remember the lovely gowns in our costume box. When trying on these voluptuous dresses with the crinoline skirts, I felt utterly transformed like Cinderella going to the ball - even if it took 5 safety pins to get the top to stay up! On Halloween night, my friends wore sheets to become ghosts or were super heroes complete with a tablecloth cape. My mother was a seamstress so my sister, brother, and I wore get-ups she sewed after dinner on week nights. One of my favorites was a witch costume she made from a McCall’s pattern. My mother sent the cape, dress, and hat with red braids to my daughter Courtney who ran around the house in it for months before the holiday. Soon it was worn in shreds as she cast spells with the words, “Spit, spat, wallerstat.” (I still have no idea where those words came from!) My sister’s favorite was a big black cape with a humongous hood. My mother made my brother a silver and black suit one year. He painted his face, glued on pointy ears and became The Metallic Alien. We proudly wore our costumes to beg for treats on frighteningly cold All Hallow’s Eve.

Decades later I still enjoy dressing up. Now instead of one box, we have a storage room in our basement full of unusual clothing collected through the years. Some hang on makeshift racks.  Costumes I sewed for my own children  along with many others fill containers to the brim.

The year the movie Titanic was releasedDanny and I were invited to a costume party. We dressed as dead floaters. I bought Christmas icicles and tied them into our hair, then went to work on our makeup. I have always found it somewhat of a relief to be dead for Halloween since the worse I look the better! Our costumes were a hit and we made many wonderful new friends that night. Back at home, when I looked in the mirror I scared myself since a ghastly creature stared back at me. I had forgotten how awful I looked!

Last year I went as Lady Gaga (who is my ultimate alter-ego) making an outfit which included lots of clear cellophane. – Hey now, I wore a pink sequined dress underneath. Danny went as MC Hammer. Oh yes, there was a bit of Hammer-time that evening!

I look forward to the one night out of the year when I can be someone I am not. I know you are thinking I am a little old for trick-or-treating and you are right. Traditionally my husband Danny and I dress-up to greet the little goblins who dare ring our doorbell. In recent years we have been The Addams Family with Thing (the creeping hand) and Cousin It (their furry relative, complete with top hat and round sunglasses).

Sometimes trick-or-treaters are from the local high school. I love that they still stop by since it is so much better than alternative shenanigans. One year some rang the doorbell at noon while I carved pumpkins. They said they had too much homework to go out that evening, but didn’t want to miss Halloween at our house since it had been a tradition for them since they were young children. I gave them each a handful of candy and told them to study hard!

At sundown on Halloween, we light candles in carved pumpkins and then filter haunting music through outdoor speakers. Danny and I turn the TV to Turner Classic Movies and watch reruns of some of the greatest Gothic horror of our time as we sip a glass of wine and wait for the doorbell to ring. When our first guests arrive, Danny pushes a button and a hidden fog machine sends out an unsuspecting blast. After hearing gasps and giggles, he slowly opens our door and says, “Welcome!”

“Gomez darling, get the little creatures some treats.” I continue by complimenting them on their costumes.

This year on Halloween night, I will head to the basement and search for our Addams Family costumes, convert the stool into Cousin It, and will anticipate the ringing of the doorbell. I look forward to donning the long black wig, powdering my skin, lining my eyes, and then applying red lipstick transforming into Morticia Addams. I will slip into character as I slip on my dress. After all it is the one night out of the year I can be someone else.

Who would you like to be this year?

To really get you in the mood this Halloween you may want to read about the night I was haunted at the Stanley Hotel and my strange experience at the Winchester House.

Photo by S. Lindau 
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156 Comments

Filed under Freshly Pressed, Humor, Life

156 responses to “Getting into Character

  1. Dead Floaters Indeed! You make a great M, and Danny is perfect as G.

  2. WOW 3 FP’s ?????//
    I agree though.
    ‘Nuff Said

  3. Nice post! I can see why it was FP’d.

    Wow…what a difference a few months makes for an FP — 150 vs 425. WordPress has really gotten big lately. I’ve been meaning to pop over and cruise your blog for some time. Just now getting a moment on a Sunday AM. Not gonna last long…kids are already going strong at 8:30a and I have tons to do. I’ll try to hit a few more of your pages via the Random Post.

  4. You Rang? ..Let me sing ya a song while I’m here…

  5. Good post…I need to rethink how enthused I get about Halloween. I’ve lost the excitement but, clearly, I am missing out!

  6. Adams family.

    Ta da da da, dam dam!!!

  7. Thank you so much and for stopping by to read!
    Have a happy Halloween!

  8. Really cool costume idea! :D Halloween around the corner! Have a nice one! :)

  9. That’s a really cool costume idea! I’m trying to think of something really quick and easy to go as this year – really really busy at the minute but I can’t bear to neglect my favourite holiday!

    Happy Halloween! x

  10. Pingback: Channeling Granny and a Discomforting Dilemma! « susielindau

  11. Sounds like a lot of fun! It takes a lot of effort to do that every year.

  12. I remember my mother sewing both a witch costume and a Little Red Riding Hood costume for me.

  13. Congrats on getting Pressed Susie! Great job and fun post :-)

    • Thank you so much Clay. I am still pinching myself! I go a bit nuts for this holiday, but you should see my house at Christmas! You can see the glow via satellite! Hahaha!
      Thank you also for the Twitter shout out~

  14. Very cool! Really, really, really need to see Gaga and MC Hammer photos. Like, really! Looks like fun!

  15. Donna Amis Davis

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! That’s great. Hope you are enjoying the ride!

  16. Ahh I LOVE Halloween…brings back memories of my youth. I enjoy seeing the little ones running around in their cute outfits.

    It’s a lot of fun to dress up and pretend to be someone else. Thanks for posting:)

  17. That Titanic costume idea is a really good one!

  18. OMG a “dead floater” that one is hysterical. Terrific post.

  19. I’ll be dressing as a zombie and dancing in a performance of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. So excited. Adults need to show kids that life is fun and full of surprises. Not all serious just because you (supposedly)grew up.

  20. I <3 Halloween! I get to BE a character instead of just writing about one. This year, I'm going to be a gypsy! I've been practicing with Tarot cards to do readings as my party trick! ^_^

  21. pen2sword

    Halloween is my favorite holiday, too, for the same reason. I am a bit too old for trick-or-treat, but to me this simply means my costumes can be even more elaborate. Last year I was the Lady of Shalott and made myself a cardboard boat to sit in. This year I’m going to be Alice Paul, suffragette, making people promise to support votes for women before I give them any candy. ;)
    Keep up the great traditions!

  22. Great post. I also LOVE The Addams Family, me being a Broadway nerd. Congrats on being Pressed!

  23. I love when people get involved in holidays. The Addams Family is always a good costume choice. I was actually Wednesday two different years, complete with my headless doll.

  24. “I will slip into character as I slip on my dress.”

    Good line. And it is neat — being able to forget who you are and pretend to be whatever you want to be.

    Aun Aqui

  25. That is cool! It is definitely fun to play dress-up doesn’t matter whether you are a kid or just a kid at heart

  26. Recovering from an ischias nerve inflammation, I took time to tune into wordpress(long time since I last checked in)…Your entry had me in stitches. Oh, my…. Halloween! I swear the kids in this French village thought I was a witch at first when we moved here in 1992..( Not one soul celebrated Halloween back then)..it has caught on since then.
    Our daughter is now out of the house, but at Halloween, young kids still drop to see what I have concocted in the driveway, at the front door and for the sweets and chocolate chip cookies. Two years before, someone took my fabulous Halloween pumpkin and left the cutest rubber Halloween pumpkin. I laughed for days!
    By the time Halloween swings around this time, my pain will have subsided. You have inspired me to come up with something SPLENDIHALLOWISCH!Thanks!

    • Thank you!
      I am so glad to hear that you are on the mend and will be able to celebrate the holiday this year.
      It sounds like you live in a wonderful French village with much Halloween hijinx a foot!! Hahaha!

  27. That’s what my husband I went as a few years ago. The compliments the Adams family costumes get are incredible. Best costume every year.

  28. Lol, I love that you “slip into character as you slip on the dress.” Love your Gomez, too. How fun to play such a happy character! Great post, enjoy all the scary movies this month, too! :)

  29. this post, very interesting .. I like haloween, funny, spooky, like the haloween party.

  30. Did anybody dress up as the plank old Leo hung from before he sunk?

  31. Pingback: Getting into Character « technologicalinventions

  32. OMG I knew all the words to teh Addams Family theme song! Who knew?

  33. Space_wolf

    Brilliant! Because Halloween isn’t as big here in England (or wasn’t when I was younger), I’ve only just begun to get some real enjoyment out of Halloween – by attending a party.

    I’m part of a local LARP group and each year they hold an In Character party to celebrate “the feast of the dead” (one of the holy days of one of the gods) around Halloween. It’s brilliant! We get dressed into our nicer character costume, eat food with our fingers, drink mead and old style ales and deal with all sorts of wacky stuff that crops up around then.

  34. OracularSpectacular

    I love this post! Halloween is definitely the most fun holiday. Dressing up is sooo much fun and it’s always better to make your own costumes.

    This year I’m copping out a little bit as I’m living in the middle east; I’m planning to go as Aphrodite – white maxi dress, gold shoes and accessories. Quite toned down from what I’d usually do, but still a lot of fun.

  35. hi, nice talk about halloween
    hope we can follow each other, even my blog was not very english,..

  36. What can a dog wear during Halloween? Would it need a hat?

    • If yours will wear a hat! I picked up an angel costume for our Bichon at Petsmart and she loves to wear it. Love is a relative term. She doesn’t try to take it off!
      Thanks for reading~

  37. nice one i really appreciate your thinking, nice and freaking 2011 cars just on http://www.best2011cars.com must visit if you are a fan of Best Cars

  38. Great post. Thing was my favorite!

    • I loved Thing from the original Addams Family. It was made before fancy digital effects and blue screen. There always seemed to be a box conveniently located in every room! Hahaha!

  39. My husband and I actually won a contest a few years ago. I was Mary Poppins and he was Bert! Such fun. Not sure what we will be this year. My 15 yr. old daughter wants to be a peacock, Not Mrs. Peacock :) She has a satin turquoise shirt and black pants, we bought a really cool peacock feather cap with netting at Claires and she wants to do very extravagant make up. We still need to figure out a tail feather ensemble. Happy Halloween!

    • Congrats on winning! Those would be great costumes.
      Sounds like you have a great start on the peacock costume. Now if there was just a peacock farm down the street from you…. I am sure it will turn out beautifully! Happy Halloween to you!

  40. Jess Witkins

    I love dressing up too. What great costume ideas! I think we’d get along really well. I dressed up as Wednesday Addams as a kid one year, with the long braids and I carried around a doll with no head. Priceless. I still love to dress up and have costume parties. Last year, a group of friends and I dressed up as the characters from the board game Clue. i was Mrs. Peacock. And I did it with the wrench in the billiard room!

    • How fantastic! Wouldn’t it be great if pictures could be uploaded into the comment section?? There would be so many great costume ideas!
      I hope you have an awesome Halloween!

  41. Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed! My husband and I were thinking about doing some kind of Steampunk thing. I think he just wants me to wear a corset and forget the whole Halloween Party thing.

    • Thanks so much.
      Boys will be boys! Hahaha!
      I sooo love steampunk! I would have to get pretty creative to come up with that kind of costume, but it could be really cool. Now if we just get an invitation…….

  42. John Hardy Bell

    Congrats on the Fresh Press, Susie! Fun post! BTW, my wife and I plan on dressing up as Jules and Vincent from ‘Pulp Fiction’ one of these years (though my wife is much better looking than Travolta!) :)

  43. I wanted to wear a meat outfit just like Lady Gaga for Halloween, but the hamburger kept crumbling.

  44. Your story reminds me of the Halloween episode of Modern Family. If you haven’t seen that yet, you’ll think it was written about your family judging your description. I think the entire country should take a “chill pill” on Halloween, dress up as someone else (no haters, please) and all go out and party with their neighbors. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Congrats on being FP’d an Happy Halloween!

    • Thank you so much!
      I did see that hilarious episode. I love that show!
      I agree about the chill pill idea. Everyone would benefit from a fun night out pretending to be someone else. No need to spend any money, just go in the closet and find the worst combination of clashing clothes possible. Hahaha!

  45. nancee

    Halloween is the best! I love making costumes and going to the parade in NYC. We use to march in it when my children were little. Now my husband and dressed and go out on the town. Dead floaters, totally original. Happy Halloween to ya!

  46. I love Halloween, so excited that Aussies are getting more into it now, any excuse to dress up and act like a kid is a good one. This year I have organised my hens night for Halloween weekend, our theme is Pirates, I can’t wait! I have always loved Pirates and enjoyed dressing up as one in the most flamboyant way possible! So I am now planning my outfit and getting all my stuff together, actually found a shrunken skull bracelet at a $2 shop the other day SCORE!!! Can’t wait for Halloween and my time as the Pirate Queen hehehe.
    Have a blast!

    • That is so cool that you are picking up the tradition in the Land Down Under!! I love that you organize a hen’s night. What a fun idea to have a theme. I am sure you will make an amazing Pirate Queen! Aaaarrrr!

  47. Halloween is definitely my favorite time of the year. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that I become somewhat giddy when I enter October. From endless choices in Halloween haunt mayhem to different characters I can be for each party or event I can find to attend. You might say I act a little young this month, and you’d be right. Like you said, it’s that childlike feeling that I enjoy bringing into my life, and I plan to make it special for my kids if there are any to be had in my future. XD

    Have a happy and thrilling October!

    • I hope you have a month filled with Tricks and Treats too! More treats than tricks I should say…Hahaha! Sounds like you will have a lot of fun with your own children someday!
      Thank you~

  48. I love Halloween too! I try to dress up as something different each year. This year I would like to be a mermaid.

  49. Eva McCane

    loved the addams family growing up! and they make for a great group costume. my favorite costume was from a couple years ago…i wore a white robe and filled it with stuffing to look like an egg, then I added a devil tail and horns…a deviled egg. dorky, but it was a hit.
    http://www.icouldntmakethisshitup.wordpress.com

  50. I have always loved Halloween. Probably because I have such good memories of it from childhood. I used to really enjoy decorating my house when my kids were little, taking them to Halloween parties and trick-or-treating. I think I enjoyed the festivities as much if not more than they did. Now that they are in high school and college I need a new excuse to act like a kid again for Halloween.

    • No need for excuses. I just had my Haunted Halloween Book Club here for brunch this morning and I was the only one who got dressed up. Never bothers me!!
      Afterward, I had to run across the street in full costume and have some random landscapers unzip me! Hahaha!!!

  51. Haha, wonderful! I wish I were more creative so I could do more for Halloween. My husband and I always say we’re going to be June and Johnny Cash some year for Halloween, or I’d really like to be Janis Joplin someday… it always seems that before I know it Halloween has come and gone and all I’ve managed to do is slap a store-bought costume on the kids, herd them through trick or treating, and hand out candy. Maybe this is my year to make sure the adults in the house have some fun too!

  52. I am sitting here at my computer and unabashedly giggling away, thanks to your post. Thanks for that; I needed it. :D

    Congrats on FP!

    Kate
    http://ukate.wordpress.com/

  53. Has anyone noticed that it was really after 9/11 that Halloween became an adult holiday? After that, the number of Halloween stores multiplied, and I can tell you from working at a store that had a subsidiary seasonal Halloween store, the profits grew by about 20% every year 2002-2008 for sure.

  54. Yay! I was so ready for the first Halloween post! [♫♫♪ snap, snap]

  55. “I am a little old for trick-or-treating and you are right” ~ you can NEVER be too old to trick-or-treat!!

    Halloween is such a fun holiday, and it sounds like you do it right! Kudos to you on your fab costume ideas…especially being dead-floaters…haha. When you first said “Titanic”, I thought you were going to say you went as Jack and Rose, and I thought “Oh, that’s SO cliche” and then you went ahead and surprised with dead-floaters! Brilliant!! :)

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  56. I sincerly wish I could ring your doorbell on Halloween. I love how much you guys get into it. Thanks for sharing and congrats on being f.p. :)

  57. aspiringtobesomeone

    Awesome post, full of great details. Terrific idea-the dead floaters, especially with the life jacket bit.

    I think that we would get a long great. I wait for halloween all year, by the time it’s November 1st I’m already thinking about next year.

    This year I’m thinking Waldo, while my little sister might be Carmen San Diego. Or possibly classic zombie.

    Best costumes are always the ones that you rangle up yourself.

    • I so agree! I love the ideas for your costumes.
      I need to wear one tomorrow for a morning book club Halloween party I am having. They read a couple of my flash fictions so I think I will go as the little girl in Stolen Regret! I will throw it together tomorrow! Thanks for reading.

  58. I love it! And one of my favorite childhood shows. Our entire family is going as a superhero this year. It should be fun.

  59. love this post! – hahah dead floaters!

    -grace

  60. Pingback: UK News | Getting into Character

  61. Awesome post! I really need to get into Halloween more.

  62. I like that,, but in indonesia there is nothing hallowen day, hohoho

  63. YES! Can’t wait! What to be, what to be :-)

  64. Thanks! I hope you will stop by again!

  65. There’s nothing I like more than a good costume party!
    (:

  66. What a post!loved reading this one!

  67. I love it that when its Halloween, no one can tell you you’re costume is too ugly. Everyone can dress as worse as they can think and they can still bag the best outfit or well, costume for the night :)

  68. timelesslady

    I always loved the Addams Family. You look like you made a great Morticia.

  69. You are AMAZING! I’ll never forget the year my best friend was a mail box. I was a person under a sheet pretending to be a ghost. Man, did I feel inadequate that year…

    Happy Halloween to you! :)

  70. I think there’ll be several dead floaters walking around this Halloween.

    I’d love to dress up, but I usually don’t have to anywhere to go since I’m really shy. Few years ago I went to a Heavy Metal Halloween Party and dressed up as the bassist of one of the bands.

    The bassist saw me from stage, stopped and stared then walked off with a look of utter confusion on his face… I’d talked to him a few times before, so I knew he was a nice fella.

    • That is too funny Emily!! Even if we don’t have a Halloween party to go to, we always dress up the night of like my story. I am hoping for nice weather this year, although we are overdo for some snow!! Go Colorado!!!
      Thanks for reading!

  71. “The year the movie Titanic was released, Danny and I were invited to a costume party. We dressed as dead floaters. I bought Christmas icicles and tied them into our hair, then went to work on our makeup. I have always found it somewhat of a relief to be dead for Halloween since the worse I look the better!”

    This is one of the most fun and bonkers posts I’ve read in a while :). Life at your house must be great fun, but especially at this time of year. You really are never too old…

    • Thank you so much! I am so glad you liked it! There is more where that came from. Hahaha! My plan is to get all my interior decorations up today…it will take a while~Tomorrow I’ll unpack the dead guys. I am hosting a party on Thursday so I will have to decide which one of the cast of characters I will be. Hmmmm… ; )

  72. Houses like yours and your spirits filling them will fun and mystery are real memory makers on Halloween. Good for you. (And rock on this Halloween!)

    Aloha,

    Doug (Captain Nemo)

  73. Ok I maaaay need to borrow the Dead Floaters idea because that is pure gold. I love that your husband is just as enthusiastic.

    As for my costume? I don’t really think about it. Perhaps if I go out but these days I am pretty content to just give out candy =)

    • I have always been one of those “over-the-top” kind of people.
      Borrow away!! I did make round life preservers with the words “Titanic” so everyone knew exactly where we died! Hahaha!

  74. Fabulous! How creative to do dead floaters from Titanic too. All I have for Halloween is a purple wig so far.

    • I LOVE wigs and have quite a few of them. I keep all the trendy clothes that go out of style really quickly. I also pick up anything out of the ordinary at garage sales! Hahaha! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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