Ghost of a Chance


What to wear? It’s a persistent dilemma that recurs on a daily basis. Yet, there are some high-stakes events where wardrobe decision making takes on the quality of obsession. These include: what to wear to your wedding or prom (obviously); what effect you are looking to create at your company’s holiday party; which new outfits are you going to debut on the High Holy Days at the synagogue; and how you will be dressed for your 40th high school reunion.  But the pressure is not limited to the above.

Have you received an Evite to a costume party this season?  If you did, you will have reacted in one of two ways.  If themed events, especially ones where you are required to dress up as your worst nightmare or favorite forties film goddess, then Halloween invitations are about as welcome as process servers. If you find yourself in the other camp (costume party aficionados), then you are brimming with anticipation. Some people are at their best when wearing a disguise. Others just want to inhabit their own skin at all times.

We have been brought into many homes absolutely loaded with costumes.  The collections range from children’s’ dress up trunks filled with cast-off grown-up clothing,  no longer considered stylish by the original wearer, to full-on ensembles worthy of a legendary Hollywood studio. Apparently, Halloween is the second most popular night of the year to go out.  There are parties everywhere. The malls open their doors to families not entirely comfortable with the custom of trick or treating. Bars and clubs offer big bucks for the winners of their costume competitions. Even companies buy in. It is not unusual to have your check cashed by mermaid behind a teller’s window or be served you eggs and hash browns by zombie on October 31st. There is a great deal of pressure, year after year, to come up with something original and different in the dress up department. Even if sewing is your passion, there is a big investment in time and money to indulge your creative juices.

Closet space is premium space. Many homes and apartments have such limited storage that the resident is forced to choose between storing a vacuum and hanging a quilted jacket.  Costumes contain multiple components- for the head, body and extremities- as well as accessories like replica scythes, meat cleavers and other blood-stained paraphernalia. Do you honestly have the capacity to store years’ worth of get-ups that have no future?

CRUD Challenge

Needless today, you will have to set aside at least an hour for costume evaluation and purging. Costumes are not that different from the rest of wardrobe, if you don’t count masks and ears. You and your children will have outgrown a number of them. You can always take children’s costumes to swap meets or consignment stores, or donate them to day-care centers and nursery schools.

Other costumes are so uncomfortable and unwieldy you can’t sit down in them, dance with someone or even manage a drink.  If a costume is tight, itchy, or so hot that perspiration threatens to drown you, these are bona fide criteria for elimination. And, if you are still contemplating wearing that French maid’s outfit at your age, expect a citation from the cougar squad.

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